A rebuttal to the Washington Post’s smear of David Legates appointment to NOAA

Guest opinion by Joseph L. Bast


The Washington Post’s coverage of David Legates’ appointment to a position with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is hopelessly biased and inaccurate, par for the course for the Post’s coverage of environmental issues.

The lead sentences say Prof. Legates has “long questioned the scientific consensus that human activity is causing global warming.”

In fact, Prof. Legates has long questioned whether there is a scientific consensus, and his writing (including in peer reviewed science journals) shows there is not. He is not alone. Most scientists disagree with the exaggerated claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The reporters say, disapprovingly, that Prof. Legates was “forced out of his role as [Delaware’s] state climatologist” by a Democrat governor who objected to his views on climate change. Yet later in the article, the reporters strenuously object to the idea that Prof. Legates may have been hired by the Trump administration because of his views. The reporters’ hypocrisy destroys their credibility.

NOAA, according to the reporters, “has until now continued its climate research and  communication activities unfettered by political influence.” No source is given for that claim. What they mean is that after President Obama thoroughly politicized and weaponized the agency in his war against coal, his administration’s hold-overs have done all they can to obstruct the current administration’s efforts to correct the situation. The Deep State is firmly in control of NOAA.

The reporters quote an anonymous source inside NOAA calling the appointment a “midnight hire” and saying “the need for any new talent coming into this organization at this point is really not needed” (sic). Right. Why would any reporter use this ridiculous and transparently self-serving comment by an anonymous source in a “news” story?

The reporters define The Heartland Institute as “funded in part by the fossil fuel industry.” How much? They don’t say. (They never say.) The truth is that less than 10% of the organization’s budget comes from companies in the energy industry, and this has always been the case. Heartland receives less funding from energy companies than nearly any of the environmental organizations in the country who are on the other side of the global warming debate. Haven’t you heard? Exxon-Mobil supports a carbon tax. This smear is just a Democrat Party talking point with no basis in fact. Five minutes on Heartland’s website would have revealed this.

The reporters obviously spent less than five minutes on Heartland’s website because they go on to say Prof. Legates is lead author of a “Heartland-funded, non-peer-reviewed rebuttal to the IPCC, called “The IPCC Reconsidered.”

Really? Heartland has published a series of reports (five volumes so far, each about 1,000 pages long composed of reviews of peer-reviewed scientific research) titled “Climate Change Reconsidered.” Those reports are produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC); Heartland only publishes them. They are peer reviewed; as a lead editor, I know this first hand.

According to the reporters, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is “a research and advocacy group” and its staffer is a “watchdog.” Right. And Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a charity that operates soup kitchens in low-income neighborhoods. In fact, the UCS is a hard-left advocacy group that uses scientific controversies to advance its anti-free enterprise, anti-America agenda. Of course it could be counted on to attack a scientist who refuses to go along with its propaganda efforts. No real reporter would go to such a source for a comment on Prof. Legates’ appointment.

The article ends with some long quotations from a “marine scientist” and former Obama political appointee attacking Prof. Legates. They couldn’t find a climate scientist willing to criticize the appointment? Or someone who isn’t an Obama legacy? Was Michael Mann, the usual go-to character assassin of the liberal media, too busy blogging about his support for BLM? (Mann who, incidentally, is viewed by his peers as “an embarrassment to the profession.” A whole book with that title has been written about him.) Oh, check that, Mann was the first person interviewed by PBS when Prof. Legates’ appointment became known.

The Washington Post continues to make a fool of itself by playing stenographer to the most radical fringe of the environmental movement. Prof. Legates is a fine man with a distinguished academic career, his appointment at NOAA may be a long-overdue attempt to inject new talent into an organization that lost its independence and integrity a long time ago.


Joseph L. Bast is a Senior Fellow at The Heartland Institute in Arlington Heights, IL 60004

38 thoughts on “A rebuttal to the Washington Post’s smear of David Legates appointment to NOAA

  1. … President Obama thoroughly politicized and weaponized the agency in his war against coal, his administration’s hold-overs have done all they can to obstruct the current administration’s efforts to correct the situation.

    We need four more years of President Trump. Then what? Will the establishment re-seize control of the Republican party? Is there anyone coming up who can take the party in the direction President Trump has plotted?

