I'm old enough to remember when the New York Times used to have long articles filled with facts and figures, data and statistics on one issue or another. Well, that was then -- before they had to lay off half the staff. Now they produce articles just as long, but the formula has changed. Instead of doing difficult leg work and collecting the real facts and figures, the new formula is to utter some obviously false statement as if it were a fact, and then fill in the rest of some multi-thousand-word article with standard-issue progressive talking points all dependent on acceptance of the false fact as the starting point.
Friday's example of the phenomenon was an endless "climate change" article which blamed the West African refugee exodus on global warming, backed up with ridiculous and obviously false statements about the African Sahel region, like "droughts [have become] more frequent and more fierce," and it has become "impossible to grow enough food" -- when everybody who follows the actual data knows that the Sahel region has become both wetter and more agriculturally productive in recent years.
Today's Times contains multiple more examples of the same phenomenon.
Yes, there is another one of these endless "climate change" articles, again occupying the lion's share of page A1 plus a page and a half (A14 and A15) in the interior. This time, they're trying to convince us that polar bears are "climate refugees" because they turn up at remote Alaskan towns to look for food at the local garbage dump. What is the evidence that polar bears are "climate refugees"? Please, don't expect any facts and figures on what is happening with temperatures or ice coverage in the Arctic; that would tax the poor reader's intelligence way too much. Instead, we'll just make one of those broad statements of "fact" without citing any actual source or data:
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and the ice cover is retreating at a pace that even the climate scientists who predicted the decline find startling.
Can we actually confirm those statements from any independent source? Over at Not A Lot of People Know That, Paul Homewood is ready with an actual collection of facts and figures to counter the "hottest Arctic ever" hype that seems to be coming out all over the place. Here, for example, is a chart of Arctic temperature anomalies from 1979 to present per UAH:
Looking at that chart, you might be forgiven for observing that Arctic temperatures had been dropping rather steadily since 2010, and then there was a spike just this past year associated with the 2015-16 El Nino. (And if you follow the subject, you will know that the 2009-10 spike was also associated with a major El Nino, while the 2015-16 El Nino-related spike has been rapidly dissipating all over the world in recent months.) So how exactly do we know that the 2015-16 spike has anything to do with human carbon emissions, or that it is anything more than a one-year El Nino-related anomaly? Somehow, in around 4000 words, the Times does not have enough space to address that question.
And how about the Times's statement that Arctic ice cover "has been retreating at a [startling] pace"? Here is a chart of Arctic ice cover for the past several years from the Danish Meteorological Institute:
Sure looks like 2016 ice cover is right in the same range now (December) as in 2012 - 2015 -- and the September minimum was a lot lower in 2012. But why should we let a few facts get in the way of a good narrative?
At Watts Up With That, Eric Worrall points out that the locals in the northern Alaska villages are dependent on tourists who come to see the polar bears. Could there be an alternative explanation to the "climate refugee" narrative for the prevalence of the bears in the villages?:
Regarding the large numbers of bears around Kaktovik, does anyone think it possible locals whose income depends on “hundreds of tourists” visiting to see the bears might be deliberately leaving some food out?
Meanwhile, over at the editorial page, the lead editorial is given over to attacking HUD Secretary-designate Ben Carson for his allegedly "warped view of housing." What is wrong with Carson's view? He is skeptical of the idea that subsidized HUD housing actually helps the beneficiaries, as opposed to trapping them in poverty and dependency for life. And in particular, Carson has expressed skepticism that HUD's latest "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" scheme -- placing subsidized housing in wealthier communities and suburbs -- will accomplish anything meaningful for the intended beneficiaries. After all, says Pravda:
Research shows that integrating poorer families into healthier, mixed-income neighborhoods has improved prospects for them and their children.
That's right, "research shows" that integrating poor families into wealthier neighborhoods improves their prospects. Here's the "research" I recommend to the reporters and editors at Pravda. Get outside of your damn offices, open your eyes, and walk around your home island of Manhattan. It is the wealthiest large county in the country, and not by a little. And it is home to proportionally more HUD-subsidized housing than anywhere, housing around 8% of the population of the island. Many of those HUD-subsidized "projects" are in or immediately adjacent to some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, including Park Avenue on the Upper East Side, the Lincoln Center area on the Upper West Side, Chelsea on the Lower West Side, and close to three miles of the waterfront along the Lower East Side. These projects are right in the midst of the largest agglomeration of high-paying jobs in the world. And with all that, the residents have not been helped one tiny little bit to escape from poverty, or to improve their prospects. The "poverty rate" in these projects is said to exceed 50%, and the turnover rate is a ridiculously low 3%, meaning that essentially everyone who ever gets in gets trapped in poverty and stays for life. Seventy years or so into a massive investment in subsidized housing as a supposed "anti-poverty" initiative, most of the formerly-poor people in Manhattan have exited poverty -- except the residents of the HUD-subsidized housing. If HUD-subsidized housing is such a total and abject failure at getting anyone out of poverty in super-wealthy Manhattan, what exactly is the explanation for how it is ever going to work somewhere else?
At Pravda, everything they say is fake. I guess we just have to get used to it.