ABC’s Shameful Global Warming Character Assassination

Published March 26, 2008

The nasty tone and gutter tactics of global warming alarmists and their media allies reached a new low on Easter Sunday when ABC aired on its nightly news and published on its Web site a character assassination of prestigious scientist S. Fred Singer. Singer, one of the most respected and impeccably credentialed atmospheric scientists in the world, deserves much better than the media mafia hit ABC delivered on him.

From the very first sentence, the ABC News hit-piece revealed gratuitous nastiness and personal venom. “His fellow scientists call him a fraud, a charlatan, and a showman,” ABC News said of Singer.

Really? Singer is Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University and professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. A small sampling of his additional professional qualifications includes positions as chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Transportation; dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami; director of the National Weather Satellite Service; and director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Maryland.

So, which “fellow scientists” feel so supremely qualified as to call a scientist with Singer’s impressive credentials such nasty names? The story does not identify a single one. What specifically makes Singer a “fraud, a charlatan, and a showman”? ABC News refuses to say.

ABC News states Singer “argues, against overwhelming scientific evidence, that a warmer planet will actually be beneficial.” Where is the overwhelming evidence that a colder planet is better than a warmer planet? ABC does not say.

Let’s see what hard science has to say. By virtually every measure, the warming of the twentieth century produced a far more healthy and vibrant environment than the preceding Little Ice Age. Growing seasons are longer, crop production is at record levels, forests are expanding, deserts are shrinking, soil moisture is higher, and human life spans have never been longer. Yale University economics professor Robert Mendelsohn reports that until and unless global temperatures rise another 2.5 degrees Celsius–something that would not occur for at least a few centuries even if current trends continued–global warming will continue to bestow more benefits than harm upon human health and the environment.

Does recognizing and presenting such facts make Singer a fraud and a charlatan?

Similarly, ABC News asserts that polar bears “are starving because the Arctic ice cap is shrinking.” That is simply a lie. The global polar bear population has doubled since 1970, despite legal polar bear hunting. Starving animal species do not double their numbers in so short a time, even if starting from a low number.

ABC News also claims, “Scientists say there is no other side. The debate about global warming is over.” How is it, then, that more than 19,000 scientists have signed a document known as the Oregon Petition, presenting scientific evidence that humans are not creating a global warming crisis? Even New York Times science reporter Andrew Revkin acknowledges that “For every Ph.D. there is an equal and opposite Ph.D.” who disputes the assertion that humans are causing a global warming crisis.

ABC News claims “scientists from NASA, from Stanford University and from Princeton” dismiss Singer’s research as “fabricated nonsense.” Which scientists? ABC doesn’t say. Assuming they exist, why doesn’t ABC News also mention that the head of NASA is on record as siding with Singer’s analysis?

ABC News also conveniently forgets to mention the NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists attending the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change who agree with Singer. In addition, the story conceals the fact that the Princeton scientist who so frequently makes such mudslinging attacks is a longtime staffer of the Environmental Defense Fund activist group.

When a person devotes his entire life to scientific enlightenment, and produces research and scientific findings that are so admired and respected by his peers that he achieves the very highest of professional positions and honors, he deserves better than despicable character assassination from media propagandists. ABC News has disgraced its entire profession.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute.