As Eric Blair noted, to control the language is to control thought. So it’s good news that the Associated Press Style Guide will no longer label climate skeptics ‘deniers.’
The term ‘climate change denier’ was hijacked from more normal usage in 2005 by DeSmogBlog and perverted to mean that the subject of the insult was equivalent to those who denied the Holocaust. I’m pleased the AP Style Guide will stop legitimizing hate speech.
As Huffington Post reports, “The Associated Press, which sets editorial guidelines followed by media outlets around the world, ruffled a few feathers on Tuesday when it announced it would no longer call those who reject climate change “deniers” or “skeptics.””
Gee, I wonder whose feathers were ruffled? ”
Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesman for the environmental group 350.org, told HuffPost that the word “doubt” gives climate change deniers too much credit. “Defying 90+% of scientific consensus on something isn’t a well-reasoned act of ‘doubt’ — it’s an irrational act of ‘denial,'” Ganapathy wrote in an email.”
This is why I keep pointing out in post after post that the measured consensus is not 90+%. It is a very respectable 66%. But the 34% of published climate scientists who are not part of the consensus are not ‘deniers.’ Which is why Ganapathy is very mistaken.
“Greenpeace spokesman Joe Smyth had a similar view. “The explanation for why the phrase ‘climate deniers doesn’t fit is unconvincing,” he told HuffPost. “It basically seems to boil down to that it hurts some climate science deniers’ feelings.””
Hate speech will do that, Mr. Smyth. And you who use hate speech are perhaps not the best judges of its effects. An objective third party such as Associated Press might be better qualified.
I have heard defenses of each of the following words by people who were mortally offended when I called them bigots. (‘The word has existed for centuries!’ ‘It is an accurate description!’ ‘Some of them use it proudly!’ ‘It’s harmless–it’s just a word!’ ‘They deserve it.’)