    I have zero faith the Democrat party will learn from its mistakes? No, I think their behaviour is baked in. It hit me full in the face the other day that their current mania for CAGW and renewable energy is no different than the way they engineered the Vietnam fiasco.

    Who are we? We’re the brightest and the best, we can make renewable energy work. Hmmm. Haven’t I heard something like that before?

    • I am not sure what you mean by “engineer the Vietnam fiasco” do you mean deliberately pretend that
      a US Naval vessel was attacked by North Vietnam so that Johnson could escalate the conflict resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands or something else?

      • Izaak,
        Perhaps commieBob was referring to the way the US military was never defeated on the field of battle by the Communist forces; but rather was defeated by our left wing media turning victories into defeats. In the Tet Offensive in 1968 the NVA and Viet Cong forces were driven from the country by American and South Vietnamese forces, yet the shock of the battles as shown on TV for the first time and the press insistence that it was a defeat for the American strategy led to Nixon’s victory on the promise of a drawdown of US forces.
        It was one of the first examples of Fake News like what we see constantly around the CAGW, and now Covid-19, issues! The Fake News media, as the propaganda wing of the DemoKKKrat Party is intent on propping up an elderly man with a deepening dementia problem until the election is stolen and the Trojan Harris can assume her throne. Only an emphatic win by Trump will prevent the well oiled voter-fraud-by-mail machine from snatching the vote from the American public and giving it to Harris, the Squad and the MaligNancy Pelousy!

        • The Vietnam war was never fought by the US military to win it.

          The strategy could never have, and was never meant to “win it” but instead protract the war.
          Of course, follow the money, you’ll find the same sources funding both sides, the US government, and the Soviet factories producing the weapons for the other side.

          I am never ever going to buy the lunatic strategy employed in Vietnam as legitimately believed in by the US military as the path to a victory, no frikkin way.

          As for “left wing media” “painting victories as defeats”
          The military lied and lied and lied about what went on there, are you fkn kidding me? They were classifying thousands of murdered civilians by US forces, as enemy combatants.
          Around the time of Mai Lai, there was a Mai Lai a month happening, not reported.

          • Kissinger has been quoted as saying that the ideal outcome for the Vietnam war would be an armistice with the country divided. Like Korea. The fear was that crushing the N. Vietnamese army would result in China joining the war with the risk of the war going nuclear.

          • “The Vietnam war was never fought by the US military to win it.

            The strategy could never have, and was never meant to “win it” but instead protract the war.”

            Had it been up to the U.S. military, the Vietnam war would have been over in about six months. They would have invaded North Vietnam and finished them off.

            The reason they didn’t do this is because the radical anti-war Left in the United States (think Senator Ted Kennedy) put every obstacle they could in the way of the military.

            Despite the obstacles put in their way, the U.S. military did defeat the efforts by the North Vietnamese to take over South Vietnam. Then a peace treaty was signed between the U.S., South Vietnam and North Vietnam.

            In Oct. 1973, all U.S. combat troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam. A huge error, and orchestrated by the radical anti-war Left. In April 1975, the North Vietnamese again invaded South Vietnam and ultimately defeated them this time. U.S. military combat forces had been absent from South Vietnam from Oct. 1973, to April 1975, when South Vietnam was finally defeated, so anyone who says the defeat was the fault of the U.S. military doesn’t know what they are talking about. The U.S. military was not there at the time and took no part in the fight.

            The United States was obligated by the Paris Peace treaty to come to the aid of South Vietnam if North Vietnam violated the agreement and attacked again. Instead, the radical anti-war Left in the U.S. had control of Congress and they drastically cut defense money going to South Vietnam and when the North Vietnamese attacks came, they refused to go to South Vietnam’s aid.

            The U.S. was legally and morally obligated to defend South Vietnam but that meant nothing to the anti-war Left, and they threw South Vietnam to the communist wolves. Millions of South Vietnamese were killed or displaced as a result.

            The fear of China entering the war if North Vietnam was invaded was just an excuse to do nothing on the part of the anti-war Left. China suppoedly had about 40 nuclear weapons at that time. They were no match for the United States in nukes or on the battlefield. The Chinese military are losers (see their recent history). The American military are the winners.

