Star Tribune draws GOP ire for "Science made a comeback at the State Capitol" lede

strib science lede rect.jpg
Is the lede a statement of fact or an editorial comment?
As a "down the middle" publication, does dinging legislators skeptical of climate change -- most of them Republican -- represent a breach of objectivity?

SEE ALSO: Star Tribune stands by Bachmann coverage, reporter's "butthurt" response to criticism

Today, the Star Tribune is taking heat from local Republicans for doing just that. Particularly controversial is the lede to a piece by Josephine Marcotty and Bill McAuliffe about the DFL-controlled legislature's promised effort to deal with climate change, which reads as follows: "Science made a comeback at the State Capitol on Tuesday." (A screengrab of the controversial lede is at top of this post.) The implication is that the voices of climate researchers haven't been taken seriously in the legislature, which was controlled by the MNGOP during the last biennium.

Some might argue characterizing Republicans in the legislature as having a track record of not being particularly concerned about the science of climate change is simply calling a spade a spade, but nonetheless, some current and former MNGOP officials are taking umbrage.

For example, check out this interaction between current Bobby Patrick, executive assistant to the MNGOP House Minority Leader, and Kevin Watterson, the former media director for the MNGOP House Caucus: Also upset is Jonathan Blake, vice president of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota and a former MNGOP finance director, who created an "OtherStribLeads" hashtag: But the question remains -- are the Strib and other publications obligated to take climate change-denying statements seriously?

2012 was Minnesota's warmest year on record, and a new National Climate Assessment report predicts that average temperatures will rise by nearly 5 degrees between now and 2050. Here, via KARE, is what the report predicts about how increasing temperatures could affect Minnesota:
The draft report indicates the possibility of a shift in Minnesota's climate by almost 100 miles to the north. Such a change would alter the character of Minnesota's forests at the expense of species like birch and spruce in favor of oak. The growing season would be extended, but so would the likelihood of environmental problems like drought and floods. Lake temperatures would rise, including Lake Superior, making invasive species more possible.
Nonetheless, in the controversial Strib report, Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, is quoted as saying: "There is science and experts, and then there is political debate."

"[O]n side questions the authenticity of global warming," McDonald continued. "How do you know, if we are looking at only 200 years?"


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26 comments
Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

Too bad MN GOP, but the reality is that your party is the party of science deniers and stupidity. You can't really feel too bad when you're called out on it, because it is true.

Theresa Bruckner
Theresa Bruckner

Nope. Just because there are two sides to an argument doesn't mean that both sides are equally valid, and not only are newspapers not obligated to treat both sides of an argument as equal when they're plainly not, they also have an obligation not to report on total nonsense as though it were valid. Just because someone puts forth an argument (e.g. that climate change isn't real and/or isn't affected by human action) doesn't mean that that argument has merit.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Pretty typical of the modern GOP.  When presented with a fact all they do is whine and complain.  In a recent poll 6% of scientists identified themselves as Republicans.  Only the modern GOP is so stupid to think the solution to that problem is to stick their head deeper in the sand.   Just look at the commenters on City Pages.   Every single Republican that posts is a stupid, poorly informed, raging bigot.  None of them bother to cite facts or use logic when posting.  They never verify facts, they just post whatever Fox News is telling them to think.   Every single one of them is like that.  People need to start recognizing Republicans for what they are, stupid lying bigots not to be trusted with anything. 

Josh Prigge
Josh Prigge

They should be taken as seriously as anyone who claims the earth is flat, or anyone else who makes claims that deny basic science. It is absurd that this climate change subject is even being debated after the overwhelming majority of scientists have declared this a global threat.

A1batross
A1batross

Just because the GOP wants to call their oil-industry propaganda "science" doesn't mean that the rest of us have to agree with them.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann : cite your poll, bigot.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@A1batross That's one way to look at it. But here is another one: why did ice core samples from hundreds of thousands of years before man reveal the earth averaged 2.5 degrees warmer than today?

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@mingtran Oh, for pete's sake, are you really this ignorant? The earth at that time didn't have the same life on it that we have now.

Global waring has occurred un-naturally rapidly, and it is clearly largely anthropogenic.

You don't have to like it (we don't I think any of us care what you like or do not like) but you don't get to cherry pick facts out of context to try to change their significance.   The reality is that legitimate science is clear on this, and the science deniers are wrong, and the science trying to deny global warming is a crock of manure stinking up the planet and the argument on the right.

A1batross
A1batross

@mingtran because you don't understand the difference between braking to a stop and driving into a wall: it's the RATE of change that does the damage.

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@mingtran The GOP is anti-acience. It should concern you that while governments, universities, businesses with R& D divisions all pay the bills of scientists, the GOP doesn't pay their bills, not their own, not governments.

So, as far as I'm concerned, when they are stupid and ignorant, AND deadbeats, they don't merit the same degree of input as more responsible adults.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann: I take polls with a grain of salt. It doesn't surprise me that scientists are overwhelmingly not republican as the gov pays most of their bills.

Usually when one cites a poll, they say who conducted it and the date. You did neither in the first. Also, 3.5 years ago is not recent.

What have I made up?

