the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

What is it with “journalism” these days?

Posted by Jeff Id on May 11, 2014

Fabius Maximus wrote a post about the tea party which disparaged the Air Vent crowd.   Apparently we are tribal and all you guys must belong to the tea party.

Comments frequently remind me of this. I posted a comment the skeptics at Jeff Condon’s The Air Vent about the benefits of properly citing the source of graphics. Amazingly, the folks there disagreed. ““I don’t think references add much credibility.” After all, “climate scientists make plenty of errors on blogs just like the rest of us.” Worth a read of their tribal reactions.”

He literally took the sentence: “I don’t think references add much credibility to correlation sorted paleoclimatology.” to “I don’t think references add much credibility”.   And called it amazing that I disagreed with the need to cite.  It looks like Fabius will be interviewing for MSNBC this week.

This is the same individual who stopped by critiquing my copy-pasted reference to a chart I borrowed from WUWT, made several odd claims on a variety of subjects both politics and science, and several obscure claims about climate scientists — all without references.


It’s somewhat similar to the incidence of fake quotes so often found on conservative’s websites.

This is not often found in the work of climate scientists, who tend to be careful about selecting and citing sources.

Anyway, I left a rough comment for him at his obviously superior “journalism” blog, perhaps he deserves a few friends.


More interestingly, I had fun this weekend at the folks house.   This is my son driving the lawn tractor (blades off of course) for the first time.  We were returning from dumping about our 10th load of leaves.  He was pretty serious about it!





18 Responses to “What is it with “journalism” these days?”

  1. M Simon said

    perhaps he deserves a few friends.

    I used to visit him regularly.

    BTW have you seen this Piers Corbyn video?
    If you are short of time the first 10 minutes and the last 10 should pretty much cover the subject.

  2. omanuel said


    Society is very fragmented now. In my opinion, this is the result of a 1945 decision by world leaders to take totalitarian control of society, forbid public knowledge of the source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and hide information from the public about chaotic events in the closing days of WWII that revealed:

    1. Japan also had, and tested, atomic bombs and
    2. USSR troops captured Japan’s facility and took prisoners to Russia


  3. Bernd Palmer said

    Thanks Jeff. I think I stirred the tea-pot with my comment on Fabius’s comment in the first place. I refrained from continuing the discussion on this path as I didn’t want the subject at hand to be hijacked.
    I just couldn’t bear his categorizing and generalizing used to declare guilt by association. A certain Lewandowsky of fame went down the same path.

  4. Sera said

    Back during all of the Somali pirates episode, Fabius was the only one who assisted me in shutting down the WX Ship Tracking system for those areas. “They” are ex-military doves, in my opinion. Used to read him regularly too, but then he shut off comments, because of a hissy fit, then reopened comments later, then I finally decided that they at FM were just as responsible for the agiprop they write about. Their opinion, their blog. I don’t go there anymore.

  5. “I don’t think references add much credibility”

    I’ve seen this manifestation before. To understand this, it is first necessary to understand that there are two main methods of arguing – one (the skeptic way), takes the facts and uses logical reasoning to infer something. The other as demonstrated by Fabius Maximus, is to have a reference framework of credible sources and to argue by showing how those credible sources support their view.

    So, when a skeptic scientist makes a case they approach it thus: “here are the facts, here is how I work out what they mean and this is my conclusion”. In contrast, Fabius Maximus, might say: “this is what Mann and Hansen, and Tenberth, etc. say,”.

    One argument assumes a reasonable competency both by the author and the reader to follow the methodology to reach the conclusion – with almost no reference to experts. The other assumes a reasonable familiarity with the “consensus” of experts – and often such arguments are devoid of hard data or facts.

    For those who “argue from authority”, it is critical that they know the authority and so credibility of the source. But for those who argue “from the facts”, it is not – instead they need to get the raw data and methodology so that they can check these out.

    Both these approaches are now common in science (although the prevalence is in different subjects). And because they are such different approaches, I’m now calling them “skeptic science” and “consensus science” to differentiate them.

    Skeptic science, is science based on the data and experimental testing. It is largely devoid of arguments “to authority”. In contrast “consensus science” is the consensus view of the community of scientists. It uses data, but it is also strongly reliant on assertions from credible experts and what “consensus science” values most is the strength of consensus amongst these credible “authorities” or “scientists”.

