Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year: Mark Morano | MMFA
Published December 27, 2012 by Media Matters for America. Written by JILL FITZSIMMONS & SHAUNA THEEL
That time of the year again folks. We see best and worst of 2012, a look ahead to 2013 not to mention who is running in ’16. We reprint this from Media Matters because we think it is worthwhile.
~ Gypsy Chief
ClimateDepot.com founder Marc Morano has been called “the Matt Drudge of climate denial,” the “king of the skeptics,” and “a central cell of the climate-denial machine,” and he revels in these descriptions. Although he has no scientific expertise, he is adamant that manmade global warming is a “con job” based on “subprime science.” Morano gained prominence working for two of the most vocal climate deniers in the U.S.: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who notoriously called climate change “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” and Rush Limbaugh, who we named Climate Change Misinformer of the Year in 2011 for his steadfast denial of climate science and wild conspiracy theories about the climate change “hoax.”
These days Morano is paid by an industry-funded group to run the climate denial website ClimateDepot.com. At Climate Depot, Morano serves as the de facto research department for the right-wing media’s attacks on climate science, and mobilizes his readers to target individual scientists and reporters for telling the public about climate change threats. The site was instrumental in manufacturing the 2009 “Climategate” controversy, which Morano incorrectly claimed exposed “deliberate manipulation of facts and data” by climate scientists.Morano is a darling of the organization most committed to climate denial, the Heartland Institute. He regularly speaks at their conferences and defended their controversial billboard comparing those who accept climate science to “murderers, tyrants, and madmen” including the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
Due to his history of smears and lies, Morano’s media influence is usually confined to Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. But in December, CNN invited him to “debate” Bill Nye on climate science, and in doing so elevated his marginal views to the mainstream press for the first time all year. For all this, Marc Morano has earned the distinction of 2012 Climate Change Misinformer of the Year.
Morano Worked In Communications For Climate Deniers Rush Limbaugh And Sen. James Inhofe. Marc Morano is not a scientist and has no scientific background. Prior to starting Climate Depot, he worked as a producer for Rush Limbaugh in the 1990s where he was known as Limbaugh’s “Man in Washington.” Limbaugh continues to use Morano’s material on his radio show to misinform his millions of listeners.
Morano went on to work for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who has called climate change the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” As Inhofe’s communication director, Morano fed misleading talking points on global warming to climate contrarians, conservative bloggers, and right-wing think tanks like the Heartland Institute. [Esquire, 3/20/10] [Climate Depot, 9/18/11] [Media Matters, 12/19/11] [Think Progress, 2/17/09]
Morano Relished When His Blog Was Called “Toxic And Divisive” By a NY Times Reporter. Morano now runs the climate denial website ClimateDepot.com, which distorts climate science and often attacks individual scientists. New York Times science reporter Andrew Revkin called Morano’s blog “divisive and toxic,” to which Morano responded: “If by ‘divisive and toxic’ you mean Climate Depot is serving to derail the man-made global warming agenda and its sub-prime science and politics, I happily plead guilty!” [ClimateDepot.com, 5/8/12]
Morano Said Climate Scientists “Deserve To Be Publicly Flogged.” Morano seized on the 2009 “Climategate” controversy to call climate change a “con job” and accuse scientists of “ginning up a crisis.” He told The Daily Climate that he saw the controversy as an opportunity to sow doubt about climate science, saying: “I seriously believe we should kick them while they’re down. They deserve to be publicly flogged.” [Scientific American, 3/1/10]
Morano Defended Billboard Comparing Those Who Accept Climate Science To The Unabomber. Morano has close ties to the Heartland Institute, an industry-funded organization that hosts regular conferences and dispatches “experts” to deny that manmade global warming is a serious problem. To promote a recent conference, Heartland sponsored a billboard that associated acceptance of climate science with Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. When Heartland faced backlash from corporate donors and even some of its own staff, Morano defended the billboard, calling it “edgy”:
This is so silly. Every day now, skeptics are compared to Holocaust deniers and the media yawns. But Heartland does an edgy billboard accurately reflecting the views of those featured in it and the media acts as though they are offended?
