• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Phony op-eds about climate change

Threegoofs

COVID survivor
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
56,083
Reaction score
21,331
Location
The birthplace of Italian Beef
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
What phony op-eds about climate change have in common - Columbia Journalism Review

What phony op-eds about climate change have in common
By Sheldon Whitehouse
JULY 12, 2016

BEGINNING IN 1999, the Department of Justice pursued (and ultimately won) a civil lawsuit against several major tobacco companies. By denying the negative health effects of tobacco, the suit alleged, the industry was engaging in fraud. Today, researchers often compare the fossil fuel industry’s support for an array of groups that propagate climate change denial to the tobacco industry’s pattern of denial of the dangers of its product. Last spring, I wrote an opinion piece recommending a similar civil investigation into the fossil fuel industry for spreading fraudulent information about climate change. At a subsequent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch whether the Justice Department had taken steps consistent with a civil fraud investigation to explore the industry’s possible culpability.

An extraordinary barrage of opinion pieces ensued, more than 100 all told, asserting—wrongly—that any such investigation would be a violation of the First Amendment. I say “wrongly” because it is actually settled law—even cited in the tobacco case itself—that fraud is not protected speech under the First Amendment. This raises the question whether the phony “science” supporting climate denial has a twin in equally phony “opinion” writing.

Although the opinion pieces appeared in many outlets, they shared common markers. They regularly confused civil law with criminal law, suggesting that I wanted to “slap the cuffs on people” or was seeking “prosecutions.” They regularly conflated investigation with prosecution, as if the industry would not be able to defend itself through the investigative process. They almost always overlooked the government’s victory in the tobacco fraud lawsuit. Ignoring the tobacco lawsuit allowed these writers to feign horror over use of the civil RICO statute, which many pieces pointed out was designed to go after “mobsters.” But the civil RICO law has been used to sue other organizations, including, of course, the tobacco industry. Last, the pieces suggested that I wanted to target “scientists” or “people who disagree” with me (not the fraud standard, obviously). In sum, these op-eds’ common markings indicate orchestration off a central script.

Another common flag was that virtually every author or outlet that ran one of the pieces was a persistent climate denier. Examples include that constant industry voice, the Wall Street Journal editorial page; columnist George Will; the Heartland Institute, which has infamously compared people who “believe in Global Warming” to the Unabomber; the voluble Hans von Spakovsky from the Exxon and Koch-funded Heritage Foundation; and a torrent of lesser-known (but often more vitriolic) tagalongs. Many participants were repeat performers: Spakovsky, for instance, wrote three separate op-eds, published in over a dozen different outlets over three weeks in April of this year. He recently fired off yet another. One might wonder where he finds the time.

The pieces contain a shared logical fallacy: presuming the propriety of the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation, when that would be the very question at issue. Was there fraud, or wasn’t there? If there were actual fraud at the core of the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation, the free speech argument would evaporate, since fraud is not protected speech.

The pieces also shared a peculiar mix of high emotional tone with highly selective concern. The insults were bitter, the language extreme, and the comparisons often absurd (the junior Senator from Rhode Island is the terrible inquisitor Torquemada, for instance, and ExxonMobil is the lonely Galileo). The authors and outlets climbed on a very high horse to scourge climate-related investigations. Yet not long ago, an attorney general of Virginia used his investigative powers to harass a climate scientist at the University of Virginia so vilely that the university took the attorney general all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court to stop him. Where then was this outrage? A US Senator has called for criminal prosecution of climate scientists in what climate deniers like to call the “ClimateGate scandal” (which after multiple—yes—investigations, turned out to be no scandal at all). Where then was this outrage? Republican-led Congressional committees regularly fire off government subpoenas to harass climate scientists. Where then is this outrage? The over-sensitivity subsides when the investigative target is an individual scientist.
 

Glen Contrarian

DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 21, 2013
Messages
17,688
Reaction score
8,046
Location
Bernie to the left of me, Hillary to the right, he
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
What phony op-eds about climate change have in common - Columbia Journalism Review

What phony op-eds about climate change have in common
By Sheldon Whitehouse
JULY 12, 2016

BEGINNING IN 1999, the Department of Justice pursued (and ultimately won) a civil lawsuit against several major tobacco companies. By denying the negative health effects of tobacco, the suit alleged, the industry was engaging in fraud. Today, researchers often compare the fossil fuel industry’s support for an array of groups that propagate climate change denial to the tobacco industry’s pattern of denial of the dangers of its product. Last spring, I wrote an opinion piece recommending a similar civil investigation into the fossil fuel industry for spreading fraudulent information about climate change. At a subsequent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch whether the Justice Department had taken steps consistent with a civil fraud investigation to explore the industry’s possible culpability.

