AP 'Fact Check' Uses Scientists Trashing Ted Cruz as Dumber Than a Kindergartner on Climate

When AP reporter/climate activist Seth Borenstein assembles a “fact check” on global warming, you be sure the “deniers” are going to take some licks. The headline was “Most GOP candidates flunk climate science.” Borenstein assembled a panel of (non-political?) scientists who just happened to find the Democrats were much more “factual.”

At the request of The Associated Press, eight climate and biological scientists graded for scientific accuracy what a dozen top candidates said in debates, interviews and tweets, using a 0 to 100 scale.

To try to eliminate possible bias, the candidates' comments were stripped of names and given randomly generated numbers, so the professors would not know who made each statement they were grading.

So instead of assigning the "fact check" to allegedly objective journalists, they turned to climate scientists, who might seem objective but are often invested in slamming those "deniers" in the conservative fold.

Hillary Rodham Clinton had the highest average score at 94, and “Below Clinton's 94 were O'Malley with 91; Sanders, 87; Bush, 64; Christie, 54; Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 47; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 38; Fiorina, 28; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 21; businessman Donald Trump, 15; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, 13; and Cruz with 6.”

Borenstein’s panel included controversial scientist Michael Mann, the subject of a big political squabble with former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Mann hardly sounded like he was eliminating bias in his summations.

"This individual understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner," Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor, wrote of Cruz's statements. "That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president."

Who thinks this sounds like a disinterested scientist with no investment in a political outcome? Science magazine called Mann “The political scientist” and noted “he was featured in millions of dollars’ worth of television ads attacking McAuliffe’s opponent, Ken Cuccinelli (R), the Virginia attorney general who launched a controversial investigation into research that Mann conducted when he worked at the University of Virginia (UVA).” He introduced Bill Clinton at campaign events, and after McAuliffe won, he tweeted he was happy Cuccinelli lost, given his “dangerous brand of politics & his contempt for science & rational thought”.

Some of these “scientific” statements included Sen. Marco Rubio saying regulating American emissions won’t affect climate change because the Chinese will continue to pollute.

The U.S. spews about 17 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, "so big cuts here would still make a big difference globally," said geochemist Louisa Bradtmiller at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rubio's inference that China is not doing much about global warming "is out of date. The Chinese are implementing a cap-and-trade system in their country to reduce emissions," said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University.

Are the Chinese really going to curb emissions? Predicting the future is at least in part a political judgment, not “science.”

 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis