It took 31 years, but Newsweek magazine admitted it was incorrect about climate change. In a nearly 1,000-word correction, Senior Editor Jerry Adler finally agreed that a 1975 piece on global cooling “was so spectacularly wrong about the near-term future.”
Even then, Adler wasn’t quite willing to blame Newsweek for the incredible failure. “In fact, the story wasn't ‘wrong’ in the journalistic sense of ‘inaccurate,’” he claimed. “Some scientists indeed thought the Earth might be cooling in the 1970s, and some laymen – even one as sophisticated and well-educated as Isaac Asimov – saw potentially dire implications for climate and food production,” Adler added.
However, the story admitted both Time magazine and Newsweek were wrong on the subject – Newsweek as recently as 1992.
The situation was brought to light after Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) gave an extensive speech about media climate change coverage to the Senate on September 25. Inhofe told his Senate colleagues: “Much of the 100-year media history on climate change that I have documented today can be found in a publication entitled ‘Fire & Ice’ from the Business & Media Institute.”
Adler described Inhofe as “chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee and the self-proclaimed scourge of climate alarmists.” The article agreed that, to use a phrase from the Watergate era of the first story, mistakes had been made, but questioned whether Inhofe had drawn the right lesson from the media failures.
Adler said scientists have also predicted in the past that Earth would be hit by a “giant meteorite,” but “… that doesn't mean that journalists have been dupes or alarmists for reporting this news. Citizens can judge for themselves what constitutes a prudent response …” However, citizens can’t “judge for themselves” if they are getting only one theory, whether it is global cooling or global warming.
Newsweek cited information culled from the BMI report that “for more than 100 years journalists have quoted scientists predicting the destruction of civilization by, in alternation, either runaway heat or a new Ice Age.” But he was unwilling to admit that what the media now say about climate change could be wrong.
Newsweek wasn’t alone in its climate revisionism. The October 12 New York Times included an editorial that criticized Inhofe for his criticism of the Times. Inhofe’s comments, according to the article, were “a brisk survey of the way the news media have covered climatic predictions over the past century.” It continued, “Cooling, warming – we never get it right.”
But the Times editors still castigated Inhofe for his comments because they “do not expect Mr. Inhofe to see the light – or feel the heat – any time soon.”
At least Newsweek was willing to admit that the world was better off for having ignored the 1975 story. “All in all, it's probably just as well that society elected not to follow one of the possible solutions mentioned in the Newsweek article: to pour soot over the Arctic ice cap, to help it melt.”
It took Newsweek 31 years to correct its mistakes on global cooling. If they want to recant their latest global warming stance and start the calendar today, that means the next correction will run on October 23, 2037.