The Associated Press announced on Tuesday it will no longer use the terms "skeptic" or "denier" in relation to people who don't believe human activities are causing changes to the global climate.
The new terms will be "climate change doubters" or "those who reject mainstream climate science," according to a post on the AP's blog.
The reason for the changes, writes AP Vice President and Director of Media Relations Paul Colford, is that scientific skeptics are tired of their title being usurped – and those who question human-caused global warming don't like the term "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.
Colford added that for "major changes" the AP consults with news leaders in addition to its normal give-and-take among its own editors.
He pointed to 2013, when the AP dropped the term "illegal immigrant" in favor of phrases such as "living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission."
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