A PBS Overreaction

Judy Curry has an excellent post titled

PBS Ombudsman

on her weblog with respect to the response of the PBS Ombudsman, Michael Getler to the appearance of Anthony Watts on PBS’s News Hour. I watched the interview where Anthony did an excellent and clearly articulated presentation of his views (and that of quite a few other climate scientists).

The interview adds to the debate on the climate issue, and those who complained to PBS, in my view, are seeking to suppress the public from seeing there is a diversity of viewpoints on climate from what they typically hear about in the media. The original PBS show was very well done.

Since Judy has already discussed Michael Getler’s response as Ombudsman , I just want to add one comment here.

In the statement by Michael Getler, he wrote

What was stunning to me as I watched this program is that the NewsHour and  Michels had picked Watts — who is a meteorologist and commentator — rather than  a university-accredited scientist to provide “balance.”

What in the world is “a university-accredited scientist?”

If this means that one has to be a faculty member at a University, this definition fails. For example, Alan Betts is an internationally well-respected scientist who has chosen to work by himself.  He  has not been a university faculty member for years.

Could the definition mean you must have a Ph.d? Clearly No. As just one example, Lew Grant, also an internationally well-respected scientist who was a Professor at Colorado State University, but does not have a Ph.d.

Update: I was alerted that Tom Karl, Director of NOAA’s NCDC also does not have a Ph.d.

Could it mean that you have to be a university professor that works in the area of study; in this case climate science. Also, the answer is No. Richard Muller has internationally well-respected credentials in physics, but he is a newcomer to climate science.

In contrast, Anthony Watts has been working in weather and climate for quite a few years, and is clearly well-qualified to discuss the surface temperature siting issues presented in the PBS broadcast. Even Tom Karl at NOAA’s NCDC invited Anthony to give a talk at their headquarters in Asheville several years ago.  Indeed, NCDC has made changes in their network specifically in response to Anthony’s pioneering work on station siting!

The PBS Ombudsman, Michael Getler, clearly has inappropriately reacted to what was a valuable, much-needed (and usually missing from PBS) report on the diversity of perspectives on the climate issue.

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