As if this week’s Rupert Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal wasn’t enough, it now appears that the University of East Anglia CRU email hacking scandal (a.k.a. Climategate) might actually be the work of the same News Corp henchman who helped to feed insider information from a Scotland Yard police investigation directly to Murdoch’s News Corp.
Neil Wallis, one of the key figures in the hacking of the phones, voicemails and electronic communications of anywhere from 4,000 to over 12,000 people, was essentially a double agent working by day as Executive Director of News of the World, and simultaneously as a public relations consultant during the police investigation into the scandal. Wallis conveniently reported back to News Corp on Scotland Yard’s investigation.
While Murdoch’s henchmen were getting the skinny on the police investigation, the police were convincing other news organizations not to cover the story.
After the November 2009 hacking of the computer server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, the victimized climate science unit sought public relations guidance to help fight back against allegations of scientific misconduct.
Glenn Beck in trying to deny global warming, told his sheep that the hottest year in global history was 1934 - actually 1934 was the hottest year in American history, whereas the globe, where all of us live, the hottest year was 2005, followed by 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006. I mean I know facts aren't mandatory in what you do, but isn't it embarrassing when you get them wrong every night.”
On a technical note (a very minor one), according to NOAA, the organization charged with officially monitoring US surface temperatures, the hottest year on record in the United States is still 1998. Minor point though, because as we all know, expect for maybe Glenn Beck, it's called “global warming,” not “American warming.”
Accuracy in Media (AIM) is a New Right website that claims dedication to promoting “fairness, balance and accuracy in news reporting.” But this post gives a wonderful example of how twisted this “impartial” media monitoring has become. AIM assails MSNBC-TV host Keith Olbermann for suggesting that there might be a top-down, pro-Bush bias in his organization. Not possible, AIM claims, because NBC is owned by GE, which famously acknowledges that climate change is a real and pressing problem - in obvious contradiction to the Bush administration's position.
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.