It seems just days ago that the New York Times was all worked up over the threat of "fake news," and particularly how some fake stories may have helped swing the recent election to Trump. For example, just before the election on November 6, the big headline was "Media's Next Challenge: Overcoming the Threat of Fake News." On November 20 there was a deep analysis of the nefarious processes by which "fake news" gets wide dissemination, "How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study." And on the same day, an anguished call for the proprietors of Facebook to crack down on the use of their platform for spreading fake information: "Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Must Defend the Truth." Looking at these and many other such stories, you might even get the idea that Pravda might care a little about having the news be real, as opposed to maybe only caring about getting its preferred candidate elected.
Before you get too far believing something so ridiculous, you will really need to check out today's effort. In a paper that is six columns in width, five of them across the top of the front page are occupied by a picture of some migrants in a pick-up truck heading out across the Sahel in Niger toward Libya and, they hope, on to Europe. Immediately underneath, a three-column-wide story is covered by the big headline of the day, "Escaping Drought and War on a 'Road on Fire.'" The story continues on to the entirety of pages A10 and A11 in the interior of the paper. This is the story of seemingly an entire generation of young men in West Africa picking up and heading north in search of a better life.
Oh, the sub-headline of the article is "Carbon's Casualties." The article is part of the Times's series of gigantic articles on what are supposedly the terrible effects of "climate change."
[P]eel back the layers of their stories and you find a complex bundle of trouble and want that prompts the men and boys of West Africa to leave home, endure beatings and bribes, board a smuggler’s pickup truck and try to make a living far, far away. They do it because the rains have become so fickle, the days measurably hotter, the droughts more frequent and more fierce, making it impossible to grow enough food on their land. . . . This journey has become a rite of passage for West Africans of his generation. The slow burn of climate change makes subsistence farming, already risky business in a hot, arid region, even more of a gamble.
So -- what is the source of this information that "droughts [have become] more frequent and more fierce," making it "impossible to grow enough food" in the Sahel region? You won't find it in this article. Try to confirm that information elsewhere, and you will find exactly the opposite:
From Reuters, June 1, 2015, citing a study in Nature Climate Change (no climate change skeptics!):
Rising greenhouse gases have boosted rainfall in the Sahel region of Africa, easing droughts that killed 100,000 people in the 1970s and 1980s, in a rare positive effect of climate change, a study said on Monday. . . . "Amounts of rainfall have recovered substantially," said Rowan Sutton, a professor at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at Britain's Reading University and co-author of the study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The Sahara is actually shrinking, with vegetation arising on land where there was nothing but sand and rocks before. The southern border of the Sahara has been retreating since the early 1980s, making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa. There has been a spectacular regeneration of vegetation in northern Burkina Faso, which was devastated by drought and advancing deserts 20 years ago. . . . The main reason for the greening of the Sahara and the Sahel has been an increase in rainfall since the mid-1980s. Of the 40 rainfall stations across the Sahel, most of them have been observing an increase in rainfall.
And how about that bit about the days being "measurably hotter"? Get far enough into the endless Times article, and you find this:
Meanwhile, in what is already one of the hottest places on Earth, it has gotten steadily hotter: by 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1975, Fews Net has found.
0.7 of a degree? That's not even enough that you could tell if it happened without a thermometer.
Really, is it possible to get any more fake than this?