The Power of the Li’l Green Group in PBS Frontline’s “The Power of Big Oil”

From the Gelbspan Files

Russel Cook

On Easter Sunday, CBS News spectacularly reinforced how the collective enviro-activist community has only one primary go-to source of viable-looking evidence to indict the fossil fuel industry of running disinformation campaigns designed to undercut the ‘certainty’ of catastrophic man-caused global warming. With Frontline’s “The Power of Big Oil” broadcast on Tuesday April 19, the Public Broadcasting Service began its spectacular reinforcement of exactly where the tiny source is for that unsupportable accusation, and how it dates all the way back to the mid-, late-1990s with two key promulgators. But before anyone examines the faults in this latest mainstream media journalism malfeasance, they should never lose sight of what the two central hallmarks are for extreme political leftists:

Frontline’s “The Power of Big Oil” is a case study on how this all comes together in one presentation, aimed at audiences who are expected not to question a single bit of it (in fact, nobody is permitted to question any part of it at its online webpage). The last time I dissected a Frontline climate program, they mentioned cursory bits about crooked skeptic climate scientists, but didn’t show the core accusers. This time they did, and in this blog post, I’ll be primarily showing how they portrayed the accusers in essentially a heroic way without questioning anything the accusers say or their undisclosed personal association. Last time, there was a working PBS Ombudsman who managed to extract a response for me from Frontline editors to my complaints. Currently, the PBS network has no ombudsman for receiving complaints; the guy supposedly in charge of that doesn’t show up for work for months on end.

Technically, Frontline hit its viewing audience with a form of disinformation right in its Part 1 title “Denial” before even beginning its main feature presentation. PhD-level climatologists / atmospheric physicists, along with experts in statistical data gathering and analysis do not deny the existence of climate change. They never have, it’s the antithesis of scientific reasoning to do so. The only people who actually deny climate change are those demanding a static climate that never changes from a level arbitrarily chosen from 150 years or so ago.

Before the main presentation begins, viewers see two minutes of preview quotes from the three parts, including a bit from “Merchants of Doubt” documentary movie star/book author Naomi Oreskes, who will be appearing in Parts 2 and/or 3, scheduled to be broadcast April 26th and May 3rd. As I’ve shown at GelbspanFiles, she’s a historian of science who cannot apparently keep her own history straight or keep her narratives straight about her role in this issue.

Not seen in the transcript for this episode are parts in the introduction where it explains what the show will be about, namely “what Big Oil knew about climate change” and how the industry “knowingly spread disinformation” to hide what fossil fuel executives supposedly knew – that specific accusation actually being shown on the screen as a false premise question.

“Climate Change” is an arguably vague and basically disingenuous label. The prominent worry back in the 1970s and on into the ’80s was human-induced global cooling. The one inconvenient truth that kills the collective “Exxon Knew” accusation (which essentially did not exist as a particular talking point prior to either 2015 or 2012, depending on viewpoints from different sources) is how much Exxon and other energy companies knew about particulate pollution from burning fossil fuels and/or other man-made or natural conditions causing this cooling … and/or to what degree, beginning in the 1980s, that news reports started featuring contradictory science reports.

Meanwhile on to Frontline’s feature presentation, Part 1, and its assortment of crippling problems. The go-to sources of who formerly worked inside of Exxon are at least minimally problematic.

EDWARD GARVEY: Within the Exxon Research & Engineering Company, at least, we knew that changes were going to be necessary. But I think Exxon was afraid we would change too fast. You just can’t shut off the fossil fuels, because all of society depends on it. I was convinced that Exxon was doing this research to understand it, … not so that we can deny the problem.

That’s at the end of the first nearly twelve minutes featuring the insights a NASA scientist and Exxon research engineers, Martin Hoffert and Edward Garvey. Where were those two seen before together? Right next to Naomi Oreskes in a U.S. House hearing in which Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posed very likely staged, rehearsed questions to them and Oreskes, where Garvey in particular responded with self-described label as Naomi Oreskes’ “co-hort.” An odd labeling choice, when “my fellow witness” would have raised less eyebrows.

After Frontline’s transition clip of 2018 California wildfire footage and some college hallway, who abruptly appears next? Predictably, it’s …

KERT DAVIES, Director, Climate Investigations Center: Sometime in the 2000s Exxon give their archives to the library at the University of Texas. Many truckloads of documents …

Not Kert Davies, formerly of Greenpeace and Ozone Action, not Kert Davies formerly of Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets website, not Kert Davies who was exposed by a Washington Free Beacon 2016 report as being among several people having unmistakable bias against Exxon, just Kert Davies of some benign yet important-sounding and possibly non-partisan outfit called the Climate Investigations Center.

