As you may recall, on FOX’s Hannity & Colmes, the Cato Institute’s Patrick Michaels plucked a quote from my Gore interview and grossly misinterpreted it to mean that Gore was exaggerating the evidence for global warming.
I called him out on it here, but for some reason the bell never rang that this was the very same Patrick Michaels involved in a legendary piece of hackery.
Paul Krugman reminds us of the sordid tale in his column:
But soon after Dr. Hansen’s 1988 testimony, energy companies began a campaign to create doubt about global warming, in spite of the increasingly overwhelming evidence. And in the late 1990’s, climate skeptics began a smear campaign against Dr. Hansen himself.
Leading the charge was Patrick Michaels, a professor at the University of Virginia who has received substantial financial support from the energy industry. In Senate testimony, and then in numerous presentations, Dr. Michaels claimed that the actual pace of global warming was falling far short of Dr. Hansen’s predictions. As evidence, he presented a chart supposedly taken from a 1988 paper written by Dr. Hansen and others, which showed a curve of rising temperatures considerably steeper than the trend that has actually taken place.
In fact, the chart Dr. Michaels showed was a fraud — that is, it wasn’t what Dr. Hansen actually predicted. The original paper showed a range of possibilities, and the actual rise in temperature has fallen squarely in the middle of that range. So how did Dr. Michaels make it seem as if Dr. Hansen’s prediction was wildly off? Why, he erased all the lower curves, leaving only the curve that the original paper described as being "on the high side of reality."
A piece of zombie misinformation like this never dies as long as there are people to whom it is useful. Inhofe has cited it. It plays a prominent role in Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. It’s only a matter of time before Jonah Goldberg scoops it up for one of his Greatest Zombie Hits columns.
It’s amazing how much damage a small group of people can do if they have money and access to media.
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