To Be an Objective Reporter, or Not to Be, that is The Question

If the reporter in this situation thinks he’s about to break some kind of major story about ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientiss,’ he’s in for a big disappointment.

To borrow a line seen from time to time at the top of Anthony Watts’ WUWT blogs, “people send me stuff.” In this case, I was alerted to a reporter’s plan to document oil industry funding of contrarian scientists who deny climate change is caused by the oil industry, or who more simplistically say the climate is unfluctuating. Yes, I’m being facetious in that description, but not by much. In fact, if the alert I saw contained one more specific talking point element, it would have read exactly like the pattern I detailed back in my January 30, 2014 blog post. Having seen enough of this kind of material over the years, I could pretty much write it myself for these reporters. The only surprise here was who the reporter was and who he worked for: Bruce Livesey, at The Real News Network. Never heard of either before.

So, plop both into an internet search and among the first results that comes up is the announcement / donation plea regarding “Investigative journalist Bruce Livesey has teamed up with TRNN to make a documentary to expose the Koch brothers’ war on the environment…”

Who do we see talking as an authority speaker in the subsequent brief transcript sample for this proposed documentary presentation? Kert Davies. Yes, that Kert Davies. Not helping Livesey in the least is Davies’ second assertion about an unnamed “very underqualified candidate” who won the GOP’s June 2010 South Carolina 4th congressional district primary race. As I briefly described here, this same ‘unnamed candidate’ stunt backfired for Naomi Oreskes in her 2015 “Merchants of Doubt” movie. Why must this candidate remain unnamed twice now? Because it was Trey Gowdy, a person who is arguably as qualified as current F.B.I. director (formerly the U.S. Deputy Attorney General) James Comey on prosecutorial matters, as seen starting at the 1:50 point in this video. For comparison, the ‘conservative congressman’ that Livesey and Davies were speaking about was Bob Inglis, who, during his final House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology hearing (at the 2:11:47 point here), brought out the remains of an egg in a jar of vinegar in order to bring attention to the problem of ocean acidification. This, in the face of the EPA and NOAA having official information placing the world’s oceans’ overall pH level not on the acid side of the scale where vinegar is, but on the alkaline side.

See the growing problem here? TRNN claims it bases “our journalism on verifiable evidence.” As demonstrated above, material from Kert Davies about Bob Inglis already on their website implodes under verifiable evidence. And TRNN’s appearance of accepting the idea of settled man-caused global warming is unavoidable from their collection of reports. But then there’s Davies ‘true specialty’, the accusation that skeptic climate scientists were corrupted by industry money. Which, as it turns out, is something that Bruce Livesey has already pointed out on at least three prior occasions, each time citing Kert Davies.

To say that a report about industry manipulation of climate science viewpoints which cites Kert Davies is “not news” is actually false, but in a comically roundabout way. At this point in time, the “news” stories citing Davies’ accusations have been done so many times, you’d actually have difficulty counting up his accusations (full text for that screencapture wipeout here) about the Koch brothers, ‘dark money’, Exxon, or whatever other “enemy du jour” which happened to be popular at the time who supposedly funded lies from skeptic scientists. Beating a dead horse, as the old saying goes. But there is a consistent theme to all of them:  Davies is cited just for the accusation that illicit funding has gone to skeptic climate scientists and organizations skeptical of catastrophic human-induced global warming; when will he finally provide actual evidence proving the funding was done under arrangements where all parties agreed on what, when, where, and how the lies would be spread??

The two questions that objective unbiased investigative reporters need to ask themselves are:

  1. why is that evidence missing from all reports over the years citing Davies?
  2. what is the reason behind reporters like Bruce Livesey having the appearance of being just a mouthpiece for Davies’ material?

There’s no Pulitzer Prize or any other similar journalism award to be won from regurgitating a worn-out 20 year-old+ unsupportable accusation about crooked skeptic climate scientists, otherwise it would have already been awarded at least a decade or more ago. But such an award could be earned by objective unbiased investigative reporters for turning the tables on enviro-activists who fed that accusation to media people who never questioned it. Elemental questions will lead such unbiased reporters to answers which either affirm what’s come out of the “Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action” side of the global warming issue where Kert Davies is a key figure, or to a massive alternative story which has never been reported in any major way.