Stossel and Scarborough love fest, also a misinformation fest

Thu, 2006-06-29 11:23Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Stossel and Scarborough love fest, also a misinformation fest

There is nothing more scary than two journalists interviewing each other, except maybe when both the journalists are armed with bad information and ideological blinders. In a bizarre spot last night on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” we were witness to ABC’s John Stossel and host Joe Scarborough spouting a continuous stream of PR spin and misinformation on the issue of climate change.

We need to give great credit though to Tyson Slocum, Director of Energy Program for the non-profit group Public Citizen, for making a bold attempt to somehow get through to these two talking-heads.

Here are the most absurd of the excerpts:

Stossel on Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Subsidies to the fossil fuel industry is “… a tiny bit of money.”

Now, finding a very definitive amount of money the US government provides in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry is (not surprisingly) hard to nail down, but let’s take an average of the numbers floating around out there and say about $15 billion a year, or in other words, $150 billion over 10 years. Tiny amount of money indeed, John.

Stossel on global warming:
Claims the National Research Council’s widely publicized report last week concludes that “… we can’t rule out that these [the causes of global warming] are all natural influences.”

This morning we begrudgingly pored over all 157 pages of the report again and we cannot find where this conclusion is made.

We did find these conclusions in the report though:

“…the simulations are in agreement that anthropogenic [man-made] forcing is the largest contributor to late 20th century warmth.”

“Based on current estimates, variations in natural climate forcings over the last 2,000 years were much less than the increase in current greenhouse forcing due to human activities.”

“The committee pointed out that surface temperature reconstructions for periods before the Industrial Revolution – when levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases were much lower – are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that current warming is occurring in response to human activities, and they are not the primary evidence.”

In other words the NRC report clearly concludes that global warming is happening and the scientific evidence shows that it is caused by humans.

So where does Stossel read “… we can’t rule out that these are all natural influences?”

Stossel on Solutions to Global Warming
“So what would those [energy policies] be, those changed energy policies? Gas would cost $10 per gallon?”

This is an old PR trick, shape your messaging in a way that resonates with the “average joe.” As republican spinster Frank Luntz counsels: don’t talk in big terms, create statements that resonate with the consumer, talk about how we will have to all turn of our lights and pay more for gas.

I don’t know about down in the US, but here in Canada a recent blue ribbon panel report came out showing that Canada could reduce it’s GHG emissions by 60% by 2050 and remain as prosperous economically as ever.

Scarborough on Other Countries
In an attempt to re-direct the debate and blame anybody but the US for global warming, Scarborough states: “We have China and India that don’t have any environmental regulations.”

Tyson Slocum shot right back with the fact that: “China just introduced stronger fuel economy standards than the US has” and that “…. the US, with 5% of the world’s population contributes 25% of the world’s CO2.”

Stossel on Political Science
Tyson Slocum states that “what we clearly need [to battle global warming] is international cooperation.”

And Stossel’s rebuttal to Slocum'statement: “… sounds like socialism to me.”

How is this socialism? I don’t get it. Is the international cooperation currently underway in Afghanistan socialism? According to Stossel, I guess it is. So why does Stossel make such an absurd statement? The answer is simple, it plays to his right-wing audience who can easily be convinced that something is useless if Stossel tags it as socialist.

Scarborough concludes his show by given a quick summation of the “… myths, lies and downright stupidity that Gore and others may be giving America.” It would seem that Scarborough and Stosell need to look no further than their own backyards for all the myths, lies and downright stupidity they need.

In the space of six days, Rupert Murdoch's The Australian newspaper has published five news stories and an opinion piece attacking the credibility of the Australian government's weather and climate agency, the Bureau of Meteorology.

I've covered the guts of the early stories over on my Planet Oz blog for The Guardian.

But the core of it is that Dr Jennifer Marohasy, a former Institute of Public Affairs free market...

read more