Distorting The Discourse

Bill Scher

The preview to tomorrow’s congressional testimony from Al Gore happened yesterday, a House committee hearing spotlighting the Bush Administration’s attempts to prevent our government climate scientists from telling the truth about global warming.

As Environment & Energy Daily reports, the hearing found a connection to Vice-President Dick Cheney’s office:

At issue is an April 23, 2003, memo between former [Council on Environmental Quality] chief of staff Philip Cooney and Kevin O’Donovan, an aide in Cheney’s office.

The document discusses a 2003 study by two industry-affiliated astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, that concluded there was no convincing evidence of global warming. The study kicked up controversy shortly after it appeared in the journal Climate Science, with three editors of the journal resigning to protest its publication.

The Cooney-O’Donovan memo suggests the Bush administration seized on the controversial study to exaggerate existing uncertainty in climate change science, according to Democrats on the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee.

And Huffington Post’s Chris Mooney says the hearing provided a “smoking gun”:

…in light of new evidence that emerged yesterday, there’s simply no question in my mind that public affairs staff at NASA actively sought to prevent the agency’s most famous climate scientist, James Hansen, from participating in a prominent media interview with National Public Radio…

…In December 2005, NPR’s Boston-based program “On Point” had requested an hour long radio interview with Hansen–a government employee whose salary is paid by the taxpayer–on the subject of global warming.

But the interview request got channeled from the press representative with Hansen’s own institute in New York City to another public affairs officer, George Deutsch, who had previously worked on George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign.

Deutsch soon emailed [NASA's] Dr. Colleen Hartman … saying that the interview request had been discussed “with the 9th Floor [NASA senior leadership], and it was decided that we’d like you to handle this interview.”…

…Other emails from Deutsch … further demonstrate that NASA was trying to steer this interview request away from Hansen–who had become quite vociferous in articulating his [global warming] fears…

…one email from Deutsch stated: “Senior management has asked us not to use Jim Hansen for this interview.” Another email … was still more blunt: “Are [sic] main concern is hitting our messages and not getting dragged down into any discussions we shouldn’t get into.”

These are the lengths the White House has gone to mislead the public about climate change.

Tomorrow, conservatives will continue their confusion campaign, scheduling the discredited political scientist Bjorn Lomborg to follow Gore and minimize the climate crisis.

But as the public has seen how unethical the global warming deniers have been, it’s the empty claims from conservatives that have been minimized.

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