Jeff Jacoby
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Remember The Twilight Zone? Back in 1961, Rod Serling wrote an episode that was set in New York City amid rampant global warming. Somehow the Earth's orbit had shifted, and the planet was moving inexorably toward the sun. "This is the eve of the end," Serling intoned in his introduction. "Because even at midnight it's high noon, the hottest day in history, and you're about to spend it -- in the Twilight Zone."

The story revolves around a few desperate New Yorkers struggling to survive the murderous heat. As the temperature climbs, social order crumbles. An intruder, crazed with thirst, breaks into an apartment to steal water. An elderly woman collapses and dies. Thermometers shatter, their mercury boiling over. Finally Norma, the main character, screams and passes out. Then comes the "Twilight Zone" twist: Norma wakes up to find that it's snowing outside. She'd been having a nightmare. The Earth isn't hurtling toward the sun, after all; it's spinning *away* from the sun. The world isn't going to end in searing heat, but in a dark and deathly deep-freeze. Fade to credits.

Well, that's climate change for you. Maybe Mother Earth is warming up, or maybe she's cooling down, but either way it's always bad news.

Here, for example, is former vice president Al Gore in 2006, on the threat posed by global warming: "Our ability to live is what is at stake." It doesn't get much more dire than that.

Yet here is climatologist Reid Bryson, in Fortune magazine's award-winning analysis of global *cooling* in 1974: "There is very important climatic change going on right now, and it’s not merely something of academic interest. . . . It is something that, if it continues, will affect the whole human occupation of the earth -- like a billion people starving." It doesn't get much more dire than that, either.

Bryson's article is quoted in "Fire and Ice," a richly documented report by the Business & Media Institute, an arm of the Media Research Center. Climate-change alarmism, the report shows, is at least a century old. A few examples:

"Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again," asserted a New York Times headline in February 1895. Worrisome if true, but just seven years later, the Los Angeles Times reported that the great glaciers were undergoing "their final annihilation" due to rising temperatures worldwide. By 1923, though, it was the ice that was doing the annihilating: "Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada," the Chicago Tribune declared on Page 1.

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Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for Townhall.com.