WND Presents A Year-Old Story As 'News' Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 29 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling touts how "Former President Bill Clinton is cheating on Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and “has a blonde, busty mistress” code named 'Energizer' by Secret Service agents, according to author Ronald Kessler, a former investigative journalist at the Washington Post."
If that story sounds familiar, that's because it is -- it came out a year ago.
That's something Schilling would have known if she read her employer's website. A July 22, 2014, WND article notes Kessler's claim that "Clinton has a mistress nicknamed 'Energizer' by his security staff."
The original version of Schilling's article, available in Google cache, claims that "Kessler published his claims in his new book, 'The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents.'" But Kessler's book isn't new; it came out in August 2014, as the link to the Amazon page for the book in her article demonstrates. The current version of the article deletes the word "new"; the article is noted as being "updated" but not that a false claim was corrected.
The paperback version of Kessler's book came out this week, and Schilling apparently mistook Kessler's rehashing of claims to promote that release as something new. Meanwhile, Schilling is too preoccupied with serving as Kessler's PR agent to note that the salacious claims he makes are anonymously sourced and geared to sell books over imparting verifiable information, or that Kessler's previous book on the Secret Service was disputed by actual Secret Service agents.
Schilling has a long record of making false and misleading claims in her WND articles.
CNS' Starr Botches Facts To Do Stenography Topic: CNSNews.com
Penny Starr writes in a July 24 CNSNews.com article:
Conservatives gathered on Capitol Hill on Thursday to lay claim to the issue of reforming the United States criminal system, including ending the minimum mandatory sentencing laws that were passed by the Democrat majority in Congress three decades ago.
Kevin Ring, who was convicted as part of the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal and served 48 months in federal prison, called minimum mandatory sentences “a classic liberal idea.”
“We’re particularly focused on making sure that conservatives understand the mandatory minimums are nothing a conservative should support or defend,” said Ring, who is now the director of strategic initiatives for Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM). “For some reason, people think this was a conservative law and order idea. That’s not true.
“The worst mandatory minimums we have on the books today – the ones that hit drug offenders, including low-level offenders, were passed by a Democratic Congress in the ‘80s. It’s a classic liberal idea,” he said. “You have to understand that.
Starr made no effort whatsoever to seek out an alternative view or even conduct any basic research on her subject, choosing instead to serve as a stenographer to Ring. Let's look at what she got wrong and/or misreprestations she allowed to stand unchallenged in her article:
1) Ring did not serve 48 months in prison for his role in the Abramoff scandal; he was sentenced to 20 months in prison, of which he served just 15 months.
2) Despite Ring's suggestion that his prison term was dictated by mandatory minimums, it was not. In fact, the Justice Department recommended that he be sentenced to 17 to 22 years in prison.
3) Contrary to Ring's claim, conservatives did support mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the 1980s. Support for the two major anti-drug sentencing bills was unambiguously bipartisan:
4) Starr didn't mention (and didn't note whether Ring did) that both of these supposedly non-conservative bills were signed into law by a conservative president, Ronald Reagan.
Instead of doing basic research, Starr was much more concerned with uncritically peddling the views of Ring and other conservatives that "Conservatives are leading the way on criminal justice reform." And her factual errors discredit herself and her employer in the process.
Birthers At WND Blame Obama (!) For Bringing Up Birtherism Topic: WorldNetDaily
Cheryl Chumley actually starts a July 27 WorldNetDaily article this way:
President Obama took time during his Kenya visit to drag out the birth-certificate issue again – just as he did in April and in March – and do some drive-by mocking of those who still question where he was born.
Really? Chumley -- whose employer the day before published a column promoting discredited birther conspiracy theories, and the very same day published an article featuring Sheriff Joe Arpaio responding to criticism o his "refusal to give up" the (discredited) idea "that President Obama’s birth certificate may have been forged," a discussion provoked when Arpaio discussed the issue with WND reporter Aaron Klein earlier this month -- thinks Obama is "drag[ging] out the birth-certificate issue again" simply by making a joke about it?
Chumley goes on to be weirdly offended that "This is the third time in just a few months Obama has brought up the birth-certificate matter at a very public venue." Apparently she hasn't noticed that her employer has been going birther for the past eight years. Except when it comes to evidence that discredits their birther conspiracies -- WND does a good job of shutting up about that.
