Al Gore | Global Warming | News

Al Gore Tired of Opposing Discredited Climate Skeptics

In an interview with Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore yesterday on the Today show, criticized Meredith Vieira and other reporters who use discredited climate skeptics in their reporting for the sake of simply presenting an "opposing view" in order to make global warming a "story".

Vieira used a recent op-ed by John Christy, a former member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which shared the Nobel this year with Gore), as a form of opposition research on the matter.

Replied Gore: "...[John Christy is] an outlier. He no longer belongs to the IPCC, and he is way outside the scientific consensus. But, Meredith, part of the challenge the news media has had in covering this story is the old habit of taking the on the one hand, on the other hand approach. There are still people who believe that the Earth is flat, but when you’re reporting on a story like the one you’re covering today, where you have people all around the world, you don’t take — you don’t search out for someone who still believes the Earth is flat and give them equal time."

Think Progress offers a few more examples of media sloppiness on the issue:

"Last month, for example, Colorado State University professor Dr. William Gray sharply criticized Gore, saying that he is 'brainwashing our children' on global warming. His comments were covered by multiple major cable networks and newspapers (with no mention that he also once compared Gore to Hilter). Additionally, Media Matters documented that the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, CNN, and Fox News all recently reported that a British judge pointed out nine 'errors' in Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, without “mentioning that he also stated in the ruling that the film is 'substantially founded upon scientific research and fact.'"

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  1. So Gore's message in a nutshell is: People shouldn't mention opposition to my viewpoint because anyone who disagrees with me is the intellectual equivalent of a flat-earther. Who ever would have guessed a Nobel Peace Prize would make Gore even more insufferable...

    Posted by: kipp | Nov 6, 2007 12:01:37 PM

  2. No, Kipp, that's not his message at all. WTF? Is it retard day at Towleroad?

    His point was that global warming is not a "viewpoint" that can be debated.

    Posted by: crispy | Nov 6, 2007 12:10:27 PM

  3. ...and the time for "Opposing [nutcase] viewpoints" is well over.

    Go Al! Put the idiots in their places!

    Posted by: Rad | Nov 6, 2007 12:18:22 PM

  4. Thanks for unintentionally reiterating my point, Crispy. Without knowing what I think about global warming, you assume I'm a retard because I criticized Al Gore.

    Posted by: kipp | Nov 6, 2007 12:18:39 PM

  5. People who think we have no effect on our environment are flat-earthers. Worse than them actually, they're killing us. Has the ridiculous "Fair & Balanced" motto of Fox News poisoned reason and logic for good?

    Some things are just facts. Not every issue has two sides.

    Posted by: Marco | Nov 6, 2007 12:20:12 PM

  6. Kipp--

    There aren't two equally supported sides to global warming; that's Gore's point. For the media to portray this as if there were real disagreement among scientists is inaccurate and damaging.

    Gore is not saying no one should be allowed to disagree with him. He's saying that anyone who still denies human-influenced global warming is the intellectual equivalent of a flat-earther.

    And he's right.

    Posted by: Dan E | Nov 6, 2007 12:23:03 PM

  7. Kipp, he's saying you're a retard because you clearly didn't understand the post.

    Kipp, re-read this part, very carefully. I added emphasis to make it easier for you:

    He's against "... reporters who use DISCREDITED climate skeptics in their reporting for the sake of simply presenting an 'opposing view' in order to make global warming a 'story.'"

    Reading comprehension can be fun!

    Posted by: JLS | Nov 6, 2007 12:25:12 PM

  8. This is the way religions get started, people. A kernel of truth wrapped in dogmatism and intolerance for any disagreement (however minor). Just toss in an inerrant crusader with a plan to save the world...

    Posted by: kipp | Nov 6, 2007 12:25:14 PM

  9. Except that Gore isn't saying no one should be allowed to disagree with him.

    He's saying that discredited skeptics of discredited positions shouldn't be given equal air time.

    Do you *really* not see the difference?

    Posted by: Dan E | Nov 6, 2007 12:31:28 PM

  10. Right on, Al. His point is that not every situation has two EQUALLY valid sides, tho often the media likes to pretend that this is so, in the name of (pseudo) balance. It's not that widely discredited viewpoints can never be aired, but they should be tagged us such rather than presented as simply another rational viewpoint.

    The same could be said, unfortunately, of the media's coverage of homsexuality issues (tho I think this is changing), presenting crackpot views of homosexuality as potentially truthful when in fact they are clearly based on ignorance.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 6, 2007 12:38:07 PM

  11. Dan E:

    I could see the difference if I thought you (or Al Gore or the posters in this thread) could countenance the existence of "climate change skeptics" who aren't "discredited" by definition. Did you actually read the Christy op-ed linked to at the start of the blogpost? Christy may actually be a crackpot - but this article does not sound like the words of a crazy man. Do you really not see a difference?

