February 20, 2014

110K Call on The Washington Post to End Climate Change Denial in its Editorial Page

Click here to sign the petition

WASHINGTON, DC—This afternoon, activists delivered a petition signed by 110,000 people to the editors of The Washington Post, calling on the newspaper to implement a policy that refuses to publish editorial content denying climate change. The Post routinely prints inaccuracies on climate change and is home to prominent climate change deniers George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and the Volokh Conspiracy blog.

Sponsored by Forecast the Facts and CREDO, the petition urges the Post to follow the The Los Angeles Times' lead by refusing to publish letters to the editor that deny climate change. However, the Post has yet to extend this policy.

“Every scientific academy in the world accepts that humans are warming the planet, yet the editors of The Washington Post still provide a platform to climate change deniers,” said Brant Olson, campaign director of Forecast the Facts. “There ought to be rigorous standards at the Post disallowing editorial content featuring misinformation, especially on an issue as important as climate change.”

In recent years, its website has invested in a fact-checking apparatus that includes “The Fact Checker” page, maintained by Glen Kessler, and “Truth Teller,” a system to fact check speeches in real time. However, the Post no longer has an ombudsman on staff or reader representative.

Despite the fact the Post considers itself a home to objective news, it still fails to fact check opinion pieces including climate change denial. For instance, on July 5, 2013 the Post published a letter to the editor entitled "Obama Takes Climate Change Rhetoric Too Far" by Tony Strom, who wrote, “Ask 100 scientists to quantify the human effect on ‘climate change’ and you’ll get 100 answers. This is not science; this is opinion.”

In actuality, only 24 of the 13,950 peer-reviewed scientific articles on climate change (published between January 1991 and November 2012) reject man-made climate change. According to the National Academy of Sciences, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends from the past century are likely due to human activities.

“Newspapers and other media outlets play a critical role in our political process by providing a check to unscrupulous politicians, corporations and others who intentionally lie to the populace. But “by ‘reporting both sides’ and giving climate change deniers space to promote lies, this particular enclave of the news media is not doing its jobs of informing the public,” said Corporate Action Network Co-founder Brian Young, who started a petition with CREDO.

The petitions are available here:

http://act.forecastthefacts.org/sign/tell_newspapers_stop_publishing_climate_denial/

http://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/tell-the-washington-post-and-new-york-times-don-t-promote-climate-change-denial

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Forecast the Facts is dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change: that temperatures are increasing, human activity is largely responsible, and that our world is already experiencing the effects. We do this by empowering everyday people to speak out in the face of misinformation and hold accountable those who mislead the public.

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Daniel Kessler
510-501-1779
daniel.kessler@engagementlab.org
@danieljkessler

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