Washington Post distorts global warming report

On Tuesday, we noted that the media has been largely silent on the revisions to NASA's widely reported  temperature data. On Wednesday, the Washington Post broke the news blackout giving NASA's James Hansen an exclusive  platform to cast the changes in the most favorable light possible.

Rather than report on the substance of the actual changes to the data and the reasons they were compelled to make them, the Post used a not-so-clever trick, ascribing the controversy to,
"Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh [who] used reports of the revisions to argue that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by scientists with liberal agendas."
Describing the changes as "slight" the Post uncritically accepts Hansen's bland explanation,
"...the change is insignificant in terms of global warming and altered the overall global mean temperatures by one-one-thousandth of a degree."
One one-thousandth of degree overall? Prove it! Critics often argue that the global mean temperature is akin to taking the average of all the phone numbers in the phone book. In other words, it's meaningless.

Reporter Marc Kaufman allows Hansen to peddle one whopper after another. Hansen trots out well worn clichés he's used in the past like, "critics are making a mountain out of a molehill" and they're using this to "muddy the debate." Can't NASA's public information people come up with better lines than this?  Unprompted, Hansen bamboozles Kaufman with this ridiculous non-excuse why NASA hides their data, 
"NASA generally does not release or discuss national weather statistics because it is more concerned with global patterns. The agency that pays more attention to American temperature trends is the American temperature trends is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
And so why won't NASA release the data?  

To obfuscate matters further, Kaufman concludes his story with an erroneous reference to the UN IPCC report. He writes that the report says,
"global warming is definitely occurring and that greenhouse gases created by humans are the most likely cause." [emphasis added]
Let's be precise here, the word "definite" is nowhere to be found in the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers  and this document is written with much more certainty than the actual Technical Report or any of the sub-disciplinary segments. The entire report is filled with caveats and uncertainty. Words like, "may correlate" and "data suggests" preface nearly every assertion and conclusion.

The Washington Post has been carrying water for James Hansen and NASA GISS for several years now. This story fails to even address the most basic questions concerning the error. Instead they add to the confusion with more misinformation and spin. Why is the Washington Post shilling for James Hansen and the global warming special interest lobby?

We have no reason for faith in NASA's data and methods, since the agency has played such a cagey hand in fessing up to their errors and their significance. Until whole operation opens up for serious outside scrutiny, we'll have to rely on sleuths like Steve McIntyre to get to the truth.
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