Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Comparing Peter Bronson to a sane person

When is the Enquirer going to wake up, see that Peter Bronson is irrelevant, and fire him? Many of his commentaries lack any kind of original thought, and merely crib what other people are writing on the Internet. He is a knee-jerk reactionary, frothing at the mouth any time a Democrat has any success.

Read his hateful diatribe against Al Gore for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. The column is based on a well-publicized case in England, where a judge found that because there are a factual errors in Gore's global-warming movie "An Inconvenient Truth," teachers must show it with accompanying "guidance" on the relevant science.

Bronson refers to an article in the London Evening Standard about the case. See the article here. Bronson writes:
When the British government decided to use it (the film) to educate children about global warming, school official Stewart Dimmock filed a lawsuit claiming that Gore's movie was inaccurate political "brainwashing" and "sentimental mush," according to the London Evening Standard. Last week, the High Court agreed. A judge ruled that Gore's film is "alarmist and exaggerated," and must have warnings to point out nine scientific errors.
The actual paragraphs from the Evening Standard story reads this way:
Describing the documentary as 'a powerful, dramatically presented and highly professionally produced film', Mr Justice Burton said it was built round the 'charismatic presence' of the ex vice president 'whose crusade it now is to persuade the world of the dangers of climate change caused by global warming'.

But he said it might be necessary for the Government to make clear to teaching staff that some of Mr Gore's views were not supported or promoted by the Government, and there was 'a view to the contrary'.

Agreeing that Mr Gore's film was 'broadly accurate' on the subject of climate change, he found that errors had arisen in 'the context of alarmism and exaggeration'.
As you can see, Bronson first leaves out the line that the judge found the film "broadly accurate," and then misquotes the line "the context of alarmism and exaggeration" as "alarmist and exaggerated."

Bronson won't acknowledge that the judge found the movie essentially accurate, or that scientists as well generally agree that Gore got the basic science right. Read this and this. And while pointing out factual errors in the movie, Bronson sidesteps the question of whether global warming is real. That's because that would require some real thinking; it's much easier, I suppose, to simply apply one's prejudices and make jokes.

Bronson misses the point that while something may contain inaccuracies, that doesn't always mean the whole is inaccurate. He also misses the point that if you're going to fault somebody for accuracy, your argument had better be pristine. And, somebody at the Enquirer needs to ask Bronson some hard questions before anything he writes is published.

What really bothers Bronson? Paul Krugman of the New York Times has a saner view of why the right hates Al Gore and his Nobel: "(I)f science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.

"Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy."

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine why Bronson still has a job. David Wells, who used to be a pretty good Metro editor, should know better. There are some other good people on the editorial board (and some less good) and this is on their head, too.

The only thing I can think of is, they keep him around for the shock value. But if that's the case, why did they stop attaching message boards to his columns? If you're trying to start a fire, why stamp it out? Let that thing burn, it gets more clicks. That's what it's all about, right?

Beats me how a dope-smokin' hippie from Sparty U. could turn into such a hate-filled whackjob.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous An ex-subscriber said...

One of the policies in Gannett's employee handbook states:

"We will hold factual information contained in opinion columns and editorials to the same standards of accuracy as news articles."

It's obvious this has not been applied to Bronson by The Enquirer for years. Someone should point this out to the corporate HQ.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My main argument against Bronson isn't his socio-political worldview. Rather, the way in which he consistently dances around any semblance of an argument is what sticks in my craw while reading him.

Any good columnist, liberal or conservative, starts with something which at least resembles a thesis statement, and then builds off that premise during the rest of the piece in some way. Bronson's consistent technique seems to be telling vague and tedious stories which I'm sure in his mind relate to the topic of the article, but which in reality make his columns schizophrenic and intolerable for people like me, who crave a good, solid argument. If he ever makes an argument, it commonly comes towards the end of the article, after I've lost any real interest.

Maybe the drugs he did as a hippie scrambled his sense of organization.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bronson is the Enquirer's miserly troll under the bridge, snapping at everything that trip-traps his way. The strange thing is why the paper runs him at all, considering that it buries him in the blind spot of an opinion section that has largely been outsourced. If the Enquirer's survival plan is to go after middle class suburbanites, why aren't they limiting Bronson to the Brown County edition? As a reader, I'd rather see the paper use the money to hire a reporter to write something other than the "Are you, like, dead serious?" story about the small-stakes lottery winner splattered on the middle of today's front page. Who's calling the shots in that newsroom?