Indeed, the unbylined article that accompanied Chumley's asserted that "Arpaio's investigative team concluded [the birth certificate] is a forgery" without any mention of the purported anomalies in the PDF of Obama's BC being easily duplicated by scanning the document using a common Xerox office scanner, or that, as former Cold Case Posse member Brian Reilly points out, the state of Hawaii has officially verified the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate, effectively putting the issue to rest once and for all.
Maybe Chumley should spend less time complaining that Obama is "drag[ging] out the birth-certificate issue again" and more time asking why her employer refuses to let it go despite all the evidence discrediting its conspiracy theories.
MRC's Double Standard on Mass Murderers' Motivation Topic: Media Research Center
When Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot and killed several people in Chattanooga, the Media Research Center was upset that the media wouldn't jump to conclusions that Abdulazeez was a jihadi doing the direct bidding of ISIS and/or Al Qaeda, despite the lack of any solid evidence he was actually associated with Muslim extremists.
In a July 21 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer was offended that a news article asked why Abdulazeez committed two attacks on military facilities and if "was he propelled to do so by his own demons or at the direction of someone else," sneering in response:
Gee, those questions aren't too tough.
The answers to those two questions aren't difficult to discern to a high confidence level.
According to ABC News, Abdulazeez "was following a radical American member of al Qaeda online in 2013, as well as pages of writing that showed the young man was suicidal and looking for a way to absolve what he considered were his sins, according to a representative of Abdulazeez's family." So if he wasn't "directed," he at least appears to have been "inspired" to attack "military sites" — a task made easier by prohibitions against soldiers carrying guns in "gun-free zones" at those installations.
But here we are, five days after Abdulazeez's massacre, with far more than enough evidence, yet virtually no one in authorty or in the establishment press wants to point directly at "radical Islam" or "Islamic jihad" as the likely or even possible motivation.
But when a non-Muslim commits a massacre -- like John "Rusty" Houser tried to do in a Louisiana movie theater, killing two before killing himself -- the last thing the MRC wants to talk about is the killer's motivation. Matthew Balan complained in a July 24 NewsBusters post:
On Friday's World News Tonight, ABC's Ryan Owens played up how Lafayette, Louisiana mass shooter John "Rusty" Houser was "politically active – even running for office as an ultra-conservative, anti-tax crusader in Georgia." Owens also spotlighted how "investigators are scouring Houser's postings on known anti-government websites – hoping, perhaps, to find some answers there." [video below]
The correspondent included his political superlative near the end of his report on Houser's background. Moments earlier, Owens outlined the perpetrator's "troubled past" – including his "'extreme erratic behavior'...'various acts of family violence'... [and] 'manic depression and/or bipolar disorder.' He continued by noting that "in 2001, Houser placed a swastika on the outside of the bar he owned, but denied he was a Nazi sympathizer." The journalist then continued with his "ultra-conservative" label of the murderer.
It seems the MRC only wants to hear the truth about mass murderers when they can easily be defined as an "other," not when the killer's views are not as far from their own.
Pictures You Never Thought You'd See Topic: Newsmax
Sure, Christopher Ruddy is trying to present Newsmax as something of a mainstream operation, and his rapproachement with the Clintons was a tad unlikely, but how do you explain this, from Ruddy's Twitter account?
Yes, that's Ruddy at the premiere of the film "Southpaw" posing with (apparently bankrupt) rapper 50 Cent. That may be even more unlikely than buddying up to the Clintons.
Christopher Monckton's Massive Birther Fail Topic: WorldNetDaily
The birther dead-enders are strong -- they're dead (in that they've been utterly discredited), but they don't know it yet. Take, for example, this untethered-from-reality blather from Christopher Monckton's July 26 WorldNetDaily column:
Though the tone was a fine instance of the relentless diplomatic politesse that is a notable hallmark of Kenya’s present president, his remarks were a decisive slap in the face for the bleating Mr. Obama, who traveled from Kenya to Hawaii with his American mother within days of his birth in a village near Mombasa in August 1964.
But don’t rush to find Mr. Obama’s I-94 immigration docket. The National Archives can give you every I-94 card for every person arriving in Hawaii on every single day throughout 1964, except for the week of Mr Obama’s alleged Hawaiian birth. For his alleged birth date and for exactly three days before and exactly three days after it, all of the I-94 records for Hawaii are unaccountably and uniquely missing from the archive.
Monckton doesn't bother to explain it, but an I-94 docket is something the federal government compiled on foreign visitors to America. Since Obama is an American citizen and not a foreigner (along with his mother), there was no need for one to be compiled in his name. Thus, it doesn't matter whether those records for 1964 are missing or not.