Heartland has received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation, ExxonMobil and other corporations with a financial interest in confusing the public on climate science. Morano has spoken at five Heartland Institute conferences, and is featured on Heartland’s list of global warming “experts.” He received an award from Heartland in 2011. [Media Matters, 11/28/12] [Heartland Institute, accessed 12/12/12] [Heartland Institute, 5/15/12] [Heartland Institute, 6/30/11]
Morano Gloated That More Americans Believed In Haunted Houses Than Global Warming, Saying “Science Wins.” In 2010, Morano received an award from Accuracy in Media, a group that has defended legislation in Uganda that threatened the death penalty for the “offense of homosexuality” and promoted conspiracy theories including that President Obama was not born in the U.S. In his acceptance speech, Morano touted that in “the fall of 2009, more Americans believed in haunted houses than manmade global warming, and I’m not making that up. Science wins in the end.” Morano also said that he didn’t “understand” why Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, is “taken seriously.” [YouTube video uploaded by Accuracy in Media, 2/18/10] [Media Matters, 2/7/12] [Accuracy in Media, 2/16/10]
Morano Uses Any Media Platform He Is Given To Distort Climate Science
Fox News Hosted Morano To Discuss Climate Change At Least 5 Times In 2012. A search of Nexis and Media Matters’ internal TV archive reveals that Morano appeared on Fox News’ Your World With Neil Cavuto at least five times in 2012 to spew misinformation on climate change. Here are a few highlights:
- Climate Change Is A “Primitive Form Of Science.” In November, Morano dismissed the link between climate change and extreme weather, saying “every time there’s a bad weather event the global warming activists think we need more taxes and regulations to somehow stop bad weather. This is a primitive form of science.” He went on to compare climate models to doomsday predictions, saying: “This has now reached the level of the Mayan calendar and Nostradamus when it comes to science.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 11/26/12, via Nexis]
- Global Warming Predictions Are “Akin To Medieval Witchcraft.” In August, Morano claimed climate change predictions are “failing” and compared them to “medieval witchcraft, where we used to blame witches for controlling the weather.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 8/2/12, via Nexis]
- The Public Increasingly Doesn’t Believe In Climate Change “As The Science Crumbles.” In August, Morano declared that climate change has proven to be based on “subprime science,” and that the “whole movement has collapsed.” He added that “the public continues to believe less and less, as they should, as the science crumbles.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 8/2/12, via Nexis]
- UN Climate Treaties Are “Very Orwellian.” Morano claimed in July that the goal of UN climate negotiations is “global governance” and wealth redistribution, adding: “It`s very Orwellian… This is stuff Orwell couldn`t conceive of, your home energy use, your travel, your train travel, airline travel all monitored by international agencies. It`s not the stuff of science fiction.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 7/6/12, via Nexis]
- The “Global Warming Apocalypse… Isn’t Happening.” In April, Morano claimed that renewable energy is unnecessary because the “global warming apocalypse… isn’t happening.” He added that “even the big green gurus are reconsidering … the reason we have the wind mandates which is fear of manmade global warming.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 4/30/12]
Morano Often Appears On Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones’ Show. Alex Jones is a radio host who thinks that a “New World Order” of secretive elites is trying to take over the world, impose an authoritarian government and “exterminate 80% of the world’s population.” Jones, who was one of the most prominent 9/11 truthers, has made outlandish claims, including that the government is trying to “encourage homosexuality with chemicals” in items like juiceboxes, and that Bill Gates is promoting vaccines because he is a eugenicist trying to sterilize people. Morano often appears on Jones’ show to promote conspiracy theories of his own:
- Morano Agreed Obama “Might Start A War” To Win Re-Election. After Morano predicted that Romney would win the election, Jones said that Obama might “start a war” to win re-election. Morano responded, “they could try to do that, yes, that’s always possible.” [YouTube video posted by TheAlexJonesChannel, 9/1/12]
