Temperatures have plunged to record lows on the East Coast, and once again Peter Gwynne is being heralded as a journalist ahead of his time. By some.
Gwynne was the science editor of Newsweek 39 years ago when he pulled together some interviews from scientists and wrote a nine-paragraph story about how the planet was getting cooler.
Ever since, Gwynne’s “global cooling” story – and a similar Time Magazine piece – have been brandished gleefully by those who say it shows global warming is not happening, or at least that scientists – and often journalists – don’t know what they are talking about.
Fox News loves to cite it. So does Rush Limbaugh. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has quoted the story on the Senate floor.
Gwynne, now 72, is a bit chagrinned that from a long career of distinguished science and technology reporting, he is most remembered for this one story.
“I have, in fact, won prizes for science writing,” he said, with just a whiff of annoyance, in an interview this week.
His April 28, 1975 piece has been used by Forbes as evidence of what the magazine called “The Fiction of Climate Science.” It has been set to music on a YouTube video. It has popped up in a slew of finger-wagging blogs and websites dedicated to everything from climate denial to one puzzling circuit of logic entitled “Impeach Obama, McCain and Boehner Today.”
From the latest crop:
Lou Dobbs on Fox News: “This cycle of science… if we go back to 1970, the fear then was global cooling. ”
Rush Limbaugh: “I call [global warming] a hoax… A 1975 Newsweek cover was gonna talk about the ice age coming. So they’re really confused how to play it.”
Sean Hannity on Fox News: “If you go back to Time Magazine, they actually were proclaiming the next ice age is coming, now it’s become global warming… How do you believe the same people that were predicting just a couple decades ago that the new ice age is coming?”
Donald J. Trump: “This very expensive global warming bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing.…”
Most of the time, Gwynne, who still writes on technology and science from his home in Cape Cod, Mass., takes it good-naturedly…
[continues at Scientific American]
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