Predictably, PolitiFact NJ Rates ‘Millions Will Die’ Ad as ‘True’

August 13th, 2013 2:16 PM

Planet earth has been getting cooler, not warmer in the past few years. That’s an objective fact that PolitFact New Jersey omitted in its duplicitous July 22nd“Truth-O-Meter” article giving cover to Rep. Rush Holt’s (D-N.J.) alarmist statements on global warming. Holt is challenging Newark City Mayor Corey Booker in today’s N.J. Democratic primary. In a campaign ad, Holt claimed “millions will die” from rising temperatures.

“Every single month since 1985 has been warmer than the historic average," Holt said. "All 12 of the warmest years on record have come in the last 15 years.”

True? PolitFact NJ says so based on what has been reported through government agencies.

“Those statements are accurate, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies,” PolitFact declares. As it turns out, Holt’s statements are based on the findings of computer models; finds that have been debunked and discredited by actual scientific observations.

In a letter to the Trenton Times, Jack Frohbieter, a retired aerospace engineer, carefully explained why the “Truth-O-Meter” article is so misleading and off the mark.

“Examine the data that Rep. Holt cites to justify his expensive proposals to limit CO2 and we will see that the average global temperatures have not increased in the last eight years (2005 to 2013),” Frohbieter wrote. “This is in spite of the increase of CO2 that has occurred. The computer models are the only thing that human-caused global warming advocates can cite to support their drive to close coal-burning power plants, waste public money on “green” energy projects and dictate our choice of light bulbs.”

These are the same computer models that predicted global temperatures would move upward when in fact they have not, Frohbieter points out.

“Statements that imply these are the highest temperatures ever are not true,” he added. “While we don’t have direct measurements earlier than 1880, it appears that warming periods and cooling periods are the norm and that earlier periods had higher temperatures than exist now. We must not let Congress and the president force us into drastic cures for a crisis that does not exist.”

Politifact declined to evaluate Holt’s bold “millions will die” assertion “since it’s a prediction.” Yet, these alarmist statements may be what matters most in the debate over global warming. The technological innovations that Holt targets in his policy proposals are responsible for improving the human condition.

Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), put matters into perspective in a comment to NewsBusters:

“Nobody disputes that there has been a long term warming trend over the past 130 years,” he said. “What is also indisputable is that over that same period global per capita income, life expectancy, and health have improved dramatically. Mortality and mortality rates related to extreme weather have declined 93% and 98% respectively since the 1920s. In the U.S. heat related mortality declined during the 70s-90s each decade as urbane air temperatures increased. Cities with the hottest weather -- Tampa and Phoenix -- have practically zero heat related mortality. That's because people aren't dumb -- when hot weather is common, they adapt. Holt’s ‘millions will die’ is an unreasonable prediction. PolitiFact New Jersey should have called him on it.”

It is not exactly a surprise that such hyperbolic claims would be rated as “true” given the history of the national PolitiFact. A 2011 study by the University of Minnesota found that the national PolitiFact, which is owned by the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, was three times more likely to rate Republican claims as false compared to Democrats’.