That thumping sound you hear is the Los Angeles Times moving the goal posts in the global warming debate.
On November 22, while responding to the growing scandal about alleged proof that global warming is a hoax, the Times brushed it off with a puzzling claim that science should have no bearing on climate legislation.
What a difference a few leaked e-mail messages could make: just over a month ago, the exact same paper had insisted science was behind the push for regulation. Now with the validity of that science in doubt, the Times was quick to find a different angle.
In an article titled "A Climate Change Dust-up," writers Jim Tankersley and Henry Chu began with reassurance that the scandal was nothing to fear because the hacked e-mail messages would not make a difference either way:
Is it a "Warmist Conspiracy," or a case of an email being "taken completely out of context"?
Regardless, the latest dust-up over the science of climate change appears unlikely to affect the dynamics of either a pending debate in the Senate or international climate negotiations in Copenhagen next month.
The whole point of the meeting in Copenhagen has been to limit pollution that supposedly destroys the planet based on evidence gathered and purported by researchers specifically involved in the email scandal. If the very premise of global warming has possibly been exposed as a fraud, why would that not be of interest to those who want to legislate global warming?
Because, according to the Times, the fight to stop possibly nonexistent global warming would be about saving the economy:
But advocates of action to curb global warming dismiss those claims, and political leaders and analysts say the Senate bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions will sink or swim based on economics, not science.
"The scientists are going to fight about this for decades," said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of several Senate Republicans who say they are open to some form of a climate bill. "We should be doing something to curb our emissions that would not harm the economy, and would in fact boost the economy," he said.
So the Times believed in doing something about emissions whether or not we knew that they were harmful. It was suddenly okay for the science to remain unsettled, and in fact, the Senate was encouraged to limit greenhouse gases even if science was unable to prove a connection between carbon dioxide emissions and temperature.
But if the entire logic of this effort to save the economy was based on the hope that green jobs would put Americans to work, someone should have told the Times that President Obama has already been funding green jobs without a climate bill.
Equally preposterous, nowhere did the article explain exactly how limiting a company's carbon dioxide output would cause it to expand payrolls.
Not to worry, for according to global warming activists it would all work with or without the data to back it up.
Most amazingly of all, though, was an explanation about the data offered by Phil Jones, one of the scientists involved in the email scandal. When asked about his use of the word "trick" when presenting data, Jones told the Times it was just clever wording:
In the 1999 e-mail, Jones wrote of using a "trick" to hide an apparent decline in recent global temperatures on a chart being prepared for use by a meteorological organization. But in a statement posted on the university's website Saturday, Jones said that the e-mail had been "taken completely out of context" and that there had been no misrepresentation of the data.
"The word 'trick' was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward," Jones said.
The hard-hitting journalism force at the Times failed to ask how a trick was taken to mean anything other than a trick. What possible "colloquial" use of the word could have implied a trick that was not really a trick?
Thanks to the Times, Jones got away without having to expound.
This whole notion of scientific tricks being irrelevant to a major debate about international climate legislation represented a major change in thinking at the Times. It was just six weeks ago the paper criticized Bush for hiding scientific data that could be used to sway the debate over legislation.
Back then, science had everything to do with it:
The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released a long-suppressed report by George W. Bush administration officials who had concluded -- based on science -- that the government should begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions because global warming posed serious risks to the country.
The report, known as an "endangerment finding," was done in 2007. The Bush White House refused to make it public because it opposed new government efforts to regulate the gases most scientists see as the major cause of global warming.
When scientific findings were there to warn that global warming would kill the planet, the Times was quick to support it; when science was later found to be riddled with tricks that tainted its credibility, climate legislation was suddenly all about fixing the economy.
This is one more example in the long list of ways the liberal media has played fast and loose with the global warming agenda.
Even when faced with plausible evidence the whole thing might be a fraud, global warming believers simply found a way to assert that evidence was not necessary.