An extraordinary barrage of opinion pieces ensued, more than 100 all told, asserting—wrongly—that any such investigation would be a violation of the First Amendment. I say “wrongly” because it is actually settled law—even cited in the tobacco case itself—that fraud is not protected speech under the First Amendment. This raises the question whether the phony “science” supporting climate denial has a twin in equally phony “opinion” writing.

Although the opinion pieces appeared in many outlets, they shared common markers. They regularly confused civil law with criminal law, suggesting that I wanted to “slap the cuffs on people” or was seeking “prosecutions.” They regularly conflated investigation with prosecution, as if the industry would not be able to defend itself through the investigative process. They almost always overlooked the government’s victory in the tobacco fraud lawsuit. Ignoring the tobacco lawsuit allowed these writers to feign horror over use of the civil RICO statute, which many pieces pointed out was designed to go after “mobsters.” But the civil RICO law has been used to sue other organizations, including, of course, the tobacco industry. Last, the pieces suggested that I wanted to target “scientists” or “people who disagree” with me (not the fraud standard, obviously). In sum, these op-eds’ common markings indicate orchestration off a central script.

Another common flag was that virtually every author or outlet that ran one of the pieces was a persistent climate denier. Examples include that constant industry voice, the Wall Street Journal editorial page; columnist George Will; the Heartland Institute, which has infamously compared people who “believe in Global Warming” to the Unabomber; the voluble Hans von Spakovsky from the Exxon and Koch-funded Heritage Foundation; and a torrent of lesser-known (but often more vitriolic) tagalongs. Many participants were repeat performers: Spakovsky, for instance, wrote three separate op-eds, published in over a dozen different outlets over three weeks in April of this year. He recently fired off yet another. One might wonder where he finds the time.

The pieces contain a shared logical fallacy: presuming the propriety of the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation, when that would be the very question at issue. Was there fraud, or wasn’t there? If there were actual fraud at the core of the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation, the free speech argument would evaporate, since fraud is not protected speech.

The pieces also shared a peculiar mix of high emotional tone with highly selective concern. The insults were bitter, the language extreme, and the comparisons often absurd (the junior Senator from Rhode Island is the terrible inquisitor Torquemada, for instance, and ExxonMobil is the lonely Galileo). The authors and outlets climbed on a very high horse to scourge climate-related investigations. Yet not long ago, an attorney general of Virginia used his investigative powers to harass a climate scientist at the University of Virginia so vilely that the university took the attorney general all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court to stop him. Where then was this outrage? A US Senator has called for criminal prosecution of climate scientists in what climate deniers like to call the “ClimateGate scandal” (which after multiple—yes—investigations, turned out to be no scandal at all). Where then was this outrage? Republican-led Congressional committees regularly fire off government subpoenas to harass climate scientists. Where then is this outrage? The over-sensitivity subsides when the investigative target is an individual scientist.

Unfortunately, for all too many people, if they're told there was smoke, they don't check if there actually was smoke, but instead assume that yes, there was a fire.
 

Jack Hays

Traveler
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
94,822
Reaction score
28,239
Location
Williamsburg, Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
What phony op-eds about climate change have in common - Columbia Journalism Review

What phony op-eds about climate change have in common
By Sheldon Whitehouse
JULY 12, 2016

BEGINNING IN 1999, the Department of Justice pursued (and ultimately won) a civil lawsuit against several major tobacco companies. By denying the negative health effects of tobacco, the suit alleged, the industry was engaging in fraud. Today, researchers often compare the fossil fuel industry’s support for an array of groups that propagate climate change denial to the tobacco industry’s pattern of denial of the dangers of its product. Last spring, I wrote an opinion piece recommending a similar civil investigation into the fossil fuel industry for spreading fraudulent information about climate change. At a subsequent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, I asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch whether the Justice Department had taken steps consistent with a civil fraud investigation to explore the industry’s possible culpability.

An extraordinary barrage of opinion pieces ensued, more than 100 all told, asserting—wrongly—that any such investigation would be a violation of the First Amendment. I say “wrongly” because it is actually settled law—even cited in the tobacco case itself—that fraud is not protected speech under the First Amendment. This raises the question whether the phony “science” supporting climate denial has a twin in equally phony “opinion” writing.

