On Saturday, November 21, the New York Times
reported on its front page that hacked e-mails from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia in England exposed how the "scientific experts" cited so often by the media on global warming called their opponents "idiots," proposed censoring them from scientific journals, and twisted scientific data to support their policy agenda. (This time, the newspapers were first. The Washington Post
also reported the scandal a day later.) In one 1999 e-mail exchange about charts showing apparent climate patterns over the last two millenniums, scientist Phil Jones boasted of a "trick" to "hide the decline" in global temperatures.
Fox News and talk radio heavily focused on whether dire forecasts of catastrophic warming have been scientifically manipulated with "tricks." Eight days after the first newspaper story, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos touched on the subject on the November 29 This Week
, noting "there’s been a partisanizing of this issue and then you throw in one more complication we've had over the last week." It was a "complication" that arose from "partisanizing," not a substantive scientific controversy.
The scandal threatened to ruin President Obama’s efforts to push for "climate change" goals at an international summit in Copenhagen in December but the networks ignored it for two weeks. When they decided to cover it, ABC, CBS, and NBC each only gave the allegations two stories, which were full of skeptical denigrations of their political or scientific importance.
Compare that to another White House scandal: Tareq and Michaele Salahi sneaking in uninvited into the first Obama White House state dinner with the prime minister of India. From November 26, when the story broke, through the weekend that Climategate finally emerged (December 6), there were 57 morning and evening news stories or interviews on the Big Three networks. There were 31 on NBC (which scored an exclusive interview with the Salahis on December 1), 14 on ABC, and 12 on CBS. There were another 12 anchor-read briefs.
Most of the heat in this scandal was focused on the tackiness of the gate-crashers, not on failures by the White House staff. On NBC, Brian Williams complained: "If this turns out to be somebody’s 15 minutes, the equivalent of state dinner balloon boy and girl, I think that’ll be tragic and almost pathetic because people in the White House, all White Houses, work hard. It’s hard to put on a state dinner. And it was an honor to be invited and an honor for all the invited guests to be there."
The first news story came on NBC Nightly News
on December 4, with anchor Brian Williams finally acknowledging "a new scandal burning up the Net these days." Reporter Anne Thompson said global-warming skeptics "say these e-mails from Britain’s University of East Anglia show climate scientists massaging data and suppressing studies by those who disagree." She added "critics say the e-mails show catastrophic predictions of countries and people devastated by warming need to be reconsidered." She also noted "Today, in a letter to Congress, 25 leading U.S. scientists accused climate change opponents of misrepresenting the e-mails’ significance." She worried that "the e-mails may end up giving politicians from coal and oil-producing states another reason to delay taking action to reduce emissions."CBS Evening News
offered the only story that underlined how scientists tried to "hide the decline" in temperatures by swapping temperature data. But it aired on Saturday, when it was blacked out in the Eastern and Central time zones for college football. Kimberly Dozier reported: "An e-mail from 1999 shows scientists worked hard to demonstrate an upward trend. They talk of using a trick to hide the decline in global temperatures. It worked like this: when temperature readings gathered from studying tree rings showed what looked like a decline in temperatures from the 1980s to the present, the scientists added in measurements taken later by more modern instruments, which gave them the answer they wanted."
ABC finally broke in on Sunday evening’s World News
. But they provided no specifics from the reams of e-mails and data from East Anglia University that caused the scandal, and concluded their report with a pay-no-attention-to-skeptics closer from reporter Clayton Sandell: "The science is solid, according to a vast majority of researchers, with hotter temperatures, melting glaciers, and rising sea level providing the proof."
Sandell was echoing what the United Nations bureaucrats stated at the Copenhagen summit opened days later. The Times
of London reported that U.N. climate chief Rajendra Pachauri addressed skeptics who "find it inconvenient" to accept the "inevitability" of dramatic global warming. He insisted the U.N.-organized panel of scientists have "a record of transparent and objective assessment stretching over 21 years performed by tens of thousands of dedicated scientists from all corners of the globe." Neither the scientists or the reporters have offered an "objective assessment."
The Obama administration and its left-wing environmentalist base clearly favored dire scenarios as a way to goad reluctant citizens into onerous tax and regulatory schemes to "save the planet." So ABC opened their Copenhagen coverage with more doom: "Facing a clock some say has ticked down to zero, today 192 nations came together to take on a potential global catastrophe." NBC’s Anne Thompson echoed: "This is about life or death -- 192 countries are here in Copenhagen to cut the carbon emissions changing the climate and threatening the very existence of some nations and their people." CBS’s Mark Phillips even stood in water up to his neck and then became completely submerged on camera to illustrate the feared impact of rising sea levels: "The Maldives have become the canary in the global warming coal mine."
By December 10, ABC’s David Wright was denigrating Climategate as "an inconvenient scandal," playing on the Al Gore movie title. On CBS, Wyatt Andrews relayed how "to many Republicans, ClimateGate proves that global warming is a deception," before he countered: "But if that’s true, it’s a fraud adopted by most of the world's leading scientists, along with NASA, the U.N., the American Medical Association, and the National Academies of Science of 32 countries, including the United States."Previous: Obama's Aide and Mao