Wait, did Monckton say Obama was born in 1964? Strike two: Obama was born in 1961.
Strike three comes later in Monckton's column when he once again insists that Obama's birth certificate was "manifestly forged ... an in-your-face fraud." Monckton seems to have missed where the purported anomalies in the PDf of Obama's BC are easily duplicated by scanning the document using a common Xerox office scanner, or that, as former Cold Case Posse member Brian Reilly points out, the state of Hawaii has officially verified the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate, effectively putting the issue to rest for everyone ... except birther dead-enders like Monckton.
The fact that Monckton's still out in birther la-la-land is reason enough to not believe a word he writes. We don't even need to get into the anti-gay whining that makes up the bulk of his column.
MRC Is Mad Hillary Tried To Correct A False Story Topic: NewsBusters
Clay Waters sure tried to make it sound as sinister as he could in a July 24 MRC NewsBusters post, asserting that "after pushback from the Clinton camp," a New York Times story claiming that inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a "criminal investigation" into Hillary Clinton's handling of "sensitive government information" on a personal email server while secretary of state because a "laughably evasive, indirect accusation." Waters highlighted how "the Hillary team had complained to the Times about the initial Thursday night story, and the paper (surprise) complied."
Waters doesn't explain why it's such a bad thing for the Clinton camp to complain about an inaccurate story and try to have it corrected. And as the following days after Waters' post shows, it was very much inaccurate.
The Times has now corrected its story to state that there was, in fact, no criminal referral, let alone any request for an investigation. A second correction states that what happened was a "security referral," not a criminal referral. Times public editor Margaret Sullivan adds that the referral wasn't even targeted at Clinton specifically, but a general referral into how classified information was handled regarding Clinton's personal server. Sullivan said of the story: "So it was, to put it mildly, a mess."
Yet Waters' post has not been updated to reflect that the Times story's central claim has been retracted, nor has any other MRC article admitted that the story is false. Indeed, another NewsBusters post coming shortly after Waters', a July 24 item by Kyle Drennen, repeats the now-discredited claim that the "Justice Department was considering launching a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal" and that "the Times altered the story after being pressured by the Clinton campaign."
Will Waters, Drennen and the MRC ever tell their readers that the Times story they hyped was false and that Hillary was absolutely correct to push the Times to get it right? Don't count on it.
UPDATE: A July 27 NewsBusters post by Yuri Perez admits that the inspectors general's recommendations "did not lead to a 'criminal referral' as initially reported by the New York Times, but rather to a 'security referral.'" But Waters' and Drennen's posts touting the Times' original article falsely referring to a "criminal investigation" remain uncorrected.
MRC Throws An Intern's Tantrum At Garrison Keillor Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has its moments of immature, unprofessional tantrums, usually coming from the boss himself, Brent Bozell. The MRC is now apparently letting interns throw Bozell-like tantrums, as demonstrated in this July 21 rant by inter Sarah Stites:
Good news, America! You no longer have to pay Garrison Keillor to sneer at you. After his 30-city “America the Beautiful” tour, Prairie Home Companion radio host Garrison Keillor is retiring for good (and good riddance). His tour should have been called “America the Liberal.”
Keillor is a malicious parasite who spent his career soaking up federal funding through NPR while wrapping his off-the-shelf anti-American leftism in a cloying Midwestern folksiness.
So, if you’re not one of Keiller’s 4 million listeners worldwide, count yourself lucky, and enjoy these top five ridiculous quotes from the man himself.
Here's one of those quotes that Stites finds so "ridiculous":
In 2013, the NPR personality tweeted that “According to the Earth Day Network, Earth Day is celebrated – observed in some form by a billion people every year.” Really, Keillor? That’s almost twice the population of North America. But maybe folksy exaggeration is part of the charm of Lake Wobegon denizens.
But if you look at the 2013 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham that Stites cites as evidence, it's declared a "whopper of a claim" and mocked as "New Math." You won't find, however, any evidence debunking the claim. Sorry, but Graham not liking the number (and Earth Day in general) is not evidence that it's wrong.
But who needs actual evidence when there's a screed to be written? Those are the standards at the MRC these days.
CNS Reporter Too Busy Bashing Obama To Notice Her Nonsensical Argument Topic: CNSNews.com
Susan Jones serves up a particularly clueless bit of reporting in a July 16 CNSNews.com article:
As the number of heroin and cocaine deaths escalate in this country, President Obama is making the case that "non-violent drug offenders" should not serve long prison sentences -- if they serve time at all.
