CNN Still Gives Equal Time To Anti-Science Disinformation

The bad news: CNN continues to treat basic climate science as a he-said/she-said debate. On Piers Morgan Tuesday night, CNN presented a false balance between well-established climate science and long-debunked disinformation.

The good news: The disinformer CNN ran with last night was Marc Morano aka the Swift-boat Smearer, who has emerged as one of the least effective advocates for unrestricted carbon pollution. Indeed, Morano was so bad last night that even the normally tame Piers Morgan felt obliged to basically call him a liar.

Here’s the video — head vise required:

Embed VideoEdit descriptionmediamatters.orgYes, Morano’s Gish Gallup was so transparently nonsensical that Morgan broke out of the moderator roll to put his finger on the scale:

I respect that you have views. I don’t think they’re facts. And there are many scientists who would take issue with you about the use of the word ‘facts’.

Given that even Morgan understood that Morano isn’t pushing facts but rather anti-scientific blather, this raises the serious question “Why did CNN put Morano on the air in the first place?”

On CNN’s website, where they give Morano’s BS more equal time, CNN said they invited “a pair of experts whose respective opinions place them on polar opposite ends of the spectrum” and then they write, “Marc Morano presented an alternate theory regarding the impact, and concern, associated with carbon dioxide.” Uhh, no and no.

Morano didn’t present an “alternate theory.” That would have actually required him to not merely rattle off a string of factors many of which were irrelevant to the recent accelerated warming (“tilt of the Earth’s axis” — seriously!) but also to explain what precisely is negating the well-known warming effect of CO2.

And Morano is no “expert,” except at getting paid big bucks to spread disinformation: As SourceWatch explains:

Morano was “previously known as Rush Limbaugh’s ‘Man in Washington,’ as reporter and producer for the Rush Limbaugh Television Show.”

He later joined the right-wing news service CNS:

CNS and Morano were the first source in May 2004 of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claims against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election and in January 2006 of similar smears against Vietnam war veteran John Murtha.

Expertise in smearing distinguished Americans was apparently just what Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL) was looking for, so he hired Morano as his denier-in-chief (see “Inhofe and Morano keep making stuff up”).

Finally, Morano launched a website notable both for having little original content and for promoting the harassment of scientists (see “UK Guardian slams Morano for cyber-bullying and for urging violence against climate scientists”). As Media Matters explains:

His website is sponsored by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, an organization that has received funding from oil companies…. His website often publishes the email addresses of scientists, leading to a barrage of hate mail, and he defended a billboard campaign comparing those who accept climate science to the Unabomber, saying it was “edgy.”

Nye was obviously unaware Morano was no expert but a paid disinformer, as evidenced from his attempt to reason with Morano: “Let’s see if we can agree about a couple of things.” As if.

Fortunately Morano was mostly incoherent to CNN’s audience, so the “debate” merely turned into 10 lost minutes of primetime where science and anti-science were given equal billing.

In case you think this was just an off night for Morano, just listen to him on the BBC, appearing on the same show with climatologist Michael Mann. He continues to defend his cyber-bullying.

Bottom Line: The media really needs to stop the false balance, but if they insist on airing the falsehoods of the pro-pollution disinformers, at least we can hope they continue to use their most ineffective ones.