As the planet hits record high temperatures, a falsehood-pushing film-maker tries to shout down real journalists from asking Al Gore questions

Planetary warming continues unabated (see “It’s the oceans, stupid!“), so the deniers are shouting even louder in their efforts to stifle genuine discussion.

The latest disinformer raising his voice and making headlines on Drudge is Phelim McAleer.  We’ve all been at major speaking events where some jerk tries to hog the microphone, asking a series of questions that seem pointed — but are in fact just rude and nonsensical.  In this case, however, the forum Gore was speaking at was a major gathering of journalists, so the refusal to give up the microphone was the equivalent of blocking other (i.e. real) journalists from asking Gore questions:

Former Vice President Al Gore shared his optimism about the “shifting momentum” of the climate change debate with about 500 environmental journalists Friday in Madison.

“We’re very close to that political tipping point,” Gore said at the Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference at the Madison Concourse Hotel. “Never before in human history has a single generation been asked to make such difficult and consequential decisions.”

You can watch McAleer’s version of events here in what the NYT‘s Andy Revkin (who was there) describes as a “whiny video.”  But while McAleer’s a clever filmaker, he’s a bad liar.  He asserts of Gore, “He never takes questions.”  Not.

Take a look at this press conference in New York City on September 24 with Mayor Bloomberg, with extended Q&A:


As Gore spokesperson Kalee Kreider shared with me, “in addition to his appearance at SEJ” and the Bloomberg event, Gore had a “press conference (with Q and A) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at the United Nations.”  So that would be 3 major appearances with Gore taking questions from the media over three weeks.

So yes, McAleer is a disinformer, a denier, a liar.  Of course, McAleer was promoting his anti-Gore and anti-environmental junk science movie, “Not evil, just wrong” — perhaps the most unintentionally ironic film title in history — which, as blogger Ed Darrell notes, has 9 errors just in the trailer!

McAleer was pushing the standard denier talking point that a British judge somehow ruled against Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth.  As Kreider notes:

With regards to the UK court case, the former Vice President was gratified that the courts verified the central argument of the film and allowed it to continue to be shown in schools rather than banned as was sought by the plaintiffs.  Of the thousands and thousands of facts presented in the film, the judge took issue only with a handful.  We disputed even those at the time, as Vice President Gore did at SEJ. Perhaps more importantly, others from the scientific community have as well.  Here is but one example:

Indeed, I recommend everyone engaged in the climate debate read that RealClimate piece, which not only sets the record straight on what the judge found, but explains in detail how the 9 alleged “errors” the judge did find are bogus:

Overall, our verdict is that the 9 points are not “errors” at all (with possibly one unwise choice of tense on the island evacuation point).

You’ll note in McAleer’s own whiny video, McAleer is the one who twice refuses to answer Gore’s question as to whether he believes polar bears are endangered, ultimately asserting a pure non sequitur:

If the number of polar bears increased, surely they’re not endangered.

Unless, of course, they increased for reasons that have nothing to do with climate change, say because we reduced hunting, but their key habitat is being destroyed by global warming — see “Will polar bears go extinct by 2030? “” Part II” (see also Revkin’s recent blog post, “More Polar Bear Populations in Decline“).

In the video, McAleer makes the Through-the-Looking-Glass argument that his effort to hog the microphone and prevent real journalists from asking questions was an effort to stifle real discussion.  He even attacks the NYT‘s Andy Revkin, who emailed me and bloggers that “drudge is promoting whiny video by gore critic” and points out how laughable it is to accuse him of trying to shield Gore from tough questions, tweeting:

Amused that filmmaker alleges I was shielding Al Gore at sessions. Me?

No one deserves to be harangued in a Q&A, let alone harangued by a liar, especially someone like former VP Al Gore, who is willing to make himself so open to questions from real journalists.

Update —  Revkin writes:

Amazed at the chutzpah (and promotional skill) of a filmmaker who claims the Society of Environmental Journalists cut off his microphone during Al Gore Q&A “to protect a politician.” As the moderator of this talk, it was clear to me organizers did so to protect the rights of journalists (those standing in line still waiting to ask a single question, as he did.

6 Responses to As the planet hits record high temperatures, a falsehood-pushing film-maker tries to shout down real journalists from asking Al Gore questions

  1. David B. Benson says:

    Off-topic but

    QuikSCAT satellite nearing failure; Congress poised to slash NOAA funding

  2. David B. Benson says:

    Off-topic again, but more bad news: “… the rate of climate change over the next century could be higher than previously anticipated …”
    Nitrogen Cycle: Key Ingredient In Climate Model Refines Global Predictions

  3. Passerby says:

    You may have caught one of the astroturfers’ trial anti-warming protests in Springfield, Missouri, a few weeks back. Despite some fake balance in local press reports the event came off like a bunch of people smelling of mothballs protesting against Elvis Presley.

    As an ex-environmental reporter I would encourage citizens not to let reporters get away with fake balance in particular. More importantly, look into the background of the organizers and speakers and educate the press in advance of these events. Reporters are lazy by nature and don’t mind having their jobs (especially research) done for them.

  4. Danny Bloom says:

    Off, topic, but more bad news: “Polar cities for climate refugees might serve as incubators for breeding pairs in the Arctic and Antarctic circa year 2500 or so” — future headline, after all this “talk” becomes history. James Lovelock has said it all. There is little more to discuss. Nothing will happen at Copenhaagendazs and the world will not end in 2012 or 2500, but human population will fall from 25 billion in year 2500 to just 200,000 souls 30 generations from now, and we should be getting ready, both mentally and spiritually. It will not be a pretty picture. We should not give up yet, of course, we should live full lives, but we should prepare for a very very ugly denouement to all this. And know that some will survive. That is what we must plan for. Marc Morano knows this, but he cannot admit it yet. Joe cannot either.

  5. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    With much due respect to Joe Romm, I don’t agree that Vice President Gore “is willing to make himself so open to questions from real journalists.” As most journalists out here in the world know, when Gore has appeared at local events involving his film, he has closed those events to the press and not allowed local reporters like myself to ask him questions.

    I’m glad SEJ got him to answer questions at its conference, which I was not able to attend.

    But the Vice President opens himself up to fair criticism when he holds closed-door events that keep out the local media.

    [JR: Ken, this would not be one of those times.]

  6. Edward says:

    4 Danny Bloom: Your time scale is off. The population crash happens circa 2050, maybe sooner, not circa 2500. The planet will not end but species Homo Sapiens could very well end circa 2050 or circa 2100. You may be alive to participate in the crash. Uncertainty cuts both ways. There is no way to proove that the crash won’t happen in 2012.