Over at Grist, David Roberts takes TPM's bait revealing who The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes may be using as his super-secret climate change source.
To bring you up to speed...TPM noted Monday afternoon:
Check out this passage from Barnes' latest column for the Weekly Standard:
"Democrats couldn't hide their self-consciousness about the excesses of their own bill. Supporters made few TV appearances to defend it and rarely talked about specific spending items. Obama sounded like Al Gore on global warming. The more the case for man-made warming falls apart, the more hysterical Gore gets about an imminent catastrophe. The more public support his bill loses, the more Obama embraces fear-mongering. (our itals.)"
We hadn't heard anything lately about the case for man-made global warming falling apart. In fact, just the opposite. So we called Barnes and asked him what he was referring to.
At first, he cited the fact that it's been cold lately. Perhaps sensing this was less than convincing, Barnes then asserted that there had been a "cooling spell" in recent years. "Haven't you noticed?" he asked.
Asked for firmer evidence of such cooling, Barnes demurred, telling TPMmuckraker he was too busy to track it down.
We pressed Barnes again: surely he could tell us where he had found this vital new information, which could upend the current debate over how to address global warming.
In response, Barnes said only that he knew where he had found it, but would not tell us, apparently as a matter of principle. "I'm not going to do your research for you," he eventually said, before hurriedly ending the call.
So, who is the super-secret-science-source behind Barnes' ridiculousness? Grist does an admirable job jumping down the rabbit hole:
I'm seeing a lot of people passing around a link to this story on TPM, which mocks Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes for saying that the case for man-made warming is "falling apart" but refusing to divulge any of his sources for that seemingly significant piece of info.
At first I just laughed about it, but it occurred to me later that maybe people really don't know the answer to this question -- maybe people really don't know where Barnes is getting his info. The answer is an open secret:
Barnes gets his information on climate change the same place everyone in the right-wing media world gets it: from Marc Morano, the in-house blogger/agitator for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
Morano's entire job is to aggregate every misleading factoid, every attack on climate science or scientists, every crank skeptical statement from anyone in the world and send it all out periodically in email blasts that get echoed throughout the right-wing blog world and eventually find their way into places like Fox News and the Weekly Standard. From there they go, via columnists like George Will and Charles Krauthammer, into mainstream outlets like Newsweek and the Washington Post.
That's where Barnes gets it. That's where Glenn Beck gets it, and Lou Dobbs, and Will, and Krauthammer, and all the rest of them. This is something everyone involved in climate- or energy-related media knows.
This should come as no surprise. Sen. Inhofe is a greatly respected, neutral arbiter when it comes to the science behind global climate change – if by respected you mean, the oil and gas industry, climate change deniers, and clueless conservative media hacks just love him.
MSNBC's David Shuster allowed columnist Deroy Murdock to repeat the claim -- first made by climate change skeptic Martin Hertzberg -- that global warming is not occurring because "the Earth temperature has gone down 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1997." Rather than challenge that claim, Shuster named Murdock "our Muckraker of the Day" and "congratulat[ed]" Murdock for "stirring the pot." But climate scientists warn against cherry-picking yearly temperature averages as purported evidence that global warming is not occurring, especially from years in which El Niño and La Niña events occurred, as Murdock and Hertzberg did.
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Fox News' Trace Gallagher and Brian Wilson cited the "irony" of snowfall in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in the U.S. on the day Al Gore testified on global warming before a Senate committee, which Bill Hemmer stated was "making for an inconvenient forecast." But climate scientists -- including at least one who has disputed aspects of the scientific consensus on global warming -- completely reject the notion that short-term changes in weather, let alone an individual winter storm in January, bear any relevance to the global warming debate.
Did you notice the dig at Gore found in the Post's headline today about the former VP's testimony before Congress about the urgent need to battle climate change?
Here's the headline: "Gore Delivers 'Inconvenient Truth' Lecture to Senate Committee"
See, Gore didn't simply testify. He lectured the senate. i.e. He's a pompous blowhard. That's the picture the Post news headline painted for readers this morning.
UPDATE: Naturally, the Post's staff clown Dana Milbank mocks Gore and his testimony as well, calling him Goracle. Get it? It sounds like Gore but it also sounds like oracle. Get it? It's a play on words.
And yes, that was the entire point of Milbank's so-called column--to refer to Gore as Goracle as many times as possible. Oh, aside from reporting, "Gore, suffering from a case of personal climate change, perspired heavily during his testimony."
We're guessing the Post will pretty much publish anything at this point.
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Matt Drudge featured a report on his website under the headline, "Gore Hearing On Warming May Be Put On Ice," stating that "Al Gore is scheduled before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning to once again testify on the 'urgent need' to combat global warming. But Mother Nature seems ready to freeze the proceedings." However, climate scientists -- including at least one who has disputed aspects of the scientific consensus on global warming -- completely reject the notion that short-term changes in weather, let alone an individual winter storm in January, bear any relevance to the global warming debate.
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Via Climate Progress:
Must-read study: How the press bungles its coverage of climate economics — "The media's decision to play the stenographer role helped opponents of climate action stifle progress."
One of the country's leading journalists has written a searing critique of the media's coverage of global warming, especially climate economics.
How Much Would You Pay to Save the Planet? The American Press and the Economics of Climate Change is by Eric Pooley for Harvard's prestigious Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Pooley has been managing editor of Fortune, national editor of Time, Time's chief political correspondent, and Time's White House correspondent, where he won the Gerald Ford Prize for Excellence in Reporting. Before that, he was senior editor of New York magazine.
Continue reading the Climate Progress post and fascinating report.
Of course, the fact that the media has dropped the ball when it comes to reporting on climate change won't surprise progressives or regular readers of Media Matters.
Check out more from Media Matters on this important issue here.
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On Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade wondered whether Carol Browner, who President-elect Barack Obama has designated as assistant to the president for energy and climate change, will "have a hard time getting confirmed" because of her supposed "socialist ties." In fact, as FoxNews.com itself has noted, Browner's position "does not require Senate confirmation."
On the January 7 broadcast of his radio show, Lou Dobbs responded to the following recent Media Matters for America items:
Lou Dobbs again questioned the impact of humans on global warming and suggested that solar activity may be far more responsible for global warming, ignoring the conclusion by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that "it is extremely likely [>95% chance] that humans have exerted a substantial warming influence on climate" and that this "estimate is likely to be at least five times greater than that due to solar irradiance changes."
On The Radio Factor, guest host Douglas Urbanski cited a December 18 segment from CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight to support the assertion, which has been widely discredited, that "man-made climate change" is "one of the biggest lies of our time" and in doing so echoed several of the debunked claims and suggestions about global warming included in that CNN segment.
Lou Dobbs said during the introduction of his CNN show: "And tonight, unusual winter storms are dumping snow in unusual places across Western states, and a huge snowstorm is headed toward the Northeast. This is global warming?" During his segment on the issue, Dobbs hosted Heartland Institute senior fellow and science director Jay Lehr without disclosing that Heartland receives funding from the energy industry and without challenging Lehr's assertions that "[t]he last 10 years have been quite cool" and that "the sun" -- rather than humans -- is responsible for recent climate change.