Who’s featured with him?

NEELA BANERJEE, Inside Climate News, 2015-20: We came across letter after letter after letter to leaders of the company about carbon dioxide. …

… KERT DAVIES: I’ve become a curator of documents. …

Since ICN was at least minimally the origin of the virally repeated “Exxon Knew” label, her appearance as the main author of the original 2015 article is not surprising. Is ICN a purely non-partisan journalism outlet? That’s open to question. Their prior name was the far more advocacy-sounding “Solve Climate News,” and they didn’t exactly hide who they were rooting for back then. Is there also more to the connection of Davies and ICN than right here at Frontline? Quite possibly – I detailed the inexplicable sharing of identical documents in needlessly duplicated Davies / ICN pages in my dissections of the Charleston v Brabham lawsuit and of the Hoboken v Exxon lawsuit.

One more thing there – when Davies said, “I’ve become a curator of documents,” it sounds like he means recently. But as Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets Administrator, surely he’d been curating Exxon-related documents for more than a decade, and was doing the same at Ozone Action for several years prior to that.

But back to the Frontline video, which continued on for the next five minutes offering basically a one-sided view of Exxon’s activities in the 1980s. Then at the 16:55 point, viewers are treated to a scene of Benjamin Franta, t-shirt and big red backpack, dramatically walking into the entrance of the San Francisco Public Library, as though that has some great relevance. Then he declares …

BENJAMIN FRANTA, Climate historian and activist: I didn’t learn about climate change until I was in graduate school. These are documents from the ’80s, the ’70s, talking about climate change, and to only learn about it in 2010 … There are many people working on this now … Shell, for example, had a sophisticated understanding of the climate issue also by the end of the 1980s. The coal industry, too. So there is a level of foreknowledge by the fossil fuel industry that business as usual would lead to disaster around the world.

I posit that Franta is one of the weaker links in the chain of accusers who claim fossil fuel industry disinformation campaigns exist. Are we supposed to believe that a person with his level of education hadn’t heard a word about the global warming issue until 2010, the year that Naomi Oreskes’ “Merchants of Doubt” was published? But, speaking of Oreskes in combination with Franta’s education, notice who Franta says he’s working with at Stanford “on the history of .. climate denial” – Robert Proctor. Who may have educated Robert Proctor on the history of ‘climate denial’ before that? Naomi Oreskes. Who was seen as a participant in the 2012 La Jolla workshop Oreskes conceived to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for ‘tobacco industry-like disinformation efforts’? Robert Proctor, among with minimally five others who are enslaved to worthless evidence for the idea of ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists.’ Who’s seen connected directly with Oreskes’ efforts to push this same accusation? Benjamin Franta, who also indicated elsewhere just how finite the ‘source’ of evidence is for the ‘fossil fuel industry disinformation’ accusation (Oreskes’ apprentice Geoffrey Supran is also a weak link that way).

Back to the Frontline video again, it continues, featuring David Harwood, “Aide to Sen. Wirth, 1986-93” and goes on at considerable length to first paint a picture of how the global warming issue burst into public prominence in 1988, including industry reaction to it. Just before the 27 minute point, climate scientist Dr Patrick Michaels’ name is mentioned in archive reading fashion where he simply expresses his expert opinion on a core fault of the ‘science’ at that time, immediately followed by an outright untrue statement from an ex-American Petroleum Institute representative, which predictably leads to the reappearance of Kert Davies seemingly insinuating that Dr Michaels did what the fossil fuel industry told him to do.

… ‘Our policies,’ noted Michaels, ‘should be no more drastic than the scientific conclusions they are based upon.’”

PROF. PATRICK MICHAELS, Univ. of Virginia, 1980-2007: … [Archive] There is a real problem with this so-called global warming apocalypse projection. The Earth may in fact be going in the other direction, and until we solve that, it seems to me that we ought not take any very expensive remuneration.

TERRY YOSIE: … he was primarily useful to the industry as an external voice of doubt creating more skepticism about policymakers taking action. [Reading]: API must … make policymakers fully aware of the uncertainty surrounding the global warming issue.”

KERT DAVIES: … it’s a call to action. They’re realizing it’s going down, we need to be in the room talking about uncertainty and downplaying the urgency, effectively. That that is the call.

Why is Kert Davies’ reappearance predictable at this point? Because we are talking about that Dr Michaels, who is named in the same page of Ozone Action’s 1996 report containing the notorious “reposition global warming” leaked memo directive that Dr Michaels is falsely insinuated to have worked under – he told me he never heard of it. (the late Dr S Fred Singer responded far more forcefully about being accused of operating under that ‘directive’ – hold that thought about his name for a few moments).

