What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 27, 2006

"Fair and Balanced"

ABC News broadcasted a story yesterday that asked, "Was Confusion Over Global Warming a Con Job?"

The subtitle on their website states, "Some Claim Disinformation Campaign Attempted to Create the Impression Scientists Were Broadly Divided."






The story says:

The vast majority of scientists has determined global warming to be a real threat. So why has it taken so long to convince Americans?

Misinformation Campaign

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan blames a 15-year misinformation campaign by the oil and coal industries.

"The point of this campaign was not necessarily to persuade the public that global warming isn't happening," Gelbspan said. "It was to persuade the public that there is this state of confusion."


The industry's influence even extends into the White House — where up until a few months ago a former oil industry lobbyist, Phil Cooney, chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was one of the president's top environmental advisers, editing scientific reports to make global warming seem less threatening.

"From now on, we don't have scientists write reports and just take them," said Rick Piltz of the group Climate Science Watch. "We pass them through a White House filter before they're ever published. I mean, that's scandalous."
What the ABC story leaves out is the media's complicity in all this.

Moreover, they miss the bigger picture which is the Right Wing's War on Objective Reality.

While the Right Wing has been screaming about "moral relativism" on one hand, the have been assaulting any notion of "object truth" or just plain old facts on the other.

The Right will claim, for example, that Fox News is "fair and balanced" because it presents "both sides of the story." Forget for a moment that the Left side is given by anemic spokespersons for a fraction of the time that is given to the Right's talking points and look at the bigger picture:
- They cry that Creationism (in the form of Intelligent Design) must be taught in schools to provide students "other views."

- Climatologists who regard global warming as being overblown are given equal weight in coverage of the subject even thought they represent a minuscule fraction of all scientists or are concerned by global warming.

- Doctors are dragged out from under rocks to claim that Terri Schiavo is not brain dead despite all hard evidence to the contrary.

- Partisan fringe groups like "Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth" are given massive media coverage despite the fact that their claims differ from the testimony of the men who were actually on the same boat as John Kerry and official military records.

- They cry that "good news" stories must be found in Iraq despite that fact that if car bombs were to be blowing up on a regular basis in, say, Pittsburgh, the news would not be focusing on fireman rescuing a cat from a tree or the opening of a new store.

And it isn't just FOX of course. The Right has been screaming so loud and long about "balance" that they have bullied the entire media to give up any ghost of presenting facts in context lest they be accused of having a "liberal bias."

It's long passed the time when we must all cry "FOUL" at this assult on science, reason and critical thinking.

2 + 2 does =4.

We can't let any amount of screaming from the Right Wing tell us (or bully the media into telling us) otherwise.


Rob said...

I've been discussing The Republican War on Science for a while now. Ok, so Chris Mooney is sort of a friend.

Rob of UnSpace

Anonymous said...

If you want a good summary of climate change research check out the Koshland Science Museum in DC. (their web page has info too). It is the National Acadamies of Science affiliated museum so they take all of their studies and present them in a consumer friendly (ie you don't have to be a scientist to understand) way. Very cool, and totally clear on what the research says about "climate change."
(Chris Mooney has actually written about the museum)

Maria said...

I agree that there's a Republican War on Science -- and I'm pretty certain that I've heard Mooney speak about his book -- but I would broaden it to more than just science to the very idea of facts/objective truth.

Randy said...

The Sierra Club is working hard on this right here in Pittsburgh.
If anyone is interesed in checking it out or getting involved in the "Cool City, Cool County" Campaign you can go here:

Ol' Froth said...

Just posted on a related topic over at my place. Check out the links to the EPA and BBC on this very topic.

Braden said...

Global warming? Sure, the evidence is there. However, I find it fascinating that everyone has turned the global warming issue into a political issue. Gee, this planet could not be getting warmer due to fact that the the sun itself is burning hotter, could it?. Here is just one article of the plethora out there:


I am convinced that much of the global warming "facts" out there are hoo-haw because it is politically motivated by both sides, although the Democrats are a bit more transfixed on the political side of it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Braden Your own reference defeats your point.

David Viner, the senior research scientist at the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit, said the research showed that the sun did have an effect on global warming.
He added, however, that the study also showed that over the past 20 years, the number of sunspots had remained roughly constant, while the Earth's temperature had continued to increase.
This suggested that over the past 20 years, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation had begun to dominate "the natural factors involved in climate change," he said.

Braden said...

Hey Anonymous ...

