They really do have a problem with calling a spade a spade! Talk about fiddling while the planet burns:
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan believes the paper is making progress when it comes to using the more accurate term “denier” — rather than “skeptic” — to refer to those who reject the scientific consensus on climate change.
In an interview with Media Matters, Sullivan described “denier” as the “stronger term” and the appropriate label “when someone is challenging established science.” Sullivan said that “the Times is moving in a good direction” on the issue, adding that the newspaper is using the term “denier” more often and “perhaps should be doing it even more.”
She also likened the discussion to the Times’ process for evaluating whether to refer to “enhanced interrogation techniques” as torture, stating: “After a long time the Times came around to calling it torture and I thought that was a very good thing. I think we’re sort of in the same realm with the business about skeptics and deniers.”
Sullivan, who briefly addressed the distinction between “skeptics” and “deniers” in her May 7 column, said she doesn’t have any immediate plans to return to the topic. But she reiterated that “language choice is something that interests me a lot because I think it’s something that matters.”
Philip Corbett, the Times’ associate managing editor for standards, confirmed to Media Matters that Times staff are “aware of the issue and have discussed it.” Corbett said Times reporters and editorial staff “do our best” to keep the proper use of labels in mind “even if the process is not always perfect,” and that “[w]e intend to continue scrutinizing future stories with these concerns in mind.”
However, Corbett said he does not expect The Times to “set a hard-and-fast rule” on the subject. Sullivan also said she doesn’t “think there needs to be a policy,” and that she and Corbett believe it makes more sense to handle the issue “on a sensible case-by-case basis.” According to Sullivan, the term “denier” doesn’t fit “when people are kind of wishy-washy on the subject or in the middle.”