Global warming denialist Marc Morano, long notorious for putting out propaganda and talking points that bear no relationship to scientific reality, has lately been taking his rhetorical war on science over the top as he smears and maligns the climate science community. Morano, the director of a news aggregating denialist website, gave an April 23 online “Global Cooling Radio” interview to talk about his “current and upcoming battles” against climate science “alarmists,” in which his extremist over-reaching and inflammatory rhetoric were on display.
Post by Rick Piltz
From 2006-2009, Morano served as the communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee under former chairman and current ranking member Senator James Inhofe. Previously he helped launch the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claims while working as a reporter for Cybercast News Service. He got a start working as a reporter for Rush Limbaugh, to give you an idea of the level of civility and respect for evidence we’re talking about.
Much like his former boss, Senator “we won, you lost, get a life” Inhofe, Morano started out in the interview by declaring absolute victory: “We should be celebrating the collapse and utter defeat of man-made global warming.”
What was that accusation we’ve been hearing about others supposedly trying to demand that the debate is over?
He went on to say that “It’s hilarious to watch the entire UN process collapse…It’s just been a joy to watch.”
Morano continued: “[Global warming alarmism] has become toxic, and that is a huge victory…Science is winning in the end here.”
At 25:50 in the interview Morano says: “It is so nice to have the light of day and stench of corruption coming from people like Michael Mann and Rajendra Pachauri and Phil Jones and the upper echelon of UN scientists. We should be rejoicing that their entire careers are getting pissed on at the moment and justifiably so.”
While claiming that he and his ilk are merely trying to hold scientists accountable, there is no real interest in or commitment to the substance of the science in question. Rather, Morano has made a career out of being a political attack dog, and takes utter delight in declaring the decline and fall of his enemies as he cheerfully feeds disinformation into attack campaigns. He is playing to win a public relations war, and attacking climate scientists and their defenders as “alarmists” is just a means to harass outspoken scientists whose conclusions are politically inconvenient to him and his supporters.
Richard Littlemore, author of Climate Cover-Up and editor of DeSmogBlog.com, made a point in the Scientific American article cited below about the sources of this kind of rhetoric Morano is engaging in and encouraging. It starts with paid campaigners like Morano: “They’re the PR guys and they’re in the game and taking money for what they do. …They also wind up recruiting other folks. …In many ways [those who are activated] are just dupes and sincerely believe they’re standing up for democracy. …They’re people whose world view is being disrupted by climate scientists. …Sometimes they end up being the most effective and vitriolic,” Littlemore said.
The same article also quotes Morano: “‘You have every aspect of our lives subject to regulatory control—down to the light bulbs we can put in—based on climate science,’ Morano said. The researchers ‘never wanted to debate and they kept trying to demand the debate was over.’” Littlemore couldn’t have said it better. This is propaganda designed to generate an emotional reaction to a perceived threat to an anti-regulatory worldview, a reaction that shamelessly assigns nefarious motives to scientists going about their jobs.
The article continues: “Morano, for his part, is unapologetic in his efforts to knock climate science down a notch….‘I seriously believe we should kick them while they’re down,’ he said. ‘They deserve to be publicly flogged.’”
We first heard Morano speak in 2006 at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists, held in Burlington, Vermont. He was on a media panel, not as a real journalist, but essentially having crashed the conference as the communications director for the Senate Environment Committee majority. When challenged by a journalist during the Q&A for claiming to hold scientists accountable to high standards when he clearly had no intention of applying those standards to himself, he replied: “They’re the science community, we’re a Republican press office.”
That’s it. His job, at that time, was communications from a committee of the United States Senate. One might think this called for some gravitas, some sense of responsibility to professionalism, some thoughtful reflection of the policy process. But to Morano it was just “a Republican press office.” Thus, political theater, political combat, political propaganda.
That’s his tradecraft. It appears to have nothing to do with scientific understanding or integrity. He knows what he’s doing. He knew then that he was delivering a manipulative message, designed to win political battles, not be a truth-teller. There could not be a starker contrast between the values of a political hack and the values that characterize the science community.
But Morano and his ilk find themselves tied to a political position that requires denying and spinning climate science that has been accepted and is being acted on by serious people in the political and corporate worlds. Even his supporters among demagogic politicians and hard-over anti-regulatory business interests must know that this is essentially a propaganda campaign.
So, to cover having no scientific leg to stand on, Morano turns instead to character assassination of the leading scientists, who have devoted their lives to the painstaking process of advancing human knowledge and communicating their findings. Thus, he contributes to what appears to be a growing contempt for reasoned discourse, as he ratchets up his vitriolic rhetoric.
At 18:30 in the interview: “In fact, Reuters News contacted me recently about an article about how scientists now feel victimized and they’re getting hate mail, to which I say I’m not advocating violence, but it’s about time scientists feel the wrath of the con job they’ve perpetrated and the lie of a consensus that they’ve been trying to peddle for two decades. It’s about time and that is the reason I put the publicly available emails of certain global warming alarmists on my Web site to encourage the public to let them have a piece of their ear.”
“I’m not advocating violence, but…” – Sounds like he knows that it sounds like he may be suggesting violence to his listeners in some of the darker corners of the blogosphere, so he issues this disclaimer—to let himself off the hook when something really bad happens to some climate scientist?
Hopefully we will get to a point where the media and the public understand what someone like Morano is all about, and his extremist over-reaching and inflammatory rhetoric will be his downfall.
In the immortal words of Joseph Welch, spoken to Senator Joe McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
More information about cyber attacks on climate scientists:
Cyber Bullying Intensifies as Climate Data Questioned (Scientific American)
The rise of anti-science cyber bullying: Morano says climate scientists “deserve to be publicly flogged” (Climate Progress)
Earlier CSW posts:
“Cyber bullying” and Congressional inquisition aim to chill the work of climate scientists (March 8, 2010)
Climate Cover-Up: New book by the DeSmogBlog team is a take-down of the denial machine (October 21, 2009)
Harvard Prof. Daniel Schrag on Senator Inhofe’s “gathering of liars and charlatans” (CSW, Dec. 23, 2006)