On Sunday, June 18, the DeSmogBlog received an email from Dr. S. Fred Singer, in which he says, “Yr (sic) June 16 blog contains the false statement that I sold my services to tobacco lobbyists.”
Dr. Singer goes on to “demand a full retraction and apology from the blog,” and he asks that we publish the following statement: “Dr. Singer and SEPP (Science & Environmental Policy Project) have no connection whatsoever with the tobacco industry, now or in the past. As a matter of policy, SEPP does not solicit funds or other kinds of support from any industry or from government, but relies on tax-deductible donations from foundations and individuals in many countries. Further, Dr. Singer serves on the Advisory Board of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), an organization that has a strong anti-smoking position.”
We have no comment on the ACSH, but Dr. Singer’s main point – that he has “no connection whatsoever with the tobacco industry, now or in the past” – strains credulity.
As much as we despise the deceptive comments and PR trickery of the industry-funded automatons bent on denying climate change, we are equally offended by muddle-headed environmentalists who skew the conversation through intentional or emotional overstatment.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.