Although the opinion pieces appeared in many outlets, they shared common markers. They regularly confused civil law with criminal law, suggesting that I wanted to “slap the cuffs on people” or was seeking “prosecutions.” They regularly conflated investigation with prosecution, as if the industry would not be able to defend itself through the investigative process. They almost always overlooked the government’s victory in the tobacco fraud lawsuit. Ignoring the tobacco lawsuit allowed these writers to feign horror over use of the civil RICO statute, which many pieces pointed out was designed to go after “mobsters.” But the civil RICO law has been used to sue other organizations, including, of course, the tobacco industry. Last, the pieces suggested that I wanted to target “scientists” or “people who disagree” with me (not the fraud standard, obviously). In sum, these op-eds’ common markings indicate orchestration off a central script.

Another common flag was that virtually every author or outlet that ran one of the pieces was a persistent climate denier. Examples include that constant industry voice, the Wall Street Journal editorial page; columnist George Will; the Heartland Institute, which has infamously compared people who “believe in Global Warming” to the Unabomber; the voluble Hans von Spakovsky from the Exxon and Koch-funded Heritage Foundation; and a torrent of lesser-known (but often more vitriolic) tagalongs. Many participants were repeat performers: Spakovsky, for instance, wrote three separate op-eds, published in over a dozen different outlets over three weeks in April of this year. He recently fired off yet another. One might wonder where he finds the time.

The pieces contain a shared logical fallacy: presuming the propriety of the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation, when that would be the very question at issue. Was there fraud, or wasn’t there? If there were actual fraud at the core of the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation, the free speech argument would evaporate, since fraud is not protected speech.

The pieces also shared a peculiar mix of high emotional tone with highly selective concern. The insults were bitter, the language extreme, and the comparisons often absurd (the junior Senator from Rhode Island is the terrible inquisitor Torquemada, for instance, and ExxonMobil is the lonely Galileo). The authors and outlets climbed on a very high horse to scourge climate-related investigations. Yet not long ago, an attorney general of Virginia used his investigative powers to harass a climate scientist at the University of Virginia so vilely that the university took the attorney general all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court to stop him. Where then was this outrage? A US Senator has called for criminal prosecution of climate scientists in what climate deniers like to call the “ClimateGate scandal” (which after multiple—yes—investigations, turned out to be no scandal at all). Where then was this outrage? Republican-led Congressional committees regularly fire off government subpoenas to harass climate scientists. Where then is this outrage? The over-sensitivity subsides when the investigative target is an individual scientist.

[FONT=&quot]"The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent." --George Orwell[/FONT]
 

Jack Hays

Traveler
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
94,822
Reaction score
28,239
Location
Williamsburg, Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Down through the centuries, this trick has been tried by various establishments throughout the world. They force people to get involved in the kind of examination that has only one aim and that is to stamp out dissent. --Pete Seeger
 

Jack Hays

Traveler
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
94,822
Reaction score
28,239
Location
Williamsburg, Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
[FONT=&quot]Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. --Dwight D. Eisenhower[/FONT]
 

Jack Hays

Traveler
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
94,822
Reaction score
28,239
Location
Williamsburg, Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
[FONT=&quot]Dissent is the native activity of the scientist, and it has got him into a good deal of trouble in the last years. But if that is cut off, what is left will not be a scientist. And I doubt whether it will be a man. --Jacob Bronowski[/FONT]
 

Jack Hays

Traveler
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
94,822
Reaction score
28,239
Location
Williamsburg, Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
[FONT=&quot]Science exists, moreover, only as a journey toward truth. Stifle dissent and you end that journey. --John Charles Polanyi[/FONT]
 

Renae

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
48,389
Reaction score
18,084
Location
San Antonio Texas
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Conservative

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a politically active pro-AGW senator, says some hackish article in favor of his views and against those in opposition.

In other news, today it was warm to hot in many places in North America (and it snowed too)... I rode in an SUV.
 

Deuce

Outer space potato man
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
84,859
Reaction score
38,747
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
[FONT="]"The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent." --George Orwell[/FONT]

Jack Hays, of course, never questions the intelligence or honesty of climate change proponents.
 

Tim the plumber

DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
16,501
Reaction score
3,821
Location
Sheffield
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
I think a lot of skeptics would love to get to court and have the state try to show that they were lying.
 

