Friday, January 12, 2007

Frosty E. Hardison has made things a little chilly for Al Gore: The father of seven had Mr. Gore’s global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth” banned from his local public schools.

“Al Gore’s video has no place in my kids’ public school classroom any more than condoms,” Mr. Hardison told The Washington Times yesterday. “It is nothing more than an opportunity for him to grandstand and take more potshots at the Republicans for repeating his own error — of not doing enough. … Al Gore is not about finding solutions to the problem. Al Gore is all about getting his party re-elected.”

The computer consultant from Federal Way, Wash., became annoyed when he heard the film would be shown in his daughter’s school. Joined by other concerned parents, Mr. Hardison delivered a letter to the local school board Tuesday, saying Mr. Gore’s film was too politically charged for student viewing.

The board agreed, voting to ban the film unless an “opposing viewpoint” approved by local school superintendent Tom Murphy is offered to students as a counterbalance to the docudrama, which frequently cites the U.S. as a source of environmental woes.

The film’s co-producer, self-described “global warming activist” Laurie David, did not hide her vexation over the decision.

“I am shocked that a school district would come to this decision. There is no opposing view to science which is fact, and the facts are clear that global warming is here, now,” she said from Los Angeles.

Mr. Hardison and the Federal Way school district, located between Seattle and Tacoma, are not the first to reject Mr. Gore’s film. The University of Delaware’s Center for Climatic Research and ABC News correspondent John Stossel have said the film pushes alarmist views and questionable information.

In December, the National Science Teachers Association declined Mrs. David’s offer to distribute the film for free to 50,000 classrooms; she responded with a Washington Post op-ed accusing the organization of taking donations from Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell and the American Petroleum Institute.

“It’s bad enough when a company tries to peddle junk science to a bunch of grown-ups. But, like a tobacco company using cartoons to peddle cigarettes, Exxon Mobil is going after our kids, too,” Mrs. David wrote.

The association called her accusations “misleading,” noting that oil company contributions amounted to 3 percent of their total donations.

Hollywood-based Participant Productions, which produced “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Syriana” and other films with a social message, is distributing Mr. Gore’s film free to teachers, with a lesson plan included.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gore remains busy in the youthful marketplace. He announced yesterday that the book version of his film has been adapted for young readers and will be published by Viking Children’s Books/Rodale Publishing in April. The book will include 14 new chapters.

“There is no doubt that young people today are more aware of environmental problems than my generation ever was,” Mr. Gore said yesterday.

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