On the occasion of Lou Dobbs abruptly quitting his anchor-commentator program on CNN, we recall two occasions on which he ran a climate change story. In one, he didn’t appear able to distinguish the relative merit of the views of a distinguished climate scientist and IPCC author and someone who views global warming as “the greatest scam in history.” In the other, covering a story on Bush White House political editing of climate science program reports, he did manage to note that “putting an oil industry lobbyist at the head of a council on the environment, that is curious, to say the least.”
In our post on February 1, 2009, “CNN’s Lou Dobbs manufactures global warming controversy in junk journalism interview,” we led with this:
In a display of junk journalism Friday evening (Jan 30), CNN’s Lou Dobbs invited a TV weatherman with no formal climate science training, John Coleman, and a credentialed climate scientist and IPCC author, Henry Pollack, to address what Dobbs referred to as “a renewed battle” this week “in the fight over global warming” and “whether it even exists.” Why does CNN allow Dobbs to blur the lines between news and opinion and to manufacture controversy on a matter as grave as global climate disruption? (See Details)
On June 8, 2005, his CNN program Lou Dobbs Tonight included the following piece (excerpted from full transcript:
LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Terror Bust; Border Insecurity; Political Climate; Ocean Pollution; Illegal Immigrants and Disease; Outsourcing Not Worth It?
Aired June 8, 2005 – 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
…Now, in the case of someone from a country on the terrorist watch list? They’re automatically guaranteed a detention bed, but only for 180 days. After that, they’re just released.
DOBBS: Karen, thank you. Karen Schaler from Washington.
The White House tonight faces questions about another controversy, the role of a Bush administration official who once worked as a top lobbyist for the oil industry. The official reportedly edited government climate reports. Those climate reports were edited to play down links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. That according to another former official who recently left the government.
Suzanne Malveaux reports.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rick Piltz left the government three months ago, fed up with the Bush administration’s approach to science.
RICK PILTZ, FMR. GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL [RP correction: actually, former senior associate in the US Climate Change Science Program Office, but not a government “official”]: I’ve been seeing what was clearly a process of politicization of the science program in a way that was undermining its credibility and its integrity.
MALVEAUX: For the last four years, Piltz worked for the White House Council on Environmental Quality [RP correction: the CCSP Office had CEQ as a political overseer but was not within CEQ]. Now he is making public these internal documents he says show a top White House official editing government reports to downplay the scientific link between industrial emissions and global warming.
That official, Philip Cooney, is currently the chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, a position that helps devise and promote the Bush administration’s environmental policy. Before that, Cooney was a lobbyist for the oil industry. Some environmentalists say that industry’s fingerprints are all over White House policy.
DAVID HAMILTON, SIERRA CLUB: I never saw the kind of attempt to change the facts and change the conclusions that we see now in the Bush administration.
MALVEAUX: CNN asked to speak with Cooney, but a White House spokeswoman said he would not be made available to comment on this story.
The White House says they have scientists and policymakers involved in editing their reports.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not based on any one individual. This is an interagency review process where everybody who is involved in these issues should have input into these reports. And that’s all this is.
MALVEAUX: The administration also denies downplaying the effects of climate change.
President Bush on Tuesday…
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: See, there’s a lot of things we’re doing in America. And I believe that not only can we solve greenhouse gas, I believe we will.
MALVEAUX: But critics say that the Bush administration is out of step with much of the rest of the world in its refusal to sign the Kyoto climate treaty, and also in its focus over the doubts or questions about global warming.
DOBBS: Well, the Kyoto treaty, of course, rejected by the U.S. Senate. There’s little concern about that, that is not partisan in nature, both Democrat and Republican administrations involved. But in the case of putting an oil industry lobbyist at the head of a council on the environment, that is curious, to say the least.
How does the White House explain that?
MALVEAUX: Well the White House doesn’t believe that it’s curious at all. As a matter of fact, political observers, people who we talked to today, say that it is not atypical, really, if you take a look at who the Democrats put in under the Clinton administration. That you are going to have Democrats, as well as Republicans, that do this, that they actually recruit people that reflect their own interests. That it, of course, is not surprising that their conclusions would perhaps promote a certain policy or a bent, a slant that is approval, or I guess in support of the White House position.
DOBBS: So we’re reporting here tonight, Suzanne, that the Clinton administration had an oil industry lobbyist in charge of its environmental council?
MALVEAUX: No. We’re not reporting that at all, Lou. What we’re saying here is that political analysts take a look at the Clinton administration and they say the Democrats that were in similar positions also reflected the policy of Democrats. They say it’s not surprising, certainly, that Republicans in this administration, be they oil lobbyists or others, are certainly reflecting the policy of this Republican White House.
DOBBS: Suzanne Malveaux from the White House. Thank you.
Turning to the war in Iraq, four American soldiers have been killed in the latest combat….