After Al Gore won the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth right wing groups tried to blunt the inevitable increase in public discussion of climate change by floating bogus charges against Gore. As right wing ditto heads commented at various blogs and newspapers there were multiple comments from uninformed conservatives making claims such as that “no reputable scientist agrees with Gore.” These mistaken beliefs are sometimes the fault of the news media, which prefers to dwell on political attacks and present conservative beliefs as a legitimate side of the debate.
Rather than dwelling on the ridiculous attacks Gore returned to the central issue, including how the media portrays a false sense that there is a real debate over climate change:
Back in Tennessee on Tuesday, Gore told a crowd of about 50 people at the U.S. Media Ethics Summit II that the presentation’s single most provocative slide was one that contrasts results of two long-term studies. A 10-year University of California study found that essentially zero percent of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles disagreed that global warming exists, whereas, another study found that 53 percent of mainstream newspaper articles disagreed the global warming premise.
He noted that recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fourth unanimous report calling on world leaders to take action on global warming.
“I believe that is one of the principal reasons why political leaders around the world have not yet taken action,” Gore said. “There are many reasons, but one of the principal reasons in my view is more than half of the mainstream media have rejected the scientific consensus implicitly — and I say ‘rejected,’ perhaps it’s the wrong word. They have failed to report that it is the consensus and instead have chosen … balance as bias.
“I don’t think that any of the editors or reporters responsible for one of these stories saying, ‘It may be real, it may not be real,’ is unethical. But I think they made the wrong choice, and I think the consequences are severe.
Recent attacks on Gore falsely portrayed a right wing group with ties to the energy industry as a nonpartisan think tank. The attacks called Gore a hypocrite for his energy use by confusing reality with right wing stereotypes of environmentalists as advocating a drastic change in our life styles. Gore has been advocating far less Draconian restrictions and his personal conservation efforts, including the purchase of carbon offsets for the energy he uses, are consistent with his public statements. Gore can hardly be called a hypocrite when he carries out the same actions he actually advocates. In contrast, there is a certain hypocrisy to conservatives who both deny the dangers of global warming but also claim that Gore’s measures such as purchasing carbon offsets are insufficient. You can’t have it both ways in claiming both that there is no problem and in saying Gore is not doing enough personally.
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