Poll: Democratic Win Reflects National "Awakening" to Climate Crisis

Wed, 2006-12-06 09:25Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Poll: Democratic Win Reflects National "Awakening" to Climate Crisis

Half of Americans who voted in the mid-term elections said concern about global warming made a difference in who they voted for on Election Day 2006, according to a recent Zogby International post-election survey.

Eighty-five percent of these voters who felt global warming was important cast their votes for Democratic Congressional candidates, including 48 percent of Independents and 7 percent of Republicans.

Previous Comments

Mr. Gelbspan: You’ve derided those who have claimed you have lied about receiving a Pulitzer Prize. Yet none other than the Pulitzer Prize Committee itself issued a statement in 1997 saying that you did NOT win the prize and had NO right to claim that you did regardless of what the Boston Globe or anyone else might say. Here is their statement: http://www.sepp.org/Archive/Publications/pressrel/pulitzer.html Continuing to promote this fabricated claim is clearly unethical for anyone; for a journalist to do so is disgraceful. Since you’re obviously willing to lie about the facts when it benefits your case, how can we trust your credibility when it comes to other matters - like global warming - where you clearly have an agenda to promote?

What a surprise that the link left anonymously leads to S. Fred Singer 's industry front the Science and Environmental Policy Project, and that the suggested contact is Mrs. Singer, Candace Crandall. Ross has answered this Pulitzer “controversy” 100 times: he was indeed the editor in charge of the Pulitzer-winning project to which the paper and the reporters involved have attested.

I wonder, though, at what point the denial community might engage Ross on the facts of his climate change reporting, rather than pursuing this tiresome and unrelated slander.

Richard,

Have I not been engaging Ross on the facts of his climate change reporting?

I know the facts of the Pul. Prize issue. If it is important to Ross to state things the way that he has, I really do not care. As the editor, he clearly had some some influence on the team members who won the prize.

In my opinion, dwelling on the prize issue is an ad hominem argument and I agree with you that it has no place on this blog.

I respectfully disagree. I don’t doubt he had a lot to do with the story. He still didn’t win the prize and he knew he didn’t win it. Yet he still claimed he did for a long time and he let others make that claim on his behalf. The fact that Mr. Gelbspan (1) is a public figure, (2) claims to be an authority on global warming, and (3) is a professional jouralist makes the question of honesty and credibility extremely germaine. He is not a member of the debate team. If he knowingly lied about something that was to his benefit when he thought he could get away with it, it is not an ad hominen argument to question whether he might do the same when it comes to an area in which he has a vested interest and claims to be an authority.
I respectfully think you’re an idiot for throwing up a red-herring to try to discredit the work of Ross Gelbspan. He’s an accomplished author, a respected journalist and has been studying the issue of global warming for the more than a decade. Why don’t you print your full name and address and then claim that Mr. Gelbspan “knowingly lied.” Or, feel free to hide behind your anonymity and say whatever you want to say.

It's DeSmog policy that all posts beginning, “Respectfully, you're an idiot,” should be addressed to me; I get danger pay.

Okay, no I don't. But as my old mum should have said, any time you, Johnny, or you, Anon, find yourself beginning a sentence, “respectfully,” or worse, “with all DUE respect,” you might take a moment to question the sincerity of what is to follow.

I also recommend the rule that applies to judges. If you call a judge an idiot, that's contempt of court. If you say that his judgment was, in this instance, idiotic, that's acceptable legal banter.

In this case, I don't think Anon's comments are idiotic so much as they are malicious character assassination for its own sake. He or she can't deal with Ross's reporting and so attacks the man on an issue I still find tiresome, irrelevant and thoroughly canvassed elsewhere.

And, Brooks, thanks for standing up on this one. If we can keep building on these little points of agreement, I'm optimistic we might one day forge a working consensus on some big issue ….

