Rush Limbaugh and Child Discuss Science

05 July 2007

A thirteen-year-old child called the Rush Limbaugh program on Tuesday to complain about how his school teachers had presented him with "liberal magazines like TIME and Newsweek" that mentioned global warming. Of course, Rush saw it as a liberal conspiracy by shadowy liberals to convince poor children to become liberals themselves, rather than a scientific issue with overwhelmingly broad scientific agreement.

RUSH: Well, but look. Patrick, this will be a good lesson. There are liberals everywhere. You may think that just because your town is conservative -- there are liberals. They're hiding in the shadows, and they are lurking there, and they're around and the odds are that many of them are in the school system. You'll probably at some point probably have to watch [An Inconvenient Truth], unless your parents and other parents find out about it and demand, "If you're going to show this movie, you better show the Great Global Warming Swindle and put the other side to our kids out there." Well, congratulations. I'm glad you called and told us this. This is the kind of thing that gives us all encouragement for the future. Here you are at 13, already aware of when you're watching propaganda. That's great.
There are so many things wrong with this. First off, it's not just the liberals, but pretty much all the scientific organizations and peer reviewed scientific publications that say CO2 emissions are the principle climate forcing agent. Rush Limbaugh, who dropped out of college due to his poor grades, would love to frame the issue as a liberal conspiracy, but it simply is not (see Naomi Oreskes). Even Newt Gingrich and the friggin' National Review have come around.

Next, Rush suggests that this kid watch the Great Global Warming Swindle as some kind of anti-propaganda antidote. I wrote about TGGWS here and here, but would just like to reiterate that this movie had doctored graphs, false claims, poor research, and designated experts who objected to the film's own conclusions. Plus, the film's producer, Martin Durkin, had previously had his work rejected by the BBC for "ignor[ing] a large body of evidence contradicting his claims in the program," and had been reprimanded by Britain's Independent Television Commission for misleading and misrepresenting his interviewees.

That being said, TIME and Newsweek are not very good sources of scientific information, either. Those two magazines carried the more sensational "global cooling" pieces in the 70s (see here and here), even though the scientific establishment said nothing of the sort, and the NAS itself had come to the conclusion that there was no basis for making such claims.

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