Posted Nov 27th 2010 at 10:23 am
In my Big Journalism piece, “How an Enviro-Advocacy Group Propped Up Global Warming in the MSM – A Nov 2 Election Connection” I described how the “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” phrase is a viral accusation against global warming skeptic scientists. The beauty of the phrase is its simplicity and powerful influence, even when people misstate organizations associated with it. Al Gore disciples say global warming is a proven fact, all scientists know this, but a minority received massive energy industry funding to say the science isn’t settled.
The phrase is prominently seen in Gore’s movie, full screen in red letters for six seconds, followed by a slide of a very old cigarette advertisement as a setup for the next slide where Gore quoted a supposedly leaked tobacco industry memo, “Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of creating a controversy in the public’s mind.”
Gore didn’t identify the origins of the “reposition” phrase in the movie, so errors occurring when it was repeated it are understandable. I’ve seen offbeat errors where blog writers say the phrase came from “a surgeon general”, that it was “a leaked government memo”, that it is part of “a movement by politicians to reposition global warming”, or that it was “memos circulated by some of today’s oil companies.”
But Gore himself said this, in a 2008 YouTube video, starting at the 29:10 point,
Exxon Mobil has funded 40 different front groups that have all been a part of a strategic persuasion campaign to, in their own words ‘reposition global warming as theory rather than fact’
This is inexplicably contradictory to the book version of his movie – although it takes one additional step to understand why – when he says in reference to:
…a relatively small but extremely well-funded cadre of special interests, including Exxon Mobil and a few other oil, coal, and utilities companies…. One of the internal memos prepared by this group to guide the employees they hired to run their disinformation campaign was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan. Here was the group’s stated objective: to “reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact.
As I pointed out in my July American Thinker article, Gelbspan is neither the discoverer nor a Pulitzer winner, and a careful examination of his 1997 book The Heat is On reveals he specifically said the “reposition” phrase came exclusively from the 1991 Information Council on the Environment (ICE) public relations campaign, created by group of utility and coal industries.
Utility and coal, not oil – or oil industry associations.