Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Extree, extree! The National Post lies!

So, this weekend the National Post ran a piece on Al Gore, claiming that "even climate experts think his movie is inaccurate". They published quotes from no less than James Hansen claiming that Hansen had warned that Gore wasn't "careful" enough. I was worried I'd have to do some real research here to debunk all the crap in the article, but luckily I can outsource this to Tim Lambert. The quote that the National Post used:
Mr. Hansen said, "we need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is."
The actual quote:
"We need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is," Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Gore. "On the other hand," Dr. Hansen said, "he has the bottom line right: most storms, at least those driven by the latent heat of vaporization, will tend to be stronger, or have the potential to be stronger, in a warmer climate."
But it gets better! Another Hansen quote:
The reader might assume that I have long been close to Gore, since I testified before his Senate committee in 1989 and participated in scientific "roundtable" discussions in his Senate office. In fact, Gore was displeased when I declined to provide him with images of increasing drought generated by a computer model of climate change. (I didn't trust the model's estimates of precipitation.) After Clinton and Gore were elected, I declined a suggestion from the White House to write a rebuttal to a New York Times Op-Ed article that played down global warming and criticized the Vice President. I did not hear from Gore for more than a decade, until January of this year, when he asked me to critically assess his slide show. When we met, he said that he "wanted to apologize," but, without letting him explain what he was apologizing for, I said, "Your insight was better than mine."

Indeed, Gore was prescient. For decades he has maintained that the Earth was teetering in the balance, even when doing so subjected him to ridicule from other politicians and cost him votes.
By telling the story of climate change with striking clarity in both his book and movie, Al Gore may have done for global warming what Silent Spring did for pesticides. He will be attacked, but the public will have the information needed to distinguish our long-term well-being from short-term special interests.
Hell, some days I almost feel good about our chances. They can't win without lying, and they can't even get their lies to stick.


Olaf said...


Surely you're familiar with the word "lie", and what it means. Nothing in the second half of the quote invalidates anything said in the first half. If you asked Dr. Hansen whether we have to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than Al Gore is, he would assumedly say yes.

Is it selective quoting attempting to paint Mr. Hansens opinion as being more negative of Gore than it is? Absolutely, and rather conspicuously so (good find, by the way). But that doesn't make it a "lie" in any meaningful sense. You could say it doesn't reveal the "whole truth", but what newspaper article does?

john said...

To say that "climate experts think that Al Gore's movie is inaccurate" is a lie. As in, directly opposite to the truth. To quote James Hansen in the service of that lie may not, in itself, be a lie, but is designed to serve the lie.

Oberlinblogger said...

Even conservative commenters agree with John that the Post was misrepresnting Dr. Hansen's position.

-Sam L.

Anonymous said...

There is no misinterpretation here: http://www.ualberta.ca/~fchriste/ they lied and there's all the documents on that one they had to retract it by order of a judge, just not publicly which is bs, there is no retracting story published as far as I know so even though they lied the original lie is still posted but the retraction is not