Thursday, February 23, 2012

Scientist's career jeopardized after fighting right-wing think tank

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The debate is over. Climate change is real and is caused by human activity.

But when a scientist investigates a corporate-funded right-wing think tank that unsuccessfully tries discrediting climate change science, who ends up with a career in tatters?

Dr. Peter Gleick is an environmental scientist who helped found the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit research organization. Not long ago, he launched a probe into the far-right Heartland Institute, a think tank bankrolled by oil and gas companies that distributes classroom propaganda denying climate change. Gleick's investigation yielded Heartland's donor list and other info.

Heartland should be viewed as being completely discredited by the revelations. Instead, the Pacific Institute's board of directors is trying to oust Gleick for daring to expose Heartland's deception. Gleick was also forced to resign as the chair of the American Geophysical Union's task force on scientific ethics, and the San Francisco Chronicle fired him as a columnist. (Because of this, the increasingly right-wing Chronicle is now blackballed here.)

I swear I am not making this up. This story reminds me of the time Dick Cheney shot a man in the face during a hunting trip, and the victim of the shooting was forced to apologize to Cheney. The corporate media expects Gleick to apologize even though it was Heartland that acted irresponsibly. Gleick did absolutely nothing wrong in this story. He was acting as a good investigative journalist would.

Meanwhile, right-wing goons not only infiltrate progressive groups but have been caught red-handed fabricating their "findings." Why doesn't anybody go after them?

Maybe The Media is mad because Gleick's investigation exposed the fact that high-ranking Department of the Interior official Indur Goklany accepted $1,000 each month from Heartland. (Most people I know don't even make $1,000 a month!) As a result of this revelation, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) is quite justifiably calling for a probe into whether Goklany broke any rules.

This story also reminds me of that of a government investigation into climate scientists that concluded last year. Right-wing media outlets and members of Congress had demanded a probe into NOAA scientists, accusing them of rigging data to support evidence of climate change. In response to these demands, the government wasted millions of taxpayer dollars investigating the scientists. The probe ended when the Commerce Department found that the scientists had done nothing wrong.

Lost in the debate though was the fact that e-mail among the scientists had been stolen. Where's the probe into that?

Somebody somewhere is gyrating on the floor in helpless laughter over how ridiculous it is that folks have been blacklisted because they believe in science. But it's really no laughing matter.


No comments:

Post a Comment