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BREAKING: Al Gore not ethereal saint

November 4, 2009

Yesterday, the crew over  at the New York Times decided to front page a story that enables the GOP’s war for cynicism (I told you so!) by revealing that Al Gore – gasp! – belongs to the investor class:

Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in…

But at the hearing in April, he was challenged by Ms. Blackburn, who echoed some of the criticism of Mr. Gore that has swirled in conservative blogs and radio talk shows. She noted that Mr. Gore is a partner at Kleiner Perkins, which has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in firms that could benefit from any legislation that limits carbon dioxide emissions.

Okay, ultimately the article sides with Gore – it did run in the NYT, after all. But tell me, NYT, of all of the hundreds of stories you could have run on any of the countless underpublicized ills in our country, why did you succumb to the urge to front page a Left said, Right said piece, the only possible effect of which is to foster cynicism surrounding the most public figure in the fight against catastrophic climate change?

See, I am upset because I have often wondered what sinister motive could possibly be imputed to progressives by climate haters – progressives will have to pay more for energy after cap-and-trade too, right? Well, now the NYT has given publicity to and bestowed legitimacy upon the meme that 1) most supporters of climate legislation have been hoodwinked 2) by venal politicians who stand to profit from climate legislation.

So while the NYT ends the article with this mild exoneration:

“I believe that the transition to a green economy is good for our economy and good for all of us, and I have invested in it,” Mr. Gore said, adding that he had put “every penny” he has made from his investments into the Alliance for Climate Protection.

“And, Congresswoman,” he added, “if you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don’t know me.”

I would have preferred something more in the style of:

In the end, whether or not Gore profits from climate change legislation has nothing to do with the formidable body of scientific research that shows that climate change is real, and it is manmade. Gore might benefit personally from such legislation, but so will countless generations of Americans yet to come.

Or the NYT could have just not run this piece in the first place.

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I am a Citizen of the World PS – Actually, poor countries in Africa and South Asia will benefit most from climate change legislation, but these things tend to sell better when you emphasize that Americans will benefit.

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