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Reblogged:When 'Fact-Checking' Is Smearing

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A couple of days ago, I ran across a debunking that still has me scratching my head a little, so I am going to think out loud about it now.
Image from MSN. I believe my use of this image for commentary to be protected under US copyright law as fair use.
It concerns the map shown here, which was obviously created by superimposing a map of the Mediterranean and Black Seas over one of North America. It shows that the Med would fit comfortably within the borders of the Lower 48 States. Neato!

That's vaguely interesting, and perhaps worth a tweet, but I wouldn't call that newsworthy. Perhaps a step up from there in terms of interest, and perhaps genuinely newsworthy, there were apparently thousands of people who tried to pass this off as -- or perhaps even believed it to be -- a projection of the consequences of sea level rise due to global warming climate change the "climate crisis."

I am no journalist, but if there's a story here, it might concern the appalling lack of basic geographical knowledge imparted by our mostly state-run educational system.

Or, given that most semi-educated adults have seen those two maps all over the place numerous times, there might be a story -- à la Leonard Peikoff's The DIM Hypothesis. That one would concern what would be an even more staggering apparent inability of large swathes of the American population to retain or make even the most basic connections between things that ought to be common knowledge.

So what do the legacy media do? They have a crack team of learned and indefatigable "fact-checkers" perform and publish a piece that is part (a) rectal exam of the ridiculous claim about sea level rise and (b) rehash of context-free claims regarding sea level rise due to global warming that will occur unless we quit using fossil fuels.

It is revealing that they seem to think that a significant portion of the U.S. adult population would not take one look at this map and be struck by the startling coincidence that, if we flooded the U.S. enough, we'd get the boot of Italy right smack in the center of our map. Or, perhaps if they did see the coincidence, they'd stop there and not wonder if someone were pulling their leg.

If they are writing for such people, how do they expect to get through to them? And if not, for whom do they write?

With today's propagandists who pose as journalists, just about the only thing I might find more remarkable than someone missing the boot of Italy would be someone who hasn't heard -- in the news, on the order of ten million times -- something to the effect that the world is ending in a decade and the only way to stop it from happening is to quit using fossil fuels post-haste.

I think this article is aimed squarely at those who accept such claims and at those who aren't sure, but are receptive to them, for two different reasons.

For the first group, this is red meat. Look at those denialist rubes! They're clueless about geography -- just like they're clueless about everything else! Hooray for me! By contrast, members of the global warming catastrophist camp can bask in their own smug status as thoughtful and well-informed while they listen to the laundry list of catastrophes that they don't have to be told about like it was the first time they ever heard of it. Boy! MSN really took them to the woodshed! This is a sort of mini-pep talk for them.

Somewhat similarly, the second group is reminded that they'll be smeared as near-illiterates if they don't buy the prescription for the crisis so excruciatingly spelled out -- column space and today's lax standards of argument permitting. This is yet another small bullying attempt on them. Nobody likes being regarded as an idiot, and on this one, lots of people will just go along because it feels easier.

The rest of us -- who are well-informed and know it, who are decently-educated and know it, who have formed dissenting opinions from the anti-energy orthodoxy and know why we have -- are mostly left to roll our eyes at what has become a commonplace in social media and journalism: Yet another session of bizarre nitpicking seemingly directed at people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time, mixed in with a sermon about a left-wing article of faith.

It would take at least a book or two to push back against climate catastrophism and refute the prescription for disaster that always comes with it, so I'll content myself by quoting the following "Snappy Answer" to the prospect of rising sea levels:
Q: Even if we've been able to adapt to CO2 rises so far, won't further change be overwhelming?

A: The pessimistic UN is talking about a few degrees of warming and a few feet of sea level rises over a century. We can adapt to that with today's tech, let alone future tech.
There is no mention of this in the "fact checking" piece, nor of the overwhelming benefits of continued and increasing fossil fuel use (of which emissions are a side-effect by comparison), nor of the benefits of a warmer climate, even if to question them. See the Talking Points or the books (linked above) for that and more, including an examination of how faulty the thinking on climate is on the part of most mainstream intellectuals and influencers.

Today in Sri Lanka -- collapsing under its 98% ESG rating -- and Russian's hostage, Germany, we are seeing the beginnings of what life would be like if we "left it in the ground" to the degree these "fact checkers" would have it.

You can be 100% correct about anything, but that knowledge can be worse than useless if it is misapplied, such as to advocate a destructive policy like ending fossil fuel use absent a credible replacement.

-- CAV

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