Johnny: I don’t see what posting my name and address has to do with anything. You don’t seem to post your name and address so I’m not sure where you’re coming from. I’ll at least take the time to type in a screen name, maybe that will help. It doesn’t seem like anyone disagrees that Mr. Gelbspan knowingly mislead people about receiving the Pulitzer Prize, we just disagree about how important that fact is to his present work. I don’t doubt Mr. Gelbspan is a qualified journalist. I do doubt he has the background - or has taken the time - to really understand climate science. Based on his writing, I think he’s got a pretty surface level understanding of the science. In spite of that, he has very successfully used his journalism experience to exploit the issue. (As Johnny just demonstrated, the global warming debate has become home to a lot of emotional people who are easily hoodwinked when bad science meets good journalism skills.) In the process, Mr. Gelbspan has managed to carve out a pretty lucrative retirement for himself that would be threatened by any evidence that global warming is not the danger to civilization that he claims. And, as I said, he’s not just a member of a debate team. He poses as an expert on the topic and makes himself available to the press in that capacity. So, do we trust that he would honestly present the facts wherever they lead, even if they threatened his livelihood? That’s where the issue of past ethics comes in. I think the fact that Mr. Gelbspan hasn’t admitted to or apologized for his indiscretion - and that he continues to defend it - makes it a very relevant issue. Of course, now that I’ve run into the pure genius of Johnny’s argument, I may have to rethink that.

It appears to me that your argument is that because Ross Gelbspan might have a skeleton in his closet that this effects everything that he writes. Since the distribution of saints is rather limited, I am quite certain that everyone on this blog has a skeleton hiding somewhere. Does this mean that nothing any of us says matters?

Let’s deal with the logic and facts of peoples’ arguments and avoid faulty logic of ad homenim arguments. If there is an acceptance of one logical fallacy, then what is to prevent all the other logical fallacies from flooding in? Before we know it, there will be no basis for any arguments.

There is more than enough faulty logic in the press these days. We do not need to add to it here.

For a journalist - whose professional credibilty is based on trust - to lie about receiving a major journalism award is a little more significant than just an old skeleton in the closet. Hey, I’m far from perfect, but as an adult I don’t lie. The only exception I can think of is to spare someone’s feelings in a case where no one else will be hurt. When I catch someone lying to me strictly to improve their hand I don’t trust them anymore.

Anonymous, are you calling Mr. Gelbspan a liar? It seems as though you are. Now why don’t you be a man and step out from that “Anonymous” curtain you are hiding behind and identify yourself. Or are you one of those so-called “Chicken-hawks” that Al Franken talks about, those who supported the Vietnam War but did everything in their power (of which they had much) to avoid the draft or to get multiple draft deferrals?

Regrettably, Fred Singer continues his characteristic dishonesty. He omits the portion of the letter from then-Pulitzer Administrator Topping in which he says he is specifically not making a judgment on my particular case. If fact, the Pulitzer Prize is awarded to both the named reporters of an article or series – and to the newspaper itself. In this case, the publisher and editor-in-chief designated me a co-recipient on behalf of the Boston Globe since I had conceived, directed and edited a series of articles which won a Pulitzer in 1984. As evidence, I have posted on my website 5 documents, including: 1) a page from the Boston Globe which contains my photo and bio under the headline “Globe Staffers Who Won Pulitzers; 2) a resolution from the Board of Director of the Boston Globe congratulating me on my role in the Pulitzer; 3) a page from the Boston Globe's yearbook listing me as a Pulitzer recipient; 4) a letter from the series' lead reporter attesting to my central role in winning the prize; 5) a letter from the then-Mayor of Boston congratulating me on the Pulitzer. It has long been clear that Singer and the coal industry resorted to this campaign of character assassination because they could find no errors in my earlier book, “The Heat Is On,” which exposed the covert funding of scientists like Singer by the fossil fuel lobby.

Now, if only Singer would stop proclaiming he had received no oil funding for the past 25 years  – when in fact he received thousands of dollars  in funding from ExxonMobil in 1998 alone. Unfortunately, Singer is constitutionally incapable of this kind of honesty.

The link to the Zogby poll put things in perspective.

Global warming was overshadowed in this election by the dominant issue of Iraq,” said John Zogby. “But exit polling shows that global warming was a sleeper issue that may have snuck up on politicians in close races.

