Zachary Roth at TPMMuckraker's on the case, contacting both Will and his WashPost boss, Fed Hiatt, editor of the Post's Op-Ed page, trying to find out if and when the Post is going to correct central factual errors found in Will's most recent anti-global warming column.
Will's assistant told us that Will might get back to us later in the day to talk about the column. And Hiatt said he was too busy to talk about it just then, but that he'd try to respond to emailed questions. So we emailed him yesterday's post, with several questions about the editing process, then followed up with another email late yesterday afternoon.
But still nothing from either of them, over twenty-four hours after the first contact was made. Nor has the online version of Will's column been updated, even to reflect the fact that the ACRC has utterly disavowed the claim Will attributes to it.
We're hearing that the Post's editing process for opinion pieces is virtually non-existent. Maybe that makes sense in some cases -- it certainly seems reasonable to give most columnists a freer hand than straight news reporters get. But it's difficult to know for sure when the Post won't talk about it. And that approach sure didn't serve the paper well here.
Check out this amazing piece over at TheWonkRoom which identifies the cast of characters used by Marc Marano, communications director to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), to push climate change skepticism.
Marc Morano, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)'s environmental aide, sits at the center of the right-wing global warming denier propaganda machine — of fifty-two people. Conservative columnist Fred Barnes recently refused to tell TPM Muckraker who's informed him "the case for global warming" is falling apart, but all signs point to Marc Morano. Morano's "entire job," Gristmill's David Roberts explains, "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" to the right-wing echo chamber. The Wonk Room has acquired Morano's email list, and we can now reveal the pack of climate skeptics, conservative bloggers, and corporate hacks who feed the misinformation machine.
Promoted on the Drudge Report and Fox News, Morano's moronic misinformation enters mainstream discourse through columns by Barnes, George Will, Robert Samuelson, and others. Many in the Morano gang are funded by right-wing think tanks, though a few are committed activists, conspiracy theorists who believe their homebrew interpretations of climate data. Others are aging scientists with strong conservative beliefs, motivating them to challenge action on global warming not because they disbelieve its existence, but because they are ideologically opposed to regulation of pollution.
Check out Marano's full list here.
You may recall our recent posts on Fred Barnes' super-secret climate change source and George Will's refusal to correct his recent wacky climate change denial column.
The conservative columnist's stab at becoming a global warming denier has attracted lots of attention and ridicule this week. But perhaps more important than the guffaws is the question, where's the WashPost correction regarding the sizable factual error at the center of its writer's column?
As blogger Dan Kennedy noted:
Syndicated columnist George Will presents only one piece of evidence in his Sunday piece denying global warming — and he gets it wrong...What does it take for Will and/or the Washington Post to append a correction? As of 6:30 p.m., there was still nothing. Is it because his entire commentary looks ridiculous if he retracts the sole relevant factual nugget he included in his diatribe?
Good question. Is anybody at the Post listening?
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.
In a Washington Post column, Warren Brown claimed that "there has been no gasoline saved in response to ... the various iterations of federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy [CAFE] rules." However, a 2007 Government Accountability Office report stated: "According to estimates by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and other experts we consulted, the CAFE program has helped save billions of barrels of oil and could continue to do so in the future."
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.
Loading the player reg...
Glenn Beck mocked the economic recovery package for including "$2.4 billion for carbon capture demonstration projects," adding, "I don't even know what the hell that is." Had Beck attempted to determine "what the hell" carbon capture is before ridiculing it, he would have learned that the provision funds the development of technology that he has previously criticized "liberals in Congress" for "block[ing]."
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.
Loading the player reg...
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.
Loading the player reg...
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.
Loading the player reg...