But as Obama calls for "criminal justice reform" that would send "low-level" drug offenders to drug courts and treatment programs instead of prison, the poison they peddle is taking a bigger and bigger toll on Americans.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug poisoning (overdose) is the number-one cause of injury-related death in the United States, with 43,982 deaths occurring in 2013, a 6 percent increase from 2012.
The number of drug-poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics (prescription pain-killers) was 16,235 in 2013, a 1 percent increase over 2012; overdose deaths involving heroin totaled 8,260 in 2013, a whopping 39 percent increase from 2012; and there were 4,944 cocaine overdoses in 2013, up 12 percent from 2012.
Jones seems to be too busy suggesting that Obama is soft on crime to beaware of the contradiction she's embracing: that the long prison sentences she seems to be arguing for have not stopped the growth in heroin and cocaine abuse.
Jones does another one of her snarky parenthetical insertions parading as "news":
Nevertheless, Obama told the NAACP that locking up "low-level drug dealers" is robbing the nation of men and women "who could be workers and taxpayers, could be more actively involved in their children's lives, could be role models, could be community leaders, and right now they’re locked up for a non-violent offense."
(Of course, the same could be said of the many thousands of people who die from the heroin and cocaine they buy from "low-level" dealers. Had they lived, many of those people could also be workers and taxpayers, involved in their children's lives, etc.)
Jones tends to sneer at Obama's references to how "low-level" drug dealers and huffed that "many" of the 46 people whose prison sentences Obama commuted were "cocaine or crack dealers." But she downplays the disparity in sentencing laws that led to those "low-level" dealers getting disproportionally harsh sentences.
For instance, a man who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for dealing crack cocaine -- a sentence he wouldn't have received if he were dealing powder cocaine -- had his sentence commuted to 20 years by Obama in 2013. He's now working as a welder, as well as serving as a mentor for juvenile offenders. Apparently, Jones thinks he should have stayed in prison for life.
Jones also downplays Obama's calls for such non-violent drug offenders to be diverted to treatment, since drug addicts often go on to commit crimes to feed their addiction.
But no -- Jones is too committed to her employer's anti-Obama narrative, in which the president is never allowed to look good. The fact that her reporting doesn't make sense outside of that rather desperate hate-Obama narrative is of little consequence.
WND Embraces (And Possibly Steals From) 'Liberal Media' To Help Trump Topic: WorldNetDaily
The ConWeb really doesn't hate the "liberal media" as much as they claim -- they're perfectly happy to treat liberals as perfectly credible when it suits their purposes.
Which brings us to the spectacle of the far-right WorldNetDaily enthusiastically reposting from the left-wing magazine The Nation.
WND loves Donald Trump -- indeed, WND editor Joseph Farah calls him "a shot of adrenaline" for "raising issues bluntly and fearlessly." He particularly loves how Trump is shaking up the Republican party: "There’s one guy they really fear. They can’t control him. They can’t intimidate him. He won’t take their advice. He won’t play by their rules. And every day he gets more popular."
In an effort to bolster Trump's attacks on John McCain -- which include claims of McCain purportedly not doing enough to rescue alleged prisoners of war from Vietnam as a senator -- Jerome Corsi did a fine job of serving as Trump's campaign spokesman in a July 21 WND article:
McCain, whose father and grandfather were four-star Navy admirals, has been commended throughout his career in the Senate for enduring five-and-a-half years in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison in North Vietnam.
But various critics, including Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Sydney H. Schanberg, have charged that McCain, working with fellow Vietnam veteran and then-Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., suppressed information about POWs believed to have been left behind by the U.S. government at the end of the Vietnam War.
In a 2008 article published by the Nation Institute when McCain was the Republican nominee for president, Schanberg wrote that the senator, who had risen to political prominence based on his war-hero image, “has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home.”
Corsi's article was accompanied by a reprinting of that 2008 article by Schanberg from The Nation.
Interestingly, while WND does credit The Nation for originally printing Schanberg's article, of which WND's reprinting is apparently an "expanded version," it does not indicate that it obtained permission from The Nation's Investigative Fund or from Schanberg to reprint the article.
While WND may have actually sought and received permission from relevant parties to reprint the Nation article, it has such an extensive record of theft and plagiarism that it has not earned the benefit of the doubt here.