    Posted by: kipp | Nov 6, 2007 12:56:45 PM

  12. The thrust of the Christy piece as I recall was that policy choices to reverse climate change are going to need to be very severe and that the proposed changes to CO2 emissions are not going to have a significant impact. His POV is confused though, as he states he doesn't trust the computer models used (I suppose this is convenient for him) and then states that proposed policy choices will have little impact (I suspect he is using the same computer models to judge this, but it goes unstated how the numbers are arrived at). To wit (Quoting):

    Without a doubt, atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing due primarily to carbon-based energy production (with its undisputed benefits to humanity) and many people ardently believe we must "do something" about its alleged consequence, global warming. This might seem like a legitimate concern given the potential disasters that are announced almost daily, so I've looked at a couple of ways in which humans might reduce CO2 emissions and their impact on temperatures.

    California and some Northeastern states have decided to force their residents to buy cars that average 43 miles-per-gallon within the next decade. Even if you applied this law to the entire world, the net effect would reduce projected warming by about 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, an amount so minuscule as to be undetectable. Global temperatures vary more than that from day to day.

    Suppose you are very serious about making a dent in carbon emissions and could replace about 10% of the world's energy sources with non-CO2-emitting nuclear power by 2020 -- roughly equivalent to halving U.S. emissions. Based on IPCC-like projections, the required 1,000 new nuclear power plants would slow the warming by about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit per century. It's a dent.

    (Quoting off)

    Christy admits to being a one-time missionary, so I suspect his background is from the Christian Right. Gore on the other hand, I suspect, isn't so interested in ending Global Warming per se, but rather desires the changes in lifestyles that ending CO2 emissions would promote.

    Posted by: anon ( | Nov 6, 2007 1:09:58 PM

  13. I applaud Al Gore. More people need to start taking on fast food media in this country. It's ruining us.

    Posted by: ROB | Nov 6, 2007 1:12:56 PM

  14. As I keep saying..."Liberal Media" MY ASS.

    Posted by: Qjersey | Nov 6, 2007 1:15:37 PM

  15. Kipp, I agree with you that there should be an opposing side, but the debate is over and it has been. Ice records, archaeological evidence, you name it, all point in the direction that earth is warming, and that it is doing so faster than and unlike before. This could be a natural warming cycle, as it appears that the sun is indeed more active recently, but never before has a warming trend begun with the presence of so many greenhouse gases already present. Who put them there? We did, and it's pretty inauspicious that when the permafrost goes away, even more carbons will be released. Again, that's normal, but the fact that there are so many already compounds the issue. It appears we precipitated a drastic change. The remaining opposition are people with vested interests who have so much at stake and refuse to realize that their way of life is going to change. And the fact is, it will for all of us. Of course, it's entirely anyone's prerogative to gainsay science and reality, but that's what puts them in the category of flat-earthers.

    Posted by: justincredible | Nov 6, 2007 1:22:48 PM

  16. "A kernel of truth"??? Well, that's certainly an equally valid point. NOT!

    I have no idea how much of what Gore and those who share his viewpoints believe about the environment is valid, but I believe that enough of is for us to be seriously concerned and stop fucking around, or let ourselves be fucked around by disinformation shit stirrers like Kipp.

    The very fact that the oil/gas industry's personal whore house—the present White House—used focus group studies to come up with the term "climate change" which scared people less so they could continue to try to ignore international environmental effect agreements and immobilize our own already too weak EPA laws is proof enough to me.

    The Repugs have been trying to wipe their asses on the Constitution for decades, why not continue to use the planet as their personal outhouse?

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Nov 6, 2007 1:41:25 PM

  17. While I find it believable that FOX News would have biased one sided views on their network, can all the networks mentioned be doing poor journalism? Media Matters documented that the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and CNN have all mentioned opposing views. Most of the outlets are more liberal in my view than Fox.

    While I think we have a responsibility to be good stewards to our planet, it wasn't too long ago (late 70's and early 80's) that we were talking about global cooling and an ice age.

    Basically I'm saying all thoughts should be welcome at the table.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 6, 2007 1:41:55 PM

  18. PS: WHATEVER the topic, three huge cheers for someone finally calling bullshit on the so-called "objective" so-called "news" talking heads.

