Milloy's National Post Spin is Textbook PR Manipulation

Thu, 2006-08-03 16:12Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Milloy's National Post Spin is Textbook PR Manipulation

Pure junkThe column that Junk Scientist Steven J. Milloy wrote in the National Post Aug. 2, 2006 is a textbook example - a really reprehensible example - of the kind of PR spin that is perverting the global climate change conversation.

Milloy is rising in defence of General Motors, DaimlerChrysler Corp. and the Association of Automobile Manufacturers, all of whom are suing the State if California for trying to strengthen its emissions legislation. In its own defence, in a pretrial discovery motion, California had asked for information on how much these companies were paying a group of “scientists” who are the most outspoken climate change skeptics in the United States.

This is a reasonable request - a quest for transparency and honesty in the conversation. These spokesters (S. Fred Singer, James Glassman, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, Patrick J. Michaels, Thomas Gale Moore, Robert C. Balling, Jr., Sherwood B. Idso, Craig D. Idso, Keith E. Idso, Sallie Baliunas, Paul Reiter, Chris Homer [sic], Ross McKitrick, Julian Morris, Frederick Seitz, Willie Soon, and Steven Milloy) have presented themselves as experts in the public debate and have lobbied hard to undermine public support for emission regulation. It's only fair that we should know the extent to which they have done so because auto and energy industry majors have paid them for their opinions.

We don't actually have to ask the question about Milloy; it's long since been proved that his advocacy skills are for sale to the tobacco industry and, more recently, the energy industry. Yet here he stands accusing California of “intimidation” and saying the State is trying to “gag” climate skeptics. In asking for information that will be illuminating to the taxpaying public, he claims the State is challenging his freedom of speech.

Well, if Milloy is going to be embarrassed by what the State uncovers (and he has previously seemed immune to embarrassment), that speaks to the nature of his activities, not the perfidy of his interrogators.

Milloy then wanders off into freelance slander, denying the central role that our colleague Ross Gelbspan had in winning a Boston Globe Pulitzer Prize, and questioning Ross's character. Milloy repeats this lie at every opportunity even though Ross has been endlessly patient in explaining his involvement, and Ross's colleagues have been endlessly gracious in attesting to his truthfulness.

(For documentation of Gelbspan's role as co-recipient of a 1984 Pulitzer prize story, see a book published by The Boston Globe,  the issue of the paper which published his photo and bio under the headline “Globe Staffers Who Won Pulitzer Prizes,” a letter from the Mayor of Boston congratulating Gelbspan on the prize, a resolution by the newspaper's Board of Directors congratulating him for the prize, and a letter from the project's lead reporter (now a senior editor at the Wall Street Journal), attesting to his central role in the project.)

One final point: It's interesting that this column appeared in the business pages of the National Post, and not, say, in a reputable newspaper in California. Perhaps the U.S. dailies have a different standard than the Post when it comes to accepting self-serving commentary from paid industry apologists.

Comments

If you search the Pulitzer Prize website for “gelbspan”, among nominee or recipients, it doesn’t find the name. If he won the Pulitzer Prize, wouldn’t he be listed as a recipient on the official website? I understand he may have played a role - even a significant one - but to say he won the Prize seems incorrect. Would the Pulitzer committee agree that he won the Pulitzer Prize?
It seems that we have an answer, although it looks like Mr. Gelbspan has chosen to ignore it: http://www.sepp.org/Archive/Publications/pressrel/pulitzer.html Since the committee concluded way back in 1997 that his claims to the prize are fabricated… Well, this does not add much to his credibility on other issues.

I’ve been tossing search terms at Google News and have yet to come up with any mention of this lawsuit. Where has it been covered in “a reputable newspaper in California”?

I think that is his point.

Lindzen repeats this claim.

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2006/08/30/mits_inconvenient_scientist/

<b>
For no apparent reason, the state of California, Environmental Defense, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have dragged Lindzen and about 15 other global- warming skeptics into a lawsuit over auto- emissions standards. California et al . have asked the auto companies to cough up any and all communications they have had with Lindzen and his colleagues, whose research has been cited in court documents.</b>

Does anyone have a direct copy of the lawsuit?   I don’t trust the one posted on Milloy’s website and I can’t seem to find this reproduced by a mainstream newspaper.

http://www.junkscience.com/Skeptics_on_trial.htm