Olbermann Attacks Congressman for Climate Change Skepticism, Using Material from Left-Wing Blog

March 27th, 2009 1:23 PM

Another episode of MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," another angry rant about a conservative disagreeing with liberal agenda - how predictable.

On the March 26 broadcast of "Countdown," Olbermann set his sights on Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, for suggesting that nature adapts to a changing climate - even when the changes predate the theory that man possessed the ability to change the climate.

"But our winner - Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, back for another round of denying climate change," Olbermann said.

Olbermann quoted Barton in a March 25 hearing, leaving out passages in which Barton cited examples of how mankind has adapted to changing climate throughout history (full video here of statement).

"It's natural see," Olbermann said reading Barton's statement. "I believe the earth's climate is changing for natural variation reasons. I think mankind has been adopting, or adapting to climate as long as man has walked the earth. When it rains, we find shelter. When it is hot, we get shade. When it is cold, we find a warm place to stay."

"Adaptation is the practical, affordable, utterly natural reflex response to nature," Olbermann continued. "Nature doesn't seem to adjust to people as much as people seem to adjust to nature when the planet is heating or cooling as it always is. Nature doesn't seem to adjust to people as much as people seem to adjust to nature. Adaptation to shifts in temperature is not that difficult."

That quote earned Barton Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World," slot for the day.

"Right," Olbermann said. "Congressman, let me hear you say that when it hits 145 [degrees] in the shade in Waxahachie [a city in Barton's congressional district] and the sun has just lit your neighbor's roof on fire. Congressman Joe ‘with enough suntan lotion' Barton, today's ‘Worst Person in the World,' it's hot."

The same complaint about Barton's reluctance to embrace climate change alarmism appeared on the Think Progress blog, a wing of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, in a post by Satyam Khanna on March 25.

Ironically, Amanda Terkel, the editor of the Think Progress blog, later appeared on Olbermann's March 26 show. Both Terkel and Olbermann downplayed any link between MSNBC's parent network, NBC and Think Progress, despite the earlier citation.

Terkel actually appeared on Olbermann's show to discuss a separate matter involving Fox News "The O'Reilly Factor" host Bill O'Reilly and his reporting tactics. Think Progress has initiated a campaign to have O'Reilly advertisers boycott his show. Both ridiculed O'Reilly for insinuating a connection.

"Of course your being a guest on this program two nights ago helped to fuel part of the conspiracy in O'Reilly's mind," Olbermann said. "Would you care to tell everybody which it is? Is Think Progress running NBC or is NBC running Think Progress or what, because I've got to write somebody a check. Give us the flow chart."

"For the record, there are no ties between NBC and Think Progress," Terkel said. "I'm actually quite flattered that Bill O'Reilly thinks we at Think Progress are powerful enough to have direct lines to the head of NBC News and the president of the United States. But, it's just a crazy conspiracy theory."