Energy & Environment

Media Muzzles Climate Change Debate

You may never have heard of Dr. James Hansen of NASA, whom the Left bills as the “world’s leading climate scientist.” This status was not achieved by virtue of training (he’s an astronomer), but because he’s the world’s most hysterical scientist on the issue who also happens to have a job with the United States government. As such, he was a useful idiot for the media these past eight years.

Hansen’s obscurity is so great that he only managed to appear in or be the subject of two thousand “news” items during the George W. Bush presidency. As Hansen told hundreds and hundreds of reporters, he was being “muzzled” during that time.

Hansen also claimed the same thing during the tenure of George H.W. Bush, so this cri de coeur may appear to have a lot more to do with Hansen’s politics and personal pique than any actual muzzling, however warranted a muzzle would have been, given that Hansen uses a taxpayer-funded perch as an astronomer to make all manner of policy demands (and offer a sideline of serving as an expert witness when alarmists legislate or their lawbreaking colleagues are put on trial).

Regardless of your exposure to this shrinking violet, you might be interested to learn that someone who ought to know has said the guy’s full of…well, more than just himself.

That story you really did miss, since none of those media outlets touting Hansen’s alarmism and plight saw fit to note, is that his former boss — speaking now from the safety of retirement — has said in writing that Hansen embarrassed his agency (NASA), is not supported by science, and was never muzzled.

This comes to us from Dr. John S. Theon, the former Chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program who was responsible for all weather and climate research in the agency for a dozen years. In a letter sent last month to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, Theon wrote, “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man-made”.

He went on to slam those several hundred million dollars sunk into “climate model” PlayStations that have proved “useless”. Given that these games still say the planet is warming even while it now cools, Theon’s conclusion is as obvious as a quick Nexis search would have been to the desperate scribblers writing about Hansen’s supposed muzzling.

Mere days later, we learned the pork-laden “stimulus” bill bears $600 million for satellite monitoring of the climate and, even better, $140 million more is thrown in to try to fix those same computer models. That’s at least $140 million more reasons to realize they are not ready for the assignment given them, which is to serve — this year, they tell us — as the premise for trillion-dollar policy decisions and U.S. commitment to a new, deeper Kyoto global warming treaty.

This, apparently, is what President Obama meant by that line about restoring science to its rightful place: on the sidelines where it won’t get in the way.

Former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer welcomed Theon’s admissions, if while also wondering why, yet again, such honesty is only liberated upon retirement. As I detail in Red Hot Lies, this is indeed a pattern, as is another pattern exhibited by Dr. Theon: conversion, from buying into the hype, to climate realism.

The same EPW committee staff prepared a list of scientists experiencing similar evolution to reality. So, one might ask, where is the alarmists’ list of such conversions to their team? They don’t have one any more than they’ve been able to provide some evidence — anything — supporting their insistence that the overwhelming majority of scientists agree with their prophesying.

The best the alarmists can do in the face of this is try, every time, to sneak phony names on such petition lists so as to presumably taint the other 31,000.

Don’t expect parity in this debate any more than we should expect the media to provide something resembling equal treatment when it comes to all matters Hansen, their favorite interviewee.

As I have chronicled, one side in this debate issues death threats, professional threats, physical attacks, and condemnations of those who refuse to submit as ignorant, corrupt or a drooling old fool. The other side doesn’t. One side insists on telling you what you simply must think; the other simply asks you to think.

Thought, like speech, of course, is “dangerous,” as the chief EPW staffer behind these described efforts was just called by a leading alarmist organ. Thought leads to all sorts of things, like resistance. And resistance could cause the entire, multi-billion dollar global warming industry to crumble, and crumble fast in times such as these.

So, just to be safe, the media finally found that legendary muzzle, and applied it to themselves.

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