Dr Michaels did not create skepticism about catastrophic man-caused global warming at the behest of fossil fuel industry leaders, it was already pre-existing.

Now, continuing with the Frontline video, it explained the Clinton-Gore era of the global warming issue for the next 10 minutes, ending with scenes of flooding in China. Starting at the 40:12 point, viewers see an unidentified clip that is termed an “Energy Industry Promotional Video” in the transcript:

As more and more scientists are confirming, our world is deficient in carbon dioxide and a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is very beneficial.

Not seen in the transcript, but immediately following the above “promotional video” is a drifting image section of a letter-to-the-editor with extra underlining marks to an unnamed newspaper titled “On Not Flying Into a Greenhouse Frenzy. There’s much more to those two bits than meets the uninitiated eye. The old video, while funded by the Western Fuels Association (funding from Greenpeace, as suggested elsewhere, would likely have also been gladly accepted!), is hardly an industry promotion piece, and the letter-to-the-editor is not just any letter to an untraceable paper, it is Dr S Fred Singer’s 1989 letter which he sent to the New York Times.

They’re part of a setup in the Frontline program at that point, offered by aide to Senator Wirth David Harwood:

… I was aware that this emerging industry of naysayers was growing, this effort to cast doubt. … It quickly became apparent that these were private interests who had a stake in the status quo.

Again, skeptic climate scientists were not creating doubt out of thin air, nor did they have any stake in the matter. The doubt was pre-existing before any of them had any association with fossil fuel industry executives. But to immediately continue in this accusation angle, Frontline made the ill-advised decision to introduce a new face, an accuser making his own very ill-advised accusations:

JOHN PASSACANTANDO, Founder, Ozone Action, 1993-2000:

I remember seeing in the press this skeptic, Fred Singer, saying that global warming was not a problem for the planet. You saw that he had worked on tobacco and a number of other issues. He was sort of a specialist in denial. I thought, that’s odd. When I brought that up to some of my peers in the environmental movement, they really didn’t think it was that important.

But then every time a new piece of science comes out, the same story will have somebody you’d never heard of saying, “No, that’s completely wrong.” So you start to think, well, who are these people, and where are they coming from? Oh, interesting. They’re funded by Exxon’s foundation. And then you see this pattern repeated over and over and over. It was coming from the coal-fired power utilities, Western Fuels Association, the Koch brothers, Global Climate Coalition. And they’re funding climate deniers.

To use his own words — that’s odd. Not John Passacantando, formerly head of Greenpeace USAnot John Passacantando formerly the top overseer of Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets websitenot John Passacantando who was exposed by a Washington Free Beacon 2016 report as being among several people having unmistakable bias against Exxonnot John Passacantando of some benign / vague-sounding and possibly non-partisan outfit called Our Next Economy LLC, which was also revealed by a Washington Free Beacon 2019 report as apparently funneling ‘dark money’ to Kert Davies’ Climate Investigations Center. Just John Passacantando formerly of Ozone-who??, which Frontline can’t figure out which year he “founded” it. That’s not merely a typo, but is instead a massive question that could cripple his credibility on whether he actually founded Ozone Action at all. After I asked Frontline producers about that ‘92 vs ‘93 date problem, they altered the online transcript to 1992 so that it matches the unalterable video label. Problem now is, they dug a deeper hole for themselves; it contradicts the specific date at his old Ozone Action site’s “About” page, and the site’s statement of having a co-founder, and it contradicts the 2000 New York Times report of his merger of Ozone Action into Greenpeace USA which named the same July 1993 date along with who his co-founder was.

Meanwhile, regarding his accusations which Frontline allowed without unquestioning: Dr Singer did not work on tobacco, he despised cigarette smoking and said secondhand smoke could not possibly be healthy, but he also despised the misuse of scientific labels, such as labeling secondhand smoke a Class A carcinogen when scientific findings did not support that label, a label that was ultimately thrown out in Federal court. Regarding the “other things” Dr Singer supposedly denied, one of them was depletion of the ozone layer, the original core focus of Ozone Action. Passacantando, with no science experience of any kind, said it was imperative to stop the depletion. Dr Singer, a PhD-level atmospheric physicist, never denied that, but instead questioned at considerable depth the wisdom to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to accomplish this. The person who had a stake in the status quo of personal income not drying up on the matter …. was Passacantando.

