Attacking Scott Pruitt As A Climate Change Denier Only Hurts Alarmists’ Crusade

Attacking Scott Pruitt As A Climate Change Denier Only Hurts Alarmists’ Crusade

Correctly acknowledging the climate change debate is enough to get EPA nominee Scott Pruitt branded a ‘denialist.’ Why would anyone take such a clownish ideology seriously?

Few people in the United States rank climate change high on their list of concerns. More people worry about Social Security and race relations than they do about global warming. Why do Americans care so little about climate change? Part of it is that people have figured out the sham apocalyptic ruse of climate predictions, but another part of it—probably the larger part—is the insufferable politics of climate crusaders themselves.

A recent story in The New York Times illustrates this well. Reporting on Donald Trump’s choice of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the Times led with this headline: “Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A.”

The print version of the article was even stranger, featuring the blaring subhead “CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL,” as if the whole thing were some kind of natural disaster, like an earthquake or a meteor strike:

denier

Now, given these sensationalist headlines—which were in a news item, mind you, rather than an editorial or an opinion column—you might expect the Times to have some kind of scoop to back up their claims. “Climate change denial,” after all, is a serious charge: it implies a kind of bull-headed anti-scientific stupidity, and deliberately carries nasty and repugnant undertones meant to evoke thoughts of Holocaust denialism.

So what’s the proof, according to the Times? Well, back in May, Pruitt co-wrote a column at National Review in which he noted, correctly, that “[the climate change debate] is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.” That’s it. That’s literally the only evidence they provide that Pruitt is a “climate change denialist.”

You can thus see why many people take a dim view of climate alarmism: it is increasingly a comical and unserious campaign, one that is more or less unable to tolerate even the slightest whiff of dissent. Correctly acknowledging the parameters of the climate change debate—and there is still a debate, with plenty of credible scientists in disagreement on a variety of factors—is enough to get you branded a “denialist” these days. Why would anyone take such a clownish and farcical ideology seriously?

Their Opinion Is Dogma

Now, on the one hand, this kind of witch hunt has been around for years: liberal pundits and commentators have been wildly accusing people of “climate denialism” since global warming become a prominent part of our public discourse. But in its coverage of Pruitt, the Times seems to have crossed a line: it has accused a public figure of “denialism” by way of nominally unbiased journalism, treating the accusation as an objective fact rather than an editorial judgment.

Perhaps this is the new normal of the climate debate: anyone who exhibits even the tiniest thought of disagreement with the mainstream progressive opinion of climate change will be slandered in the press—not simply in the opinion columns, mind you, but in news articles, headlines, and reports.

If that’s the case, however, then climate partisans can probably look forward to increasing disinterest and hostility from the public. As times goes on, fewer people will be willing to tolerate the nasty, blind-rage partisanship of the climate lobby. Ironically, this will likely only cause the climate lobby to lash out even more irrationally, continuing the cycle indefinitely.

Of course, liberals could just start moderating their fanatical stance on climate change; that might help. Maybe someone—a public figure with lots of exposure and a good pulpit, say—could encourage them to do so. Perhaps Scott Pruitt could give it a shot.

Daniel Payne is an assistant editor for The College Fix, the news magazine of the Student Free Press Association. Daniel's work has appeared in outlets such as National Review Online, Reason, Front Porch Republic, and elsewhere. His personal blog can be found at Trial of the Century. He lives in Virginia.
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