    Those of us who are LGBT should be sending him flowers! Just ONCE I would love to see one of our own so-called "leaders"—on the RARE occasions when mainstream media stoops to get our input at all say, “Thanks Meredith [or whomever], but asking me to share time with Rev. StickUpHisAss is not just inappropriate but unAmerican. I am not here today to debate religion about which there are many viewpoints. LGBT equality is a CIVIL rights issue and by inviting him you are positing that it is not; that the ‘church’ should override ‘state’. Is that NBC’s position? Which faith exactly is the network endorsing? In 2007 would you seriously invite someone who thinks as far more once did that the Bible justifies slavery because Blacks ‘are inferior’? Would you invite someone who still believes that Jews should be discriminated against because ‘they killed Christ’? What country in what century are we living in?”

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Nov 6, 2007 1:55:58 PM

  19. Off and running.....(Leland Frances)

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 6, 2007 2:01:09 PM

  20. There was a report with a similar message on NPR during the last presidential campaign. It concerned reporting by the media of dirty tricks by the political parties. Reports of Republican dirty tricks far outnumbered those of the Democrats, and they concerned much more serious wrongdoing, but the media, in its misguided attempt at balance, presented the situation as though both parties were equally guilty of serious misdeeds.

    I don't know if its the fault of dumb reporters, editors, publishers, or what. Maybe a vast number of people simply lack a certain brain gene that helps us understand logic in these situations.

    I'm especially annoyed when they use this tactic in discussing homosexuality: they bring out an anti-gay crackpot to spout discredited science and quasi-religious "natural law" mumbo jumbo while the pro-gay panelist scratches his head in confusion.

    Posted by: Tom K. | Nov 6, 2007 2:13:00 PM

  21. " don’t search out for someone who still believes the Earth is flat and give them equal time."

    RIGHT ON, AL!! I am so glad that someone finally said it. The news media need to learn that not every story is going to have a neat "pro vs. con" angle.

    The same thing goes in the media's coverage of same-sex marriage and civil rights for gays and lesbians. They always have to pull in some fire and brimstone breathing evangelical lunkhead who can do nothing but scream a perhaps-more-polite version of "God hates fags" as an "opposing viewpoint".

    The science on global warming is in, and the truth is that we do have an effect on our planet's climate. No amount of wishful thinking is going to change that. No amount of corporate non-accountability is going to change that. No amount of political spin on the political right is going to do it either.

    Gore's point is that the media has a responsibility to not just "show both sides" of issues. They must also learn the difference between the CREDIBLE and NON-CREDIBLE. The flat-earthers who make up the opposition to people like Al Gore need to be sidelined and ignored. We simply don't have the time to "debate" the issue. The science is solid behind Gore, and to continue to entertain the notion that he's wrong is just plain dumb.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Nov 6, 2007 2:21:41 PM

  22. All thoughts should be welcome at the table, Matt? Really? This is what I'm talking about when I say that some people lack a gene for understanding basic logic.

    Look at it this way, Matt. Say we're creating a task force to help determine why the honeybees are dying. The committee includes entomologists, epidemiologists, climate experts, and other scientists. However, Reverend Joe wants to be on the committee too. He believes that the bees are dying because God is punishing them for their sins. Do you think Reverend Joe's thoughts should be welcome at the table?

    You see, this is the same bullshit the Intelligent Design people (and GWB) spout when they try to worm their mythology into our schools: "Every voice should be heard; every viewpoint is valid." Well, it's simply not true.

    Posted by: Tom K. | Nov 6, 2007 2:29:33 PM

  23. There are several documentaries produced outside of the Gore camp that make the science supporting man's direct cause and effect of global warming irrefutable. The most compelling is the ice cores that were drilled at the North Pole some four to five miles deep. The ice took millions of years to form and in the process captured the environmental elements of millenniums in layers of ice miles deep. These ice cores were analyzed in small sections and therein the results clearly show that all previous major climate shifts took hundreds if not thousands of years to transition. The current global warming disaster spans a 30 - 40 year period. The catastrophic effects of drought, species extinction, famine, coastal flooding and massive population displacement will all play out over the next fifty years. As the Earth continues to warm, additional "tipping points" as described in Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary, trigger the release of encapsulated co2 which further magnify the problem of trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Once you examine this with an open mind, Global Warming is no longer a myth. Further, when you look at what is happening in Greenland and that the melt is running at least five years ahead of projections made in 2001, you must realize that there is little we can do to stop this runaway event. We can apply the brakes by making responsible choices very soon, but the real damage is already done and it continues to accelerate.

    And very frankly, anyone who has taken the time to carefully look at the facts and still refuses to accept the truth is not worth arguing with on any level.

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Nov 6, 2007 3:00:43 PM

  24. Well said Tom K. You are very astute.

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Nov 6, 2007 3:04:41 PM

  25. Oh for God's sake, Kipp.

    The man is saying that the opposing viewpoint of "global warming does not exist" is antequated and no longer has a place in the current discourse.

    And he's right!

    Posted by: Allen | Nov 6, 2007 3:04:46 PM

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