As for Passacantando’s accusation that Dr Singer and others were or are “funded by Exxon’s foundation” …. funded to do what, exactly? Lie? But how much Exxon money did Dr Singer actually receive? According to Exxon documents, $10,000. Dr Singer confirmed that amount in a 2005 letter to Mother Jones magazine. Worse, neither Passacantando nor Kert Davies have ever provided genuine evidence proving anyone on the skeptic side were paid to fabricate demonstratively false science papers, reports, assessments or viewpoints. The absolute best, most viable-looking evidence that these two have ever shown is the rejected, never used proposal to “reposition global warming” and the second-best they have is the worthless “victory will be achieved” memo set, a collection of truisms that no less than Greenpeace itself could have turned around 180° to use for themselves.

Turn his Frontline accusation around 180°, and it becomes an example of what I noted at the beginning of this post – projecting the actual faults of his side as an accusation against the skeptic side:

I remember seeing this enviro-activist, John Passacantando, saying that ozone depletion was a critical problem for the planet. Then you saw that he switched to work on global warming. He’s sort of a specialist environmental alarmism. Some enviros thought, “that’s odd.” When they brought up how it was strange that a place named Ozone Action claimed to be focused exclusively on global warming, their peers in the environmental movement, they really didn’t think it was that important.

But then every time a new piece of global warming alarmism comes out, the same story will have somebody you’d never heard of saying, “No, the fossil fuel industry engaged in disinformation to downplay that, paying ‘shill’ experts to lie.” So you start to think, well, who are these people, and where are they coming from? Oh, interesting. They’re funded by activist foundations and dark money. And then you see this pattern repeated over and over and over. It was coming from the corporate green lobbies, Greenpeace, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Sustainable Markets Foundation. And they’re funding climate alarmists.

The Frontline program continues on for another 40+ minutes after this with back-to-back appearances of Passacantando and Davies, all worthy of a separate blog post about the ongoing faulty narratives. However, the above psychological projection from Passacantando, along with the other examples above of intellectual dishonesty / unsupported accusations / ignoring important contradictory details / disingenuous paraphrasing / mischaracterization illustrates the way this program is not actually believable journalism, but instead has every appearance of being outright propaganda. But let me detail just one more problem, a visual one, that drives home the point

While viewers listen to John Passacantando’s voice-over of his remembrance about “seeing in the press this skeptic, Fred Singer” they see him watching a black & white video of Dr Singer on a large screen TV.

This — all by itself — is a disingenuous portrayal. What he was watching is otherwise available (via, of all people, Kert Davies) in color, abeit somewhat faded. It is Dr Singer’s February 1994 appearance on ABC News Nightline, where Al Gore himself attempted to have the host, Ted Koppel accuse dismiss Dr Singer as a contrarian unworthy of interviews because – as Al Gore’s documents supposedly revealed – he was tainted by funding from the fossil fuel industry. Koppel was not convinced, as I detailed back in 2017, he instead heavily admonished Gore for that effort, saying, “There is some irony in the fact that Vice President Gore … is resorting to political means to achieve what should ultimately be resolved on a purely scientific basis. … The measure of good science is neither the politics of the scientist nor the people with whom the scientist associates. It is the immersion of hypotheses into the acid of truth. That’s the hard way to do it, but it’s the only way that works.”

This was the last time any major journalist held Al Gore or any other major accuser of skeptic climate accountable for their baseless accusation. Frontline apparently accepts, without any question whatsoever, every bit of Al Gore et al.’s guilt-by-association accusation from the core people who promulgate it. They inadvertently reinforce how global warming is not actually an existential threat to the well being of the country, the threat is instead the egregiously biased mainstream media, which fails to tell the science-based good news coming from skeptic climate scientists and instead spreads disinformation which incites divisiveness, hatred, and despair.

The argument could be made that this kind of journalism malfeasance may possibly lead to otherwise preventable death.
Up next in Frontline’s Part 2 on 4/26/22: Kert Davies reads ye olde worthless 1998 “victory will be achieved” memos.

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John Bell
April 27, 2022 6:12 am

Many years ago (I am 63) I used to hang out with leftists, thinking I was one of them. The more i learned the more I realized I am not one of them, especially when it comes to climate, they are flaming hypocrites on climate and I can not stand hypocrites. They are masters of fooling themselves and using projection, and it is a travesty.

Reply to  John Bell
April 27, 2022 7:56 am

The Liberals of today don’t embrace traditional liberal positions. The Democratic party has been subverted by Progressive Marxists who reject traditional liberal values like freedom, liberty and personal responsibility. Their position is that the people are too dumb to make decisions for themselves. This leads to the motivation for open borders with little education and poverty as qualifications for asylum, which is to dumb down the population to make it more compliant. Of course, this will break the bank first, as each illegal immigrant will cost the American taxpayer at least $100K and this is if their asylum claim is ultimately rejected and they are deported.