Jack Hays

Traveler
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
94,822
Reaction score
28,239
Location
Williamsburg, Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Climate ugliness
Senator Whitehouse goes Full Conspiracy Theory on “Climate Denial”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall Senator Whitehouse has unveiled his “web of denial”, a vast conspiracy theory about why his side is losing the climate debate. US senators detail a climate science ‘web of denial’ but the impacts go well beyond their borders By the middle of this week, about 20 Democratic senators in the…
Whitehouse’s conspiracy theory reminds me of some of the worst excesses of the anti-communist era, in which fantasies about shadowy conspiracies were used to ruin the lives of political opponents and innocent bystanders. But Whitehouse appears to mean every word of it. The Attorneys for Clean Energy effort appears to have faltered, for now, but who knows what the future holds? We can only imagine what will happen if people like Whitehouse win control of the US government, and are put in charge of a new era of“Unamerican Activities” style witch hunts.

 

Lord of Planar

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
49,950
Reaction score
15,000
Location
Portlandia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Smoking had clear effects. Greenhouse gasses do not.

What a stupid thread, putting them in the same grouping.
 

Tim the plumber

DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
16,501
Reaction score
3,821
Location
Sheffield
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Should this ever get to a court the difference between the tobacco companies using legal loop holes and appealing to the freedom of speach right to avoid discussing the facts and the skeptics wanting to get the court to look at the science.

For any conviction to happen the case would have to rest on the defendant having told a lie.
 

joG

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
43,839
Reaction score
9,638
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
Smoking had clear effects. Greenhouse gasses do not.

What a stupid thread, putting them in the same grouping.

Actually each greenhouse gas particle has a measurable effect in warming. That is pretty firm science. Only the extent of the damage of the greenhouse gases together is hard to tell. In the case of smoking, the particles do not seem to do the same damage in every person and the risk taken is know to be a risk but only that.
 

Lord of Planar

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
49,950
Reaction score
15,000
Location
Portlandia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Actually each greenhouse gas particle has a measurable effect in warming. That is pretty firm science. Only the extent of the damage of the greenhouse gases together is hard to tell. In the case of smoking, the particles do not seem to do the same damage in every person and the risk taken is know to be a risk but only that.

Please show me the papers that show how they actually measure the warming of greenhouse gasses.

Hint...

They don't exists.

It is all modelling.

The models will produce the results they are programmed to!
 

joG

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
43,839
Reaction score
9,638
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent

joG

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
43,839
Reaction score
9,638
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
But how much of the IR is already done by water vapor and other gasses? You will be hard pushed to get good answers and find LoP ever undersatanding of the subject.

Oh. There is no question that the answers and quatifications are cut and dried. There are a lot of things that are far from well known. But the basic physics is rather is well known and there is no point in arguing about it. That only diverts from the real challenge and delegitimates the position.
 

Lord of Planar

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
49,950
Reaction score
15,000
Location
Portlandia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
We actually knew about the greenhouse effect of CO2 long before we knew it could have a global impact. https://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

Yes, we know greenhouse gasses absorb and reemit energy. The problem is the other random things that happen. Any scientist worth the title will acknowledge the unknowns, and not be certain of any levels of forcing.

Don't you get it?
 

joG

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
43,839
Reaction score
9,638
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
Yes, we know greenhouse gasses absorb and reemit energy. The problem is the other random things that happen. Any scientist worth the title will acknowledge the unknowns, and not be certain of any levels of forcing.

Don't you get it?

Oh, I got it long ago.
 

Lord of Planar

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
49,950
Reaction score
15,000
Location
Portlandia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Oh. There is no question that the answers and quatifications are cut and dried.
LOL...

Prove it.

Show the science papers that quantify it.

I challenge your absolutely silly notion.

There are a lot of things that are far from well known. But the basic physics is rather is well known and there is no point in arguing about it. That only diverts from the real challenge and delegitimates the position.
So why are you arguing absolutes?

Are you schizophrenic?
 

Lord of Planar

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
49,950
Reaction score
15,000
Location
Portlandia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Oh, I got it long ago.

No.

You obviously do not get it. Not if you are arguing the greenhouse gas effect is as dire are the pundits claim. We only have modelling. We don't have a large enough laboratory to do real experiments to add any validity to the hypothesis of the total greenhouse effect.
 

joG

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
43,839
Reaction score
9,638
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
No.

You obviously do not get it. Not if you are arguing the greenhouse gas effect is as dire are the pundits claim. We only have modelling. We don't have a large enough laboratory to do real experiments to add any validity to the hypothesis of the total greenhouse effect.

I think one thing you should try to control is your jumping to conclusions.
 

Lord of Planar

Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
49,950
Reaction score
15,000
Location
Portlandia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
I think one thing you should try to control is your jumping to conclusions.

What conclusions am I jumping to? Why are you jumping to the conclusions that the pundits are correct?

Please start thinking for yourself.
 
Top Bottom