Charlie Daniels Tells Lies About Margaret Sanger Topic: CNSNews.com
Charlie Daniels writes in his July 22 CNSNews.com column:
A small quiz:
Who do you think made the following statement about blacks, immigrants and indigents?
"Human weeds … spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”
Who said that they should enlist black ministers to sell black women on the prospect of abortion and the use of contraceptives in what was dubbed “The Negro Project”?
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Actually, it was Margaret Sanger, a woman, hailed as a hero in the ranks of feminism, who has coveted awards named after her, is revered by many prominent people in Washington and who founded the nation's largest abortion mill, Planned Parenthood.
Margaret Sanger's views on the controlled birth of children bordered on Nazism, and her views on religion and marital fidelity were akin to hedonism.
She made this statement: “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” And she was a closet advocate of black genocide.
Charlie Daniels is lying.
Planned Parenthood points out that "Sanger never described any ethnic community as an 'inferior race' or as 'human weeds.'" We've caught WorldNetDaily repeating the dubious "human weeds" quote and falsely claiming Sanger was talking about blacks.
While the "spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all" quote comes from Sanger's book "The Pivot of Civilization" -- and is actually a defense of the eugenics ideas she believed in, which were unfortunately popular at the time the book was written, and references to "blacks, immigrants and indigents" appear nowhere near it in the book -- and not the term "human weeds" appears nowhere in the book, making Daniels a further liar for making up a quote.
Meanwhile, FactCheck.org reports that anti-abortion activists like Daniels love to take a certain Sanger quote -- "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population" -- out of context to potray the "Negro Project" as some nefarious "black genocide" operation instead of the birth-control campaign it was. According to the Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University, states FactCheck, “No serious scholar and none of the dozens of black leaders who supported Sanger’s work have ever suggested that she tried to reduce the black population or set up black abortion mills, the implication in much of the extremist anti-choice material.”
Daniels' rant on how Sanger's views on birth control "bordered on Nazism" is simply bizarre. So if you take birth control, you're Hitler? Please.
Being a famous entertainer like Daniels certainly grants him a soapbox, but he it doesn't mean he has the right to lie.
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's War Against the Truth Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is unhappy that the media is accurately reporting on the dishonestly edited anti-Planned Parenthood videos -- and it won't even admit that the dishonesty exists. Read more >>
CNS Pretends Only Liberals Are Criticizing Trump Topic: CNSNews.com
In a July 20 CNSNews.com article headlined "Trump Once Again Dominates News Cycle As Liberals Pounce on His McCain Criticism," Susan Jones writes:
For a candidate knocked by many Democrats and some Republicans as clownish and unserious, Donald Trump once again is generating top headlines on liberal media outlets, blowing out other national concerns.
The latest controversy centers on Trump's comments about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" talked about little else for the first hour on Monday.
Jones seems not to be aware that the main host of "Morning Joe," Joe Scarborough, is not a liberal -- he is a former Republican congressman.
That's just one of many clueless things about Jones' article. She also seems to be unaware that it's not only "liberal media outlets" that have been covering Trump's latest outrage. The fact that Jones is writing about it means right-wing media outlets are covering it too.
Jones appears to be even more clueless about the fact that Trump's comments about McCain have been roundly criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike -- which she would know if she had read the other websites run by her employer, the Media Research Center. (Oh, yeah, she thinks only the "liberal media" is covering Trump.)
One NewsBusters article notes that Trump's comments have received "universal condemnation." Another highlights how Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry "has been one of Trump’s harshest critics." A third points out that "most Republicans condemned Donald Trump."
And a CNS article by Melanie Hunter published the same day as Jones' quotes Republican pollster Frank Luntz as saying that Trump does not appreciate the “significance” of being a prisoner of war. (Trump had bashed McCain's former POW status as a sign he wasn't a war hero.)
Is Jones suddenly working for a "liberal media outlet" now? Nope -- she's just so desperate to crank out a tired attack on the "liberal media" that the facts simply don't matter to her.
WND Columnist Mercer Sneers At Race-Mixing Topic: WorldNetDaily
As befits someone who's pining for the return of apartheid, South Africa native Ilana Mercer is not a big fan of the mixing of the races, lest they bespoil white folks. Mercer spends her July 16 WorldNetDaily column telling us that Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP official who portrayed herself as black despite being white, was "racially abused" because her white parents adopted black children, then drags Angelina Jolie into it for adopting non-white children:
Was not Ms. Dolezal displaced for real in her parents’ affections? Rachel’s story should begin with parents Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal, who adopted four children, “three of whom were African-American while the other was from Haiti.”
