Author: Journalists 'Cover Energy And Environment Subjects As Liberal Activists,' E-Mails Show

August 29, 2012 - 10:35 AM

Liberals claim to support transparency in government - until conservatives start finding shady things through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

New York Times bestselling author, litigator, and Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner has been filing such FOIAs for years and has turned up Obama's "true plan" for cap-and-trade, a close relationship between an energy official and a Solyndra director - and more. Horner's quest for public information, labeled as "criminal" by one Obama agency head, will be detailed in his upcoming book, "The Liberal War on Transparency."

Very recently, Horner uncovered emails including two from July 2009 that connected Bill Lambrecht, an environmental reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, to the late Stephen H. Schneider, who was a Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford and curator of ClimateChange.net.

Schneider used to appear in network news reports warning about global warming, claiming that humans were making heat waves worse and criticizing cars ("humans using the atmosphere as a free place to dump our tailpipe waste"). He also claimed "[climate] contrarians are given disproportionate representation in the media" - something Business & Media Institute analysis disproved.

Lambrecht contacted Schneider after U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) introduced legislation to stop the U.S. from contributing to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) over fiscal waste and "dubious science." In its 2007 report the IPCC included an "unfounded" claim (from the activist World Wildlife Fund) that Himalayan glaciers could "disappear by 2035." In 2010, New Scientist magazine admitted the claim was "speculative."

It is clear from Lambrecht's email that he didn't just want to get the other point of view; he actively wanted to challenge the assertion that climate alarmism was based on "junk science." He wrote to Schneider saying: "I realize that this news release [from Luetkemeyer] is very incremental in the broader picture but it seems important not to let representations like this stand unchallenged. I know you are busy, but would it be okay to phone you shortly with regard to the suggestion of 'junk science'."

Schneider's response to his peers (Susan Solomon of NOAA, Chris Field at Stanford, Kristie Ebi at the IPCC, Tim Wirth of the UN Foundation) in the climate change field about his discussion with Lambrecht revealed how pleased he was with the conversation:

"As I just told the reporter, I'll bet that if they took all the papers Susan and I have published in peer reviewed journals on climate science there would be more of them than all 700 of their "scientists" combined records in climate science journals. That makes allowance for Lindzen, though most of his are not on climate science. Not that credentials are the only point, but process of review and openness--he got it well and was sympathetic, not trying to help them, but to answer them since he said many in his part of the world don't believe the UN or scientists in general and trust those guys more than us." (Emphasis added)

"This is a tame, if typical, example, obtained thanks to FOIA requests, of a casual and all too common bias shown by nominal news journalists who, in truth, cover energy and environment subjects as liberal activists," Horner told the Business & Media Institute. "I also obtained examples that were so staggering, even reprehensible in the candor and content of their ideological -- but also quite personal -- bias that I decided this ought to be a growth area for FOIA: exposing collusion between journalists, activist government employees and axe-grinding academics as they promote their shared agenda."

The argument that skeptics don't have peer-reviewed papers has been used by climate alarmists for a long time, but the ClimateGate scandal reveals that they were actively trying to prevent scientific journals from accepting papers from people like Cato's Pat Michaels. As Cato noted in a 2010 Policy Report, one of Michael's papers (coauthored by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas) "provoked the scientists at East Anglia to, as they expressed in their private e-mails, 'stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal' and to 'encourage [their] colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in [the] journal'."

Horner recently skewered New York Times' lefty climate "reporter" Justin Gillis after FOIA results showed Gillis "laboring to undermine one of the most highly credentialed and respected climate 'skeptics,' MIT's Dr. Richard Lindzen."

Horner's upcoming book on the subject of Freedom of Information, the administration's "war on transparency," liberal double standards about who should get information access and "liberal scheming to dodge disclosure" is due out in the fall of 2012.

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