Letter to ABC News from Dr. S. Fred Singer

Published March 28, 2008
TO: Felicia Biberica Fiona Conway
  Producer Executive Director
  ABC News ABC News
  212-456-3634 77 W. 66th St.
  cell 201-647-7966 New York City 10023
  <[email protected] >  

Dear Ms Biberica and Ms Conway:

I share the anger expressed in nearly 100 postings (so far) <http://www.abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id=4506059&page=1> at the shoddy handling of my interview aired on March 23: It was an appalling display of bias, unfairness, journalistic misbehavior, and a breakdown of ethical standards. It used prejudicial language, distorted facts, libelous insinuations, and anonymous smears. I urge you to read the postings; only one person offered any support to ABC, as far as I can see.

I put the following account on my website www.sepp.org:

1. Interviewer Dan Harris used a man from Greenpeace who spouted conspiracy theories about me, showing someone’s diagram that ‘connects’ me to groups alleged to be financed by oil companies. The only purpose I can think of is to suggest to viewers that I am in the pay of oil companies and that therefore my science is somehow tainted and not credible. First, the suggestion is completely false. I am not financed or supported by oil companies or by any industry. Then, Harris tried to suggest that I misrepresented by denying oil company support but admitting receiving an unsolicited donation. I draw a distinction — as would any reasonable person — between being ‘supported’ and between a single charitable donation (constituting a tiny fraction of 1%) of all donations received. Finally, the word ‘connected’ is imprecise, and can mean anything from being on a mailing list to holding a position and receiving a salary. In my case it is definitely the former.

2. Dan Harris also referred to unnamed scientists from NASA, Princeton and Stanford, who pronounced what I do as ‘fraudulent nonsense.’ [The ABC website changed it to ‘fabricated’ nonsense — perhaps on advice of ABC’s lawyers.] They are easily identified as the well-known Global Warming zealots Jim Hansen, Michael Oppenheimer, and Steve Schneider. They should be asked by ABC to put their money where their mouth is and have a scientific debate with me. [I suspect they’ll chicken out. They surely know that the facts support my position — so they resort to anonymous slurs.] Hansen is no longer the careful scientist he was but has turned into an ideologue willing to publish junk ‘research.’ Oppenheimer, who may still be on the payroll of Environmental Defense, an activist lobbying group, has negligible credentials. Schneider has not published significant research in years. Both Hansen and Oppenheimer could be labeled as ‘Contrarians’ since they disagree with important conclusions of the UN-IPCC.

3. Dan Harris did mention my doubts about the lung-cancer effects of Second-Hand Smoke, about the danger of toxic waste (spent nuclear fuel), and about ‘Nuclear Winter.’ All true — Dan did his research but withheld the full story. On SHS, I simply quoted from the experts (see attached review article from a noted medical doctor, specializing in lung disease). Nuclear fuel presents no technical problems, only political ones. France and Britain handle its disposal; why don’t we? ‘Nuclear Winter’ (which burst onto the scene in 1983 — and disappeared quickly) was basically a fraud, invented to shore up an ideological position. We disposed of it in a debate moderated by Ted Koppel on ABC-Nightline. But Harris left the audience with the impression that I am a ‘career skeptic’, and therefore my skepticism about manmade GW should be ignored.

4. Yours is supposed to be a news program not an opinion journal. Dan Harris completely ignored the new scientific evidence against anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW) and the fact that 100 other scientists presented papers that support this view. The Heartland Conference in NY had an attendance of more than 500, practically all of them AGW skeptics. That’s news, but ABC ignored it.

Conclusion: ABC owes it to its audience and to me to make appropriate corrections — an apology and retraction by Dan Harris on the World News program.


S. Fred Singer, PhD (Physics, Princeton)
Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia
Fellow, American Geophysical Union
Fellow, American Physical Society

For further information contact S. Fred Singer, president, Science & Environmental Policy Project, 1600 South Eads Street #712-S, Arlington, VA 22202-2907; phone 703/920-2744; Web site http://www.sepp.org; email [email protected].