Tom Nelson recently asked, in response to this amusing episode of alarmist clumsiness: Why is it that one side — only one side, mind you — in this discussion harasses or tries to intimidate the other, demands the other side not be allowed to speak, that they voluntarily disown their own arguments or risk being shouted down, shut down, censored, or chased out of their jobs if they insist on expressing inconvenient thoughts?
After detailing the alarmists’ behavior, I ask the same question in Red Hot Lies. They sneer at every anecdote of intimidation, obstruction, censorship and the like as simply anecdotal, imagined, or the rantings of an anonymous heretic — the obvious need or perceived need, as the individual case may be, for anonymity also being unique for only one side, which I also cover in detail in RHL. Yet is it not queer that the alarmists cannot offer similar examples?
Oh, sure, they emit facially absurd howls about the “muzzling” of James Hansen, despite the fact that their hero actually has given more than a thousand interviews, more than anyone else in the field by a wide margin. Then there’s the case of Steven Running of Montana, whom the alarmists regularly cite — though his case is not an example of censorship, either. Running was never censored, shouted down, harassed, bullied, or any such thing. Instead, parents of school children called for both sides to be heard when Running was scheduled to present a Gore-style alarmist show to a captive audience of kids, on official class-time.
Running’s fable appears yet again in this sad piece that says nothing about the issue of global warming but an awful lot about the individuals involved in the drama — the author and his subject, both of whom strike me as rather typical examples of the global warming enthusiast.
For example, the subject and author both appear eager for attention: journalists have learned that catastrophism gets much better placement than rationality, and scientists such as this one come off as even desperate in their pursuit of approval and admiration. And Running does appear enamored of grandiose treatment: earlier reportage of this sort — he has, oddly, been featured in similar media treatment before — went so far as to profile him as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
There is no reason for the confusion engendered by such hype. The 2008 Nobel was awarded in two equal parts to Al Gore and the IPCC, an “intergovernmental” organization headquartered in Geneva. Neither Running nor any climate scientists received any such award, though they are strangely addicted to implying that they were. As I have noted, pay attention when people stretch the little things for what that might mean about the bigger-ticket items.
The reporter and/or Running also failed to accurately describe his supposed censorship. In truth, he gave his evening talk as scheduled for the willing public, but faced the horrors of a call for balance in presentations to captive students in the classroom. Balance, of course, is something the alarmists serially reject. So, speaking about stretching the facts, someone has yet again materially “spun” the incident to avoid confronting the nasty little trait of the global warming industry: to the alarmists, debate is intolerable (and, history suggests, not a good idea for their side); to the journalist, “balance is bias.”
It is quite possible that Dr. Running is simply the easiest individual to contact, for papers ranging from the Missoulian to the Herald Tribune, making this simply a parallel example of the media falling back on a usual suspect list for their infrequent “but, not everyone agrees” line. Or this pattern of gaining media attention for a rather distorted tale could be the product of something else.
Regardless, read this and reflect on the sad testimony it offers both to the scientists and journalists pushing global warming alarmism.