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Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Sheppard Goes Conspiratorial
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard smells a conspiracy.

In an Aug. 8 NewsBusters post, Sheppard notes that Al Gore said in a speech that global-warming deniers "offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere" a mere few days after a Newsweek article outlining the strategy and funding behind the deniers makes the same claim (and that both used the word "deniers"), Sheppard asks (while offering no evidence that disproves the claim):

Is this a coordinated attack designed to incite anger in citizens that polls show are not as upset about this issue as the left and their media minions?


Coincidence, or a coordinated campaign by the left to stifle the growing number of scientists around the world who are speaking out and writing articles refuting anthropogenic global warming theories whilst inciting the public's anger?


Certainly, it seems quite suspicious that Gore and Newsweek ignored actual funding data going to both sides of this debate while employing very similar language just days apart to point fingers at "deniers," as well as using the tobacco industry analogy.

That "actual funding data" is, in fact, gamed statistics by Marc Morano, flack for global warming denier Sen. James Inhofe and a former reporter, alleging that (caps are his) "proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison." For instance, Morano states (and Sheppard regurgitates) that "The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year," but he offers no evidence to support his highly unlikely assumption that all $148 million -- or even any of it; Morano does't bother to detail any specific global-warming activities the two organizations are allegedly engaged in -- went toward fighting global warming. Morano has apparently lumped the entire budgets of such groups into his total regardless of how little of that was actually spent on global warming program related activities.

Meanwhile, as we've noted, it's highly likely that Morano is lowballing the money spent by "skeptics," given that a single conservative activist organization spent a half-million bucks on newspaper ads alone -- more than 5 percent of Morano's claimed total.

Sheppard, meanwhile, should not be complaining about conspiracies and coordination. His own copious history of NewsBusters posts on the subject shows that he's an all-too-willing shill for the global-warming-denial industry, so it's not untoward to wonder who his puppet masters are. In particular, Sheppard may feel a special kinship with Morano, who we can assume to be happy to help his old buddies at the MRC. After all, Sheppard's and Morano's screeds agaisnt the Newsweek article appeared in such close -- one might say suspicious -- proximity to each other that we can certain wonder if there was, in Sheppard's words, a coordinated attack.

Before accusing others, Sheppard needs to come clean with his readers on his own coordination efforts.

P.S.: The MRC proper also gets into the Newsweek-bashing act (coincidence?). In an Aug. 8 CyberAlert, Brent Baker calls the Newsweek article a "screed" and complained that the article "employed the belittling term 'denial machine' 14 times." Not because it's not true, mind you, but because it's "belittling." Baker joins Sheppard in uncritically citing Morano's purported statistics on funding.

UPDATE: More evidence Morano is fudging his numbers: In his article claiming that "$50 BILLION" has been spent "researching and promoting climate fears." Morano cites a "$3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air's Richard Branson." In fact, Branson said that money is going toward developing clean technologies, such as wind turbines and cleaner-burning aviation fuel, with a heavy emphasis on developing "cellulosic" ethanol.

Development of non-fossil-based fuels is "promoting climate fears"?

And that $19 million number Morano and Sheppard are tossing around as the paltry figure that "skeptics" get? That's a fudge as well. They haven't added up any figures of the budgets of conservative global warming-denying groups; as Morano himself admits, that's just a single statistic, the amount Exxon Mobil has given to "groups skeptical of man-made global warming."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 8, 2007 2:12 PM EDT

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