The best example of this in the climate domain is the incessant hectoring of Andy Revkin, a prominent reporter who covers environment at the New York Times, by Joe Romm, a political activist and blogger at the Center for American Progress, who spews forth all sorts of angry, half-thought-through diatribes when Revkin does not celebrate Joe or his political views. The point, Joe's ego aside, is to increase political pressure on Revkin to take certain actions and reflect certain perspectives.
Consider Romm's marching orders to the media not to talk with me or Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus at The Breakthrough Institute. Of course, Joe feels no need to follow his own orders, citing me, Michael and ted dozens upon dozens of times. The point of course is simple -- Joe wants to try to control the focus of attention and have a forum to himself to advocate. Pressuring the media not to cover people who disagree allows him to sidestep the substantive issues that he is generally very weak on, and instead shape debate by bluster and intimidation. Amazingly, some reporters actually follow Joe's directives. Most others do not. But the intense lobbying makes reporters no different than politicians subject to pressure campaigns. And for journalists, like politicians -- some give in to the pressure, others show leadership.
Yesterday, Andy Revkin pushed back hard to this sort of pressure on his blog when an activist took him to task for mentioning Steve McIntyre. Here is what Revkin said:
Is media coverage in climate going the way of aping activist bloggers? Or will there remain a place for more traditional coverage? Does it matter?