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Planet Gore, ever wrong, never in doubt, adds libel to denial

NOTE: See below for definition of the inane “Gore effect.”

The mere fact that the National Review Online would name their climate blog “Planet Gore” (PG) tells you how little regard they have for science in general or for those working to prevent the greatest preventable threat to the health and well-being of future generations.

In the blogosphere, strong adjectives fly wildly, and I myself have been known to use them from time to time. But Chris Horner’s attack on me (and Grist’s Dave Roberts) today is beyond the pale. Responding to our shredding of what are easily two of the worst climate pieces of this century by a reasonably legitimate news operation (see “Politico pimps global cooling for Hill deniers” and “Politico’s journalist malpractice”), PG’s Chris Horner wrote:

On cue, aspiring Obama administration climate thug Joe Romm of the Soros-funded Climate Progress … and David “Nuremburg-syle trials for those b@$tards” Roberts of Grist did what they’re paid to do: change the subject by attacking the person with names and slurs.

First off, that requires an apology. I have made very clear I do not aspire to the Obama administration. Seriously, though, in what way am I “a brutal ruffian or assassin”? That does require an apology. It is inexcusable, even for someone with Bush-like language skills who doesn’t know the meaning of the word nonplussed and who once told CNN’s Glenn Beck, “This is a political issue because it’s been politicized, and we wouldn’t even be talking about it right now if it weren’t for the politicians.”

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Second, Horner wins the 2008 “instant self-revelation award” for revealing himself to be a hypocrite in a single sentence. He calls me a “thug” and then claims I change the subject by attacking the person with “names and slurs.” As anyone who read my post can see, I provided extensive links to studies and experts who debunked the Politico’s central nonsense about global cooling. Characteristically, however, Horner simply rants without any appeal to facts or evidence.

Third, Horner works on climate issues as a Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which actually runs ad campaigns aimed at destroying the climate for centuries. You can read all about Horner at ExxonSecrets.org. He is a master of pushing long-debunked denier talking points, stating as recently as April 2005, “the atmosphere inarguably shows no appreciable warming in the 25-year history of satellite and radiosonde measurements (initiated in response to the cooling panic).” Amazing how “inarguable” denier claims turn out not only to be arguable but scientifically disapprovable — yet CEI still keeps the long-debunked statement on its website.

I once spent wasted time regularly debunking the deniers at Planet Gore, ultimately identifying some 40 pieces of disinformation (see below). One of their writers actually claimed Henry Ford invented the gas engine — and that engine couldn’t run biofuels. But life is short and one needs to pick one’s targets. PG is simply too inconsequential to matter.

The Politico, however, is a semi-respectable news organization. Or it was. They put a serious dent in their reputation by publishing not just the one inane piece I blogged on, but a second, “Tracking ‘The Gore Effect’,” by Erika Lovely (pictured here), that is indistinguishable from an article in The Onion, except for its lack of intentional humor.

The Gore “effect” is the claim by deniers that it gets cold or snows when Al Gore speaks. Seriously. Well, at least some of the deniers who point out such instances do so only half-seriously. But Ms. Lovley is apparently oblivious to even a microscopic amount of humor. As Grist’s Dave Roberts puts it:

It contains this priceless passage, which is my nominee for the single stupidest sentence written by any journalist this year, possibly this century:

While there’s no scientific proof that The Gore Effect is anything more than a humorous coincidence, some climate skeptics say it may offer a snapshot of proof that the planet isn’t warming as quickly as some climate change advocates say.

Read that again. “Some” skeptics say it “may” offer a “snapshot of proof” that the planet isn’t warming “as quickly” as “some climate change advocates” say. A journalist wrote that sentence. Politico published it.

If this is the level of journalism Politico finds appropriate, do you think you can trust its other stories?

For those who want even more links that debunk Lovley’s piece, go to this WonkRoom piece.

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