My reference does not defeat my own point, you sniveling little liberal. The sun is getting hotter. Period. The End. Again, you and those like you just like to put the liberal Democrat "political twist" on it, like you always do. A meteor the size of Texas could hit this planet tonight, and you'd put a political spin on it, blaming the Republicans. You know it's true.

Maria said...

See, everyone: Braden knows better than the senior research scientist at the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit who says that human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation had begun to dominate "the natural factors involved in climate change."

Just the same way that the Bush White House knows better than climatologists and so rewrites their reports.

Thank you Braden for proving my original post:

The Right Wing is waging a war against Objective Reality.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that CMU lets Braden rage for the machine on their time!

Braden said...

Anonymous -

Not that any of this is your business, but I am off work today. Nice to know that you can stoop to the lows that you do, which basically demonstrates that you have nothing else to say for yourself. Keep hiding behind the "anonymous" name, my foolish friend.

Anonymous said...

Maria, so how many joints do you smoke per night? Really, inquiring minds would like to know.

Anonymous said...


And once again, thanks for proving the absolute arrogant, concrete-headed liberal mentality that you continuously project, especially when you ignore the very scientific fact that the sun is getting hotter.

Shawn said...

Yes, you stupid, hateful, vicious name-calling little junkies. It's all the sun's fault. And nasty little pagan that yinz are, that's also you're fault, what with your Apollo-worship. You want a glorious sun? Fine, G_D will give you one, you little sinners, you.

As for other factors, well, 6 billion+ can't possibly have an effect on this planet's ecosystem and/or atmosphere, can they? I mean, really, a combination of factors? You've been GIVEN the explanation. And it came from people who are on the Right. That should be enough. Greenhouse gasses? Puh-leeze.

You silly little junkies. No wonder no one reads your blog.

porchwise said...

Global warming is a political issue and will be until (congress)
cares about the real ecology of this planet. Obviously all the right likes to do is rant about it...and some of the inane comments on here prove the point.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the global warming issue is ALL the republicans fault! And yet, the tree huggin' liberals out there won't allow for energy research and/or drilling on our own soil to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. New oil refineries? No way. Greenpeace will protest. Wind power? No way. Birds and bats will fly through the blades and die. Nuclear power? No way. It's unsafe. Can any of you liberals out there who are among the liberal masses dictating as to what we cannot do please tell me as to what sources of power ARE safe, since you all seem to know anything, and everything about well...everything. In fact, 2,000 years of human existence means absolutely nothing now that you're all here, right? Puh-lease indeed.

Braden said...


As per the famous movie line:

"What you just said, is one of the insanely idiotic things I have ever heard, at no point where you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought...everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it."

Maria said...

Jesus, Anonymous! "2,000 years of human existence" only takes you back to Jesus.

Even the Fundies believe that we've been around for 6,000 years -- and you're lecturing people on SCIENCE?

Anonymous said...

"2,000 years of human existence"???

Only 2,000 years?

Please tell me that's a typo. If it isn't, then how can you possibly be taken seriously in a discussion of science?

Shawn said...


as per the famous movie quote:

"I know you are, but what am I?"

Shawn said...

"And yet, the tree huggin' liberals out there won't allow for energy research and/or drilling on our own soil to reduce our dependency on foreign oil."

Um, who's had control of both houses of Congress for the past 12 years? Who's had control of both houses of Congress AND the White House for the past 6 years?

Incredible how it's still the Left's fault. I mean, I thought the only power we had over people's minds was being used to push gay marriage. ;)

Why, I'm gonna go think me up some liberal stuff right now! That, and Salma Hayek ringin' my doorbell with a big surprise for Uncle Shawny.

Or I could use my newfound powers for goo, naaaaaaaaaw, I'm a lib! Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll it is!

Anonymous said...

As far as I can see, it is most of the left's fault because most of the tree huggers and such are liberals. And that being said, they protest any technology/drilling/new refinery proposals ever even considered. Now, there is how it's the left's fault.

Liberals hate capitalism, which is clearly shown by the anti-Warmart movement. Liberals by heart a people who believe rich people are bad. Heaven forbid someone work their butts off and make a lot of money. Liberals can't have that. Instead, we have to take away the rich person's hard earned money and give it to someone who won't get out of bed until 11 AM, and even knows the system well enough to not be able to have to find work.

Shawn said...

Brilliant comeback. I mean, the way you presented those facts and figures that supported your case was elegant and readable. And your citations! Excellent! Now we, the humble readers, can follow up on your argument on our own. The tone, of course, was the kicker. I mean, the way you made a civil yet forceful argument when others seem to do little else but throw a tantrum. It's a pleasure to behold you work. Truly.