Lazy, Transparent Propaganda

Booman already covered most of what needed to be said about this ridiculous piece of propaganda from (surprise) Fox News, but I just wanted to add my two cents. First, the techniques of propaganda are classic, and the claims are rebuted by Booman and the experts at Real Climate. I was more interested in the identities of the "scientists" interviewed by the propagandist, and how they came in contact.

An article like this doesn't just write itself in the same way that, say, covering an event would. The Fox News propagandist had to decide to do a story on the AP article, and then go out and find people to quote for it. So who to quote? Did he/she read up on the climate change literature and go to often cited authors? Did he/she go to some respected scientific organization (like the National Academy of Sciences and ask to be referred to an expert in good standing? Or did the propagandist just google around for other climate change denying propaganda and go get the same "experts?"

It looks like the latter route won out. As I read the Fox News piece I immdeiatly figured, "I bet this isn't the first climate change denial article these folks have been quoted for." And I was right!

Let's briefly touch on each "expert;"

David Deming

This geologist from the University of Oklahoma and climate change denier has been at this game long enough to have his own wikipedia page about it. Suffice it to say, his name has appeared before attached to these views. Unsurprisingly, he also works for the National Center for Policy Analysis (Sourcewatch page), a rightwing think tank that gets funded by, among others, Exxon Mobil. How convenient!

Michael R. Fox

This retired nuclear scientist and chemistry professor (those are climate science credentials?) works for the Sutherland Institute (Sourcewatch) and the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (Sourcewatch), both of which are funded by the rightwing CATO institute, which itself is funded by all manner of good corporate citizens, like Exxon Mobil, Altria, General Motors, and R.J. Reynolds tobacco. I can just smell the "good science!" Mr. Fox, of course, has also written and spoken frequently about denying climate change, most often it seems for the Heartland Institute (Sourcewatch), which (surprise!) is funded by Exxon Mobil.

James O'Brien

Finally, Dr. O'Brien, the closest thing to an active climatologist cited in the propaganda piece. Dr. O'Brien was very active in the wake of hurricane Katrina, giving this interview to the noted scientific journal "Capitalism Magazine," and a month later writing this report for the George C. Marshall Institue (Sourcewatch), which is funded by (everyone together now) Exxon Mobil.

This isn't a comprehensive summary of their affiliations or connections, of course. This is 5 minutes worth of Googling, which is about exactly what the unnamed propagandist at Fox News did to find three stooges to quote for that piece of garbage.

This is one of the thousands of reasons why Fox News sucks.

Good work, not just digging

Good work, not just digging but showing others how to dig. (In other words, you don't just provide a fish; you show others how and where to catch their own fish.) One suggestion, not criticism: My wife and I have a bumper sticker on our car that says, "Fox--All lies, all the time." Fox is immune to criticism, and the people who rely on Fox (like George Bush?) find comfort in the lies.

The real target should be the other corporate media. We need to convince them that to have on a legitimate, world-class scientist like Jim Hansen and counter him with a bought and paid-for tool like one of these three, and then call it "fair and balanced," is a deliberate lie and serious disservice, not just to U.S. citizens, but to every living creature on the planet.

That's where readers should write with information like this, plus the information they dig up for themselves. Pre-emptively, not waiting until the harm is done and then complaining about it.