Reply to  John Bell
April 27, 2022 9:28 am

The irony of the hypocrisy – it burns! (ground zero for AGW!) In the Part 1 program, ex-Greenpeacer John Passacantando all but accuses the late Dr S Fred Singer of being funded by Exxon. As I showed in my guest post, Dr Singer openly disclosed that he’d accepted an unsolicited $10,000 grant from Exxon. Meanwhile, as I linked to deep down in my guest post, Passacantando has never disclosed (that I can dredge up anywhere) how or why his current li’l mystery “Our Next Economy LLC” company has received nearly 100 times that amount – according to public IRS forms – from dark money sources, to undertake some kind of task as a designated Independent Contractor ….. work efforts which he also fails to disclose to the public anywhere on the internet.

Reply to  John Bell
April 27, 2022 9:33 am

I am 53. Same situation here. I had learned through observation and experience, that everything I was taught to believe was a lie. The right wasn’t who the left said they were (Knotzzzz’s). The left turned out to be everything they accused the right to be.
Thank God I escaped that bubble of existence. I can now reason effectively. I can defend my positions logically and cordially. I have never seen a Leftist that can do those things.

Reply to  John Bell
April 27, 2022 11:15 am

The same is true of right wingnuts too, same is true of all ideologies that attract their share of extremists. All True Believers are, well, True Believers and impervious to facts and reality. It just goes with the turf of True Believerism.

Reply to  Duane
April 27, 2022 2:23 pm

deluded liar & shill.

Reply to  DonM
April 29, 2022 1:52 pm

Projection, alarmism and ad hominems are all duane has, i.e., totally devoid of reality.

April 27, 2022 6:15 am

I keep saying it and will continue to say it. All these people decrying the use of and benefits from “fossil fuels” have to be stripped of access to it. Force them to live in the 7th century shithole they are trying to force all of us into. It is what they claim to want, we, real human beings, have to force them to live by the standards they claim to want.

Steve Case
Reply to  2hotel9
April 27, 2022 6:33 am

“Greta’s Perfect Petroleum-Free World” WUWT October 30th 2020

Reply to  2hotel9
April 27, 2022 6:47 am

Agree if it’s a crime then stop participating in it and we might believe you.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  LdB
April 27, 2022 7:23 am

Nope, not even then. Nonsense is still nonsense.

All the Climate Glitteratti hypocrites could burn themselves at the stake to show us how ‘real’ their ‘belief’ in the imaginary ‘crisis’ is, and I would not be moved to believe them.

I’d be happy not to have to listen to their spew any more, though.

Steve Case
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
April 27, 2022 7:39 am

I’d be happy not to have to listen to their spew any more …

Well, they are here to stay for a good long while. My grandchildren will be lucky to see the final end of it.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 27, 2022 11:21 am

True Believerism requires that one suspend all skepticism about their own claims of some perfect world, a nirvanna or heaven or workers’ paradise that could be attained if only the True Believers were obeyed. We saw it with religionists (Christians vs. paganism, and Christians vs. Muslims, Catholics vs. Protestants, etc. etc.); political ideologies (naziism vs. communism vs. capitalism; and authoritarianism vs. democracy); racialism; nationalism; and so forth.

Whenever the True Believers actually get their hands on the controls of society, it always results in mass death, loss of freedoms, and dominance of fear of the Other and of the powers that be. Life becomes hell.

God save us from all True Believers of every stripe.

Reply to  Duane
April 27, 2022 2:24 pm

liar & shill

Kevin kilty
April 27, 2022 6:19 am

At what point do outright fabrication, falsehoods, and bald-faced lies, which merely identify the speaker as a run-of-the-mill malcontent, cross over into actual malice?

PBS has nothing but contempt for the average person, and also for above average people who don’t agree with their false narratives. They suck at the government teat which is provided by us all, but especially by a strong economy built on industrial excellence, and bite it. They think I am so stupid as to believe that a powerful and smart organization, which they insist is a criminal enterprise, has voluntarily agreed to deposit “incriminating” documents at a library at UofT. It boggles the mind.

