Paul Ingrassia vs. The Green Inquisition
By Matthew Vadum
As interest in the alleged warming of the planet wanes, the global warming inquisition is hoping to make an example of a heretical reporter whose only sin is healthy skepticism.
The enviro-Left is busy attempting to subject London-based Paul Ingrassia, an American journalist brought in by Reuters to beef up its worldwide news operation, to a digital auto-da-fé for insisting that the 2,800 journalists at the news agency at least try to provide fair and balanced accounts of the events of the day.
Ingrassia, by the way, won a Pulitzer Prize and a Gerald Loeb Award in 1993 for his news coverage of management turmoil at General Motors.
This newfound interest in objectivity at Reuters, where the word militant is still preferred over terrorist, appears to mean the agency is running fewer stories about climate change.
That’s fewer, not none. Reuters still diligently covers climate-related issues.
But that’s not good enough for those who embrace the increasingly shaky theory of anthropogenic global warming with religious zeal.
“It is just not responsible in our opinion to be cutting back on an issue that is having such a profound impact on every sector of the economy,” emoted Mindy Lubber, who runs the Ceres sustainable business network, which represents companies and investors worth more than $11 trillion in assets.
“This is a financial risk that needs to be looked at and addressed.”
ThinkProgress, a hard-left blog run by John Podesta’s Center for American Progress Action Fund, referred to Ingrassia in a headline as “Openly Hostile to Climate Coverage.”
As Steven Hayward writes at Powerline, a slew of media outlets “are all on the chase, proving 1) the dependence of the climate campaign on a media monopoly, and 2) that the environmental version of the Brezhnev Doctrine lives—what’s there is theirs, and don’t dare change your news coverage.”
The mainstream media freakout began when a disgruntled former Reuters reporter who had covered the global warming beat threw an online temper tantrum after leaving the company. Singapore-based David Fogarty blogged about the editorial direction Reuters took after it hired journalism industry heavyweight Ingrassia, an experienced business reporter and editor, in 2011 to overhaul the company’s approach to news gathering.
Fogarty said he met Ingrassia at a work-related event in 2012 at which the veteran journalist allegedly acknowledged being a climate change skeptic. “Not a rabid skeptic, just someone who wanted to see more evidence mankind was changing the global climate,” Fogarty wrote.
“From very early in 2012, I was repeatedly told that climate and environment stories were no longer a top priority for Reuters and I was asked to look at other areas. Being stubborn, and passionate about my climate change beat, I largely ignored the directive.
“By mid-October, I was informed that climate change just wasn’t a big story for the present, but that it would be if there was a significant shift in global policy, such as the US introducing an emissions cap-and-trade system.”
Fogarty left the company in December, two months after his climate beat was excised. Although two full-time environment beat reporters now cover the subject area for Reuters, Fogarty resorted to conspiracy theorizing.
He claimed there is a growing “climate of fear” within Reuters that makes reporters reluctant to write about climate change.
Smelling blood, the George Soros-funded slander shop Media Matters for America promptly hopped on the anti-Ingrassia bandwagon, hastily beatifying Fogarty by calling him a “whistleblower” in a headline.
MMfA claimed that “Reuters’ coverage of climate change declined by nearly 50 percent under the regime of the current managing editor, lending credence to a former reporter’s claim that a ‘climate of fear’ has gripped the agency.”
But the facts suggest what happened was more akin to an outbreak of journalistic rigor, something disgraced ex-journalist David Brock’s cherry-picking character assassins at Media Matters would have difficulty recognizing.
The so-called study by the Democratic Party’s leading public relations agency examined how many climate change or global warming stories Reuters ran in two distinct periods. The first period was Oct. 19, 2010 to April 19, 2011, before Ingrassia worked at Reuters, and April 19, 2012 to Oct. 19, 2012, after he joined the company.
In the latter period “Reuters filed 48 percent fewer articles on climate change under the new regime, despite the fact that the latter period featured the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, a continuing fight over the European Union’s proposal to impose a carbon tax on international flights, record heat in the U.S. and other noteworthy developments,” according to Media Matters.
Of course none of those events would be of much interest to ordinary news consumers. Only climate change zealots, hardcore leftists, and unusually adventurous investors would consider most of those events to be highly newsworthy.
What else was happening in the world from mid-April to mid-October of last year?
It turns out there were plenty of exigent, newsworthy events that Reuters might have considered to be more worthy of coverage than an old, scientifically dubious doom-and-gloom theory embraced by an affective former U.S. vice president but cared about by few people outside of the green movement.
