Inside Washington

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  • Modeling Apples And Oranges

    Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    Charles KrauthammerDuring a climate change discussion on Inside Washington, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer acknowledged that "we're pumping more CO2 into the air than ever before, much higher than a natural rate and it's having an effect on the atmosphere." Krauthammer, who calls himself "a global warming agnostic," went on to dismiss the computer models scientists use to project future climate change:

    KRAUTHAMMER: Our models are extremely incomplete, as we see in weather predicting. We can predict up to about a week and after that, it's a mess. So predicting, 20, 30, 50, 100 years into the future -- and our predictions are constantly changing, which ought to tell you that the models are at least incomplete and deficient.

    I'm glad that Krauthammer, unlike so many of his colleagues at Fox News, acknowledges that humans are changing the climate. But his argument about climate modeling is wrong.

    For one, models of any sort are by definition "incomplete." Scientists use models because we don't have a second Earth to experiment on. The question is, do the models know enough about the climate system to provide a useful picture of how it might look under a given scenario?

    Climate experts say yes, but Krauthammer seems to disagree, noting that weather forecasts aren't reliable beyond a week into the future. It's a common argument: If we can't predict next month's weather, how can we say anything about the climate in 2100? In reality, invoking the limitations of weather predictions is a terrible way to evaluate climate models.

  • Timeline of a smear

    ››› ››› ROB DIETZ

    On January 17, InsightMag.com posted a story stating that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa as a boy and that this information had originated from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp. With the aid of the conservative media, InsightMag.com's anonymously sourced report turned into 11 days of baseless accusations against two leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

  • Fund, Krauthammer overstated capabilities of missile defense system

    ››› ››› JOE BROWN

    Charles Krauthammer dubiously suggested that the United States had successfully completed "seven out of eight" tests of a missile defense system capable of intercepting the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) North Korea is reportedly preparing to test-fire. But the system Krauthammer specifically referred to is not designed to intercept ICBMs. Additionally, John Fund dubiously claimed that if North Korea test-fires its ICBM, the United States has "a better than 50-50 chance" of shooting it down; in fact, the system Fund was apparently alluding to has been tested only under highly artificial conditions.

  • Inside Washington host Peterson ignored positive Clinton poll numbers

    ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

    On Inside Washington, host Gordon Peterson claimed that Americans think Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is "too liberal," and "don't trust her," essentially misrepresenting the results of a May 15 ABC News/Washington Post poll on Clinton, a presumptive 2008 presidential candidate. A majority of those polled said Clinton is, in fact, "honest and trustworthy," while a minority thought she is "too liberal," with a majority saying her views are "about right."

  • Media: National security is a right-wing value

    ››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER & KURT DONALDSON

    Several journalists and media figures have taken to describing Democratic criticism of the Bush administration's approval of a deal allowing state-owned Dubai Ports World to assume control of six major U.S. ports as an attempt by Democrats to move "to the right" of President Bush and Republicans in Congress on issues of national security. In fact, some of the Democrats who have most strongly denounced the deal have been among the most active proponents of enhancing port security since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.