Washington Post Dings Rick Perry's Climate Denial

By Chris Mooney | August 18, 2011 12:10 pm

Here’s the fact checker:

Despite our repeated requests, neither spokesman [for Perry] provided any evidence to back up Perry’s claim that “a substantial number of scientists … have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects” — perhaps because that particular scandal appears to be a figment of Perry’s imagination.

Perry appears to be referring to hundreds of e-mails that were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain and then disseminated on the Internet in 2009. One e-mail made references to adding a “trick” in the data, leading climate change skeptics to claim the data was manipulated.

But, although Perry claimed the scientists “were found to be manipulating this data,” five investigations have since been conducted into the allegations — and each one exonerated the half-dozen or so scientists involved.

So, in contrast to Perry’s statement, there have not been a “substantial number” of scientists who manipulated data. Instead, there were a handful — who were falsely accused.

And so Perry gets four Pinocchios. But don’t expect Perry–or his supporters–to admit that they’re wrong or change their views!

That would be so…scientific.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

Comments (12)

  1. Neither Perry, nor his acolytes, or those who would vote for him, give a damn. It is one of those memes that have taken on a life of their own and so must be true or it would not be repeated by such honorable men as Perry.

  2. What level of ignorance is considered sufficient to disqualify a candidate for public office? Should we accept as a legitimate political difference a rejection of the germ theory of disease? The laws of thermodynamics? Conservation of energy? Where do we draw the line?

  3. Nullius in Verba

    “Despite our repeated requests, neither spokesman [for Perry] provided any evidence to back up Perry’s claim…”

    Why should he make the data available to you, when you’re only going to try to find something wrong with it? :)

  4. Mike H

    @ Nullius in Verba

    Just like the FOIA requests to the CRU.

  5. vel

    always nice to see some false witnessing being done by a loudly declared Christian.

  6. It’s still early in this race, and we don’t know what other candidates will say/do or even who else might jump in [glances in the general direction of Palin], but Perry is making a really strong bid for the title Wackiest Mainstream Presidential Candidate Ever.

    I predict that no opponent in the primaries or, if he should win the nomination, the general election will call him on it in a debate or stump speech. It’s too “inside baseball” for most people and will sound like nit picking, even if it indicates that Perry’s relationship with reality might be best described as “friends with benefits.”

  7. Incredulous

    #2 Lee J. Rickard:

    “What level of ignorance is considered sufficient to disqualify a candidate for public office? ”

    From the evidence I have seen, having enough ignorance seems to be the the minimum threshold to qualify for running. Smart people are not looking to have that kind of public colonoscopy.

    “Where do we draw the line?”

    At the legal specification of qualifications for President as outlined in the Constitution.

    Look at the bright side. Perry will give you lots of ammunition to use against him.

  8. Rick Perry terrifies me.

    Also he’s slowly turning into the bad guy from the mask: cheezburger(dot)com/View/5101180928

  9. Ryan Booker

    An anti-science position seems to be a badge of honor amongst some factions of the Republican party these days. Perry’s campaign is aggressively pursuing those voters.

    I truly wish the candidacies of more pro-science Republicans, such as Jon Huntsman, could gain some traction but that just doesn’t seem to be likely in the current political climate. You could argue that Romney is reasonably pro-science, at least compared to all of the other Republican candidates other than Huntsman, but he seems to be polling well in spite of that, not because of it.

  10. Bob Koss

    I think WaPo journalist and fact checker Glenn Kessler should get 4 pinocchios for his fact check. A personal opinion is certainly not a lie.

    Glenn deftly copied and cropped two sentences by Perry, not even having sufficient integrity to insert quote marks or ellipsis, in order to make it look like he was stating “facts” when he was simply giving his opinion.

    He gave Perry 4 Pinocchios(whopper) for being wrong about the following “facts”.
    ———-
    “1. A substantial number of scientists have manipulated data so they will have dollars rolling into their projects.

    2. Almost weekly or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.

    How true is this?”
    ———
    After clicking the WaPo link to the National Journal, here is what I found Perry actually said.
    ———
    “I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized,” Perry answered. “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climates change. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed.”

    Pegging the global cost of implementing “anti-carbon programs” in the billions or trillions of dollars, Perry said, “I don’t think from my perspective that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on [what is] still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is more and more being put into question.”
    ———
    Perry’s only assertions of fact are the last two sentences in the first graph and I agree with both of them.

    Yet another demonstration of journalistic bias.
    There is little need to wonder why people put little confidence in the accuracy of what journalists write when people like Glenn Kessler are on the job.

  11. David C. Greene

    As a physicist who began studying the issue of “global warming” since Al Gore published Earth in balance, I question the believability of journalists (unschooled in the sciences involved) writing about the subject. I see Greene’s Law (yes, I am its originator) in effect. My law: The more important a decision, the less likely it will be made by anyone knowing what is involved.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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