Yesterday, when reading a Rolling Stone feature on “Global Warming’s Denier Elite” (I was number 4) I noticed an embarrassingly crude scientific error. In an article condemning me and 9 other supporters of fossil fuel energy as scientific ignoramuses, the editors featured a picture of a coal plant emitting some smoky-looking substance described as “carbon emissions.”
Problem: Carbon dioxide was not pictured, because carbon dioxide is an invisible gas; the smoky-looking substance pictured was…water vapor, carbon-free H20.
When readers pointed this out in the Comments section, Rolling Stone did not admit the error, but instead covered it up by changing the caption to “Aerial view of a coal fired power station.”
This is journalistic malpractice; you can’t just make a blatantly false statement about science and then not acknowledge it–especially in an article about science!
Rolling Stone covered up the error for the same reason it’s so important that we know about the error. It illustrates the embarrassing lack of scientific knowledge possessed by today’s scientifically-smug media.
The media regard science, not as a method to practice or a body of knowledge to study, but as an authority to blindly cite when it furthers their political agenda. I hope this latest embarrassment will lead some to do less smearing and more studying.