Journalists — Even Columnists — Have Feelings Too

A Vancouver newspaper columnist has fun putting the needle to a reader — ‘Mr. Missed It’ — who he thinks may have overlooked the paper’s more than 4,600 stories dealing with global warming.

Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume wasn’t going to take this kind of reader — or is it nonreader? — abuse sitting down.

Or at least not taking it without responding in print.

Hume was irked by persistent criticism from “some professor dragging half the alphabet around on a leash behind his name” and complaining about the paper’s noncoverage of global warming.

“Apparently having never noticed what you [Hume, that is] had already written about it.”

Hume tallied some 4,675 stories “about or touching upon global warming” since he joined the newspaper in 1990. If only one in 10 of the paper’s 900,000 readers a week read them, “it still amounts to 420,750,000 reads,” he calculated, putting “Mr. Missed It” in his proper place.

Hume appears to have had it with what he characterized as “portentous condemnations” of the newspaper “for its unseemly failure to properly cover subjects that the critic has recently discovered and deems important.” He says he did his first column on global warming for the Sun in 1990 and has “never equivocated about my position. I think the science has been solid for two decades.” He mentioned a range of issues he’s written about on impacts of climate change and also on “the increasingly vicious spin wars and the nature and source of climate change denial.” By his count, he’s written 84 columns dealing with global warming “in some way” — between 100,000 and 150,000 words … a couple of books up in academia.” He scoffs that the academic books, unlike his work, likely would sell for $95 each… “and the only way you’d be able to get people to read them would be assign them as course material.”

And he’s not alone at the Sun, Hume wrote, naming others who also have written on the subject for the paper.

“I mean, come on, these critics who think we’re trying to hide the truth about global warming missed all that” coverage in the Sun?

“Man, that’s some incompetent cover-up,” he concluded.

Editor’s Note: Hat-tip to Peter Dykstra, publisher of Environmental Health News, for calling attention to Hume’s column.

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