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The New York Times has an article today ostensibly about clouds but which is really an extended hit piece on Richard Lindzen, a professor at MIT, member of the US National Academy of Sciences and well known climate skeptic.

Below I have excerpted a laundry list of phrases in the article used to describe Lindzen:

  • Leading proponent of the view that clouds will save the day
  • Has drawn withering criticism
  • Errors in his papers
  • Proof is lacking
  • Obliged [politicians] by assuring them that they are running no risks by refusing to enact emissions limits
  • Contrarian scientist
  • Gone beyond any reasonable reading of the evidence to provide a dangerous alibi for inaction
  • Wrong science
  • [Not] intellectually honest at all
  • Contrarian scientist
  • Methods he had used to analyze data were flawed
  • His theory made assumptions that were inconsistent with known facts
  • Most mainstream researchers consider Dr. Lindzen’s theory discredited
  • He routinely misrepresents the work of other researchers
  • Dr. Lindzen offers little hint of how thin the published science supporting his position is
  • He makes what many colleagues see as an unwarranted leap of logic
  • Deeply unprofessional and irresponsible
This is “advocacy journalism” — it is not reporting, as there is absolutely no news in the piece. Two years ago the Boston Globe did a very story on Lindzen for its Lifestyle section, which covered the same ground, but as a profile rather than as hit job.

Whatever one thinks about the climate change debate or Richard Lindzen, is it a good idea for the New York Times to engage in an over-the-top attack on a member of the National Academy of Sciences? Journalists, what do you think?