Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Party of Anti-Science

The GOP ruthlessly exploits the media's effort to achieve objectivity. Abetted the fecklessness of the media, the GOP has discovered that when science stands in the way of its policy agenda, the best media strategy is to give the impression that there exists a scientific debate on the subject, even if none exists.

The showcase example in this strategy is the GOP effort to create the illusion that there exists a scientific debate about the causes of global warming, despite the fact that there is overwhelming consensus that industrial emissions are causing global warming. Consider the recently leaked memo from Republican consultant Frank Luntz regarding how to undermine policy efforts to control global warming:

The memo, by the leading Republican consultant Frank Luntz, concedes the party has "lost the environmental communications battle" and urges its politicians to encourage the public in the view that there is no scientific consensus on the dangers of greenhouse gases.

"The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science," Mr Luntz writes in the memo, obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based campaigning organisation.

"Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.

"Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate."

The GOP: the party of anti-science.

(NB: this is not to say that there can't be debate about the proper policy path for how to deal with global warming, but only to say that the policy debate should not include a debate about the fact of global warming.)

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