WaPo Obit Tones Down Climate Scientist's Recent Attack on 'Hitlerian Lies' and 'Gun-Toting Rightwingers'

The Washington Post obituary for liberal climate scientist Stephen Schneider, a media favorite over the years to promote the allegedly ironclad certainty of global warming, replayed a very recent jeremiad against "Hitlerian lies" by conservatives in the wake of Climategate. But the Post's version of his remarks toned him down and excised his attacks on "gun-toting rightwingers" who are Limbaugh and Beck fans. T. Rees Shapiro reported:

His passionate views on the climate debate occasionally attracted vitriol from extremist groups. An FBI investigation recently found he was named on a neo-Nazi "death list," and Dr. Schneider said he received hundreds of hate e-mails a day.

"What do I do? Learn to shoot a magnum? Wear a bulletproof jacket?" Dr. Schneider said. "I have now had extra alarms fitted at my home, and my address is unlisted. I get scared that we're now in a new Weimar Republic where people are prepared to listen to what amounts to Hitlerian lies about climate scientists."

Nonetheless, Dr. Schneider said he believed it was important for scientists to communicate with the public and spread their understanding of climate data and findings.

"If we do not do the due diligence of letting people understand the relative credibility of claimants of truth, then all we do is have a confused public who hears claim and counterclaim," Dr. Schneider said in a recent interview with Climate Science Watch. "When somebody says 'I don't believe in global warming,' I ask, 'Do you believe in evidence? Do you believe in a preponderance of evidence?' "

For a fuller version of Schneider's remarks, we turn to the leftist British newspaper The Guardian on July 5, in which correspondent Leo Hickman warned "Climate scientists in the US say police inaction has left them defenceless in the face of a torrent of death threats and hate mail." Schneider sounds less like a scientist and more like an activist:  

Schneider described his attackers as "cowards" and said he had observed an "immediate, noticeable rise" in emails whenever climate scientists were attacked by prominent right-wing US commentators, such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

"[The senders] are not courageous people," said Schneider. "Where are they getting their information from? They just listen to assertions made on blogs and rightwing talkshows. It's pathetic."

Schneider said the FBI had taken an interest earlier this year when his name appeared on a "death list" on a neo-Nazi website alongside other climate scientists with apparent Jewish ancestry. But, to date, no action has been taken.

"The effect on me has been tremendous," said Schneider. "Some of these people are mentally imbalanced. They are invariably gun-toting rightwingers. What do I do? Learn to shoot a Magnum? Wear a bullet-proof jacket? I have now had extra alarms fitted at my home and my address is unlisted. I get scared that we're now in a new Weimar republic where people are prepared to listen to what amounts to Hitlerian lies about climate scientists."

The Post obituary made no reference whatsoever to Schneider's arguments in the 1970s that the real peril was global cooling. That apparently would have been too much of a concession to the gun-toting rightwingers.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis