Policy Documents

Center for American Progress Smears Scientists, Censors Heartland Institute Analyst

James M. Taylor –
June 29, 2011

I just finished listening in on the Center for American Progress press call titled, “Climate Deniers Congregate in the Nation’s Capital.” The press call’s explicit purpose was to criticize the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, taking place tomorrow and Friday in Washington, DC. The presenters were Center for American Progress senior fellow Joe Rom, former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, and scientist/global warming activist Peter Gleick.

The press call was surreal, for many reasons. Here are a few quick highlights (or, more accurately, lowlights):

+ Last week I had received an email from the Center for American Progress announcing the press call and inviting me to participate. Yet when I called in and pleasantly identified myself to the moderator, the moderator acted surprised and flustered when I identified my affiliation with the Heartland Institute. As soon as the session reached the Question and Answer period, I hit the “* 1” buttons on my phone to indicate I wished to ask a question. After taking several questions from other participants, the moderator announced she would then be taking “the final question.” Although I had indicated at the very beginning of Q&A that I wished to ask a question, she refused to allow me to do so. Did they invite me by mistake, or did they think I would simply sit silently while they misrepresented facts and attacked the Heartland Institute? Either way, they sure didn’t allow me to ask a question, like they allowed everybody else to do.
+ Joe Romm began the call by extensively bemoaning those “who attack and harass climate scientists.” Later, he criticized those who would “kill the messenger” rather than discuss the scientific facts. Yet before the call was over, Romm repeatedly and personally attacked the scientists speaking at the Heartland Institute conference, including calling them purveyors of “astrology” and “flat earth conspiracy stuff.”

+ Global warming activist Peter Gleick showed just how closed minded he and so many alarmists are. When a reporter asked if the Center for American Progress was going to accept the Heartland Institute’s invitation for the Center to attend the Heartland Institute conference, Gleick said, “There is no science that will be discussed that is new or interesting.” No wonder the alarmists just don’t’ get it. When you refuse to listen with an open mind to scientists who have differing points of view, of course you will continue to be wrong on the science and of course the American people will listen to you less and less. As opposed to Gleick, I am always happy, and indeed eager, to listen to and consider all sides of the climate change issue.

+ Joe Romm responded to the same question about the Heartland Institute invitation by saying, “There is nothing to be gained by asking questions of people whose minds are closed.” Surreal. In other words, ‘I will choose to be closed-minded and not listen to scientists who disagree with me because I believe they are closed-minded.’ Romm also claimed the scientists speaking at the Heartland Institute climate conferences, which have included scientists at MIT, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Penn, NASA, NOAA, etc., are “not credible sources.” Yes, he seriously said that.

+ Boehlert repeatedly asserted that 97 percent of scientists say climate change is causing negative consequences and that people can’t keep putting off dealing with it. Perhaps the moderator wouldn’t let me ask a question because she knew Boehlert provided no credible source (and could not provide a credible source) for this assertion.

+ Boehlert also asserted that Sen. James Inhofe, a keynote speaker at the Heartland Institute conference, said “climate science is a big hoax.”  Again, perhaps the moderator wouldn’t let me ask a question because she knew Boehlert provided no credible source (and could not provide a credible source) for this assertion.

+ In the course of asking Romm a question, a reporter from Bloomberg referred to the Heartland Conference as a “denial fest.” And the media wonder why polls show the American people no longer trust the media to be objective or accurate. 

(Note: All quotes and summaries of comments are taken from my personal notes of the conference call.)