October 11, 2009

Society of Environmental Homers protect Gore

It's been years since former Vice President Al Gore took questions from journalsts willing to ask challenging and probing questions about either alleged flaws in the evidence for his global warming views or details of his financial interests in the adoption of government policies based on those views.

But for at least one question at the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), Gore was presented with an opportunity to address his critics and defend his views. Unfortunately, as this video of the encounter shows, not only did Gore do what politicians usually do - evade the question - but his SEJ buddies made sure there would be no followup questions by turning off the microphone and forcing the questioner to leave.

In doing so, the SEJers demonstrated that they are the environmental beat's equivalent of sports reporters who never say anything critical of the home team. That's why they are referred to by real sports journalists as "homers." The home team for SEJ is the environmental movement and its friends and allies in government who can do no wrong.

Nobody should be surprised by the wilingness of SEJ officials to protect Gore from having to respond to critical questions from somebody who doesn't share the Gore view that man-made causes are responsible for global warming and threaten apocalypse. That these folks are true believers who are apparently incapable or unwilling to think or report critically about environmental issues is evident from the issues and speakers on their conference agenda.
Consider for example this one on the relationship of population and global warming:

"6.8 Billion Reasons to Ask: Population, Pollution and Human Health
It probably goes without saying that we cannot effectively resolve environmental problems without addressing their root causes. However, while global warming, water shortages, the extinction crisis, and global toxification are in the news regularly, they are seldom tied to what scientists generally consider the root causes, that is, human population, lifestyles and consumption. Discussing overpopulation is generally considered taboo, and thus ignored in most mainstream media. Panelists will discuss why they believe this must change in quick order, so that society can actually begin addressing these root causes. Coverage.

Moderator: Peter Seidel, Author, 2045: A Story of Our Future
Paul Ehrlich, President, Center for Conservation Biology and Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University
William Ryerson, President, Population Media Center
Tim Wheeler, Reporter, The Baltimore Sun
Room: Senate Room B"

Notice the panel includes only speakers who accept the idea that human causes explain global warming (and a host of other alleged and real ills in the world). Paul Ehrlich has been peddling Malthusian population alarmism for decades - he founded Zero Population Growth (ZPG) in 1968, the year he also published his best-selling book "The Population Bomb."
William Ryerson is an Ehrlich disciple, having served as founder and president of the Yale chapter of ZPG while a student, and then making a career of advocacy on behalf of population limitation. He is presently head of the Population Media Center, which produces anti-population growth propaganda.

Tim Wheeler of the Baltimore Sun provides the Ehrlich-Ryerson panel with a patina of journalistic credibility. The EPA, Maryland Department of the Environment and the non-profit environmental activist community have nothing to fear from his reporting unless they happen not to advance their shared agenda fast enough. He is a past SEJ president and is presently on its board of directors.

And did you catch the point of this panel? We humans cause "global warming, water shortages, the extinction crisis and global toxification." If you truly believe the presence of too many people risks global apocalypse, is there any government action you wouldn't support, even if it meant depriving some of their liberty, property or life?

I looked up and down the SEJ conference agenda for critics of global warming and other elements of the environmental movement's conventional wisdom and found exactly one, Dan Miller of the Heartland Institute. Perhaps there were others that I missed, but at a minimum it is fair to say the program was overwhelmingly biased against independent thinking and reporting.

And these "journalists" wonder why their profession ranks right down there with used car salemen and congressmen in public esteem?

UPDATE: And Sensenbrenner makes two!

Just found another critic of the environmentalist conventional wisdom on the SEJ conference agenda, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, who was slated to speak at an early morning session. Sensenbrenner is the Ranking Minority Member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

If anybody else can point me to such critics on the agenda that I missed, I will gladly add them to this post.

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