A Letter to the Editor: “When the MSM Misleads about January 6th, What Other Disinformation Do They Push?”
To the Editor:
Dr. Naomi Wolf, who nobody would term as a right-wing zealot, admitted to being misled about the January 6 Capitol riot (“Dear conservatives, I’m sorry I believed so many media lies”), noting how the man with the face paint and Viking horns hat is revealed in never-seen footage inside the Capitol being tranquilly led around in the building by Capitol police; he’s not the violent insurrection leader the mainstream media portrayed him to be.
There’s more: namely, the basic question of why MSM reporters never asked how or why that man, previously seen in 2019 as a prominent climate strike march leader, switched his political viewpoints 180° just over a year. Surely they’d use that to illustrate how persuasive “right-wing propaganda” can be.
This lack of curiosity by the MSM doesn’t end there. Dr. Wolf’s realization that the MSM is less-than-forthcoming on particular information was quite abrupt. My distrust of the news media grew over years.
Ultimately, this is all about asking tough questions. During my youth in the ’70s through the ’90s, journalists could be counted on to question authority. These days, not so much.
Allow me to illustrate via my own questions concerning the ‘climate crisis’ issue.
In the summer of 1988, Al Gore and enviro-activists declared that human-induced global warming was a growing problem. I simply asked, “what happened to all the concern about runaway global cooling?” I grew up hearing reports of nothing but that. No need to trust me here, anyone subscribing to Ancestry.com / Newspapers.com can do searches for “global cooling” and for reports of calamitous weather events for themselves.
By 2000, I knew PhD-level climate scientists existed, so I asked why the PBS NewsHour had never interviewed them. I ask that to this day – they’ve had at least 112 scientists associated with the IPCC / NASA / NOAA speak about catastrophic man-caused global warming, but none questioning it. In 2011, I asked NewsHour news anchor Jim Lehrer directly about this exclusion problem. His 2-sentence reply was one of the most obtuse, non-informative responses I’ve ever received.
In 2009, an ex-Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter told me a journalist named Ross Gelbspan and others exposed how skeptic climate scientists were paid industry money to deceive the public. I followed up to ask who the other reporters were. He never answered, so I searched on my own, and tried to learn more about Ross Gelbspan.
He’d written a 1997 book called The Heat is On, implying certain climate scientists operated under a specific strategy directive to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” in a disinformation campaign targeting “older less-educated men” and “younger, low-income women.” Al Gore’s 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth” movie spelled out that odd strategy full screen in red letters, in comparison to a tobacco industry disinformation campaign memo titled “Doubt is our Product.” Gore’s movie described Gelbspan as a Pulitzer winner who discovered the strategy memo. Gelbspan’s book jacket’s sleeve says he was a Pulitzer winner.
That sounded very damaging. But within a day, I found irreconcilable differences surrounding Gelbspan’s accusation.
What reporting won a Pulitzer for Ross Gelbspan, though? He never won a Pulitzer. Search for his name at the Pulitzer organization yourself.
Meanwhile, it took around 30 seconds to find the entire “Doubt is Our Product” Brown & Williamson tobacco company memo on the internet. It took me seven months, however, to find the “reposition global warming” memos buried deep out of public view in Greenpeace’s industry document scans archive. But the New York Times quoted from that memo set years before Gelbspan first mentioned them, as did Al Gore.
See the growing problem here?
The accusation about fossil fuel industry-led disinformation campaigns being proven by the existence of the “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” memos crumbles apart when anyone objectively examines it, exposing huge problems with the core people promulgating it.
Dig deep enough, and you discover the memo strategy and its audience targeting suggestions were an unsolicited proposal idea that was rejected by the public relations group it was sent to, and the entire proposal was never implemented anywhere in any form.
Yet this memo set has been the cornerstone evidence indicting skeptic climate scientists of colluding with fossil fuel executives from 1995 until the latest “Exxon Knew” global warming lawsuit filed just last November.
I detail all of this at huge depth at my GelbspanFiles.com blog.
Put simply, the MSM has completely abdicated on their jobs to tell the full story of almost every controversial political issue lately, the climate issue just happens to be the granddaddy of them all.
When they spread divisive disinformation, the people who once questioned authority and defended democracy now have the appearance of being the actual threat to democracy and free speech.