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Weather Channel storms at Breitbart over climate change video

Commentary: A Weather Channel video shows up in a Breitbart article that claims the Earth is cooling. This makes the Weather Channel explode.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Kait Parker isn't moved by Breitbart's arguments.

Weather Channel/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The political climate is troublesome enough.

But when the climate itself becomes another political plaything, it can all get a little uglier.

A couple of weeks ago, Breitbart -- a somewhat rightist publication -- offered an article entitled "Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists."

Within it was embedded a Weather Channel video about La Niña affecting winter in New England.

This caused the Weather Channel chilly conniptions, followed by some heated storming. In a rebuttal article and video directed at Breitbart and published Tuesday, atmospheric scientist Kait Parker rained down contempt.

"Science doesn't care about your opinion," she said. "Cherry-picking and twisting the facts will not change the future, nor the facts."

She explained that instead of looking at just land temperatures, which Breitbart did, you have to look at sea temperatures and combine them with the land temperatures. If you do, then the Earth enjoyed a record high in November. Our planet's surface, she points out, is 70 percent water.

There was more, but her ending was an appeal to scientists: "Let's make the facts louder than the opinions."

Sadly, facts aren't as good at making noise as are colorful statements. The election rather proved this. It was inevitable, then, that Breitbart would offer a Breit red riposte on Tuesday, via Twitter, naturally.

"They used time and resources to admonish an automated video embed," read the tweet, which was accompanied by quite a few tearily chuckling emojis.

Breitbart wasn't done. On Wednesday, it published a longer riposte, declaring that the video had been embedded by a third-party vendor, not Breitbart. It also said that the Weather Channel's article and video had used "a devastating new rhetorical technique." The technique? "argumentum ad puellam pulchram (aka the Argument from a Pretty Girl)."

Some might decide that this very introduction rendered everything else in the article, which takes aim at Parker's remarks point by point, a little harder to enjoy. Or, indeed, respect.

For every entreaty that we should all get along, there seem at least 100 examples that show why we won't.

I fear 2017 will burn hot and cold, but rarely anything in between.