On August 19, Keith Olbermann reported that Americans for Prosperity was forced to cancel events in Florida due to Tropical Storm Fay, and noted the irony of “global warming deniers’ meetings postponed by tropical storms.” Obermann described AFP as “one of the many corporate-funded lobbying groups working hand-in-hand with Big Oil, and the administration, and other people who make more money the more there is doubt that there is global warming.”
In an article on the Business and Media Institute’s website written by Jeff Poor, AFP president Tim Phillips took umbrage at the segment, claiming the description of AFP as a “corporate-funded lobbying group” was “outrageous.” Phillips told Poor that “guys like him” who descibe the connection between global warming and extreme weather are “global warming extremists”:
It’s ironic that guys like him and global warming extremists will use any weather event — whether it’s a hot spell, whether it’s a hurricane or a tropical storm or a hailstorm or a snowstorm — anything, any weather event — they’ll try to tie it to their pet cause which is ideological extremism at its worst. . . It shows just how silly and ideologically driven they are. They don’t look at the science. They don’t look at any factors. It’s just an ideological extremism. It would be funny if it were not so serious for our nation.
As the Wonk Room has well documented, the link between global warming and extreme weather is recognized by the Bush administration itself, which warned in June that global warming has likely or very likely worsened intense rainfall, heat waves, winter storms, hurricanes, wildfires, insect outbreaks, and coral bleaching. The world’s largest environmental organization, Friends of the Earth, and America’s largest environmental organization, the National Wildlife Federation, have joined national scientific organizations representing hundreds of universities and thousands of climate scientists in calling for immediate action.
In fact, it is Tim Phillips and Jeff Poor who are “ideologically driven” extremists who “don’t look at the science” but instead work for polluter-funded right-wing front groups:
Tim Phillips Is A Top Right-Wing Operative. Before replacing Koch Industries lobbyist Nancy Pfotenhauer as president of Americans for Prosperity, Timothy R. Phillips had a long career as a conservative operative. In 1992, Phillips managed Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) first Congressional campaign and served as his chief of staff for four years. In 1997, Phillips co-founded public relations firm Century Strategies with Ralph Reed. There, Phillips oversaw “direct mail, telemarketing, coalition building and strategic services” for the 2000 and 2004 Bush for President campaigns, and specialized in “grasstops” operations to establish fake grassroots organizations. [Century Strategies (Internet Archive)]
Jeff Poor Is A Self-Described ‘Very Conservative’ ‘Professional Jerk.’ Jeff Poor describes himself on his Facebook page as a “professional jerk” with “very conservative” political views. Poor has previously written hit pieces for the Business and Media Institute attacking Al Gore and climate scientist Stephen Schneider for discussing the links between climate change and extreme weather.
Business & Media Institute Is Part Of Right-Wing Message Machine. BMI is a right-wing “free-enterprise” front group that is part of Brent Bozell’s conservative media machine, the Media Research Center. In 2005, the MRC honored Ann Coulter, T. Boone Pickens, Zell Miller, and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth at their conservative media gala.
Americans For Prosperity Is A Front Group For Corporate Polluter Koch Industries. Americans for Prosperity is the successor to the free-market front group Citizens for a Sound Economy, founded by conglomerate Koch Industries. David Koch, Executive Vice-President of Koch Industries, is a founder of AFP and “a financial supporter through the family-controlled and company-financed Claude R. Lambe Foundation.” Koch Industries is the largest privately owned company in the United States, whose multiple holdings make it a veritable global warming pollution factory. [NRDC, 7/25/08] [Forbes, 2007]
OLBERMANN: Bushed #3: Irony-Gate. Americans for Prosperity, one of the many corporate-funded lobbying groups working hand-in-hand with Big Oil, and the administration, and other people who make more money the more there is doubt that there is global warming. This group was to have town meetings tonight and Thursday in Florida to spread its word about “global warming alarmism.”
This announcement from the group, quote, “The August 14 Fort Myers town hall and August 21 West Palm Beach town hall will be rescheduled as a result of Tropical Storm Fay. We apologize for any inconvenience.” Global warming deniers’ meetings postponed by tropical storms. As late great Bill Hicks used to say, “Its irony is pretty base, but it’s still a hoot.”