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Bronson is a chode. 'Nuff said.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Veritas said...

Newsache, sometimes you have brilliant arguments. This, however, is not one of them. Peter's entire point was that the Nobel prize being awarded for Gore's work was a joke, because his work wasn't entirely truthful, as documentaries are supposed to be. And the point he never raises but only hints at is that because the film has such gross errors, it doesn't even come close to rising to the level of a freakin' Nobel prize. There is no need to address the science of global warming in this column. That's another column; and Peter doesn't really address it, either. The fact is, Gore's "documentary" has inconvenient truths in it, regardless of whether they had "arisen" (ie. not his fault and entirely excusable because he's trying to prove an important point doggone it) in the "context of alarmisn and exaggeration." I don't care how the errors happened. They're errors. Blatant errors. Misleading errors. As a supposed truth-seeker and supposed lover of the ideal of journalism you should know better than to try to make excuses for this "documentary". Seriously, shame on you. How can I take ANYTHING you say seriously on matters of truthful reporting when you say the things you say in this blog post? Errors are not OK under any circumstances. Now that I think of it, ANY error I make in the future I'm going to chalk up to simply arising through my alarmism of trying to convey a higher truth that people need to hear. I'll never be wrong again! The ends will always justify the means. Screw accuracy. Screw fairness. Machiavelli would be proud of me, even if Edward Murrow wouldn't be.

Then I could say this for everything I write and say:

"(So and so) misses the point that while something may contain inaccuracies, that doesn't always mean the whole is inaccurate."

A staunch defender of Peter's could say that about this very column of his!

Having said all that, I do get your point that Peter is not any good. And often, I agree. He's sloppy and very rarely fleshes out his point (like in this, maybe take the Nobel committee to task for its questionable awarding of previous awards to Carter and Arafat and Kissinger). My beef is with your glossing over inexcusable inaccuracies. And for the record, I am for the most part a poli/social/fiscal conservative (way more paleo than neo) with a heavy dash of libertarianism, and yes, even one or two emerging liberal ideas :). And because I love turning each sin against the sinner (hey, I watched Se7en last night), here are your own words again.

" ... it's much easier, I suppose, to simply apply one's prejudices and make jokes."

Self-satisfying name-calling, biting sarcasm and sharp wit may mesmerize and win applause from the lemmings of the likes of pop politicos Colbert, Stewart, Maher and O'Reilly, but you need to give me something a little deeper and richer to convince me your point is valid, which, like I said, sometimes, you do. Just not this time.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any of the powers-that-be over at the Enquirer are reading this...

I will never subscribe to the Cincinnati Enquirer until Peter Bronson's column is discontinued.

That's a promise.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you’re keeping score, today’s Business Courier story about job losses at the Enquirer really doesn’t capture the full story.

This round most likely brings the total number of positions that have been eliminated within a year closer to 100, or more. Yet, no previous cuts were mentioned, including even those that they’ve previously reported. Then again, at least we have the Courier as no one expects to read about any of this in the Enquirer. That is, unless it was about another company. Then, it would be front page news, especially since it would share broader job losses, the cannibalization and closure of competitors, and some circulation strategies and pricing changes that have raised more than a few eyebrows.

At least Gannett doesn’t own the Courier else there’d likely be no news of this at all.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

Anonymous 10:12, I second that emotion. I dropped my subscription years ago. When the Enquirer called to ask why I dropped, I said, "Why should I pay for a parody of 'The Onion' when I can get 'The Onion' free online?"

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Post more frequently, Newsache! This blog is getting lame for its lack of activity.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Ex-subscriber said...

I just saw this on the web, which is a good breakdown on Petey's last column.

http://blogs.citybeat.com/porkopolis/2007/10/bronson-plays-w.html#more

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

I like Bronson and I agree with him about 98% of the time.

He is one of the reasons I read the Enquirer.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To argue that Gore is not an incredible buffoon, you cite another incredible buffoon.

Call me cynical, but I'm afraid I'm unpersuaded.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Welly said...

He is a hate-filled buffoon... His friend is ex-con, ex-meth and heroin addict thief turned hateful right wing reactionary christian. Weird how those who used and abused welfare and mental institutions are now our government's greatest critics. Shame on anyone who listens and even more shame on those who follow him.

5:06 PM  

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