As the U.S. economy sputtered along and the national debt continued to balloon, there was an unusually nasty, bruising presidential election cycle that happened to be the most expensive and media-saturated in history. Terrorists attacked a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans including a sitting U.S. ambassador, whom they may have sexually tortured. Before the Obama administration eventually admitted that the incident in Libya was a coordinated Islamic terrorist attack, it blamed an obscure anti-Islam filmmaker for the sacking of the mission and made him a real-life political prisoner. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionally questionable Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.
Facebook’s hyped-to-the-endth-degree public stock offering floundered. France elected dogmatic socialist Francois Hollande who promptly launched a new reign of terror against that nation’s long-suffering taxpayers leading prominent citizens like actor Gerard Depardieu to flee.
The Middle East and North Africa continued to be rocked by fallout from the so-called Arab Spring. The Eurozone crisis, festering since 2009, continued to bring misery to those living in or investing in countries bound by the Maastricht Treaty. London hosted the summer Olympics. A psychopathic dictator who succeeded his father, another psychopathic dictator, made great strides in solidifying his reign in reportedly nuclear North Korea. Gay marriage became legal in several countries.
In short, there was no shortage of interesting, important things to write about.
And naturally, as the scientific case for global warming continues to fall apart the likelihood of the formation of huge markets for trading carbon also declines commensurately. This means the possibility of high-dollar carbon trading will get less media attention.
Strangely, even the ever-watchful guardians of liberal journalism at the venerable Columbia Journalism Review dismiss the green-generated hype. CJR writer Alexis Sobel Fitts volunteers that most U.S. newsrooms have scaled back their climate change coverage since 2010:
In 2011, Environment & Energy Publishing, which produces Greenwire, ClimateWire, and four other news services, estimated they reduced climate coverage by about 13 percent. According to an assessment published by The Daily Climate, The New York Times cut its global warming article count by 15 percent, and the Guardian slashed coverage by 21 percent that same year.
Fitts adds parenthetically that “Reuters, too, dropped its climate coverage by 27 percent in 2011, before Ingrassia came aboard.”
Fitts writes that several unidentified Reuters reporters spoke to her on background about a change in the news agency’s editorial stance. Since Ingrassia came aboard “they’ve felt pressure from management to add ‘balance’ to climate change stories by including the views of global-warming skeptics.”
“I’m really glad someone outside the company is looking into this,” she quoted one staffer saying. “I think this is the most worrying thing any of us have seen here.”
How dare Reuters strive to tell more than one side of the story.
Meanwhile, it is worth pointing out that the warming trend ended 15 years ago and since then global temperatures have held steady, if not decreased, while carbon dioxide emissions worldwide have skyrocketed.
“The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750,” the Economist reported in the spring.
The attacks on Ingrassia come as fresh evidence of panic emanates from the environmentalist Left. Activists seem to be realizing that they are losing the battle over this speculative phenomenon known as anthropogenic global warming.
To boost their sagging fortunes, desperate environmentalists are making particularly outrageous claims.
A new “metastudy” spoon-fed to incurious media outlets purports to show a clear link between rising temperatures and violence, especially on the African continent.
President Obama declared war on the coal industry and its workers a few weeks ago. Ignoring the science, the Alarmist-in-Chief declared that climate change was having “profound impacts” on the planet and must be dealt with.
Obama called for America to take the lead in a “coordinated assault” on the perceived problem and snarled, “We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-earth society.”
The Obama administration is also attempting to stifle climate change skeptics who work for the federal government.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told Interior Department staffers this week that fighting climate change is a “privilege” and a “moral imperative.”
“I hope there are no climate change deniers in the Department of Interior,” she said. Labeling climate
change skeptics “deniers” is a crude but oft-used smear used by global warming true believers to blacken the names of their adversaries by associating them with anti-Semitic fanatics who deny the Holocaust happened during World War Two.
Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute opined that “[s]uch moralizing would be funny were it not for the chilling effect it is bound to have in an agency already mired in group think.”
The British-born Jewell, who was packaged throughout her confirmation process earlier this year as a reasonable environmental activist, started her career as an oil industry engineer. Before taking up her post in Obama’s cabinet, she was CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI).
Under Ingrassia’s able leadership Reuters may even cover the Jewell story.
Climate change heretics at the Interior Department and elsewhere in the U.S. government would be well advised to hold their tongues — or lose their jobs.