The Columbia Missourian Makes a Major Blunder on Climate Change and Yosemite Fire

Newspapers are supposed to factually report on events. Apparently, the Columbia Missourian newspaper didn’t get the memo.

On Wednesday July 13, the newspaper ran this editorial cartoon by John Darkow in its opinion section:

Image from Columbia Missourian, by John Darkow. Used under Fair Use Law

The cartoon, featuring the Warner Brothers “Looney Tunes” character “Yosemite Sam” (in the post-woke world, sans his two six-guns one should note) in one of his trademark tantrums, makes a big fat mistaken assumption about the Yosemite fire – “climate change” didn’t start it.

From the San Jose Mercury News, July 11, 2022, two days before this cartoon appeared:

Yosemite blaze was a ‘human-start fire,’ park superintendent says

OAKHURST – The Washburn Fire burning in Yosemite National Park’s southern edges was caused by a person, officials said.

“There was no lightning on that day, so it’s a human-start fire and it’s under investigation,” Yosemite Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said at a community meeting Monday evening. “That’s all I can really say about that right now. We’re looking at that real, real hard.”

As Yosemite Sam might say, “GREAT HORNY TOADS!” If only the Columbia Missourian could do fact-based reporting. If only they could use the Internet to look at what newspapers on the scene reported instead of opinionating.

Even when it comes to their opinion page, where letters to the editor often have opinions that are factually wrong, the newspaper has a duty to undertake at least a modicum of fact checking before they present something as wrong as this.

Unfortunately, many in the media have been conditioned to think that climate change is the root cause of anything that happens that is bad, and so they fail to check facts.

A cartoon in the Augusta Chronicle in 2015 by cartoonist Rick McKee sums up the lack of factual reporting due to this conditioning very well:

In today’s media world, opinion about climate change apparently trumps facts about climate change. Sadly even beloved “Looney Tunes” characters are being enlisted to push the false claim that climate change is causing extreme weather events.

Anthony Watts
Anthony Watts
Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website

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