The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a prestigious reputation in weather and climate science. Its mandate is to inform the public and policy-makers about environmental issues. Recently, however, this body seems to be delving into strange territories. In a peculiar turn of events, NOAA’s recent organization wide seminar on combating disinformation cited ‘Skeptical Science’s’ creepy John Cook, If this is the level of expertise we’re resorting to, then it’s time to delve deeper into the complexities of NOAA’s tactics.
Yes, the climate has always been changing, it’s part of Earth’s nature. The question isn’t about its existence; it’s about the magnitude of human influence and the catastrophic narratives that often seem more rooted in hysteria than science. This was notably seen in Margaret Orr’s recent presentation, ‘Wildfire Lies: A Crash Course in Climate Change Misinformation,‘ where she prescribed a singular perspective on climate change, with little room for debate or dissent.
During the seminar, Orr summarily dismissed anyone who doesn’t adhere to the catastrophic climate change narrative as ‘misinformed’. The binary logic she employed creates a false narrative: you either believe climate change is primarily human-caused and catastrophic, or you are an ill-informed individual spreading ‘fake news’. This simplification blatantly overlooks the nuanced and ongoing debates within the scientific community about climate sensitivity, feedbacks, and our capacity to adapt.
One aspect of Orr’s seminar, which demands scrutiny, is the argument about ‘slow thinking’. The idea suggests that individuals who don’t subscribe to the catastrophic narrative aren’t applying enough cognitive effort to understand the issue.
Read the PDF here
This argument is a subtle way to undermine the intelligence and reasoning capability of those who don’t align with their views. It’s a derogatory tactic that ignores the fact that many dissenting voices are often well-versed in the science and simply interpret the data differently or place it within a broader historical context.
Moreover, the seminar placed considerable emphasis on ‘confirmation bias’, suggesting that people tend to believe information that aligns with their pre-existing beliefs. While this is undoubtedly true, it applies to all of us, including those propagating the catastrophic climate change narrative. To suggest that this is a problem only on one side of the debate is disingenuous at best and manipulative at worst.
The most disconcerting element of the seminar was its proposition to ‘combat misinformation’ by essentially telling people what to think. The ‘truth sandwich’ concept Orr presented is a classic technique used in propaganda motivated journalism: tell them the ‘truth’, insert the ‘lie’, then repeat the ‘truth’. It was invented by George Lakoff as a means of combatting “misinformation”.
But who determines the truth in a field that is still very much under scientific investigation?
Read the PDF here
Furthermore, it seems that the argument is no longer about understanding the complexities of the Earth’s climate system, but about ‘breaking and fixing audience mental models.’ This condescending approach undermines the intellectual autonomy of individuals and implies that they should simply adhere to what they’re told.
Read the PDF here
It is abhorrent, but not shocking these days, that the Federal government is actively financing campaigns to indoctrinate, manipulate, and control its own citizenry. Other examples of these horrifying government funded initiatives to control what the people think and believe include but are not limited to:
NewsGuard is a Pentagon funded member of the US Government’s Censorship Industrial Complex.
Embedded in the post was a picture of a nearly $750,000 award from the Department of Defense to NewsGuard, an organization the independent journalists characterized as a “government-funded” entity implicated in the Censorship Complex.https://thefederalist.com/2023/03/13/newsguard-claims-not-to-be-government-funded-but-a-750k-grant-suggests-otherwise/
They work to strengthen and enhance government approved narratives and work to suppress, starve, and deplatform independent thinkers and publishers.
In response to Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s question — “Who is NewsGuard?” — Shellenberger explained: “Both the Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard are U.S. government-funded entities who are working to drive advertisers’ revenue away from disfavored publications and towards the ones they favor.”https://thefederalist.com/2023/03/13/newsguard-claims-not-to-be-government-funded-but-a-750k-grant-suggests-otherwise/
In addition to attacking revenue and deplatforming, NewsGuard works with the ideologically captured teachers’ unions and school system to block, discredit, and censor wrongthink and thoughtcrime.
DHS Expands Its Censorship Powers
Demands from the government that social media companies censor content have increased under President Joe Biden. In January 2021, the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, which was created in 2018 to respond to election disinformation, broadened its scope “to promote more flexibility to focus on general” misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation. Where misinformation can be unintentional, disinformation is defined as deliberate, while malinformation can include accurate information that is “misleading.”
In January 2021, CISA replaced the “Countering Foreign Influence Task Force” with a “Misinformation, Disinformation and Malinformation” team “to promote more flexibility to focus on general MDM.”
The move included a further turn inward to focus on domestic sources of MDM. The MDM team, according to one CISA official quoted in the IG report, “counters all types of disinformation, to be responsive to current events.” Geoff Hale, the director of the Election Security Initiative at CISA, recommended the use of contractor nonprofits as a “clearing house for information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.”
This out-of-control, top-down, shut up! We know what’s best for you mindset, is the province of despots, not democracies.
In conclusion, NOAA’s association with John Cook and his old weird, creepy, SKS team, adds an odd flavor to the entire discourse. While it is important to educate, it is far more important to ensure the tactics used are not rooted in propaganda, and the expertise referenced does not court such bizarre controversies. A balanced and respectful discourse needs to be one where all voices are heard, and science is not twisted to suit a particular narrative. After all, science is about inquiry, debate, and a relentless pursuit of truth, not about ‘fixing’ those who don’t agree with us.
The second video of the “education” seminar which we may discuss at a later date.
Some old information on John Cook