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CNS' War on John Holdren

Terry Jeffrey and his crew advance its anti-Obama agenda by scouring decades-old textbooks for cherry-picked quotes it can take out of context to smear the Obama administration adviser -- and even bizarrely bashing him for owning a car.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/21/2012

As part of its anti-Obama advocacy, has made a habit of targeting Obama administration officials and nominees with claims that tend to be misleading or out of context, if not outright false. Most notoriously, CNS reporter Matt Cover falsely claimed that one nominee "described groups that were a domestic security threat as being 'anti-abortion' and 'Christian-identity oriented.'" In fact, the nominee was specifically referring to the far-right movement known as Christian Identity. Despite the obvious error, the article remains uncorrected on the CNS website.

John Holdren

Another frequent CNS target is Obama science adviser John Holdren. ConWebWatch has previously noted how, in September 2010, CNS ambushed Holdren with a gotcha question based on an out-of-context statement from a textbook Holdren co-authored nearly 40 years ago, asked apropos of nothing.

(Then-CNS videographer Nicholas Ballasy tried pulling the same gotcha stunt a couple weeks later with another cherry-picked quote, only to have Holdren respond, “I’m not talking to you. Bye bye. Have a nice day.” A few months later, Ballasy's gotcha tactics backfired when he encountered Barney Frank.)

Holdren has long been a right-wing target of false and misleading claims; WorldNetDaily and Glenn Beck, for instance, have falsely portrayed Holdren as advocating forced abortions and sterilization. That lie is so pervasive that WND editor Joseph Farah was regurgitating it in a June 14 column.

CNS' crusade against Holdren -- which has focused on even more obscure quote-mining -- has been going on for more than three years, beginning in April 2009, when it published a rant by Alan Caruba listing Holdren as one of the "loonies" and "seriously deranged people" who are "close to the seat of power in America."

That July, CNS started ramping up its anti-Holdren campaign:

  • A article by Christopher Neefus, rummaging through an old co-authored textbook, claimed that Holdren "advocated the 'de-development' of the United States in books he published in the 1970s."
  • Another article by Neefus cherry-picked the textbook again to claim that Holdren "was writing about placing 'caps' on the U.S. economy itself--and working toward 'zero economic growth.'"
  • CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey wrote one "news" article that worked up outrage that Holdren "said in a book he co-authored in 1973 that a newborn child 'will ultimately develop into a human being' if he or she is properly fed and socialized."
  • Jeffrey asserted in a column that the textbook his reporters had been cherry-picking from has "an apocalyptic vision," ranting that Holdren "make[s] a case for aborting unwanted children."

CNS tried to more its Holdren-bashing up the right-wing media chain in a September 2009 article by Neefus that got a Republican congressman to claim that Holdren "should return to Congress to explain his views." That article, however, demonstrates the sloppiness in which CNS has been attacking Holdren. An "editor's note" at the end is , in fact, a major correction: "An earlier version of this story wrongly identified the source of Holdren's quote as a book written by both Paul Ehrlich and Holdren. In fact, Ehrlich was the author of the work."

This was followed by a December 2009 article by Neefus and Pete Winn nitpicking testimony on global warming, complaining that while H0ldren testified that "changes in global temperatures could mean a rise in sea levels of 6 feet or more in a century," another adviser testified it "could mean a rise in sea levels of up to 3.5 feet in this century."

None of CNS' Holdren-hate was able to gain any significant traction elsewhere in the media, nor did its 2010 ambush interviews. Yet CNS continued to hammer at Holdren anyway.

An April 2010 article by Neefus attempted to make a big deal out a Holdren statement that that the United States "can’t expect to be number one in everything indefinitely" -- a commonsense and non-controversial claim, as Holdren pointed out that "there are many benefits to the increasing capabilities of science and technology in other countries around the world," while it is becoming "so hard for scientists and technologists from certain countries to get into this country" -- also fell flat.

In a February 2011 article, Neefus highlighted Holdren's accurate claim that climate change is accepted "mainstream" science and not the view of "a few isolated scientists."

Those had no impact either. Perhaps that's why earlier this year, it decided to give the cherry-picking witch hunt another try.

A Feb. 22 article by Jeffrey claimed that Holdren "wrote in a book he co-authored with population control advocates Paul and Anne Ehrlich that children from larger families have lower IQs." Jeffrey offers no evidence that Holdren personally offers this view -- taken from a 1973 textbook -- nor did he give Holdren an opportunity to respond to his smear job.

Jeffrey followed that up with a March 1 article pushing the following

John P. Holdren, the White House science adviser to President Barack Obama, wrote in a book he co-authored with population control advocates Paul and Anne Ehrlich that “ways must be found to control advertising” and that possible means for doing so would be banning utility companies from promoting increased use of energy and prohibiting “references to size, power or sexual potency” in automobile advertising.

Yes, Jeffrey believed that this was deserving of a "news" article. It's not until the fourth paragraph that Jeffrey gets around to noting that this appears in a book Holdren co-wrote in 1973. As before, at no point did Jeffrey make any apparent effort to contact Holdren to explain what he wrote nearly four decades ago or ask if he holds that belief now, or if he actually held it then.

CNS' Holdren-hate devolved even further with a March 23 article by Fred Lucas and Matt Cover featuring this shocking discovery:

Obama Science Czar Dr. John P. Holdren, an ardent environmentalist who has called for an end to the auto industry since the '70s, owns two automobiles.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Holdren and his wife, Dr. Cheryl E. Holdren, have active registration plates for a 2000 Subaru Legacy and for a 2004 Toyota Prius – with both of them co-owners of both vehicles.

CNS considers somebody owning a car to be news. Sad, isn't it?

Such exceedingly thin gruel targeted a a minor player in the administration demonstrates just how desperate Jeffrey and company are to destroy Obama.

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