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@mingtran So long as you refer to global warming as a sham, make up figures, and wander into conspiracy theory crazy country, there is really no point in trying to exchange any comments with you as an adult.  But then, the GOP  chose not to act as adults either, but instead opted to inhabit their little fantasy land that ignores or denies objective reality. That is only one aspect of why they were removed from any decision making in the legislature.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

But the idea isn't). Anybody with a pulse should find gov's solutions to man made global warming sham laughable. If I bought into the pseudoscience of man made globl warming, I'd hope the gov would shift to non-polluting energy resources instead of 15% ethanol in the next decade. We know we have had clean tech for years, but the gov wants oil rev PLUS control over populous. Come on boys, what is they're hiding?

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@mingtranNot particularly 'saddened' by your pretend numbers,  no.  I'm repulsed however by the willful ignorance of the GOP on science topics. Stupidity and aversion to facts do not serve our country well.

You must be a Republican if you're content to just make stuff up or support right wing ideology, instead of engaging in facts and reason.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@A1batross @Dog Gone: actually any cost associated with implementing governmental man made global warming would effect everybody's pocketbook and freedom.

Haven't you ever been saddened by the gov's actual goals: 50% led lights by 2020 in fed buildings, 15% more fuel efficiency by 2022, etc. (Those numbers are made up

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@A1batross @Dog Gone @mingtran Here's the thing; after 20 years, and the 13,950 papers, and the climate experts who used to be for the other side against climate change defecting for the climate-change-is-real side......there is no 'maybe' about it remaining. It is as established as gravity, the sun rising in the east, and our knowledge that the earth is not flat.

There may still be some flat earthers in the world, but no one believes their opinion should matter. And for the same reasons, neither do Republican global warming deniers, or mingtraus opinion matter. They have marginalized themselves with their ignorance; they are insignificant, their opinions are unimportant.

It's just the way reality is; they have chosen not to be part of reality with their thinking.  I hope they have a pleasant time in their fantasy.

A1batross
A1batross

@Dog Gone @mingtran I also look at the "what if we're wrong" side of things. If people concerned about climate change are wrong, it will cost some wealthy industries a little money to comply with a few new regulations. But if people opposed to the notion that the climate is changing are wrong - if despite their beliefs the climate IS changing - then it can cost billions of people and thousands of species their lives.

The people with the financial incentive are the wealthy established power structures whose profits would be impacted by regulations to address climate change. Oil companies are THE most profitable industries that have ever existed. They make hundreds of billions of dollars QUARTERLY. This means they can fund the most intensive propaganda efforts ever launched with the equivalent of pocket change, to them. And all because they can't handle the idea that they might have a quarter with somewhat reduced profits. So they smear the real science with made up numbers, they launch personal attacks against figureheads, and most of all they seek to bamboozle as many people as possible into doubt.

This could cost us the planet. It could cost us civilization. It could cost us irreplaceable species. It could cost us hunger and misery.

So that's the downsides - on the one hand, a little wasted effort and money, no the other hand the planet. 

That's not a trivial risk analysis, but its recommendations are clear - work to reduce climate change.


Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@mingtran It must keep you busy, running, dodging, and hiding from the scientific research out there.  Of 13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles from 1991 - 2012, only 24 reject global warming.  More of those are recent than from the 90s.

So why do you have difficulty in 'finding the science'? It is in plain sight. Read it and weep for your overwhelming ignorance and error.


Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@mingtran You are coming from ignorance. We do see where you are coming from; that is our problem with your point of view - it is clearly wrong.

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

@mingtran No one is 'guessing'. It is clear, it is established, it is settled science that global warming is mostly human caused.  You can pull your head out of wherever you keep it, or you can stick it back in, but don't expect to be given any credibility, because you don't merit any.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@mingtran You are easily tricked by con men.  The global warming scientists used to work for tobacco companies.   These corporations pay them to lie about science to trick stupid fools like you.  You won't address this point because you are so incredibly stupid  The con is obvious.  Only a fool doesn't admit he is wrong.  Your stupid thinking is destructive. 

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann : scientists are not science. Where is the SCIENCE MB, the SCIENCE?

You have to prove points in order to name call, otherwise you just seem silly.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@mingtranYou are a very stupid person who has been conned by oil and gas companies.  The leading "scientists" that cast doubt on the science of global climate change used to work for tobacco companies.  That is a fact and you can look it up.   

"As one tobacco company memo noted: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the "body of fact" that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy."[31] As the 1990s progressed ... TASSC began receiving donations from Exxon (among other oil companies) and its "junk science" website began to carry material attacking climate change science."

-Clive Hamilton

Despite being told these facts you are too stupid to ever change your opinion or learn a lesson.  It's really worrisome for our country that there are people as stupid as you are.  How dumb are you to fall for the same con man again?  You think smoking is good for you?  The scientists that argue against global climate change science used to trick stupid fools like you into smoking.   Learn a lesson stupid.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Accidently sent, wouldn't let me "edit" from my phone...

so if man made global warming is truly detrimental, and we know that we presently have the means to implement viable clean renewable alternative energy sources, why wouldn't the system that is supposed to protect us not support/implement these technologies?

Open up your mind sir or madame. You don't have to come to my side, but if your mind truly is open, but i would think you should at least be able to see where I'm coming from.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

@A1batross : so you're guessing that it's man made then? Even after the hole in the ozone layer is getting smaller, Alaska has been getting colder, and the antarctic ice sheet is at record volume?Man made global warming could be real, but there is still no concrete evidence, no matter how hard they try to tell us, to show it is scientific. Here is what we do know: climate cycles are real and have happened since earth's inception, that most scientists work for the gov and receive grants, and like you admitted to before how the earth was warmer before man. Here's one you may haven't thought of though: if man made global is truly a threat

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