July 11, 2006
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s lack of objectivity and balance on the issue of global warming appears to have tainted his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary called: “Global Warming: What You Need To Know” airing on July 16.
Brokaw’s partisan past and his reliance on scientists who openly endorsed Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and who are financially affiliated with left wing environmental groups, has resulted in a documentary that is devoid of balance and objectivity.
Former Colorado state climatologist (as of July 1, 2006) and professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at Colorado State University,Senior Research Scientist in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and a Senior Research Associate position in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC). Roger Pielke, Sr, viewed an advance copy of the Brokaw’s special and declared that it contained “errors and misconceptions.”
“The show relied on just a few scientists with a particular personal viewpoint on this subject which misleads the public on the broader view that is actually held by most climate scientists,” Pielke wrote on July 7.
Unfortunately, viewers should not expect a scientifically balanced view of the climate from the former NBC newsman. Brokaw who has been affiliated with the Sierra Club and has recently lavished praise on former Vice President Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth.” Brokaw, who called Gore’s film “stylish and compelling”, has called the science behind catastrophic human caused global warming ‘irrefutable.” Brokaw also chose to ignore all 60 scientists who wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in April of 2006 questioning the science of climate alarmism.
Brokaw’s partisan environmental credentials are so firmly established that the former anchor was offered a job in the Clinton-Gore Administration to be the director of the National Park Service in 1993. According to The Washington Post, Brokaw ‘very seriously’ considered the offer at the time but decided to remain with NBC News. "I have a lot of friends in the environmental movement,” Brokaw said. Brokaw’s wife also serves as vice-chairman of the board of directors of the environmental group Conservation International.
In his new Discovery Channel special, Brokaw does not disclose the potential and known biases of the scientists he chose to feature.
For example, Brokaw presents NASA’s James Hansen as an authority on climate change without revealing to viewers the extensive political and financial ties that Hansen has to Democrat Party partisans. Hansen, the director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by former Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz.
Subsequent to the Heinz Foundation grant, Hansen publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004, a political endorsement considered to be highly unusual for a NASA scientist.
Hansen also has acted as a consultant to Gore's slide-show presentations on global warming, on which Gore’s movie is based. Hansen has actively promoted Gore and his movie, even appearing at a New York City Town Hall meeting with Gore and several Hollywood producers in May.
Hansen also conceded in a 2003 issue of Natural Science (http://naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-16/ns_jeh6.html ) that the use of “extreme scenarios" to dramatize climate change “may have been appropriate at one time” to drive the public's attention to the issue --- a disturbing admission by a prominent scientist.
Brokaw’s special also features Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. Brokaw once again fails to disclose Oppenheimer’s partisan and ideological affiliations to viewers.
Brokaw fails to note that Oppenheimer actively campaigned against President George Bush in 2004 and, like Hansen, endorsed Senator Kerry for president. Oppenheimer was affiliated with the partisan group Scientists and Engineers for Change and the green group Environment2004 financially bankrolled in part by the Heinz Foundation where Teresa Heinz-Kerry serves as the chairwoman. Environment2004, which put up billboards in Florida mocking President Bush in the final months of the 2004 presidential election.
Viewers of Brokaw’s program will not be informed that Oppenheimer personally donated to the group Environment2004, a group that was so partisan it encouraged visitors to their Webpage to “get involved” in defeating President Bush by playing a game called “Whack-a-Bush.”
In addition, Oppenheimer also serves as a "science advisor" to the left wing and politically charged group Environmental Defense and was a co-founder of Climate Action Network.
Finally, Oppenheimer appeared with Hollywood activist Leonardo DiCaprio and Gore’s movie producer Laurie David on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show.
Brokaw’s Special ‘a disappointment’
Brokaw’s special has led climatologist Pielke to conclude that Brokaw presents “a narrow view of the issue of natural and human climate variability and change.”
“It is a disappointment that this show, hosted by Tom Brokaw, did not use the two hours to present a balanced view on the spectrum of perspectives on the human influences on the climate system,” Pielke wrote.
Pielke has authored more than 275 peer reviewed journal articles on climate. According to Pielke, Brokaw also presents flawed science in his program.
“Rapid glacial retreat is not a new observation, nor are all glaciers retreating. The Grand Pacific glacier in Glacier Bay National Park, for example, retreated 48 miles from 1794 to 1879, and a further 17 miles by 1916. Large masses of glacial ice breaking from the Antarctic continent are not a new feature of this region,” Pielke noted.
The Discovery Channel, the BBC and NBC News Productions jointly produced Brokaw’s global warming special.