            The Vietnam war was the time when the Leftwing Media became involved heavily in the politics of the day and they haven’t stopped since. The Leftwing Media is truly the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. And are truly the most dangerous organization in the United States when it comes to our personal freedoms. They try to take away our personal freedoms with their lies.

      • I lived through the 60’s at a draftable age and I think it well to move on. Commie Bob’s comment links Democrats to an “engineered” fiasco. You link the “engineering” to Lyndon Johnson. Perhaps you are too young to remember that President Johnson was a Democrat….

        • Juan,
          Unless people recognise that the government lied to them and led them into an unjust war they will just repeat the mistakes and end up fighting and dying in places like Iraq.

        • Perhaps you are too young to remember that President Johnson was a Democrat …

          That was actually my point.

          The Best and the Brightest (1972) is an account by journalist David Halberstam of the origins of the Vietnam War published by Random House. The focus of the book is on the foreign policy crafted by academics and intellectuals who were in John F. Kennedy’s administration, and the consequences of those policies in Vietnam. The title referred to Kennedy’s “whiz kids”—leaders of industry and academia brought into the Kennedy administration—whom Halberstam characterized as insisting on “brilliant policies that defied common sense” in Vietnam, often against the advice of career U.S. Department of State employees. link

          “Brilliant policies that defied common sense” pretty much still describes the Democrat party.

  2. Did a Google engine search on David Legates. Must have seen a dozen (maybe more) outlets that reported on this, and they are all attack pieces. McCarthyism is alive and well here in 2020. I also keep thinking back to 1692 Salem…..

    “Witch! Witch! Burn the witch! Burn the witch!”

    • Switch to Microsoft Edge. The search is still slanted, but a bit better balanced, even showing this WUWT article. And the updated version actually works.

  3. May I say that NOAA is a large organization that employes thousands of scientists. We do not all agree on many scientific matters including climate drivers. Because some midlevel managers at the climate data division are gate keepers on climate orthodoxy doesn’t mean that everyone at NOAA is in agreement. I for one welcome Dr. Legates and more diverse viewpoints into management positions.

  4. LOL. I became a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists by signing up on their website. I am neither concerned nor a scientist.

  5. ‘The reporters define The Heartland Institute as “funded in part by the fossil fuel industry.” How much? They don’t say. (They never say.) The truth is that less than 10% of the organization’s budget comes from companies in the energy industry, and this has always been the case. ‘

    They can’t say because Heartland no longer gives information on individual donors.

    There is plenty of evidence of fossil fuel funding of Heartland:
    https://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-institute

    (contains detailed sources for its information)

      • Yes, when individual donors were attacked by the rabid left they had to protect them. Griff those whom you support are sick twisted evil people.

        Nevertheless we do indeed know how much support Heartland gets from ” big oil” and the head article is entirely correct.

        • Remember Peter Glieck committed (and admitted) mail fraud impersonating a Hearltland Director in order to get the membership list that he intended to forward to those activist groups so they could continue harassment.

    • It isn’t clear how “fossil fuel funding” would imply “opposed to the IPCC pseudo science”. Big Oil seems to embrace it!

  6. Legates seems in fact to have been asked to step down as state climatologist by the Dean of his university.

    The governor merely asked him to to stop using his formal title in public statements on climate change policy. Governor Minner wrote:

    “Your views on climate change, as I understand them, are not aligned with those of my administration. In light of my position and due to the confusion surrounding your role with the state, I am directing you to offer any future statements on this or other public policy matters only on behalf of yourself or the University of Delaware, and not as state climatologist.”

    • Griff, it is funny how you extract information that precisely illustrate that David Legates is being tyrannized to the same extend as Peter Reed.

    • Yep leftist CANNOT allow anyone contrary to their AGW religion to continue to work for them.

      What else is a climatologist for, but to tell the truth about climate. !

      Truth is totally unacceptable in that position, according to the deep-swamp bureaucrats.

      That is why Peter Ridd was sacked.. for telling the truth.

  7. If you must respond to Griff just quote his entire post and cross it all out. They are worthless even as an opinion.

  8. Trump wins again! The Loony Left melts down!

    Trump said we might get tired of winning so much, but I’m not. Raising another glass to toast the best President we ever had!

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