But it’s even worse than that. Roberts summarizes with this:
Stephens called climate change a “mass hysteria phenomenon” for which “much of the science has … been discredited.” He said that people who accept climate change science are motivated in part by the “totalitarian impulse” and they worship “a religion without God.” He said“global warming is dead, nailed into its coffin one devastating disclosure, defection and re-evaluation at a time.” In a column calling climate change one of liberalism’s “imaginary enemies,” he said this: “Here’s a climate prediction for the year 2115: Liberals will still be organizing campaigns against yet another mooted social or environmental crisis. Temperatures will be about the same.”
As Romm notes, the idea that temperature will be the same in 100 years is utterly ludicrous, the scientific equivalent of claiming the earth is flat.
The distinction that Shafer failed to make is that the NYT didn’t hire an editorial writer with different opinions, they hired someone who rejects facts. Climate science is not a matter of opinion. If Stephens accepted climate science, but simply had different opinions on what we should do to combat it, I doubt that anyone would have objected.
But that’s not the world we’re living in at the moment. Facts are being treated as a matter of opinion where “both sides” are being given a forum for debate. That gives free reign to liars who want to insure that we are continually distracted and divided. This morning I ran in to an egregious example of that on twitter.
It is very possible that the twitter user is a bot. But they are spreading ugly lies that fuel what some have called the “politics of resentment” and a lot of people believe that nonsense. When an attempt is made to debunk the lies, it becomes a matter of opinion. Would the NYT think that it is merely a matter of diversity to hire someone who writes that DACA young people got free college and are first in line for jobs?