Fight Back Blog: Kill the Messenger
02.04.2010 Posted By: Brian Young
You've probably heard the old saying that people attribute to the legal profession: when the law is on your side, pound the law. When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. And when neither is on your side, pound the table. It's a cute saying and gets at the bluster some people resort to when reality is against them.
The problem is, it's outdated. Today's PR and political pros working for the status quo know that the real saying should be this: When the law is on your side, pound the law. When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. And when neither is on your side ... pound the witness.
It's become a familiar pattern. Someone steps forward to point out some important issue that needs attention. The entrenched interests that want to avoid that issue dispute the validity of the claim not by engaging directly, but by using every trick necessary to discredit the person making the claim. We're now seeing this play out in the climate bill, but instead of going after one person, Big Oil and their allies and hired guns are going after an entire class of people in every way possible. They are demonizing climate scientists.
The latest kerfuffle involves the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and their report on the effects of climate change. It's a massive report, with a huge number of data points in there, showing in great detail the effects of climate change. It's a massive compendium of the evidence of climate change, the effects we've already felt, and the effects we'll feel in the future.
One of those claims made it into the document without proper study. And Big Oil and others are spending millions to try to use that to discredit not only the entire report, but the entire panel and everyone working on it. It's madness, but they have millions.
Here's the backstory: in the report, there's one statement that the Himalayan glaciers project to disappear by 2035. It's a very scary fact, but it's not actually a fact. It's something that's highly in dispute and hasn't gone through any peer review studies. There were glaciologists who pointed out that it should be deleted, but the communication broke down, and the fact stayed in. It was a mistake, and everyone acknowledges so.
But it's one fact. The millions of dollars from Big Oil, the researchers hired by them to go through the report, found one mistake in nearly 2,000 pages of dense facts. And they are attacking the IPCC, its head, and climate scientists in general because of that. It's like finding a single pothole in an entire state and saying the whole government needs to be overthrown.
The reality is that the Himalayan glaciers are melting. We don't know exactly when they'll be gone (probably not by 2035), but that's so incredibly beside the point. The Himalayas are the tallest mountains in the world. If the glaciers at the top of the world are melted, we've long since gone though incredible upheavals and climatic disaster. The final date of their disappearance is a tiny detail ... THEY ARE MELTING! Why is this so hard to understand for some people? The glaciers at the top of the world are melting right now.
The money of Big Oil is trying to buy distraction any way they can.More Posts