NY Times mag sends a sports and music writer to do a science writer's job


The New York Times Magazine is slated to publish a story on March 29 -- promoting the controversial global warming views of physicist Freeman Dyson -- that was written, not by a scientist or science writer, but by Nicholas Dawidoff, whose previous work for the Times has focused largely on sports and music.

For an article to be published March 29, The New York Times Magazine sent Nicholas Dawidoff, whom Brad Johnson refers to as a "baseball writer" and who has not previously written about science for the Times, to profile physicist and global warming skeptic Freeman Dyson. Dawidoff, who has published four books -- The Fly Swatter, a biography of his grandfather Alexander Gerschenkron; In the Country of Country, a collection of biographies of country musicians; The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life Of Moe Berg; and The Crowd Sounds Happy: A Story of Love, Madness and Baseball -- and began his career covering baseball for Sports Illustrated, allowed Dyson to advance the falsehood that in the 1970s, there was a widespread belief that the earth was cooling that is tantamount to the current global warming consensus. Dawidoff also quoted Dyson accusing Al Gore of being global warming's "chief propagandist" and "an opportunist" and scientist James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, of "consistently exaggerat[ing] all the dangers" of global warming.

New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin reported in a New York Times Dot Earth blog post that Hansen responded to Dyson's characterization, writing: "Mr. Dyson's own analytical work on climate and greenhouse gases is very limited, however, which is why James Hansen of NASA, whose work is strongly challenged by Mr. Dyson in the magazine story, fires back that Mr. Dyson 'doesn't know what he's talking about.' "

According to a Nexis search, Dawidoff has written the following articles for The New York Times Magazine:

  • A December 28, 2008, article about lyricist Lew Spence, headlined "A Tune for His Times."
  • An August 22, 2008, article headlined "John McEnroe Is Still Pretty Complicated."
  • A December 30, 2007, article about tennis player Gloria Connors, mother of tennis star Jimmy Connors, headlined "Mom vs. the World."
  • A December 28, 2003, article about New York Mets fan and frequent caller to New York City radio station WFAN Doris Bauer headlined "THE LIVES THEY LIVED; Doris of Rego Park."
  • An October 13, 2003, article about Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, headlined "Mr. Washington Goes to Mississippi."
  • An August 26, 2001, article about the 2001 baseball season, headlined "The Way We Live Now: 8-26-01; Hurts So Good."
  • An August 12, 2001, article about the Mets' minor league stadium in Brooklyn, headlined "The House That Rudy Built."
  • An April 4, 1999, article about the beginning of the 1999 baseball season, headlined "The Way We Live Now: 4-4-99 -- Vocal Minority; The Tyranny of the Slugger."
  • An October 19, 1997, article about newspaper columnist Sidney Zion headlined "Hopefuls, Street Toughs; Power Brokers; Networkers; Strivers; Grande Dames; Musclemen; Exiles; Reformers; Purists; Clones; Big Mouths; Outsiders; Air Kissers; Fanatics; Gossips; Nightclubbers; The Last Smoke-Filled Room."
  • A January 26, 1997, article about Bruce Springsteen entering the political arena, headlined "The Pop Populist."
  • A December 29, 1996, article about bluegrass singer Bill Monroe, headlined "GOOD SAD."

Dawidoff has also written the following pieces printed in other sections of The New York Times:

  • A June 15, 2008, op-ed about his father's mental illness, headlined "The Man Who Wasn't There."
  • A June 1, 2008, article for the Times' former quarterly sports magazine "Play" (a separate section from The New York Times Magazine) about sports fans, headlined "These Total Stangers Are My Family."
  • An October 4, 2005, op-ed about the Peck Slip boulevard in New York City, headlined "Catch of the Day."
  • An October 30, 2004, op-ed about the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series, headlined "What Boston Won, What Boston Lost."
  • A September 29, 2002, book review of former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent's book The Last Commissioner, headlined "A Kid in a Candy Store."
  • A March 30, 2002, op-ed about baseball teams' payrolls, headlined "Buying Up Baseball's Possibilities."
  • An October 20, 2001, op-ed about resuming the Major League Baseball playoff series after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, headlined "It's Still O.K. to Root Against the Yankees."
  • A March 23, 2000, op-ed about playing major league games in Japan, headlined "The International Pastime?"
  • A May 30, 1999, book review of Marcos Breton and Jose Luis Villegas' book Away Games, headlined "The Dominican National Pastime."
Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Nicholas Dawidoff
The New York Times Magazine
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