In what is almost certainly a North American first, one of the major newspapers in the US, the Los Angeles Times, has announced that it will no longer publish letters to the Editor which attempt to deny global warming. in reiterating the announcement the Letters Editor makes the following key points:
- when deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I [the Letters Editor] must rely on the experts — in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.
- those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change.
- I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published.
- saying “there’s no sign humans have caused climate change” is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.
Many Canadian newspapers regularly publish letters from climate change deniers. GallonDaily’s local daily paper, the Hamilton Spectator, publishes climate change denial articles on the op-ed page so frequently that GallonDaily suspects that the Editor is a climate change denier. Yet every week the Hamilton Spectator publishes its ‘accuracy pledge’ in which it claims “We strive always to ensure the information we provide our readers is factual and correct.’
It will be interesting to see whether other newspapers and media outlets follow the LA Times’ lead.
The LA Times announcement was made earlier this month and may be found at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-climate-change-letters-20131008,0,871615.story