GW “may” have been a “sleeper” issue. It’s a real stretch to say that it was a deciding factor in the election.

I can't find any reference that says it was a “deciding factor.” Zogby says it was a “sleeper” issue. Ross reports it as a “sleeper” issue. My guess is that it was a “sleeper” issue. What do you think, Brooks?

Richard,

Although I live in California, I spent much of the election season in Ohio dealing with family issues. Based on what was raised in TV and radio ads, GW was not much of an issue.

In addition to Iraq, there were a lot ethics related issues (smears if you will). The campaigns that I witnessed got downright dirty in the final few weeks. GW may have come up in some races, however there were many other issues which were much more visible nationwide.

I did not get a chance to see the election coverage from Canada, but I would expect that it was rather similar to what we saw on the media south of the border.

The downside in this story is that fully half of Americans who voted DON’T think GW is important. Good grief! There is much work to be done, and this blog is one place where that work is being done with passion and commitment. Keep up the good work! The correlation of Republicans with those who don’t see the importance of GW is clear.

 The Republican strategy of swiftboating is clearly correlated with the denier movement as well, as we see above. The outcome is that average people who trust their Republican leadership are deprived of needed facts and truths. They are betrayed, and their lives will be diminished as a result.

Eleeson,

You have made a good point, although I do not think that you realized it. The important point that you made is that science should not be politicized. Every time that science has been politicized in the past, science has suffered.

The GW issue has been politicized by both sides of the issue. You pointed out correctly that the non-alarmist side tends to be Republicans (in the US) and the Global Warming proponants tend to be Democrats (in the US). Politicians being what they are, there is BS on both sides.

Most politicians took their last science class in high school, consequently, they do not understand the scientific arguments on either side. Some rely on their advisors, who are hopefully much better versed in the science than are the politicians themselves. Some rely on outside sources. Some, sadly only use the talking points of their parties’ extremes.

There are hacks on both sides of the aisle. If you could read the statements that politicians make without knowing who they were, you would find that both sides make some incredibly stupid statements. I know that it is reassuring to believe that all the morons are on the other side of the argument, but this is seldom the case. It is certainly not true with GW issues, although we tend to excuse the idiotic statements of those with whom we typically agree.

We can not forget about the monetary issues. There is money aplenty spent on this issue, and it is not restricted only to the other side. Michaels got $100,000 from the fossil fuels industry over the past couple of years. Mann received $246,000 this year to write a paper, which is posted on his web site. You are free to attribute nefarious motives to only one side in this, but to do so is to ignore human nature. Anyone who receives funding will try to please the groups who provide it. It is an unfortunate fact that anyone who provides funding seems to have some agenda. Government funding is pretty much as agenda driven as is other funding because the agency heads have their own agendas. Bureacrats are driven to increase their budgets. If funding certain research helps guarantee a bigger budget for next year, they will certainly do it.

To solve this issue, we need to de-politicize it. Attributing evil motives to the other side without seeing less than savory motives at work on your side will not solve the problem.

We may not agree about how relevent Gelbspan’s past fabrications are to his current work. I’m not sure we would agree about global warming issues in general. And I’m not optimistic we’ll see even a modicum of objectivity around this issue any time soon. But I’ve gained a whole lot of respect for your thinking based on this post. Well said.

…but taking the “pox on both houses” approach will not suffice here. This is slippery rhetoric aimed at undermining the one side that does have credibility on this issue. The Republican position on GW and the environment in general is deconstructing before our eyes. They are on the wrong side of history. The solutions to this problem will be many, and that includes political solutions. We need to work with a support politicians who understand the importance of the issue and are willing to play their part in a larger combination of forces. Sure, let’s not politicize the science. Let’s just read it, interpret it, and translate what it is telling us into action. A part of that action will be political action. That’s not the same thing as politicizing science.

Finally, what is an “evil motive”? To me, taking money to spin lies on such a crucially important subject is evil, or bad, or reprehensible…you pick your word. I feel it strongly when I look at my one-year-old and understand what she will have to contend with as a result of every denier generated delay in dealing with this issue.