I appreciate the Roundtable and the efforts put into running this blogsite. I am very much looking forward to hearing Professor Ceccarelli’s lecture. My particular interest is in media coverage of climate science. For many years now, powerful forces within this country have spent much time and money in the effort to distract us from the reality of global climate change. They have been very successful in manipulating both the science and the media. Lance Bennett has explained the professional norms of journalism, one of which is “balance” or “objectivity.” By giving voice to “both sides of the story,” journalists frequently create the false impression that the scientific community has been divided on the “debate” surrounding global warming. It is not only journalists manufacturing the climate controversy. Opinion pages of the newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal regularly feature columns by individuals associated with industry-funded think tanks. Syndicated columnists, talk radio hosts, and TV personalities also assist in the dissemination of the myths surrounding global warming. Of course, it doesn’t help that government scientists have been gagged by the Bush Administration from speaking on this issue. To add context, previous assaults on science include those by the pesiticide industry (re: DDT – which included the character assassination of Rachel Carson), coal-burning electric utilities (re: acid rain), and the chemical industry (re: effect of CFCs on stratospheric ozone). In the words of Moti Nissani, there have always been experts willing to back up a “profitably mistaken viewpoint;” there have always been efforts “to cover the issue in a thick fog of sophistry and uncertainty” and to “unearth yet one more reason why the status quo is best for us.” Recently, there have been a number of books that touch upon this intersection of media and manufactured scientific controversies. I highly recommend The Republican War on Science (2005) by Chris Mooney. The top internet source for the latest on climate science (including rebuttals of false assertions in the media) provided by climate scientists is http://www.realclimate.org/. This Roundtable discussion promises to be highly engaging, the topic is extremely timely and relevant.