Life Is Convenient When You Define 'Truth'

     If you want to shut down a debate, simply call your opponent a Nazi.

     It’s quick, easy and requires no thought whatsoever.

     Laugh at your opponent without allowing him to speak. Oh, and make a film about your point of view and name it “The Truth.”

     It’s worked well for the global warming bandwagoners – and conservatives can’t seem to get out of defensive mode.

      “Every time you address the Holocaust, you don’t bring somebody in that says it didn’t happen. And we’re at that stage now. We have Holocaust deniers; we have climate change deniers. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference.” That was the blunt assessment of Bill McGuire, an earth sciences professor, on ABC’s Aug. 30, 2006, “20/20.”

     But McGuire isn’t alone. Al Gore has talked about “global warming deniers.” There are journalists who agree, and one of them went so far as to state it publicly.

     CBS’s Scott Pelley was asked why he refused to include global warming skeptics in his reporting. His response: "If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?"  

     The great thinker and communicator C.S. Lewis described the “purely tactical” defining of words as “attempts to appropriate for one side, and to deny to the other, a potent word.” It’s difficult to imagine a more potent word than “denier,” conjuring up images reserved for those who insist Hitler did not command the brutal murder of more than 6 million Jews during World War II.

     The rhetoric on this issue is only beginning. Witness an Oscar nomination for Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth,” a United Nations report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released February 2, and President Bush’s utterance of the words “global climate change” in the State of the Union address.

     As Americans try to make sense of it all, the U.S. media – the likes of Pelley – are hardly objective referees.

     Journalists know better. They’re the ones who supposedly operate under the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics, which exhorts them to “support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant” and to “distinguish between advocacy and news reporting.”

     But The Washington Post’s Business section referred falsely to “global warming denier Exxon Mobil” on Aug. 6, 2006. And CNN’s “In the Money” went over the edge January 27. Its “reporters” laughed hysterically at the mention of oil companies’ efforts to address climate change. The network’s Christine Romans gushed that “we’ve really come a long way on this debate” now that conservatives don’t “inundate” the network with criticism every time they hear the words “global warming” on television.

     Activists have been much stronger in their language. “We should have war crimes trials for these bastards – some sort of climate Nuremberg,” wrote David Roberts of the environmentalist Grist Magazine, describing the climate change “denial industry.” 

     This is the world we live in, where some views are laughed out of news coverage and those who doubt weather forecasts a century into the future are linked rhetorically with mass murderers.

     Since when did denying evidence of historical events become on par with questioning future political agendas?

     From carbon caps to fuel standards, taxes, subsidies and international economics, any policy movement on global warming carries hundreds of billions of ramifications. That’s a lot of taxpayers’ money. It’s about much more than Al Gore’s “carbon footprint” (which, incidentally, includes jetting about spreading his alarmism). It’s also about low-income Americans who need affordable energy.

     The “skeptics” aren’t denying the fact that the Earth has warmed a little more than one degree in the last century. They’re skeptical about this sweeping agenda, international programs that don’t work, and hemorrhaging tax dollars. They’re skeptical that forecasters who can’t predict tomorrow’s weather are somehow certain what will happen 100 or even 10 years from now.

     The American people get it. More than half the population doesn’t believe human activity is causing global warming, according to a recent Pew study.

     Liberal activists have taken that as a call to action – they will now work harder to bully every last one of us into submission. Congress is helping them with hearings and intimidation. The media are helping them with an endless bombardment of propaganda.

     Conservatives can’t stand by and let this browbeating continue. The global warming warriors can call us names all they want, but we can’t let them invade our lives and trash our economy. This isn’t about history – our future is at stake.  

Amy Menefee is deputy editor for the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.