John Bell
April 27, 2022 6:28 am

I have been watching the PBS series “Changing Planet” and oh boy they really beat the climate drum on that show, that is all they have, trying to convince everyone of gloom and doom, while they travel the world on cars, planes, helicopters, boats… They keep using terms like “tipping point” and “need big solutions to big problems”. What scares me is the minds of these leftist idiots.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  John Bell
April 27, 2022 6:46 am

The big solution to a big problem here would be to discontinue public support of PBS. Make them work private wealth for all their financing. I would never advocate censoring their unbalanced blathering, but I resent the general public being fleeced for it. Of course, this will never happen because they are actually a very useful propaganda mill for the Democratic party.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  Kevin kilty
April 27, 2022 8:18 am

“The big solution to a big problem here would be to discontinue public support of PBS.”


Exactly what I was thinking. Pull the plug on public funding of PBS and NPR.

With private financing (if they get any), they can be as biased as they want as long as the public knows that private interests are funding them behind the scenes (and the private funders are probably pulling the puppet strings).

April 27, 2022 6:46 am

Ah the ole big oil conspiracy lives on and it’s all their fault …. the billions of us plebs who use the stuff are innocent. You think these retards would be consistent if using oil is a crime then it is us users who are criminals … so prosecute us. Why don’t they prosecute us because we would put the retards against the wall or run them over with tanks.

Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
April 27, 2022 6:50 am

The silliness extends to hockey:

Stanley Cup winners, Olympic medalist make pond hockey skate to raise climate change awareness

Naturally, they fly a fossil-fueled airplane to a one-room airport in Canada’s Northwest Territories’ town of Hay River, and feature the use of a fossil-fueled Zamboni. (The longish article isn’t worth reading in full, IMO. We’ve seen all of the “it was colder here before” story-lines.)

April 27, 2022 6:56 am

Well, we know without a doubt what the “BS” stands for in PBS.

April 27, 2022 7:15 am

I always knew that people hated oil companies, but I never knew how unfair that was until I went to work for one. I guess it was my first taste of how perverted a widely believed narrative can be. The people who so easily adopted the belief that big oil was evil knew absolutely nothing about big oil. They were simply stoking their own sense or moral superiority.

Curiously, another thing that happened not long after I went to work for big oil was that I heard another engineer remark about how people were saying it was going to warm up because of all the CO2 that was being put into the atmosphere. This was in the early 70’s. I didn’t ask him why he said that or what the source of the information was, but I just remembered that he said it. A big oil hater would say, “see, that’s just more proof that they knew”. Of course, in many circles, it was common knowledge that adding CO2 to the atmosphere might cause warming but, it was not known to a scientific certainty how much warming, or what the long-term climate effects, if any, might be. Even if it was known to a scientific certainty, what were oil companies supposed to do? Unilaterally abandon the production of a commodity that was the cornerstone of all modern economies?

I also have to ask, why is all this, if someone or something needs to be blamed, the fault of the oil companies. The entity whose job it is to protect public health and the environment is our government. Why aren’t we calling our government on the carpet for allowing this dangerous situation to develop? No, that never seems to occur to the left wing environmentalists.

Gordon A. Dressler
April 27, 2022 7:31 am

Mr. Russel Cook,

I want to offer my strongest thanks and compliments on your exemplary article, published above!

It is one of the best, most detailed, background investigations and rebuttal take-downs of published misinformation that I have ever read, particularly relating to the big-name MSM outlet CBS News.

It is also outright shameful that CBS News has willfully closed off their ability to receive feedback as to the truthfulness of what they present and publish. But then again, this is all part of the “dumbing down of the United States/world population” (which itself, in better times, would have the forces/persons/groups causing such investigated as a top news story in MSM).

The fact that your article presents numerous linked references to back up your investigational research speaks volumes as to the validity and truthfulness of what you assert.

Again, thank you for what I believe may be one of the best articles ever published on WUWT on the subject of “disinformation”.

I agree with your last sentence.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 27, 2022 8:25 am

I need to correct an error I made in my post and offer some clarification.

Mr. Cook clearly indicated that it was CBS that aired the PBS-originated, “Frontline”-attributed TV program “The Power of Big Oil”.

Mr. Cook also clearly indicated the it was PBS that willfully shut down/made ineffective a means to receive constructive feedback from viewers . . . I mistakenly attributed that action to CBS.

Furthermore, while CBS shares guilt-by-association for airing this PBS “Frontline” program as-originated, my post above should be considered as relating to Mr. Cook’s indictment of both CBS and PBS, as he clearly distinguishes between the two organizations in his article.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 27, 2022 8:39 pm

Agreed, an excellent piece by Russell Cook – thank you Sir!

Esso (Canada) a subsidiary of Exxon, was my partner in my three Alberta oil-sands mega-projects. Every geologist and resource engineer in our industry understood Paleoclimatology and the realities of climate change. Climate has changed naturally throughout Earth’s history. The above green narratives are a pack of distortions and outright lies – it always has been so.

