Nets That Touted 'Deniers' 'Conspiracy,' Now Mum on Left's Global Warming Distortions
Published: 11/24/2009 12:34 PM ET
As of Tuesday morning, the broadcast networks still haven't uttered a single word about the revelations late last week of e-mails showing scientists on the left-wing side of the global warming debate plotting to hide data and silence those on the other side in an effort prop up the notion of a "consensus" on the issue. But when the liberal side of the debate charged that their opponents were involved in a "conspiracy" to tilt the debate in their favor, those same networks eagerly jumped on the story and castigated the evil "deniers."
In 2007, as Brent Baker chronicled at the time in the MRC's CyberAlert, the broadcast network evening newscasts jumped to hype a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing meant to publicize a report from two far-left groups about how the Bush administration supposedly suppressed science about the dire threat of global warming - as if that view wasn't getting plenty of play in the mainstream media
"The question in Washington today was this," anchor Brian Williams intoned in leading the January 30, 2007 NBC Nightly News: "Did the Bush administration in any way try to cook the books on the topic of global warming? Government scientists were called before a congressional committee today and asked if the White House or anyone else ever tried to stifle or squelch or silence the evidence that climate change is taking place around the globe." Andrea Mitchell refused to properly label the groups as she trumpeted: "With Democrats holding the gavel in both houses, advocacy groups were given the chance to present a new study revealing unprecedented and widespread interference with scientific reports, largely by a former oil industry lobbyist working for the White House."
The next morning on NBC's Today, Matt Lauer hyped: "A controversy in Washington over what literally could be the end of the world as we know it. Did the Bush administration freeze out scientists trying to sound the alarm on global warming?"
Writing at her "Couric & Co." blog a few weeks later (February 26, 2007), CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric suggested that the only experts who disagreed with Al Gore's fear-mongering were paid off by special interests: "It seems like we're reaching critical mass when it comes to this issue. And all the experts agree. Well, almost every expert. (There are a handful of scientists - many of them on the payroll of big oil companies - who wonder if global warming is a reality.)"
In an August 13, 2007 cover story, Newsweek targeted the "well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change." Correspondent Sharon Begley impugned: "Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change."
Less than a week before the 2004 presidential election, on the October 27, 2004 CBS Evening News, Dan Rather trotted out the claims of a leading scientist on the liberal side of the debate: "A top government scientist is accusing President Bush of suppressing evidence that human activities contribute to dangerous global warming. NASA's James Hansen says scientific findings on the environment are, quote, 'screened and controlled' by the Bush administration."
In 2003, liberals yelped when the Bush administration changed the wording of an EPA report on warming. The June 19, 2003 New York Times ran a front-page story highlighting the concerns of rabid environmentalists; that night, all three networks pushed the story (with the exact same spin) on their evening broadcasts.
Barry Serafin intoned on ABC's World News Tonight: "Environmentalists are angry about what they regard as science pushed aside by politics. A number of studies have concluded that global warming is increasing and can be partly attributed to emissions from smokestacks and tail pipes."
CBS's Dan Rather announced: "President Bush has been criticized at home and abroad for pulling out of the international treaty to curb global warming, the Kyoto Treaty. Now, CBS's John Roberts reports, conservationists, environmentalists and some others are taking the President to task for what they say was the cynical changing of a major report on global warming. They say it was altered to put hardball partisan politics over hard independent science."
John Roberts began, over video of a couple dozen people with tape over mouths: "Gagged and angry, environmentalists today denounced the Bush administration for censoring the scientific evidence on global warming."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw warned: "Taken out were sections dealing with the implications of climate change. The Bush administration claims they didn't contain sound science. All of this is raising questions on Capitol Hill for a White House that's already been criticized for bailing out of the Kyoto global warming treaty."
On Saturday, the New York Times ran a front-page story about the exposure of the censorious tactics of left-wing climate scientists, but that night the networks refused to notice. Double standard, anyone?
-Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center.