- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Los Angeles Times won’t run letters from climate-change “deniers,” so readers may have been surprised to find an article in Monday’s edition on research concluding that natural changes in the wind — not fossil-fuel emissions  — are driving West Coast land and sea warming.

The article, “West Coast warming linked to naturally occurring changes,” cites a study by scientists at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

“The analysis challenges assumptions that the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been a significant driver of the increase in temperatures observed over many decades in the ocean and along the coastline from Alaska to California,” readthe article by Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Barboza.

Paul Thornton, the newspaper’s letters’ editor, touched off a flap last year when he informed readers that the Times would not print any letters rejecting the idea of man-made climate change in a column called, “On letters from climate-change deniers.”

“Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published,” Mr. Thornton said in the Oct. 8 column. “Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

Asked about Monday’s article, Mr. Thornton responded in an email that, “Since the news article is not a letter to the editor, what I wrote wouldn’t apply to it.”

But Townhall.com columnist Shawn Mitchell was quick to point out the apparent discrepancy between the newspaper’s policy on letters to the editor and the content of Monday’s article.

“Classic. If a reader wrote to the LA Times endorsing the findings in the study reported in this LA Times article, the Times’ policy is to reject the letter,” Mr. Mitchell, a former Colorado state senator, said in a Facebook post.


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