Fox Paints Birther's Climate Change Antics As Serious "Dissent"December 7, 2012 12:04 PM EST ››› MAX GREENBERG
Fox News portrayed the dismissal of British politician Christopher Monckton from the UN climate conference in Qatar as evidence that there was legitimate "dissent" against climate change being quashed. In fact, Monckton, who is known for incendiary antics and remarks, was expelled for violating the conference's code of conduct, and protesters on the other side of the issue were also expelled for similar violations.
Monckton was removed from the 2012 UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, after impersonating a delegate from Myanmar in order to misleadingly claim that there has been "no global warming at all" for 16 years, obscuring the clear warming trend. He was subsequently barred from all future UN climate conferences.
The following morning, Fox & Friends seized on the episode to paint "Lord Monckton" as a martyr of climate "dissent" and bemoan a lack of "debate" on the issue. Co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed somewhat dubiously that "Everyone took notes and they learned from that, and global warming is indeed now wrong." Gretchen Carlson declared that the conference "was supposed to be a debate apparently at this convention, but a debate usually involves two different points of view. I guess this time they're just going to have one point of view." Steve Doocy conceded that Monckton had spoken out of turn in Doha, but concluded of his dismissal, "There goes for dissent."
But Monckton wasn't being singled out. A group of activists was also expelled from Doha for "unfurling an unauthorized banner calling for the Qatari hosts to lead the negotiations to a strong conclusion," according to Greenwire (subscription required). And contrary to Carlson's suggestion, the purpose of the Doha conference is not to "debate" the widely-accepted and extensively documented science behind manmade climate change. Rather, it is to "speed up global action towards a low-emission future where everyone has the chance of a sustainable life."
More significantly, Monckton, who has no formal scientific training, is a notorious and prolific peddler of climate myths, and he wasn't being punished for "dissent" -- he was expelled for "impersonating a Party" and violating the conference's code of conduct.
This wasn't Monckton's first disruptive stunt at a U.N. climate conference. In 2007, in Bali, he declared "climate change is a non-problem," and was eventually expelled for attempting to hold an impromptu, un-registered news conference. During the 2009 event in Copenhagen, he exploded at a group of student protesters, repeatedly addressing them as "Hitler Youth" and "Nazis." He later defended his comments, telling the students that they were "killing millions by starvation in the 3rd world." After the conference he triumphantly proclaimed "The eco-Nazis' attempt at a global coup d'etat has failed, and no such attempt is likely to succeed again." Nazi references are a popular theme in Monckton's rhetoric. He has also called President Obama's birth certificate a "forgery" and, in 1987, advocated for forcibly quarantining HIV patients. All this has led to a curriculum vitae that seems consistent with a Sacha Baron Cohen character.
Monckton is often touted as a "former Thatcher advisor," but John Gummer, a former Tory environment secretary, Thatcher official and current head of the UK Committee on Climate Change, told a radio program in 2011 that Monckton "isn't taken seriously by anybody." Gummer added "he was a bag carrier in Mrs. Thatcher's office, and the idea that he advised her on climate change is laughable. The fact of the matter is, he's not a figure of importance and has made no difference to the debate." In 2012, Gawain Towler, the conservative UK Independence Party's press spokesman, described Monckton as an "outlier" who is now "semi-detached" and "no longer has any formal role" in the party. In 2010 and 2011, the UK Parliaments officially asked Monckton to stop claiming to be a member of the House of Lords.
This is the man Fox used to exemplify "different points of view"-- and not for the first time. Prior to the Copenhagen event, Glenn Beck hosted him to argue that carbon is "harmless," and Monckton's dispatches from the 2011 Durban conference were cited by Fox's Peter Johnson to falsely claim that the conference established a "climate court of justice."