*****Critical update: Dr. Singer responds at end of post.
Climate alarmism reached a new low Sunday as ABC's "World News" featured a hit piece on Dr. S. Fred Singer, the esteemed Professor Emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia.
In a segment disgracefully entitled "Welcome to 'The Denial Machine,'" anchor Dan Harris disparaged Singer at every turn.
With a picture of Singer behind his right shoulder, under which was displayed the words "THE SKEPTIC," Harris began (video available here):
One of the most influential scientists in what's been called "The Denial Machine," for decades, Fred Singer has argued loudly that global warming is not dangerous despite the vast majority of scientists who agree it is. His critics say Dr. Singer has helped create the mirage of a scientific debate which has preventing the American public and American politicians from taking action.
With a smile on his face, Harris asked Singer, "How would you describe yourself, as a skeptic, a denier, a doubter?"
Nice way to treat a distinguished member of the scientific community on Easter Sunday, wouldn't you agree? Alas, that was only the beginning of the insults:
This 84-year-old Princeton-trained physicist is the grandfather of a movement that rails against the broad, scientific understanding that global warming is real, manmade, and potentially catastrophic. [...]
Singer seems to enjoy being provocative, for example, about polar bears being threatened by melting ice. [...]
There are so many scientists that disagree with what your saying. The IPCC, NASA, NOAA, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society. We're talking about scientists all over the globe. [...]
Kert Davies, an environmental activist, says Singer is connected to a whole web of organizations, many funded by oil and coal companies that have spent millions trying to convince the public there's a real scientific debate about global warming slowing down government action on a phenomenon that could lead to storms, droughts, famines, massive refugee movements, and even wars.
KERT DAVIES, GREENPEACE: That will be how people remember Fred Singer, as someone who tried to slow down the reaction to global warming and in fact, in the end, that is going to cost lives, and cause us lost species, and cost major economic damage around the world.
How nice. On Easter Sunday, ABC News implied that an 84-year-old Ph.D. is thwarting science in a fashion that will cost lives. Astounding, wouldn't you agree? Sadly, there was more:
In this new report, he argues global warming is just part of a natural cycle, and that our carbon emissions are not dangerous. We ran Singer's data by climate scientists from Stanford, Princeton, and NASA who dismissed it with words like "fraudulent nonsense." This is not, by the way, the first time Singer has set himself against mainstream scientific opinion. He also argued against the dangers of second-hand smoke, toxic waste, and nuclear winter. [...]
We asked Dr. Singer if he ever took money from energy companies. At first he denied it, and then he said yes he had received one unsolicited check from Exxon for $10,000.
Wow. A whole $10,000? And how many millions of ad dollars does Exxon give to ABC and ABC News on a yearly basis, Dan?
I wonder if Dan knows that in 2006, Exxon contributed almost $140 million to various entities around the world. Are all these recipients similarly corrupted as Singer?
*****Update: Article about this interview posted at ABCNews.com entitled, "Global Warming Denier: Fraud or 'Realist'?":
His fellow scientists call him a fraud, a charlatan and a showman, but Fred Singer calls himself "a realist."
Do these people have any shame?
*****Critical Update: I received the following e-mail message from Dr. Singer Monday morning (published with his consent):
The interview with Dan Harris went for an hour or more. Clearly, he ignored my complete scientific story (NIPCC vs IPCC), the fact that 100 climate scientists presented papers at the Heartland Conference, and that hundreds more are now listed as climate skeptics. [I am not even counting the nearly 20,000 scientists of various specialties who signed the Oregon Petition.]
Then he added the Greenpeace guy with his weird Exxon conspiracy and the smear remarks of anonymous scientists from NASA, Princeton and Stanford (likely Hansen, Oppenheimer, and Schneider). I would love to debate these guys; we would win hands down
And he personally assured me he wouldn't do a 'hatchet job'
I commented on the suggestion that I am an 'all-around skeptic' to his Exec Producer <Felicia.Biberica@abc.com> as follows:"Dan did well to mention my doubts about the cancer effects of Second-Hand Smoke, about the danger of spent nuclear fuel, and about 'Nuclear Winter.' All true -- Dan did his research. On SHS, I simply agree with the experts (see attached review from a medical doctor, specializing in lung disease). Nuclear fuel presents no technical problems, only political ones. France and Britain handle its disposal; why don't we? 'Nuclear Winter' (which burst onto the scene in 1983 -- and disappeared quickly) was basically a fraud, invented to shore up an ideological position. We disposed of it in a debate moderated by Ted Koppel on ABC-Nightline."
Journalists are better qualified than I to judge if ABC used proper journalistic standards and hold their feet to the fire.