    So, when we engage with those of a “consensus” nature, it is understandable that the first question they ask is “what is the authority you are quoting?”

    • Bernd Palmer said

      I couldn’t agree more with your description. Those who refute “consensus science” – even when their arguments are supported by valid facts or common sense – are often accused of being associated with “villains”, such as the Koch Brothers, the fossil fuel or … the tobacco industry.

    • Jeff Id said

      Very well written. Something about the nature of authority based belief causes me to see these people as slow-witted. If they cannot understand on their own, then they don’t really deserve to discuss it. I suppose it is part of the reason for my somewhat abrasive blog personality. P)

      Citations are critically important to find supporting information for those of us who don’t know everything or who don’t accept everything at face value. In my world, citations are not to be used for authority based reasoning. That is just the nature of the world the way it should be IMO so I work hard to check even those who become known for their accuracy.

  6. Sera said

    @ Scottish Sceptic:

    Great reply, every word. The gang at FM live and breath with citations and the appeal to authority complex (probably because of their military background). But what is/was really annoying were the constant references to Star Trek and japanese anime (they love this show called Full Metal Jacket which is anime about a sorcerers stone with god-like powers, or something). When you’re left with quoting cartoons and Star Trek… whatever. Still, he did help me and merchant mariners everywhere with the WX shutdown. Strange bedfellows.

  7. C3 editor said

    Btw, Instapundit used to link to Fabius Maximus quite frequently, much less now.

    I quit reading ‘FM’ several years ago after an exchange of comments. It was clear FM was a fanatic about authoritarian “consensus” and I have zero use for people of that persuasion. FM’s intent obviously was to stifle reasonable debate, not nurture it.

    Because of that mindset, I imagine they have lost a lot of influence (which I believe the lack of interest by Instapundit probably reflects).

  8. I grabbed my oldest grandson and headed to my sister’s house to clear a bunch of trees she had cut down. No cool carts like yours! Just a couple of trucks and a lot of grunting!

    As for Fabius, he seems to be jealous of the fact no one listens to him. So instead of trying to raise his game, he tries to denigrate everyone elses.

  9. Pops said

    About the leaf-gathering – I use the mower to chop, vacuum, and collect the leaves. It looks like you must have been raking and piling them in the cart. I’m allergic to that much work.

    I’m surprised that your son could drive the tractor. When I tried to teach my daughter when she was about the same size, she didn’t weigh enough to trip the microswitch under the seat.

  10. Jeff Id said

    Fabius seems to have cracked a little. He’s on about tribalism now so apparently he needed to make up other fake things to attribute to me. What is going on in this world when people can simply write anything whether it is even remotely associated with reality or not?

    • Sera said

      Let’s take a peek inside this dancehall…

      1) Jeff makes an innocuous comment at his blog that everyone understands, except for FM.

      2) FM, with civil servant king-of-his-anthill superiority complex reigns down upon Jeff the importance of citations.

      3) Everyone is bemused, but we quickly return to the problem of adjustments (topic).

      4) FM runs back to his blog and writes a post about politics and tribalism.

      5) FM shoots himself in the foot by declaring tribalism without even clicking on the “Readers Background” link here.

      6) Hilary ensues, but we quickly return to the subject at hand.

      7) FM shoots himself in the foot again by Selectively Editing one of Jeffs comments, and then goes on another rant about the importance of citations.
      (If you are here from the FM website, you might have to read that a few times to understand the irony)

      8) More hilarity ensues, but we quickly return to the work at hand.

      9) FM shoots himself in the foot a third time by claiming that he knows Nothing about climate science, and then gives us links to read.
      (Again, if you are here from the FM website, you might have to read that a couple of time to understand the irony)

      10) More hilarity ensues, but we keep returning to the work at hand.

      11) Sera thanks FM for his help with the WX system, which actually IS inside the FM wheelhouse.


      I am a mathematician who knows absolutely nothing about politics. So, in the spirit of reciprocity, here are some links for you to read…

  11. hunter said

    Another climate obsessed twit changing what people say and then condemning them for what he falsely claims they did say.
    That is standard operating procedure in the cliamte obsessed community, from the President and his circle of flatterers to the faux journalists like Fabius Maximus

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