- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2004

With the mainstream media here salivating over the possibility of a Republican President losing his bid for a second term, you can expect to see a lot of one-sided “Beat up on Bush” stories with Washington datelines.

A prime example was the mid-February story that 60 scientists had released a letter to the president criticizing his administration for distorting or ignoring scientific input when making decisions on environmental matters.

The letter was released in conjunction with a report by the ultra-liberal Union of Concerned Scientists that made essentially the same charges — although in much greater detail.

The two sets of identical complaints focused on three major charges:

(1) The administration is considering only selective scientific data in its push to revise the Endangered Species Act.

(2) The president is pooh-poohing the perils of global warming by refusing to sign the Kyoto Treaty on climate change or back the McCain-Lieberman back-door effort to impose its mandates with costly controls on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

(3) And the administration played politics by eliminating a section in a 2003 Environmental Protection Agency report on climate change identifying carbon dioxide as a major pollutant.

The charges, as it turns out, are demonstrably bogus. Republicans in Congress actually are working on legislation to require use of peer-reviewed science in making revisions to the Endangered Species Act.

The Senate defeated the McCain-Lieberman legislation last fall because it concluded — rightly — that bill would impose draconian rules on U.S. businesses and result in massive job losses and layoffs with no environmental benefits.

And the administration scrapped the EPA report section that labeled CO2 as a pollutant simply because it isn’t one. Although global warming alarmists believe carbon dioxide and other man-made greenhouse gases contribute to global warming, they’ve never documented that case with hard science. In fact, CO2 is a vital component in the air we breathe and a life-necessity for every plant and animal on Planet Earth.

The media pretty much ignored the fact that the attacks by the 60 scientists and the Union of Concerned Scientists were covered with a heavy scent of political motivation.

The New York Times’ reporter James Glanz, for example, identified the Union of Concerned Scientists simply as “an independent organization that focuses on technical issues and often has taken stands at odds with administration policy.” The Washington Post characterized the critics as “two groups of prestigious scientists.”

Unfortunately, we’re likely to see a gushing torrent of this kind of a “blinders-on” reporting from now until Election Day.

Anyone who has taken Journalism 101 — or Propaganda 101, for that matter — knows reporters have a duty to delve more deeply into the background of the critics.

If the media had taken the trouble to dig a little further, they would have known the Union of Concerned Scientists is partially funded by a secretive philanthropy called the Tides Foundation, a clearinghouse that funnels money into a variety of left-wing groups including MoveOn.org, a Web site devoted to defeating President Bush this fall. The Tides Foundation also has received more than $4 million in recent years from the Howard Heinz Endowment, whose board is chaired by Teresa Heinz Kerry.

As it turns out, Cornell University physics professor Kurt Gottfried, a leading scientist among the 60 who released the critical letter, also is chairman of the board of directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The UCS, it should be noted, continues to claim “most scientists agreed with the theory of global warming and supported the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.” Yet more than 40,000 scientists have signed a petition saying there is no proof global warming threatens the environment or is due to human activity.

D. Allan Bromley, a world-class physicist at Yale University and the national science adviser to former President George H.W. Bush, called the two statements “broad sweeping generalizations for which there is very little detailed backup.”

“You know perfectly well that it is very clearly a politically motivated statement,” he asserted.

There is nothing wrong, of course, with ideologically motivated Americans seeking to use the media to spin their political views. There is something wrong when the mainstream media consistently refuses to properly identify the real motives of highly partisan groups on the left, while automatically labeling their opponents as conservatives.

Forewarned is forearmed. Voters should be vigilantly aware of this slant toward the left as the election approaches.

Roger Zion, honorary chairman of the 60 Plus Association, served in Congress 1967-75 and was chairman of the Republican Task Force on Energy and Resources in the 1970s.

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