I met the late Fred Singer and Pat Michaels circa 2002 and stayed in touch – both honest, competent, excellent men, infinitely more able and ethical than their sleazy critics.

The greens are expert in one subject – false propaganda, the lies and hatred of leftist political extremists.


April 27, 2022 7:32 am

I have always found the research departments of oil companies to be very knowledgeable, at least on the engineering topics on which we shared technical details. I am sure they knew as much about about the infrared absorption of CO2 in the atmosphere and Collander’s 1938 paper as any scientists of the time. But this is not a case of adding tetra-ethyl lead to gasoline and obfuscating its health effects. The fact is that the public wants and has an economic demand for fuel. Even today, with a huge enviro-lobby and de-rigeur politicians hammering the public constantly with its supposedly deleterious effects, demand for fossil fuels is increasing worldwide because people WANT To use this advantageous source of energy.
Analogically, eating too many chocolates is bad for you…do you sue chocolate manufacturers, legislate them out of business, make chocolates so expensive nobody can afford them, be responsible for your own consumption, or buy Mom a box for Mother’s Day ?

April 27, 2022 8:00 am

If the climate poses a risk, we should seek to understand what’s really happening. If impoverished people are at risk, we should seek solutions to help them. This bizarre CO2 emissions obsession will do very little to improve environmental or humanitarian outcomes, I’m afraid. I see nothing from climate communicators or climate scientists which offers anything useful on either front. All I see is highly politically charged stereotyping. A false narrative of good vs evil, and deeply hypocritical. A story which is causing untold collateral damage to the sectors in which they claim to care about. It will take decades to restore trust in environmental science, academia, and institutions. It will take significant honest efforts to regain contributions for beneficial humanitarian and environmental initiatives after the dust has settled. The problem definitions have been grossly mischaracterized through an abuse of privilege by the current crop of experts we’re supposed to trust.

Rick C
April 27, 2022 8:45 am

It never seems to occur to these fools that “Big Oil” has benefitted enormously from the anti-CO2 movement. The primary results of their crusade has been the demise of coal and its replacement with natural gas and an insignificant amount of wind/solar. Natural gas is produced by oil companies. Oil’s primary markets are transportation and chemical production which are not significantly threatened by alternatives. It is readily apparent that oil and gas production has grown steadily and profitably over the last few decades in spite of the alarmist’s anti-oil crusade. The world is simply not willing to sacrifice health, prosperity and comfort based on dubious claims that humans can control future weather.

April 27, 2022 10:21 am

When people finally turn off their TV sets and stop watching the propaganda fed to them by the elite owners of products who are licensed by their governments to do exactly that, then the world can go back to reading for information which actually requires thinking on both the producing and receiving ends.

Until that time, it’s all squawk box talking head nonsense no matter what flag they are trying to wave.

Coeur de Lion
April 27, 2022 10:29 am

I’m not very clear on what it was that Exxon knew? If they knew that the climate was going to be catastrophic, then they were wrong. So where’s the beef? I’m sure Exxon could release a couple of sharp executives to work up a libel/harassment case against each individual named here? What a squawkfest would ensue!

Pat from kerbob
April 27, 2022 10:32 am

Caught the beginning of part 2 last night, as soon as I saw Oreske’s face I changed channel

Seen the show many times as it never changes

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
May 4, 2022 8:10 am

As I noted at the end of my dissection of Frontline’s Part 2 program, Oreskes was a no-show in that episode, apparently relegated to Part 3. However, I watched Part 3 last night (May 3rd) and checked their online transcript that contains all three Parts this morning just to be sure — ol’ Naomi was nowhere to be seen in Part 3, either. So, technically, Frontline put out disinformation in its teaser that she would be featured in their 3-part series. And apparently, she was not exactly pleased about that. I’ll mention that detail in my dissection of Part 3 at GelbspanFiles sometime next week.

April 27, 2022 11:11 am

Not much point in getting worked up over warmunist propaganda. Few people ever actually read it or watch it, as the case may be. Reality always bites, as in all the other things in real life that actually affect your real life, of which global warming is not one of them.

It’s much more productive to support education and outreach to the masses from people like the late Dr. Singer and others at the Heartland Institute and similar groups, to let the people know that the science isn’t settled nor simple, and that the earth itself is an extremely complex systems of systems in which there are few easy or pat answers as to how things work, and how one system affects another system and is affected by another system.

