WASHINGTON – This week’s cover story in Newsweek reports a “denial machine,” bought and paid for by big industry, is preventing critical government action to stop global warming.

Meanwhile, next week’s issue of Newsweek contains a scathing report by longtime contributing editor Robert J. Samuelson characterizing the previous cover story as “highly contrived” and “fundamentally misleading.”

“We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades,” writes Samuelson in a report that will hit newsstands next week. “Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. Last week’s Newsweek cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It’s an object lesson of how viewing the world as ‘good guys vs. bad guys’ can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story. Global warming has clearly occurred; the hard question is what to do about it.”

Among the criticisms leveled by Samuelson against his own magazine:

Newsweek used discredited allegations about an ExxonMobil grant to a think tank to pay academics to write articles critical of global warming. The alleged cabal of deniers does not seem to be so effective as to warrant a scary cover story. Meanwhile, he points out how the mainstream media have promoted catastrophic, manmade global warming as fact rather than theory. The article was full of “self-righteous indignation,” which he said “can undermine good journalism.

Samuelson concludes: “But the overriding reality seems almost un-American: we simply don’t have a solution for this problem. As we debate it, journalists should resist the temptation to portray global warming as a morality tale – as Newsweek did – in which anyone who questions its gravity or proposed solutions may be ridiculed as a fool, a crank or an industry stooge. Dissent is, or should be, the lifeblood of a free society.”

The Newsweek cover story, written by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein, Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips, was also attacked by Marc Morano, Republican staffer on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“This week’s ‘news article’ in Newsweek follows the magazine’s Oct. 23, 2006, article, which admitted the error of their ways in the 1970s when they predicted dire global cooling,” he writes on his blog.

Morano also takes Newsweek to task for use of the word “denier” being attached to global-warming skeptics. He says it’s an attempt to equate climate-change skeptics with Holocaust deniers. He quotes Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research as saying: “Let’s be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system.”

Morano also points out his office provided Newsweek staffer Conant with data showing the skeptics in the global warming debate being far outspent to the tune of $50 billion in the last decade to $19 million.

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