- Morano Fearmongered About UN Establishing A “Global EPA.” Morano claimed that the UN climate summit in Rio was pushing a “global EPA” that is “going to be able to police the world.” He added, “Think of our own EPA that speaks French. If that doesn’t send chills up your spine, I don’t know what will.” Morano’s fearmongering played into Jones’ New World Order conspiracy theory. [YouTube video posted by TheAlexJonesChannel, 2/7/12]
- Morano Denied That July Was The Hottest Month On Record. Morano claimed scientists used “data that had been monkeyed around with” to state that July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the continental U.S. [YouTube video posted by TheAlexJonesChannel, 9/1/12]
- Morano Accused Scientists Of “Cover[ing] Up” “Dropping” Sea Levels. Morano claimed that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a leading body of thousands of scientists assessing climate change, is a “small group of scientists” that was “blocking studies that disagreed, blocking data that disagreed, and then essentially, sometimes, generating studies that did.” He later added that scientists are trying to “cover up the fact that sea level not only isn’t accelerating, it’s dropping.” In fact, sea levels have been rising for decades and have studies indicate this rise is accelerating. [YouTube video posted by TheAlexJonesChannel, 2/8/12] [Columbia University, accessed 12/17/12]
- Morano: UN Climate Panel Trying To “Contro[l] The World.” Morano said that those concerned about global warming are attempting to exert “a level of control that George Orwell didn’t contemplate,” adding: “He who controls carbon, and controls land use policy, and even the oceans, controls the world. And that’s what they’re going for. And this isn’t conspiracy talk, this is in their documents.” [YouTube video posted by TheAlexJonesChannel, 12/10/11]
The National Climatic Data Center, an agency of National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration, has released November 2012 Global Climate Report
According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature for November 2012 marked the fifth warmest November since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 36th consecutive November and 333rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average November temperature was November 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985.
Speaking of Alex Jones
Media Matters for America has compiled a portfolio here. He used his interview of Charley Sheen to promote his conspiracy theories.
CNN Hosted Morano To “Debate” Bill Nye On Climate Science. In December CNN’s Piers Morgan hosted a “debate” on climate change between Marc Morano and Bill Nye “The Science Guy” without disclosing that Morano has no scientific background and is paid by an industry-funded organization. During the segment, Morano misleadingly claimed that “we’ve gone 16 years without global warming according to UN data,” adding:
MORANO: On my Web site there’s literally — it demolishes the idea of a hockey stick, new peer-reviewed study, so the idea that Bill Nye is just going around saying CO2 is up, therefore global warming is dangerous, we should be concerned, it’s not. It’s not dangerous.
In a blog highlighting the segment, CNN identified Morano as an “expert” on the issue and said he “presented an alternate theory regarding the impact, and concern, associated with carbon dioxide.” The blog did not clarify that the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is a problem and is driven by human activity. [Media Matters, 12/5/12]
Morano Helped Enforce Climate Denial Litmus Test For 2012 Election
Morano’s Advice To GOP Candidates Who Accept Climate Science: “Keep Your Mouth Shut.” During the Republican primary season, Morano told E&E News: “You can believe in the science of global warming if you’re a GOP presidential contender if you keep your mouth shut about it and you advocate no quote-unquote solution to the problem.” [E&E News, 5/23/11]
Morano Blasted Gingrich For “Accepting The Science.” Morano has repeatedly criticized Newt Gingrich for appearing in a 2008 Alliance for Climate Protection ad with Rep. Nancy Pelosi in which he said “our country must take action to address climate change.” Morano called the ad “toxic” to Gingrich’s presidential campaign, and complained that Gingrich was “accepting the science”:
Gingrich has revealed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is, & always has been – -a committed believer in man-made climate fears! The fact that Hayhoe was chosen to write a chapter in his new book is all we need to know. Will Hayhoe be his potential pick for climate advisor?! Gingrich has never left Pelosi’s couch! If the GOP can only come up with Newt or Mitt — is an Obama 2nd term all that scary when it comes to climate? Just asking…
Gingrich later scrapped Hayhoe’s chapter after Rush Limbaugh — Morano’s former boss — highlighted the story on his radio show. Morano celebrated the news with the following headline:
Balance of article: here
Posted by Gypsy Chief