Does this fashionable adoption not send a message to a vulnerable girl that she and her biological brother are too pale for their pious parents?
Spokesperson for the quasi-black Brady Bunch is Ezra Dolezal. Ezra grew up in the diversity-worshiping, evangelical Dolezal household. He now lectures his estranged sister about her shenanigans in black-face.
The once anemic-looking, fair-skinned Rachel was raised with a real sense that she was not black enough for her parents. Why do I say “real”? Because, like Angelina Jolie, Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal kept acquiring kids more colorful than their own.
Kids are needy creatures. Parenting is a complex endeavor. However great their reservoirs of love, sense of fair play and goodwill – two parents do not have enough of the good stuff to spread among six kids. Mark my words: Brangelina’s beautiful, biological offspring will also one day display signs of childhood racial abuse.
Mercer also expounds on other reasons Dolezal might want to be black:
In American society, black is beautiful.
To be black is to be more righteous, nobler; carry the heaviest historic baggage – heavier than the Holocaust – and be encouraged to perpetually and publicly pick at those suppurating sores.
To be black is to have an unwritten, implicit social contract with wider, whiter society.
To be black it to be born with an IOY; it is to be owed apologies, obsequiousness, education and auto-exculpation for any wrongdoing.
Emily Richards writes in a July 13 CNSNews.com article:
A British professor's new model of solar cycles predicts that the Earth could be heading toward a "mini ice age" that would create conditions not seen since 1645 during the "Maunder minimum" - when London’s Thames River froze over.
Solar activity may fall by as much as 60 percent during the 2030s, according to Mathematics Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University in England.
If you look closely at the original press release, the study’s author, Valentina Zharkova, never implied a new ice age is imminent—only that we may see a sharp downturn in the number of sunspots. Yes, the sun is a variable star, but its output is remarkably stable. The amount of energy we receive from the sun just doesn’t change fast enough to cause a rapid-onset ice age in just a few decades.
The root of the problem here may be a poorly worded quote in the press release implying an imminent 60 percent decline in solar activity. Yes, numbers of sunspots can vary by that much or even more on an 11-year cycle, but the sun’s output—the total amount of energy we get—is extremely stable and only changes by about 0.1 percent, even in extreme sunspot cycles like the one Zharkova is predicting.
But let’s play devil’s advocate: What if Zharkova is right about the decline in solar activity? There’s still no need to worry (or to become complacent about global warming). Even assuming sunspots are in the process of shutting down, as happened during the Maunder minimum and Little Ice Age, it wouldn’t matter much.
An interesting new study published in June showed that a sharp decline in solar activity to record lows could have a relatively large impact on regional climate over a period of decades. But even the return of a Maunder minimum type slowdown in solar activity—an extreme scenario, by any measure—would slow global warming by only about a half-degree in northern Europe. That’s essentially negligible, on a global scale.
Unsurprisingly, Richards contacts nobody to respond to the study. Also unsurprisingly, CNS published an July 20 op-ed by H. Sterling Burnett, one of the climate deniers at the right-wing Heartland Institute, to reinforce the bogus claim:
Another recent scientific paper projects an imminent cooling without any caveats about it being regional in nature or overwhelmed by human carbon dioxide emissions. A paper published by the Royal Astronomical Society indicates the Sun will likely go silent within 15 years, leading to an extended period of colder temperatures. Lead author of the report Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University has said, when tested against actual data and measurements, the model the researchers developed to test the relationship between fluctuating magnetic waves on the surface of the Sun and their impacts on solar activity and Earth’s climate had an accuracy rating of 97 percent.
With new research emerging nearly daily to indicate Earth is cooling because of decreased solar activity, it certainly seems wise to shift our concern about future climate to how best to respond to colder temperatures and associated climate effects.
Slate notes that climate deniers like Burnett "have a particular fascination with sunspot cycles," but that the correlation between sunspot activity and global temperatures is weak at best.
Slate adds: "In reality, sunspots fluctuate in an 11-year cycle, and the current cycle is the weakest in 100 years—yet 2014 was the planet’s hottest year in recorded history." Betcha Burnett and CNS won't bring that up.
It seems the deniers have failed again by deliberately ignoring information that undermines their case. Burnett is a paid flack, of course, but what's the excuse for CNS, which purports to be a news organization? Oh, yeah, they get paid to do that as well.