Prosecute the torture.

June 18, 2007

Ruth Ann Dailey Needs a Better Researcher

I haven't written on Ruth Ann Dailey in a while. She just hasn't been bloggable for a while but today, she does her conservative duty by framing a discussion of Monroeville billboards (yea, no joke - THAT'S the topic) with the same sort of spin about global climate change we've come to expect from the luvly Ruth Ann.

She describes the climate change discussion (which she calls a "shouting match") this way:
You could take a lantern, a la Diogenes, and go searching for an honest man in this matter, but one side would slap you down for unnecessary carbon emissions and the other side would blow out your light. Those are the two extremes, anyway, that are posed for us spectators, with science and politics undifferentiated. [emphasis added.]
And who's on either extreme? Well, Al Gore and James Hansen (more on him in a bit) on one side and:
On the other side of the aisle are plenty of conservatives who don't just criticize these excesses of global-warming alarmists but deny the reality of climate change altogether.
Gore and Hansen on one extreme and unnamed conservatives who "deny the reality of climate change altogether" on the other. Very simple. But look at how she frames things. Gore/Hansen are an extreme and "alarmists." Then she goes on to discuss Hansen, himself:

James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, gives CBS's "60 Minutes" a big story criticizing the Bush administration for editing scientists' reports to downplay the urgency of global warming.

He and CBS, however, neglect to mention that he was a consultant for Mr. Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," received a $250,000 Heinz Award in 2001, then publicly endorsed John Kerry for president in 2004. Far more damning, Dr. Hansen sanctioned, in a 2003 Natural Science article, the attempt to influence public policy through "emphasis on extreme scenarios," which he then distinguished from "accurate" and "objective" scenarios.

Let's take the last factoid first. The article in question is here.

Not sure if Ruth Ann's actually read it, however.

She criticizes Hansen for "sanction(ing)...the attempt to influence public policy through 'emphasis on extreme scenarios'..." right? You'd think that by Ruth Ann's text, Hansen was doing that now. But take a look at that part of the appendix that mentions "extreme scenarios":
Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as "synfuels," shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions. Scenarios that accurately fit recent and near-future observations have the best chance of bringing all of the important players into the discussion, and they also are what is needed for the purpose of providing policy-makers the most effective and efficient options to stop global warming.[Emphasis added.]
That's hardly "sanctioning." And even if it were, Hansen in the next sentence is calling for "demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions." "Objective" and "realistic" - hardly words coming from an alarmist on the extreme.

The fun part comes next - when I googled "'james hansen' +NASA +'inconvenient truth'" I found, third entry down from the top. This article from every conservative's favorite media-analysis site, Newsbusters.org. It points to a "report" by a 15 year old named Kristen Byrnes and quotes these paragraph:

Hansen claims that he is an “independent”, but he seems to be the only person who believes it. Readers may already be aware of this, but if not… James Hansen was granted a quarter of a million dollars from the Heinz Environment Award a.k.a. U. S. Senator and former Presidential Candidate John Kerry’s wife’s foundation. You know the old saying; “nothing in politics is free.” So my first question is: what did he do to get the quarter of a million dollars? Was it the price for switching his political standing from “independent” to democratic when he later endorsed John Kerry for President? Was it payment for interpreting his department’s data in a way that would benefit his political friends?

More evidence of his connections to the Democratic Party was his endorsement of Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000. James Hansen was also a science advisor to Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.

And then this paragraph follows right after:

James Hansen is a scientist who admittedly uses scare tactics to convince the public that global warming will be “potentially disastrous”. Consider this statement from Hansen in his own document called “Can We Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb?” in August of 2003.

“Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as "synfuels," shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions. Scenarios that accurately fit recent and near-future observations have the best chance of bringing all of the important players into the discussion, and they also are what is needed for the purpose of providing policy-makers the most effective and efficient options to stop global warming.”

At least she used the whole paragraph from Hansen. Ruth Ann didn't. But notice anything familiar? Here's Ruth Ann's paragraph again:

He and CBS, however, neglect to mention that he was a consultant for Mr. Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," received a $250,000 Heinz Award in 2001, then publicly endorsed John Kerry for president in 2004. Far more damning, Dr. Hansen sanctioned, in a 2003 Natural Science article, the attempt to influence public policy through "emphasis on extreme scenarios," which he then distinguished from "accurate" and "objective" scenarios.
It's all there. The $250K Hansen received from the Heinz Endowment, the "extreme scenarios" quote from "Natural Science" magazine, and, of course, Hansen being a consultant for "An Inconvenient Truth."

