Senator Pounds Media for Global Warming Bias

September 28th, 2006 9:44 PM

In a speech today on the floor of the Senate, James Inhofe (R-Okla.) blasted the news media for its bias on the subject of global warming. He also went after a completely one-sided report CNN aired on today's "American Morning" which portrayed him as a servant of the oil and gas companies with his out-of-the-mainstream views on the issue.

Below is a transcript of the CNN piece, filed by "Morning" anchor Miles O'Brien. Read on for Inhofe's remarks, including his disputation of O'Brien's assertion that the senator refused to be interviewed by CNN:

MILES O'BRIEN: In California, they're taking some tough action aimed at stopping global warming. The state imposing a cap on greenhouse gases. In the U.S., politicians have been slow to recognize global warming as a problem. Well, that is changing. An influential skeptic remains. No question, there is a political climate change inside the Republican Party. Arnold Schwarzenegger in San Francisco announcing with great fanfare, a California law to curb emissions of greenhouse gases at the root of global warming.

Gov. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-Calif.): California leads the way on one of the most important issues that are facing our time, which is the fight against global warming.

O'BRIEN: But some Republicans are fighting a different battle. Listen to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment.

Sen. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK, Chmn Environment Cmte.): I am going to speak today about the most media hyped environmental issue of all time and it's the word that gets everybody upset when you say it, and the phrase that many politicians are afraid to say, and that is global warming.

O'BRIEN: It's not new ground for Oklahoma's senior senator. Jim Inhofe has repeatedly called global warming a hoax. Despite a steady stream of stark evidence, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, the warmest temperatures in 12,000 years, the senator is not convinced.

INHOFE: During the past year, the American people have been served up an unprecedented parade of environmental alarmism by the media.

O'BRIEN: In a 45-minute speech on the Senate floor, he voiced skepticism over this graph called the hockey stick. Despite some flaws, most climate scientists consider it the best depiction of global warming. Inhofe says there's evidence that the Antarctic is actually cooling, even though most scientific findings suggest the contrary and point to the loss of major ice sheets and shelves.

And he says the polar bears of the arctic are thriving, even though the world's two most influential wildlife protection agencies say they're veering toward endangered status. Inhofe is all but alone on Capitol Hill these days. Most Republicans believe the scientific jury is in.

Rep. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R-Conn.): We have seen too much documentation to know that the world is getting warmer. We know that the ice shelves are melting. And for him to say otherwise just is like putting a bag over his head and not seeing it.

O'BRIEN: Undaunted, Inhofe also took on Al Gore.

INHOFE: In May, our nation was exposed to perhaps one of the thickest science propaganda films of all time, former Vice President Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth."

O'BRIEN: Inhofe offers a 12-point indictment of Gore's documentary on climate change. He says the list might have been longer if he had actually seen the movie. Gore was just here with us, making the rounds after convincing British billionaire Richard Branson to invest as much as $3 billion to fight climate change.

AL GORE: If your child has a fever, you go to the doctor. It may be a sign that something's wrong. We've gone to the scientific community and they've said, yes, the planet has a fever. It's in trouble.

INHOFE: The American people know when their intelligence is being insulted. They know when they're being used and when they are being duped by the hysterical left.

O'BRIEN: Hysterical left, don't tell that to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The middle ground on climate change is shifting.

SHAYS: In the last few years, this administration isn't trying to be on both sides of the issue. They are clearly in the camp that said global warming is for real. They are clearly trying to deal with it.

Now we should point out in a recent five-year period, Senator Inhofe received more than $850,000 in donations from the oil and gas industries, his leading contributor. Inhofe challenged the media to get this story right, as he put it, but when we asked for an interview several times, we were told he is too busy to speak to us this week. Soledad?

Here's Inhofe's response:

This morning, CNN ran a segment criticizing my speech on global warming and attempted to refute the scientific evidence I presented to counter climate fears.

First off, CNN reporter Miles O’Brien inaccurately claimed I was “too busy” to appear on his program this week to discuss my 50 minute floor speech on global warming. But they were told I simply was not available on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I did appear on another CNN program today -- Thursday -- which I hope everyone will watch. The segment airs tonight on CNN’s Headline News at 7pm and repeats at 9pm and midnight Eastern.

Second, CNN’s O’Brien falsely claimed that I was all “alone on Capitol Hill” when it comes to questioning global warming.

Mr. O’Brien is obviously not aware that the U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly rejected Kyoto style carbon caps when it voted down the McCain-Lieberman climate bill 60-28 last year – an even larger margin than its rejection in 2003.

Third, CNN’s O’Brien, claimed that my speech earlier contained errors regarding climate science. O’Brien said my claim that the Antarctic was actually cooling and gaining ice was incorrect. But both the journals Science and Nature have published studies recently finding – on balance – Antarctica is both cooling and gaining ice.

CNN’s O’Brien also criticized me for saying polar bears are thriving in the Arctic. But he ignored that the person I was quoting is intimately familiar with the health of polar bear populations. Let me repeat what biologist Dr. Mitchell Taylor from the Arctic government of Nunavut, a territory of Canada, said recently:

“Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.”

CNN’s O’Brien also ignores the fact that in the Arctic, temperatures were warmer in the 1930’s than today.

O’Brien also claimed that the “Hockey Stick” temperature graph was supported by most climate scientists despite the fact that the National Academy of Sciences and many independent experts have made it clear that the Hockey Stick’s claim that the 1990’s was the hottest decade of the last 1000 years was unsupportable.

So it seems my speech struck a nerve with the mainstream media. Their only response was to cherry pick the science in a failed attempt to refute me.

It seems that it is business as usual for many of them. Sadly, it looks like my challenge to the media to be objective and balanced has fallen on deaf ears.