ABC and CBS discounted the scientific relevance of the admissions
and obfuscations displayed in the ClimateGate e-mails, but on Wednesday
night they finally devoted full stories to the controversy and quoted
the "most-damning" of the e-mails, the ones referring to a "trick" to
"hide the decline" in a temperature measurement and in which a
scientist fretted "we can't account for the lack of warming at the
moment, and it is a travesty that we can't."
The two networks, however, painted the "stolen" e-mails not as laudatory whistle-blowing, but as an unwanted impediment to the left's global warming agenda. "Just as the world seems finally poised to do something about global warming, an inconvenient scandal," ABC's David Wright began in playing off the title of Al Gore's movie. He despaired that "as the controversy heats up, the consensus about making the tough choices to curb carbon emissions threatens to crumble."
On CBS, Wyatt Andrews relayed how "to many Republicans, Climategate proves that global warming is a deception," before he countered: "But if that's true, it's a fraud adopted by most of the world's leading scientists, along with NASA, the U.N., the American Medical Association, and the National Academies of Science of 32 countries, including the United States. To most of them, Climategate is a sideshow compared to one overwhelming fact:" Viewers then were treated to this declaration from the scientist with the "hide the decline" boast: "The last decade is the warmest decade on record."
ABC anchor Charles Gibson set up the World News segment:
In Copenhagen right now, world leaders are focused on the long-term and potentially devastating effects of climate change, global warming. And for all the scientific ammunition being presented at the U.N. conference, some stolen e-mails are giving encouragement to global warming skeptics.
Meanwhile, NBC continued its blackout of any embarrassing
disclosures in the e-mails as anchor Brian Williams introduced a story:
As we've been reporting, there's been a world conference going on in Copenhagen. It's about climate change and global warming, but that subject heated up here today with a newspaper article by Sarah Palin, and then a return shot from Al Gore.
Reporter Anne Thompson concluded with the usual agenda: "At the
climate talks, the bigger issue is American credibility, and will the
United States live up to its promise to cut carbon dioxide emissions?"
Earlier rundowns of how the evening newscasts have ignored and dismissed ClimateGate:
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the
video to provide these transcripts of the stories on the Wednesday,
December 9 evening newscasts:
ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON, IN OPENING TEASER: Hot topic: Did scientists skew their research to support theories about global warming? ...
GIBSON, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: And still ahead on World News, have global warming skeptics found a smoking gun? The controversy over climate change will be our "Closer Look."
GIBSON: We began tonight's broadcast with the powerful blast of bitter cold and snow that's blanketing much of the country - and its powerful, to be sure. But its effects will be short-lived. In contrast, in Copenhagen right now, world leaders are focused on the long-term and potentially devastating effects of climate change, global warming. And for all the scientific ammunition being presented at the U.N. conference, some stolen e-mails are giving encouragement to global warming skeptics. David Wright has our "Closer Look."
DAVID WRIGHT: Just as the world seems finally poised to do something about global warming, an inconvenient scandal.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Let's start with the science that has been so settled for all these years.
WRIGHT: Skeptics of climate change suddenly have plenty of new fodder.
REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R-WI): There is increasing evidence of scientific fascism that's going on.
WRIGHT: 1,000 e-mails dating back more than a dozen years stolen from a top climate research center in Britain.
SENATOR JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): For the taxpayers' sake, let's look at this controversy from top to bottom.
WRIGHT: As the controversy heats up, the consensus about making the tough choices to curb carbon emissions threatens to crumble.
JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: Poor Al Gore! Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh!
WRIGHT: In the e-mails, the scientists are downright dismissive of naysayers. In one message, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore Labs offers to "beat the crap out of" a leading skeptic. In another, Penn State's Michael Mann suggests hiding data from dissenters, writing, "This is the sort of 'dirty laundry' one doesn't want to fall into the wrong hands."
MICHAEL MANN: Imagine somebody going through all of the emails you ever sent, looking for a single word or phrase that could be twisted.
WRIGHT: One of the most damning e-mail exchanges credits Mann with a "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures. In another, the head of the National Center for Atmospheric Research writes a colleague, "The fact is, we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can't."
KEVIN TRENBERTH, NATIONAL CENTER FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH: It shows human nature at work, but I don't think it throws any, casts any aspersions on the science.
WRIGHT: Global warming may be a scientific issue, but it's also a hot-button political debate. So right now, the scientists aren't the only ones on the defensive. Politicians are, too.
LISA JACKSON, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: There is nothing in the hacked e-mails that undermines the science.
WRIGHT: That may be true, but the e-mails threaten to undermine the political effort under way in Copenhagen.
JAMES HOGGAN, HOGGAN AND ASSOCIATES PR: This is going to get worse. They are going to use this and blow it up way beyond anything that the evidence supports.
WRIGHT: At a recent book signing in Chicago, Al Gore was a soft target.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER: Research Climategate! This guy is a fraud! It's a scam!
WRIGHT: The protesters wasted little time posting their antics online, where their message now has a worldwide megaphone. David Wright, ABC News, Washington.
CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: President Obama will be spending a lot of time on Air Force One. He's flying tonight to Oslo where he'll accept the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow. He returns home on Friday. But next week, it's back to Scandinavia for the climate conference in Copenhagen. The U.S. and China squared off there today, each accusing the other of failing to cut greenhouse gases. And Wyatt Andrews tells us the entire conference is taking place under a cloud that's become known as Climategate.
WYATT ANDREWS: To anyone skeptical about the science of global warming-
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): Climategate.
REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): Climategate.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): Climategate.
ANDREWS: -Climategate is the biggest scandal ever.
GLENN BECK: They're just cooking the books.
ANDREWS: Climategate is the term being used for a handful of e-mails stolen last month from the influential CRU, the Climatic Research Unit in England. By far, the most embarrassing e-mail is from 1999 in which CRU's director Phil Jones brags that he's used a trick to "hide the decline." "Hide the decline" meaning hiding studies from tree rings that show the earth cooling since 1960 when actual temperatures show a trend toward warming. The phrase "hide the decline" is now so infamous it's being spoofed on YoutTube.
CLIP OF VIDEO WITH CARTOONS OF PROF MICHAEL MANN AND A COW SINGING:: Hide the decline, hide the decline.
ANDREWS: And the fact that global temperatures have gone down in some years was in other e-mails, with one scientist lamenting, "we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we cant." To many Republicans, Climategate proves that global warming is a deception.
REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R-WI): And at worst it's junk science, and it is a part of a massive international scientific fraud.
ANDREWS: But if that's true, it's a fraud adopted by most of the world's leading scientists, along with NASA, the U.N., the American Medical Association, and the National Academies of Science of 32 countries, including the United States. To most of them, Climategate is a sideshow compared to one overwhelming fact:
PROF. MICHAEL MANN: The last decade is the warmest decade on record.
ANDREWS: Michael Mann is the professor who's being lampooned in that YouTube video. Mann says "hide the decline" was never an attempt to deceive, it was the use of real temperatures to show a real trend.
MANN: Those who deny the existence of this problem, who don't have the science on their side, have instead engaged in a smear campaign to distract the public, to distract policymakers.
ANDREWS: Climategate advocates do want political traction. They hope any uncertainty over manmade global warming might change the President's plan to offer CO2 cuts in Copenhagen next week. Wyatt Andrews, CBS News, Washington.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center