Somebody please please please tell me that Ruth Ann Dailey, columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette didn't just use a "report" from a 15-year-old from Maine as research for her column.

15 comments:

Sherry said...

Somebody please please please tell me that Ruth Ann Dailey, columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette didn't just use a "report" from a 15-year-old from Maine as research for her column.


well, i could if it would make you feel better on a hot monday morning, but it looks awfully bad for ruth ann, doesn't it?

geeezzz, and she gets paid!?

Laurie Mann said...

Since when have conservatives let facts get in their way?

RRL said...

James Hansen is a respected scientist and one of the nation's top climate experts. That anyone would label him extreme is ridiculous. I think most of the public feel lied to about global warming from the right, even to this day I hear Heather H. on OffQ incredulously say that global warming isn't a big deal. What hasn't entered into the public consciousness yet vis a vis the media and Ruth Ann, is that serious scientists say that greenhouse gas emissions reductions will have to be on the order of 80-90% of current levels. And that's not the 'alarmist' ones, these are the mainstream. It has been said 'we need to solve this problem, or it'll solve us'.

Climate change should not be a partisan issue, it should be an issue for anyone who has or ever wants children and grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of RAD's column is when she talks about those billboards "spoiling Monroeville's sylvan wooodlands" or something of that nature. Are we talking about the same Monroeville? The one that's a testament to unfettered, low-rent development? Billboards might help the place...

At the heart (and often unsaid) of most conservative arguments against CO2 induced climate change, is the idea that God will solve this problem for them...and that nearly anything "God's children" do here on earth must be "good." Right.

Ruth Ann is a particularly uninformed and intellectually challenged columnist and I was glad to see you take her to task on her this today.

Bram Reichbaum said...

You see, this is what the liberals are no good at.

If most people are conditioned by pundits like RAD to believe that the truth must always be somewhere in the middle, then we need some hacks out there flanking the extreme alarmist position, to make the (fairly alarming) truth look more plausible.

Let me begin.

Solid climate science shows that the temperature will rise approximately 20 degrees within the next 10 years. There will be no such thing as ice in about seven years, and we will all be living on what are now mountaintops. Look it up.

Whigsboy said...

This is why there is no use being civil to people like RAD. Not only is she a particularly talentless writer, but she is your typical rethug whose only real tools are lies and obfuscation. I'll be cranking out an LTE this evening, highlighting her inaccuracies and her potential plagiarism (citing you, of course, David).

Maria said...

So is she saying that Al Gore should not have used respected NASA scientists for his movie? I can imagine the criticism then.

Is she also saying that respected NASA scientists have no free speech rights to give scientific information to documentary makers?

Just proves that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't when dealing with folks like RAD!

Ol' Froth said...

Dailey is a cretin. I'm amazed she makes money writing for a newspaper. Then again, I'm amazed that the traitor Bob Novak ising dangling from the end of a rope.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of cretins...looks as if the democrats you all voted for this past November are suffering from approval ratings far worse than Dubya's.

Go figure David DeAngelo doesn't talk about that little tidbit.

But then again, David's not biased, right?

And for that matter, neither is CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, or PBS. Not a word heard about their approval ratings....anywhere. Go figure.

robert said...

Ummm... Anonymous, if you're referring to Congress' approval rating, it might help if you turned off the cartoon network and turned the actual news on. Every network had a segment on the news, and it was featured on the weekend talk shows (at least the two I watched). Google returns 649 hits on stories on Congress' approval rating.

And Anonymous? That's Congress as an institution. That includes the Republicans. They would tend to drag the institution's approval ratings down somewhat.

As laurie mann said... since when have conservatives let facts get in their way?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Braden (oops, I mean "anonymous").

Nice of your wife to let you comment on a blog.

Care to tell us how the approval ratings of Congress has anything to do with RAD?

Anonymous said...

Anyone really interested in the politics of the climate crisis should check out the June 28 issue of Rolling Stone . . . basically the whole issue.

Whigsboy said...

Braden/anonymous: do you find a correlation between missed doses of your meds and visits to this blog?

Schmuck Shitrock said...

It's hard to believe, but just this once Master Lie has a point. We have, in fact, elected a cowardly, craven Congress. These are attributes that have lead to widespread public disgust, including mine.

pedant said...

RAD wrote a column about Creation vs Evolution. From my recollection she said that evolution is "just a theory", but Creation makes her feel good, ergo it is the truth. I felt like writing a repudiation but it would take too much effort to explain what a scientific theory is and truth does not always make you feel good.

Anyhow, RAD is the Bugh's version of Paris Hilton. "No there there".