Journalism Fail

Main story at for the last hour or two: “Solar Minimum could trigger ice age

Check the article’s opening paras:

The world could be heading for a new ‘solar minimum’ period, possibly plummeting the planet into an Ice Age, scientists say.

Researchers say the present increase in sun activity with solar flares and storms could be followed by this minimum period.

The period would see a cooling of the planet, refuting predictions of global-warming alarmists.

The research for this comes from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences.


“Refuting the predictions of global-warming alarmists”? What kind of language is that? Completely inappropriate.

To google, and in moments I’ve found the abstract and ScienceDaily’s summary. From the latter:

…those findings cannot be directly transferred to future projections because the current climate is additionally affected by anthropogenic forcing.

So, from “climate is affected by anthropogenic forcing” to “refuting predictions of global warming alarmists” in one easy step.

This is UNACCEPTABLE. Where did it come from? A media release from one of the “climate sceptic” pressure groups? Heads should bloody well roll over this.

Too angry about this to say any more.

EDITED TO ADD: see also Hot Topic and The Atavism

17 thoughts on “ Journalism Fail”

  1. You should leave a comment on the actual story itself. I notice there are none at the moment.

  2. Quite right. The lack of fact checking, or in fact any good journalistic practice, and the emotive language used, make the news barely worth reading these days. I note the contrast with the French daily newspaper, ‘Le Monde’. I read this regularly and, while often parochial, appears to present a more carefully thoughtout view of the news.

  3. Comment left on the story. They’re moderating all comments at present – I doubt they’ll publish any of them.

  4. There are several comments now, all from climate change deniers. Possibly all from the same person, given that global warming is equated with a flat earth in two separate comments.

  5. The article now says “The period would see a cooling of the planet, refuting predictions of further global-warming.”, so they may have taken your comment on board…

  6. Interesting response from Stuff – The paragraph has now been rewritten as “The period would see a cooling of the planet, refuting predictions of further global-warming” and comments have been closed on the item.

    …wonder why?

  7. Not nearly good enough as a response. The whole article makes a claim that I can’t find any source for. As far as I can tell, the principal claim of the article – that we could be headed for a new solar minima, leading to a new ice age – has never been said in any form by the scientists concerned.

    As far as I can tell this has been made up out of whole cloth. Changing the language a little bit makes minimal difference.

  8. “solar minimum leads to global cooling” doesn’t actually have anything to do with “human industry causes global warming”. Both effects can happen concurrently.

    It’s like if a drug addict wins lotto, and Stuff posts an article saying that this refutes the theory that substance abuse is harmful..

  9. heh, yep, I’m wild enough about the article to have googled “refute solar minimum”, and it brought me to your blog. Hell, I’m not even a hobby scientist, and even I can see right through this to the not-so-hidden-agenda of “I want to validate my decision to drive my gas guzzling Fendalton tractor at any cost.”

  10. I’m interested by”Researchers say the present increase in sun activity with solar flares and storms could be followed by this minimum period.” versus “The consensus view of global warming is mankind’s use of fossil fuels is principally responsible.” It’s as if the educated experts are supporting the current contention whilst the rabble still think that global warming is caused by human activities.

    I could rant… at length about science reporting and so-called scientific controversies (there’s a bit of this going round at the moment. I got an email yesterday from a friend wanting me to interpret an article about vaccination causing autism in rats for her)

  11. It’s been a bad day for the Dom Post as well, reporting in today’s paper the first reading passage AND “tight-lipped” judicial reaction for the judicary pecuniary interests bill which in fact didn’t even get a reading last night at all.

    Granted, they may have been confused between the two versions currently on the Order Paper – the Govt one and Kennedy Graham’s Member’s Bill, but the result speaks of a pre-drafted piece rushed through without a final check of the Parliament news. Shoddy.

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