Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Jan. 3 Accuracy in Media column by Rael Jean Isaac promotes a self-published e-book by Donna Laframboise attacking the International Panel on Climate Change and challenging the credentials of those who compile the IPCC's reports.
The claims Isaac and Laframboise make in the column are too vague to fact-check, but Media Matters found inaccurate and deceptive claims in a FoxNews.com article based on Laframboise's book.
Isaac writes: "Laframboise identifies a number of graduate students (at least one without so much as a Masters degree at the time) who served as coordinating lead authors (the most important role, in charge of the entire chapter) or lead authors (responsible for large segments of text)." But this ignores the fact that, according to Media Matters, there are many authors: for the 2007 IPCC assessment, there were 450 lead authors and 800 contributing authors. Additionally, each chapter has at least seven lead authors and goes through two rounds of scientific review.
Using information taken from Laframboise's book, Fox News overlooks facts about some of the IPCC authors, according to Media Matters. One lead author, for example, was dismissed because he had earned a master's degree just two years earlier; in fact, he was already a board-certified doctor at the time he earned that master's degree.
Isaac makes a big deal out of how is Laframboise a "solitary blogger" who relied on the readers of her blog to do the research for her book. Given such apparently shoddy research and Laframboise's own obvious bias -- the thesis of her book is that the IPCC is "a spoiled child" that has "morphed into an obnoxious adolescent" -- it's probably best left as a self-published e-book.