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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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The comment denier

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HOW’S this for an insulting rant from Damian Carrington, the Guardian’s environment editor? 

He brands climate change deniers as being in four categories: The shill, the grifter, the egomaniac and the ideological fool. (A shill, apparently, is a confidence tricker’s accomplice).

Carrington’s message about this querulous quartet is simple . . . cancel them. ‘All those who deny the reality or danger of the climate emergency should be ignored,’ he storms.

Er, hang on a minute. What happened to ‘comment is free, facts are sacred’, written by the celebrated Manchester Guardian editor C P Scott in 1921 and a phrase which still portentously adorns the Guardian’s website?

Okay, Carrington may think his facts are sacred, but isn’t anyone else allowed to have a contrary opinion any more and express it? Or do they have to be shouted down and called names?

I don’t know enough about the climate issue to pontificate like Carrington. But I do know that there are many serious, learned researchers who believe the science is not settled and who believe their voices must be heard.

Perhaps Carrington should come down from his high horse and read Scott’s leading article in full.

Scott wrote: ‘The voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard. Comment also is justly subject to a self-imposed restraint. It is well to be frank; it is even better to be fair.’

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Henry Getley
Henry Getley is a freelance journalist.

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