I always get a chuckle at how self-unaware most of the nature shows are on the tube. The featured researcher and narrator will go on and on about how fantastically much our planet’s climate has changed over the eons of time, back and forth back and forth, warm then cool, wet then dry … all of it long before humans ever set foot on this orb. As if the planet needs us to set the thermostat! Then they make their obligatory comments about how somehow now it’s all different, that none of those natural mechanisms work any longer, and whatever happens in the future is all bad, and all our fault because we refuse to give up our SUVs and our energy-dependent lifestyles.

As I said, they have no self-awareness of their own contradictions.

April 27, 2022 11:33 am

How many more times does Lucy (Existential Climate Crisis Prediction) have to jerk the football away from Charlie Brown (Gullible Public) before Charlie takes his football and walks away?

Gordon A. Dressler
April 27, 2022 12:45 pm

Concluding sentence in the above article by Russel Cook:

“The argument could be made that this kind of journalism malfeasance may possibly lead to otherwise preventable death.”

That conclusion is credible based in the recent evidence presented in the recent, very alarming WUWT article found here:

Those that purposefully incite mental depression/anguish in others can have the equivalent of “blood on their hands”.

Bruce Cobb
April 27, 2022 12:48 pm

I am trying to slog my way through the video. Essentially, they are accusing “Big Oil” of doing what they themselves are actually doing: repeatedly telling lies with the knowledge that eventually, by sheer repetition, they become “truth”.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 28, 2022 4:02 am

This is exactly what the entire left does – accuse the right of what they are actually doing. So if you ever want to know what they are up to, look no further than their accusations. Also it is a sign of weakness to utilize the method of repetition to convince the masses of “truthfulness”.

Paul Johnson
April 27, 2022 1:36 pm

And here we see “The Power of Big Media” on gruesome display.

April 27, 2022 2:09 pm

Thanks for following this up.
What is particularly annoying to me is how this dead horse of “big oil funding skeptics” is rolling along unchanged for literally decades.
Andrew Dessler – I listened to his podcast on Joe Rogan after Rogan’s Steve Koonin podcast.
Dessler literally had 1 sentence to say concerning the scientific assertions made by Steve Koonin: there is nothing I can rebut.
Then rest of the 2 hours was Dessler talking about all kinds of crap except climate science – areas in which he clearly doesn’t know jack shit.
It gets better. Rogan asked Dessler why he didn’t debate the other side; Dessler mentioned the last time he debated was Lindzen. I looked that up – it is on youtube.
And it was almost literally the exact same nonsense as his podcast: a little more “science” – 3 or 4 slides out of 30+ pointing to hockey sticks and what not, the rest pointing to “big oil funding skeptics”.
And this is a supposedly renowned climate scientist.

Bruce Cobb
April 27, 2022 2:28 pm

Good grief, now that I’m almost through part 1 – “Denial”, now I have part II, “Doubt” to suffer through? Geez, and another one next week? Just shoot me now!

Old Man Winter
April 27, 2022 2:49 pm

climate- multivariate coupled non-linear chaotic system

This is why the thought that Exxon “KNEW” something is absurd! Climate’s
very complex & much is unknown. There’s still controversy over what drives
global temperature as well as the effects of pollution on the global
cooling period that ended ~1978. If The Team™ knows everything about climate,
why didn’t it predict the 18+ year Pause?

Here are some sources to browse showing a list of different things involving
the climate arena going back beyond the 1990s. Some sites may not be available.
You read, you decide!

ICECAP Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Temperature Measurement Timeline calls into question long term claims
Joseph D’Aleo

1978 – New York Times reported there was too little temperature data
from the Southern Hemisphere to draw any reliable conclusions.

1989- …Tom Karl wrote with Kukla and Gavin in a 1986 paper on
Urban Warming: “MeteoSecular trends of surface air temperature
computed predominantly from [urban] station data are likely to
have a serious warm bias… The average difference between
trends [urban siting vs. rural] amounts to an annual warming rate
of 0.34°C/decade (3.4C/century)… The reason why the warming
rate is considerably higher [may be] that the rate may have
increased after the 1950s, commensurate with the large recent
growth in and around airports. Our results and those of others
show that the urban growth inhomogeneity is serious and must be
taken into account when assessing the reliability of temperature

1989- The NY Times reported the US Data “failed to show warming
trend predicted by Hansen in 1980.”

This an older article written by Anthony Watts:

1972 Letter from Drs Kukla & Matthews, Brown University, to Nixon

VIDEO- ABC’s Smith- 1977

April 27, 2022 5:23 pm

PBS and NPR have no legitimate claim to a single penny of public funds. Defund them and defund them now! Perhaps when the near-useless Republican Party gets back their majority they’ll realize it’s worth fighting to cut off funds to propagandist liars who hate them, but they’ve failed to do that even when they have control of the elected branches…

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