Tuesday, December 17, 2013

National Review Raising Money from the Fringe

Kevin Drum writes that National Review is putting the lunatic fringe (♫ I know you're out there ♫) front and center in their effort to raise money for their legal defense of Michael Mann's lawsuit:
Questioning climate science is one thing, and National Review has done plenty of that. But I'm still a little surprised that apparently they aren't embarrassed at having readers who believe that global warming is "the greatest scientific scam of all time." Or, as the chemical engineer puts it, "nonsense." In fact, NR is so far from being embarrassed that they put these letters front and center on their website as a call to arms.

Wasn't there a time when a serious publication would quietly bury correspondence like this? Sure, every magazine has some lunatic readers, but you generally want your public face to be a little more serious. The stuff you publish should at least have the veneer of respectability.

Either that's hopelessly old-fashioned thinking, or else National Review really does believe that climate change is just flatly a scientific scam. I guess I don't read them closely enough to know which. But I was still a little taken aback that they seem actively proud to trumpet stuff like this. Shouldn't they be leaving this kind of thing in Glenn Beck's capable hands?
I suppose if you need to raise lots of money -- and NR does seem to be advertising pretty hard for it lately -- you're going to need to appeal to those who are emotional and heated about the issue, rather than those who are knowledgable and/or reasonable.

For awhile National Review was letting Jim Manzi write some sense about climate change in their magazine and blogs, and this past March Oren Cass -- Mitt Romney's domestic-policy director during his presidential campaign.-- wrote an article for them, "The Next Climate Debate: Conservatives should accept the science and focus on policy." Either those didn't stick, or they are cynically taking whatever position gets them out of their legal jam.

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