Religious Extremism and Right-Wing Deep Pockets Try to Brainwash Away the Realities of Disasters Like the Philippines Typhoon
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I’m not a fan of Piers Morgan. There’s something awfully hacky and uncomfortable in the way he fawns over whatever celebrity guest takes his fancy. That said, I experience my favorite of all human emotions—schadenfreude—whenever a guest verbally backhands him, as was the case when Mark Hertsgaard, an environmental columnist for the Nation, called out the CNN host for presenting a false equivalency on climate change. Hallelujah!
Hertsgaard tied the calamity in the Philippines to ocean warming and rising sea levels, but of course, CNN had little difficulty in finding another guest to take the opposite view—that global warming is voodoo science. Frustrated, Hertsgaard ripped into Piers Morgan accusing the host of journalistic malpractice: “Piers, I repeat, journalistically this is malpractice to have on somebody pretending that this is 50 percent and 50 percent when nobody in the scientific community takes the view that climate change is not related to stronger storms."
Morgan intervened: “I think it's actually journalistically malpractice to not have a fair debate actually, with all respect to you, Mark Hertsgaard."
Wait, what? What debate, where? There’s no longer a debate within the scientific community on climate change. In fact, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently put the debate to bed. The “groundbreaking” report shows that nearly 100 percent of high-level climate scientists are “unequivocal” when it comes to man-made global warming and its threats. If there’s a debate, it’s exclusively between those who endorse science and fact versus those who are peddling Big Oil-sponsored propaganda. Thus the media, and in this instance, Piers Morgan, is complicit in disseminating pro-corporate agenda-driven misinformation to suggest climate change is a gay, liberal conspiracy theory to make Al Gore rich.
On one side of this “debate” stands the world’s entire climate science community. On the other side stands Big Oil/Gas in cahoots with the people who do their bidding—the Republican Party—and the people who do their bidding—the Christian Right.
The disconnect between reality and the Right could not be starker. More than 90 percent of the Republican leadership in both the House and Senate believe climate change is a hoax to, presumably, help Tesla sell more electric cars, but many House Republicans are paid by the Koch brothers and Exxon to believe that. For their most reliable and agitated ballot box pullers, however, more than 85 percent of the Christian Right denies climate chance. Their rigid conformity and open hostility to free enquiry makes them the perfect water carrier for Big Oil and the ideal political cover for the GOP to hammer away at state and federal environmental safeguards under the guise that climate change is a myth.
Buoyed by corporate finances and a radical “dominion theology,” the Christian Right has become increasingly aggressive in its defense of corporations and its denial of climate change. The GOP’s evangelical base is working to misrepresent environmentalism as a dangerous liberal hoax that is harmful to the poor and a threat to Christianity.
The “think tank” for this pro-corporate anti- environmental agenda is the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. E. Calvin Beisner, who believes that since God granted humans dominion over the earth, humans have a right to exploit the planet by whatever means they see fit, leads the group, which is a political front for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. CFACT is an anti-environmental group funded by the usual suspects—ExxonMobil, Chevron, Gulf Oil, and the Koch brothers. Cornwall also receives funding from right-wing political action committee groups including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity.