Shocker: Organizing for Action ad misleads on climate change

posted at 1:21 pm on May 2, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

With support for new gun-control legislation fizzling and Congress duking it out on immigration reform, President Obama’s campaign-turned-’advocacy’ group Organizing for Action has been putting together a new campaign to keep supporters riled up about the next-in-line, low-priority-to-most-Americans, non-economic, holy-grail progressive issue: Climate change, obviously.

When I saw this ad in passing last week, I was left wondering why it is exactly that any GOP lawmaker is supposed to be embarrassed by this:

Considering that the ad’s intended audience is a bunch of Obama supporters who are already determined to see what they want to see out of it, I suppose that, sure, the lines about carbon-dioxide exhalation and Boehner’s “cow” remark are a little squirm-inducing, but come on, now: Of course “the number of scientific organizations that have publicly denied climate change” is “ZERO,” because nobody is denying that climate change is a real thing that has been happening on our planet since time immemorial.

Is it, however, the all-consuming and imminent catastrophe that alarm-mongering eco-zealots have hysterically claimed for decades now, and we need to immediately begin catering to their too-eager big-government policy prescriptions of economic-growth and fossil-fuel stoppages or else we’re all going to die? …The fact that these groups often feel the need to passionately insist that the science is so very “settled” and “overwhelming,” when it very clearly isn’t, would suggest not, and that’s more toward the point that most of these Republicans are making in these conveniently out-of-context soundbites.

And the ad’s claim that Republicans “voted in 2011 that climate change was a ‘hoax’”? Uhm, actually, that was really more of a referendum on whether the EPA or Congress should set climate-change policy, as Glenn Kessler pointed out at WaPo today with a Four-Pinocchios rating. It was a nice try, though.

The underlying bill, known as the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, was intended to thwart an effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate gases believed to affect climate change. It would have amended the Clean Air Act to prevent the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide, methane and at least five other gases, instead leaving such policy decisions in the hands of Congress. …

Waxman’s amendment was a classic legislative gambit, goading the other side to reject language that — on its face — appears reasonable. To that extent, even in failure the amendment was a success. The Hill newspaper headlined its article on the vote: “Amendment that says climate change is occurring fails in House.

The Organizing for Action video then gilds the lily by immediately following a reference to the vote with a clip of a speech by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.): “The idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community.” As FactCheck.Org noted, that speech was given in 2009 — not during the debate over the 2011 amendment.

Moreover, nowhere in the amendment does the word “hoax” appear.


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