Blitzer did not challenge Matalin's assertion that global warming is "a largely unscientific hoax" and a "political concoction"

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

On CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Republican strategist Mary Matalin's assertion that global warming is "a largely unscientific hoax. And it's a political concoction." As Media Matters for America has documented, numerous scientific organizations share the consensus view that the Earth is warming.

On the February 20 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer failed to challenge Republican strategist Mary Matalin's assertion that global warming is "a largely unscientific hoax. And it's a political concoction." In fact, scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) share the consensus view that the Earth is warming, and human activity is responsible for much of that warming.

In its latest Assessment Report, the IPCC wrote:

There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.

Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG [greenhouse gases] concentrations. It is likely there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica).

[...]

Anthropogenic warming over the last three decades has likely had a discernible influence at the global scale on observed changes in many physical and biological systems." [italics in original]

By contrast, when former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) said, "I don't believe the Earth is melting because of carbon emissions" during the July 20, 2007, edition of The Situation Room, guest host Miles O'Brien (now CNN's chief technology and environment correspondent) said: "Oh, well, you're not paying attention to the science, J.C." After Watts said, "You have got science on both sides of that issue," O'Brien added: "No, you don't. No, you don't. The scientific debate is over, J.C." Moments later Watts said: "Well, Miles, that's your position." O'Brien replied: "That is science. And the science is done."

Media Matters for America recently documented a number of other myths and falsehoods about global warming that have been perpetuated by the media since the release of the film An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006).

From the February 20 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Here was a quote that jumped out at me from the National Review on February 5th, Super Tuesday. Remember? It seems like a long time ago.

MATALIN: Yes.

BLITZER: "I don't think he [Sen. John McCain] rests comfortably anywhere that conservatives would call home today. If it was true yesterday, it's not true for tomorrow's issues. The ones that he has chosen to take a lead on are the ones that conservatives either don't prioritize or flat-out loathe."

MATALIN: Like --

BLITZER: Like what?

MATALIN: -- some global warming issues. But he's going --

BLITZER: They loathe that?

MATALIN: Because it's a largely unscientific hoax. And it's a political concoction.

BLITZER: But he believes with [Sen.] Joe Lieberman [I-CT] -- he's co-sponsoring legislation on that.

MATALIN: He's going to have to put together an energy policy that has elements of conservation but productivity, and reduces our dependence on oil. He has said that. Some of the other issues, though --

BLITZER: But on global warming he's a true believer.

MATALIN: But he's not going to prioritize that, because that's not where the country is right now. And you haven't heard him prioritizing that.

What you've been hearing him say since he's achieved the nomination -- [former Arkansas Gov. Mike] Huckabee's [R] inertia notwithstanding -- is to prioritize security issues. And on those things, there are no Republicans or conservatives or independents or even Democrats that doubt him on that.

From the July 20, 2007, edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

O'BRIEN: What do you think, J.C.?

WATTS: Well, I -- I can't --

O'BRIEN: Would you recommend that?

WATTS: I can't speak for John McCain.

But I think John McCain, the difference in John McCain and [former Vice President] Al Gore [D], when it comes to the environment, is, John McCain believes that we should conserve energy. We should turn our lights off if we're not using them. You know, don't waste energy. But I'm not so sure that he believes that it's because the Earth is melting, and which is the Al Gore position.

O'BRIEN: Oh, he -- no, he's been out there early and often on capping carbon emissions. I mean, he is one of the -- ironically, for a Republican, he's been really in the vanguard on this.

WATTS: Even -- but, you know, that's not a popular position in the Republican Party. And I think science would support, you know, what I would say about it.

Well, like I said, I can't talk for John McCain, but I can talk for me. I don't believe the Earth is melting because of carbon emissions.

O'BRIEN: Oh, well, you're not paying attention to the science, J.C.

WATTS: Well --

O'BRIEN: You're definitely not paying attention.

WATTS: You have got science on both sides of that issue.

PAUL BEGALA (CNN political analyst): No.

O'BRIEN: No, you don't. No, you don't. The scientific debate is over, J.C. We're done. We're out of --

[crosstalk]

WATTS: Well, Miles, that's your position. That's not -- that's not --

O'BRIEN: No, no, no, that's not -- that is science. That is science. And the science is done.

WATTS: Well, it's political science.

O'BRIEN: Yeah, no, no.

WATTS: It is political science.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
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