This diary was mistakenly removed (by me) from the Front Page earlier this week. There is no need to recommend it. I am posting it again so that it will be archived. Apologies to the dozens of Kossacks whose comments were lost when the diary was removed. —MB
The whole affair was, of course, a phony debate since Blackburn is a climate science denier whose only direct challenge to scientific fact on the program ended in a failure in basic arithmetic, and Nye, who for all his rightly touted skills at presenting a broad range of science topics in an appealing way, never landed a knock-out blow or addressed what should have been the topic of the entire 13-minute segment—the politics of global warming.
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate Nye's exuberant demeanor and all he has done to get young people to understand and engage in science. And I appreciate his willingness to go head to head with Blackburn. Given the dreadful Meet the Press format based on the premise of false balance regarding climate change—something he had no control over—and given that he needs serious media combat training, Nye did an okay job.
But even if he had been spectacular, it wasn't the right job. It's way past time to stop politely coddling these deniers, stop treating their opinions as anything but scientifically illiterate nonsense and lies promoted by fossil fuel fools and mountebanks. Their well-honed use of the Gish Gallop—dumping so many exaggerations, half-truths, quarter-truths and outright fabrications into the conversation that their factually motivated foes can't keep up—works unless the counter-technique is to run a relentless, focused attack on a few key points without getting distracted. Doing that takes skill, passion and determination because it's not something the typical radio or television host wants to happen.
Please read more below the orange polar vortex.
The marionette politicians who aren't merely pretending they don't accept the scientific evidence of global warming in order to keep the cash flowing into their campaign coffers are possessed of an invincible ignorance. More than half the Republicans in Congress now fall into the dumbcluck or greedhead categories when it comes to global warming. They, and the journalists and television hosts who treat them as if their opinions were as worthy as the climate scientists they have smeared and sneered at, deserve nothing but merciless mockery. Eye-rolls.
Not just the politicians, of course, but the hired guns like Pat Michaels and the handful of scientists with relevant degrees, such as Richard Lindzen, who keep repeating their crapola even after being repeatedly proved wrong in their delusionary, often well-funded conjectures that climate warming isn't happening or is not happening from human causes. All have been treated too politely over the years. They deserve the same respect as the Flat Earth Society, although, ironically, the president of that organization agrees that emissions from industrialization are changing the climate.
If Meet the Press or other media are going to bring on Marsha Blackburn or her ilk, then the global warming debate that ensues should not be on the science, about which she and they have proved incompetent or disingenuous. The focus needs to be elsewhere.
One target: Blackburn is vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Twenty-four of the 30 Republicans on that committee are outright climate-change deniers. Four more have voting records proving they might as well be outright deniers. One Democrat, John Barrow of Georgia, is also in their camp.
So, at least 29 out of 54 committee members spout denier claptrap or go along with it. That makes the committee a barricade to getting any global-warming legislation sent to the full House floor. Focusing on that Sunday would have made for a valuable and productive debate. But now the NBC producers no doubt think they have given climate change its (almost) 15 minutes of coverage and they can move on to the next subject.