the house’s luddites keep looking for a conspiracy

Lamar Smith refuses to give up on manufacturing a scandal, demanding publicly available data from NOAA

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In his ongoing fight against the cognitive dissonance of working to downsize the very entity that pays his salary and NOAA’s research on global warming, Rep. Lamar Smith wants government scientists to turn over more and more papers that will supposedly prove that they’re faking their research for political gain, refusing to accept even the remote possibility that maybe there is at least a sliver of a fragment of a chance that they’re being completely honest and accurate. But this is what happens when a politician has every incentive to cry conspiracy and refuse to give experts the benefit of the doubt. Still, the first rule of a good public fishing expedition is to have at least a modicum of plausible deniability when called out on it and rather than back off even a little bit, in an effort to keep appeasing his most zealous anti-science constituents, Smith filed a list of keywords he wants NOAA to use when searching for documents he wants to see as part of his “investigation” which blatantly show him digging really hard for out of context “proof” of a conspiracy theory repeated almost daily in the echo cambers of conservative radio shows.

Basically, anything mentioning President Obama, the talks in Paris, ocean buoys, or the UN are to be turned over for quote-mining to create the next e-mail scandal because to Smith’s rabidly denialist supporters, the previous one was a smoking gun ignored by the media when in reality, the press obsessed over them for months and barely covered the hearings in which the e-mails were showed to be nothing more than cherry-picking for incriminating quotes. If anyone wanted to give Smith the benefit of the doubt, his latest demands are proof that he is only interested in partisan spectacle and conspiracy-mongering. Just like rabid creationists who cling to the same old, long debunked canards, global warming denialists will continue to regurgitate the same old cherry-picked charts, cite the same non-scandals of their own invention, and pretend that they haven’t been shown wrong by everyone and their grandma twice already. To them the issue of global warming is not a scientific one, it’s a sinister plot by the New World Order to strip them of their freedoms and property by the sinister global elite. Politicians like Smith are either cynically exploiting these hysterical fears, or falling for them. And I’m really not sure which is worse…

# science // global warming / partisan politics


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