Offering no evidence, NY Times' Brooks claimed Palin "pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues," "talks about global warming quite a lot"

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

New York Times columnist David Brooks asserted of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: "She's evangelical, but she's pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues. She's for drilling in ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], but she talks about global warming quite a lot." But Palin has reportedly said of global warming, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made," a position at odds with findings by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; she has also reportedly opposed giving spousal benefits to same-sex partners of public employees.

During the August 29 edition of PBS' NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, New York Times columnist David Brooks asserted of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: "She's evangelical, but she's pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues. She's for drilling in ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], but she talks about global warming quite a lot." But Brooks did not mention what Palin has actually said on the subject of global warming. In fact, Newsmax Magazine reported that in an interview, Palin said of global warming, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made," a position that puts her at odds with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has concluded that "[t]here is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming" and that "[m]ost of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG (greenhouse gases) concentrations" (emphases in original). Nor did Brooks note that Palin reportedly opposed giving spousal benefits to same-sex partners of public employees.

In an interview for the September issue of Newsmax Magazine, Palin was asked: "What is your take on global warming and how is it affecting our country?" She responded: "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made."

Palin has reportedly made similar remarks about global warming in the past. For instance, on December 31, 2006, the Anchorage Daily News reported that "[d]uring last fall's [gubernatorial] political campaign, Gov. Sarah Palin said she remained unconvinced about how much human emissions contribute to current global warming trends. She endorsed the work being undertaken by a new Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Commission created by the Legislature last May, which she said would help provide Alaskans with answers. But the Legislature steered away from addressing broader causes of global warming and potential solutions when it created the panel." Similarly, in a November 4, 2006, article, the Daily News reported:

The candidates for governor all agree that global climate change is presenting serious problems for Alaska, but there is some disagreement over what the source of that problem is.

[...]

Palin isn't so sure it's not a natural warming cycle, according to her spokesman, Curtis Smith.

"She's not totally convinced one way or the other," Smith said. "Science will tell us, and she's proud that UAF [University of Alaska-Fairbanks] will have a role in that. She thinks the jury's still out."

"I will not pretend to have all the answers," Palin said about global warming at the recent Alaska Federation of Natives convention, where delegates passed a resolution calling for a mandatory reduction in pollution affecting the atmosphere.

Answering a question from the Daily News, Palin cautioned against "overreaction." She has called the Alaska Climate Change Impact Assessment Commission report due next March a good place to start. The commission was created by the Legislature last year. Its seven members were named Wednesday.

Additionally, Brooks gave no evidence that Palin is "pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues." Nor did he note that, as Media Matters for America has documented, while Palin vetoed a bill in 2006 that would have prevented state officials from granting spousal benefits, her actions followed a 2005 Alaska Supreme Court ruling that the state's policy of denying spousal benefits to same-sex partners of public employees violated the Alaska Constitution and a 2006 state Supreme Court order requiring the state to issue regulations granting such benefits by January 1, 2007. In the veto message, Palin's office stated that she disagreed with the Alaska Supreme Court's actions: "The Governor's veto does not signal any change or modification to her disagreement with the action and order by the Alaska Supreme Court." Further, as a candidate for governor, Palin also reportedly supported efforts to prohibit state benefits for same-sex couples. The Anchorage Daily News reported on August 6, 2006, that Palin believes "[e]lected officials can't defy the court when it comes to how rights are applied, she said, but she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexual couples. 'I believe that honoring the family structure is that important,' Palin said. She said she doesn't know if people choose to be gay."

From the August 29 edition of PBS' NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:

LEHRER: Do you think that's -- do you think that has any possibility of actually working, that women would vote -- well, that's -- that's the question.

BROOKS: Yes, I do, and the fact that she is working class. She is, as she says, a hockey mom, which I guess is tougher than a soccer mom. She -- you know, her husband's a member of a union. She said she works with her hands. She's not a pretentious person. You know, they were not going to nominate Mitt Romney and have the two wealthy guys. So that's good. And I think the second thing -- and, again, this is all contingent on the fact she does well, which we really don't know.

LEHRER: Sure.

BROOKS: But I thought she did well today. But the second thing to be said is she is an under-45 Republican. That means she's unwedded to Reaganism. She's a -- she's evangelical, but she's pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues. She's for drilling in ANWR, but she talks about global warming quite a lot. She's got different categories in her head than, I think, the older conservatives who are pretty much down the line ideologically.

LEHRER: During the campaign, though, what does it do now for the experience issue? Because that was going to be a big one between McCain and Obama.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
PBS
Person
David Brooks, Sarah Palin
Show/Publication
PBS NewsHour
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.