On the April 5 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck joined Chris Horner, counsel for the energy industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), in denouncing former Vice President Al Gore's award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, 2006), with Horner saying the film is "pure science fiction." As evidence, Beck cited a New York Times article on global warming -- which, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, includes misleading characterizations, a false comparison, and misrepresentations of Gore's statements. Horner also claimed that, "in about a year, it'll be almost 10 years since we've experienced any warming" -- an argument contradicted by NASA surface temperature analyses. He also asserted that Gore "has been saying, for nigh on five years, that we've got 10 years to live," a statement that Gore does not appear to have ever made.
In introducing the segment, Beck stated: "Even The New York Times has said that Al Gore is writing checks that his research couldn't cash. Usually, the only thing you find about Al Gore in The New York Times -- love letters." Horner later echoed Beck's claim, saying: "It took The New York Times about 15 months to pick up on the fact that his movie was pure science fiction before they found some scientists who were willing to say this." But as Media Matters noted, the March 13 Times article to which Horner and Beck were presumably referring included several misrepresentations of Gore's position, including making a false comparison to suggest that Gore exaggerated a potential rise in sea levels.
Additionally, the article's author, New York Times science writer William J. Broad, identified Donald J. Easterbrook as a "rank-and-file" scientist who opposes Gore's views, when, in fact Easterbrook, in a presentation at the Geological Society of America's 2006 annual meeting, suggested that "global warming since 1900 could well have happened without any effect of CO2" and predicted global cooling between 2065 and 2100. Moreover, Media Matters has documented that scientists who were identified as skeptics in the article -- Richard Lindzen, Bjørn Lomborg, Roy Spencer, and Benny J. Peiser -- all have made statements questioning global warming that have either been debunked or discredited by the scientific community, which Broad did not report. The Broad article echoes the anti-Gore myths perpetuated by the Times that -- as Media Matters senior fellow Eric Boehlert has noted -- affected the outcome of the 2000 election.
During the segment, Horner also claimed that "it'll be almost 10 years since we've experienced any warming," and that "it hasn't warmed since 1998." In fact, as Media Matters has noted, according to NASA, 1998 was a particularly warm year because "a strong El Nino, a warm water event in the eastern Pacific Ocean, added warmth to global temperatures." Despite the temperature spike that occurred in 1998, the Climatic Research Unit's Global Temperature Record and a surface temperature analysis of 2006 by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) show a general warming trend since 1970. Moreover, a February 2007 NASA Earth Observatory news release states, "By the early 1980s, temperatures surpassed those of the 1940s and, despite ups and downs from year to year, they continued rising beyond the year 2000."
A graph on NASA's website illustrates the "global mean land-ocean temperature index" from 1880 to 2006:
During the show, Horner also stated that Gore "has been saying, for nigh on five years, that we've got 10 years to live, so, pretty soon ... those chickens are going to come home to roost." In fact, Gore has asserted that, according to "leading scientists," such as NASA's James Hansen, the climate may be reaching "a point of no return" within the next 10 years. On the December 5, 2006, edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Gore said: "Some of the leading scientists are now saying we may have as little as 10 years before we cross a kind of point of no return, beyond which it's much more difficult to save the habitability of the planet in the future." Media Matters could find no evidence that Gore has ever said that "we've got 10 years to live."
From the April 5 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Because both sides now know you're full of bullcrap!
Those on the left who do agree with the perceived immediate dangers of global warming think you're a hypocrite. Not only does your palatial mansion use more electricity in a month than the average American home does in a year, but the meat-eater that he is also contributes to cattle emissions, which are infinitely worse than driving a fully loaded Hummer.
Now, that's not my opinion; no, that's the opinion of those crazy conservatives at the U.N.
Now, those on the right have long believed that, you know, something's going on with the Earth's climate, but it's impossible to deny that so much of Al Gore's science is unsubstantiated and his doomsday language is wide -- it's just out of control and counterproductive.
Even The New York Times has said that Al Gore is writing checks that his research couldn't cash. Usually, the only thing you find about Al Gore in The New York Times -- love letters.
Al, the world's onto you. Your self-promotional, politically motivated science fiction -- I say, forget, you know, the diet, grow the beard back, invite your old friends, Ben and Jerry, over for a little reunion. The jig seems to be up!
Chris Horner, he is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism). Chris --
BECK: -- aren't you absolutely shocked that the mainstream media didn't pick up a story about protesters at Al Gore's speech from the left?
HORNER: Well, wait a second. It took The New York Times about 15 months to pick up on the fact that his movie was pure science fiction before they found some scientists who were willing to say this, so I expect in another year or so, they'll figure out that maybe it's worth reporting, because we'll figure out -- in about a year, it'll be almost 10 years since we've experienced any warming, Glenn. You have to remember that it hasn't warmed since 1998.
Maybe, on that anniversary -- that they will notice that, in fact, some college students jeered him. And the reason that's odd is -- you're noting that, yes, he does tend to now speak only before reliably left-wing audiences, sure, but typically elites.
College students may come from the elite strain, but they aren't yet there.
HORNER: They haven't figured out that his agenda is really about other people. They realize they'd like to create wealth, and he's going to make it quite difficult for them.
BECK: Let me go to -- let me go -- 'cause you said, you know, it's been 10 years, almost 10 years -- it's been nine now since we've experienced any warming in the globe. Let me go -- let me show you that we seem to have collective Alzheimer's. From The Washington Post -- "Greenhouse Doomsday": "The year is 2035. Phoenix is in its third week of temperatures over 130 degrees. ... Holland is under water. Bangladesh has ceased to exist. ... (This) is not science fiction; it's based on current projections."
At what point do the projections start to catch up on them?
HORNER: Well, when they assign years to them -- I believe that article assigned 2035, so, back then, it was a long time in the future. Right now -- remember, Al Gore has been saying, for nigh on five years, that we've got 10 years to live, so, pretty soon, you know, those chickens are going to come home to roost.
BECK: I don't know if you saw this, but in USA Today, I think it was yesterday, the lead story in the Life section was, scientists say it's too late. It's too late to turn this around. I thought --
BECK: -- "Well, I should go buy the Hummer then."
HORNER: Well, that's when the schism's part starts in the movement because, at that point, the funding drives up. What's the point? Remember, Glenn, we spent $5 billion with a "b" researching this that's purportedly settled, and now it's too late. Why don't we spend the money productively to help with adaptation, which is how societies -- successful societies have always dealt with something that they always face: climate change.
BECK: Chris, thank you. I want to leave you with one quick quote here. It is from Discover magazine: "[W]e have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have." Discover magazine, 1989. Seems like the playbook.
That's "The Real Story" tonight, and in the spirit of equal time, I want to give Al Gore a chance to respond, and I mean this sincerely. Here it is.
[begin video clip]
AL GORE IMPERSONATOR: I want to talk to you today about global warming. We all know the dangers it presents, so I'm not going to try and scare you. I'm just going to present you with the facts.
Here's fact No. 1: If you don't act soon, the Earth will suffer many, many explosions! Bombs! Deaths! It's going to be hell on Earth! Your skin is going to bubble! You're going to burn alive, and you're going to be dead -- dead! So dead you won't even believe how dead you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This message brought to you by the Committee to Keep Al Gore's Ongoing 2012 Presidential Campaign Secret.