The Associated Press today released new climate change writing guidance for its reporters, encouraging them to stop using the terms “skeptics” or “deniers” in favor of the word “doubters” instead.
The change goes into effect immediately, as do other topics “deemed highly relevant to breaking news coverage;” for example, when the AP dropped the term “illegal immigrant” in 2013 in favor of a person “living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”
In a blog entry, the Associated Press explained the motivation to retire the terms skeptic and denier.
Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” That group prefers the phrase “climate change deniers” for those who reject accepted global warming data and theory. But those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.
As for the term “mainstream science,” the AP explains that the theory of man-made climate change “is supported by more than 90 percent of the peer-reviewed scientific literature.”
Plenty of people suggested other terms for those who reject mainstream science, such as “morons” and “idiots.” To be honest, we were happy with deniers.
No apologies here.