So Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize today for his years of work on global climate change, and what does The New York Times decide to do?
Representative of the most shameless type of "Fair and Balanced" reporting, made popular by Fox News and long de rigeur in our mainstream press, The Times very prominently placed reader comments on the front page of its online edition - specifically, in sets of two directly beneath photos of Mr. Gore, giving two sides to an issue on which the scientific community has already reached a consensus: man has, and is, contributing to the warming of the planet and we must take substantive action before it's too late.
The Times ran this feature on its homepage for at least two and a half hours today, but possibly much longer. I noticed it around 10:30 a.m. By 1 p.m., The Times removed these dueling he said/she saids altogether and, much less conspicuously, placed the link "Share Your Thoughts | Read Comments" in the sixth and very last bullet under the photo (then of Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won along with Gore).
Here are just three different sets of these Foxified couplings (screenshots are viewable in update below):
Beneath a photo captioned "Al and Tipper Gore at the Academy Awards in February":
Comment by Elmer Stobbe: "Junk science prevails, and the Pope of junk science is rewarded."
Comment by Ethan C.: "Nothing like a Nobel Peace Prize to tell the world that there's a real crisis."
Under a photo captioned "Al and Tipper Gore with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in September":
Comment by Liana: "You don't have to politically like Gore, but at least realize what he has done for global awareness of our enviornment [sic]!"
Comment by William: "Nobel is probably spinning in his grave....Another left wing triumph over science and logic."
Rotated comments beneath the same photo:
Comment by Michael Williams: "[Gore's] own actions and lifestyle are in contradiction to the policies/actions that his film supports."
Comment by James Law: "If Gore won't run, then Hillary must appoint him as the head of the E.P.A."
This decision by The Times begs many questions.
Why roll out this feature today, on this particular story, and with such prominence? A topic in which a genuine debate, where stark disagreement exists, is no longer possible. The scientific community - those not acting as shills and fronts for big oil, like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and its heavily funded colleagues in the bogus "global warming alarmist" movement - are in agreement over man's significant contribution to this growing environmental catastrophe. In these front-page comments (and in the predominance of all reader comments), you'll notice that each naysayer delivers an ad hominem attack. It's all they have left.
Shame on these commenters for their pettiness and ignorance, but The Times is the culpable party here: blame lands squarely on its shoulders for providing high-profile credence to such stupid, venal and unscientific opinions. And on such a critical, world-changing, life-and-death issue that is already affecting, and will continue to affect, everyone on this planet, in addition to millions who've yet to be born.
So then, should we expect The Times to continue this feature, and on what stories? On reports concerned with Hillary's cleavage, Edwards' haircut and Obama's flagless lapel? Or articles on such legislative votes as wiretapping, habeas corpus, torture, troop withdrawal and military action against Iran? Or on the next National Intelligence Estimate report, black sites, the state of Myanmar, Darfur, the Congo, impeachment, the ongoing plight of Katrina victims, and a plethora of other issues that might be debatable?
Or was this a one-shot deal? And why?
The New York Times has some serious 'splaining to do.
UPDATE: Here are chronological screen shots (click to view) of those aforementioned comments, including the one following this feature's disappearance:
UPDATE II: Now, I expect this kind of thing from The Most Trusted Name in News: