The man whom the people elected in 2000 to be president was in the temporary residence of the man whom the Supreme Court anointed.
President George W. Bush hosted former Vice-President Al Gore, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and five other Nobel laureates on November 26. This annual handshake photo-op has been an American tradition.
The Nobel committee had cited Gore, on October 12, as “probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted” to reduce global warming. Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN network of about 2,000 scientists, who have shown that global warming isn’t a liberal conspiracy theory.
Believing that it is some kind of liberal conspiracy theory are the right-wing fringe who dominate Talk Radio and Pundit TV. The day after the announcement, Steve Doocy, co-anchor of FOX’s morning show, set the tone for the rabid-dog attacks. He produced a chart of past Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including “that crazy Jimmy Carter”, and claimed the award is nothing more than an “anti-Bush” trophy.
On CNN, guest commentator Marlo Lewis, who was identified as a global warming expert, called Gore’s writings manipulative, misleading, and exaggerated. Jay Richards of the National Review claimed the Peace prize is “politicised”.
Rush Limbaugh, who had a front group nominate him for the Peace Prize only to learn that the Landmark Legal Foundation had no standing to nominate anyone, was furious that Gore, not he, received the honour. With the microphone of more than 600 radio stations that carry his talk show, Limbaugh claimed his lawyers - the ones at the Landmark group - “are looking into the possibility of filing an objection with the Nobel Committee over the unethical tampering for this award that Al Gore is engaging in”. He claimed, “This is clearly above and beyond the pale. I mean, this might happen in high school class president elections and so forth, but this is shameless.”
Bloggers chattered almost endlessly that not only didn’t Gore deserve the award but also that global warming is a myth. The Nobel committee, blogged William Teach of Pirate’s Cove, “has basically surrendered to hysterics, mass exaggerators, and liars”.
Also doubting global warming, and volumes of scientific evidence, is Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), former chair of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, and recipient of one of the largest cumulative campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. Inhofe has claimed that there is “compelling evidence” that global warming not only is a hoax, but that it is “the greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people”.
George H.W. Bush, during his failed re-election campaign in 1992, called Gore “Ozone Man”, and claimed the vice-presidential candidate was “so far out in the environmental extreme we’ll be up to our necks in owls and outta work for every American”.
As for the current President Bush, he delegated the “congratulations” to a deputy press secretary. Tony Fratto told the media that Bush is not only “happy for Vice President Gore”, but also happy for the UN scientists who co-shared the award. “Obviously, it’s an important recognition, and we’re sure the vice president is thrilled,” said Fratto, dripping with insincerity.
The Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, one of the nation’s most conservative newspapers, claimed, “The Nobel Peace Prize is worse than a joke. It's a fraud,” and called the prize a “useless meda”l. The Wall Street Journal didn’t even mention Gore in its editorial the day the Nobel committee made its announcement, but listed several others who should be considered for the award. The Journal’s unscientific poll of its largely conservative upper middle-class and upper class readers that day revealed that 54 per cent didn’t think Al Gore deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.
One reader, reflecting the opinion of about 13,000 who disagreed with the award, called it “a joke and it encourages the pursuit of junk science for political gain”. Another reader believed, “The fear being installed from man made global warming is now officially a communist plot to control behaviour.” However, among the 11,250 who believed the award was justified was one reader who believed that Al Gore, the former journalist, “did what the National Academy of Sciences could not do - explain the issue in a way that non-scientists can understand”.