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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Science articles should cite experts, not interest groups

Editor,

It would be nice to read an article on a scientific topic that actually addressed the science involved, instead of focusing on pseudo-journalistic political twaddle. I am referring to the front-page article in Thursday’s Lobo about the lecture by Henry Pollack, concerning his book A World Without Ice. It was reasonably well written for about the first third, but then the reporter felt compelled to engage in the cheap and easy journalistic trick of “getting quotes from both sides.” As a result, we were subjected to the uninformed and often ludicrous comments of spokespeople from Lobo Conservatives and 1Sky.

UNM actually has departments of science, with reasonably well-informed professors and students. Would it have been so much trouble to find a couple of them to comment on Pollack’s research? Then we might have actually learned something. Instead, we found out that an idiot conservative thinks there is more money in pretending there is a climate crisis than there is in creating it. (He obviously forgot that the amount of money made by oil, coal, auto and many other industries far outweighs any “green” industries.) Hence, logically, there must be no actual climate problem. The much more limited quotes from the “other side” were not terribly helpful either. It seemed clear that neither had read the book in question.

Why is the United States the worst informed country in the world on matters of environmental change? Because of this kind of journalistic laziness. On matters of importance, one should quote people who actually have a right to an opinion, people who have studied the issue.

Fred Sturm
UNM staff