…. stop and look around. If discover you are in a hole, for goodness sake, stop digging. Such is the advice I would have given to the Union of Concerned Scientists before they plunged off a credibility cliff with this wipeout.
That’s a line from the 1998 movie “Ronin”, where the CIA agent character played by Robert De Niro explained the reasoning for his apprehension over a bungled situation which didn’t look right from its inception. This simple analysis lends itself perfectly to the accusation about skeptic climate scientists being paid industry money to lie and misinform. If there’s no doubt the accusation is irrefutable, it would be consistently repeated by all. Dig into any part of the accusation, however, and its inconsistencies pile up to the point where there’s no doubt something is seriously wrong with everything and everyone connected to the accusation. Continue reading
For believers in the idea of catastrophic man-caused global warming, it remains as real as can be if critic scientists can be dismissed as industry-funded shills paid to lie to the public. But the belief in that accusation is merely a belief without evidence to support it. So, when they see statements and illustrations like this one Continue reading
The idea of man-caused global warming is especially effective because it can be pounded into practically everybody’s head via three easily memorized talking points. Global warming believers need only to counter dry recitations of skeptic science material with:
- assertions that the sheer numbers of ‘climate scientists’ on the IPCC side indicates this to be the overwhelming consensus opinion
- claims about leaked memo evidence proving skeptics are paid industry money to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” – dupe the public, in other words
- the obvious conclusion that reporters aren’t obligated to give fair balance to skeptics because of the previous two points.
In a nutshell, settled science, crooked skeptics, reporters may ignore skeptics, bam, bam, bam.
A timeline of where, how and when that “reposition global warming” phrase first appeared and where it prominently pops up afterward is something global warming believers would hate, since it might prompt a total loss of faith in the validity of that central accusation point. The loss could cascade into questions of whether the science actually is settled in the face of skeptics’ science-based criticisms, and people may also start to wonder about the ‘fair media balance’ idea, since they might not readily recall instances where skeptics actually received that from mainstream media reporters. Continue reading
In my August 20, 2013 blog piece, I briefly mentioned the role Minnesota assistant Attorney General Barbara Freese had in the May 1995 Minnesota Public Utilities Commission hearings where skeptic climate scientists were called to testify, and I detailed her subsequent association problems with Ross Gelbspan. She had asked the skeptics at the hearing about their ‘industry funding’, which led me to ponder who could have prompted her to consider pursuing an otherwise irrelevant non-science tangent. Up until finding what I detail in this blog piece, I thought someone resentful of skeptic scientists might have done so while also alerting Gelbspan that one of the hearings’ top questioners was going to grill the skeptics. Well, it turns out I gave Gelbspan too much benefit of the doubt there………. Continue reading
Ross Gelbspan’s “Snowed” article in the May/June 2005 issue of Mother Jones magazine described how a ‘misguided application of journalistic balance’ and ‘a decade-long campaign of deception, disinformation, and, at times, intimidation by the fossil fuel lobby’ was causing the media not to properly warn us about the perils of global warming. Accept his narrative without question, and it’s a rallying cry to solve the problem. But notice the errors in his article’s 5th & 6th paragraphs, and it makes you wonder how much more he gets wrong. (click to enlarge)
The situation is as elemental as it gets: Ross Gelbspan wants the public to believe the fossil fuel industry conceived and implemented a plan to save its own skin, and to carry this out, they found scientists who would spout any skeptic notion they were paid to say. To hammer this home in a way ensuring no one questions it, he says this plan is declared just that way in a Western Fuels Association annual report. End of story. But there’s a critical unspoken stipulation here, that no one should read the actual report or see the context in which the specific word “found” appears. Continue reading
To recap: Ross Gelbspan accuses a prominent skeptic scientist of being involved in a global warming ‘misinformation campaign’, and he claims a key ‘leaked memo’ phrase he supposedly found is the smoking gun evidence for his overall accusation against skeptic scientists. But he swaps out the scientist’s name without explanation and the sinister top-down industry directive Gelbspan warns us about is not what it is portrayed to be. On top of all that, there is the small problem of Gelbspan’s “Pulitzer winner” designation.
So are these problems intensified if Gelbspan claims that the Western Fuels Association’s 1991 annual report declared it was going to “attack mainstream science” in regard to global warming, but no such words or anything remotely similar is actually in that report? Continue reading
The accusation that skeptic climate scientists are paid by the fossil fuel industry to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” has two parts: the 1991-’95 span when it got little public interest, and late 1995 to the present, when it became far more widespread. During this entire 22-year stretch of time, I’m the only one quoting that fragment coal association memo sentence who told where the public could view that phrase and the rest of the ‘leaked memo set’. Among all the promoters of global warming out there, not one ever had a web link straight to the ‘leaked memo set’.
Until last Thursday. Continue reading