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NY Times Defends Hiring Columnist Who Declared Climate Change ‘Imaginary’

The New York Times is defending its decision to hire extreme climate denier Bret Stephens as an opinion columnist, in spite of the paper’s recent promotional campaign proclaiming that truth “has no alternative”.

In his previous job as deputy editorial page editor at the Wall Street Journal, Stephens repeatedly dismissed the reality of climate change as “imaginary”, writes Climate Progress Founding Editor Joe Romm. Now, “amidst backlash and subscription cancellations,” Romm reports, the paper claims its new hire is justified because there are “millions of people who agree with him”.

“With that ‘logic’, the Times could hire as a columnist former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke — or a flat earther, or someone who thinks vaccines pose a health hazard,” Romm notes. The subhead on his article adds: “The Times replaces search for truth with search for popular ideas that are false. But would they hire a Holocaust denier?”

Romm points to a possible collision between the philosophy that led the Times to hire Stephens and the paper’s own climate coverage. On Friday, The Huffington Post reported Times Editorial Page Editor James Bennet declaring it “terribly unfair” to call Stephens a “climate denialist”, adding that “there’s more than one kind of denial.” But less than a month ago, in an article on the Trump administration, the Times used that very term for people who deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

The headline on a March 27 story by reporter Coral Davenport: “Climate Change Denialists in Charge.”