I'm about 2,000 words into a post I'm working on to follow-up on my latest, but I just saw something via Twitter I have to comment on. I saw this tweet after it was retweeted by Glenn Kessler, Fact Checker for the Washington Post:
July: State Department intelligence analyst / scientist resigned after warning the White House is systematically suppressing science and objective analysis on how large a threat climate change is to national security. https://t.co/k9nGNia6s8 https://t.co/chRUlQmQZ5
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) September 6, 2019
Curious, I looked at the article. I wanted to see what sort of factual basis there was for this idea. Aside from ex-employee remarks, the first cited piece of evidence I came across was:
A draft of his testimony was obtained by the New York Times last month, with tracked comments and edits from White House officials. One comment from the National Security Council on the document suggests striking an entire section of his testimony titled “Scientific Baseline,” with the comment: “A consensus of peer reviewed literature has nothing to do with truth.”
This is a remarkable claim. Quite frankly, I find it unbelievable. And with good reason. It is a fabrication. The header of the section in question, "Scientific Baseline," has a marked edit which says:
Cut sections of hte testimony that don't directly address the hearing topic.
This is the reason offered to justify deleting the section. It has nothing to do with the validity of anything in the section. It has nothing to do with peer reviewed literature. It has nothing to do with any consensus or truth. The stated reason is, quite simply, "This isn't what you're supposed to be testifying about."
Now, is it possible the stated reason isn't the real one? Sure. Perhaps that section is important to what the person was supposed to testify about. Perhaps the stated reason was an excuse used to push some agenda. But that's not what this article claims. This article doesn't even mention this remark. It ignores this text, which explicitly says why the section should be stricken, in order to quote a sexier talking point. The section began with the paragraph:
The IC [intelligence community] does not develop climate science; we instead rely on findings from outside sources. Our preferred sources are from U.S. Government technical agencies, such as NASA, NOAA and USCS, and U.S. scientific institutions such as the National Academy of Sciences. We also utilize information analysis from many rather domestic and international sources, particularly peer-reviewed journals.
This paragraph, and this paragraph alone, was marked with the quoted remark. But even then, the quoted remark was very different from what the article portrays it as:
For the past 30 years, funding for climate research by the federal government and private foundations has welcomed research findings that support climate alarm. Any research that does not reinforce this narrative has been frowned on, and grants have not been renewed. So the information mentioned here is heavily biased toward alarm.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, peer-reviewed literature, from the Soviet bloc and from Western sympathizers, uniformly touted the great advantages of socialist, planned economies. A consensus of peer reviewed literature has nothing to do with the truth.
This is a simple, and rational, argument. What it claims is the "consensus" on climate change is biased due to institutions selectively funding work that would lean toward a desired answer. If true, it would be appropriate to be skeptical of such a "consensus." This reviewer remark does not dismiss the idea of a consensus for frivolous reasons as the article implies, but because it claims such a consensus is untrustworthy due to financial motivations for it.
That is a rational argument. It may be wrong, and there'd be nothing wrong with someone ridiculing the argument if they felt it was flawed. However, that's not what this article did. It didn't even acknowledge the argument. It selectively quoted a sexy talking point to make it sound like the reviewer's remark was outlandish, and then, it falsely claimed that remark was the reason offered for striking an entire section.
This article was published on July 31st, approximately five weeks ago. This fabrication has been in it the entire time. Nobody seems to have noticed it, despite how blatant it is. This leads me to wonder, how blatant can fabrications get? At what point does somebody say, "Uh, no, it doesn't say that"? At what point does someone like, say, a fact checker for the Washington Post, go, "This claim sounds outlandish, maybe I should verify it"?