March 1st, 2010
This week on The Benshi we’re focusing on Marc Morano, arguably the loudest mouth in the climate skeptic movement with his increasingly popular website, www.climatedepot.com. He is a former field correspondent for Rush Limbaugh, helped to promote the Kerry Swift Boat Veterans story, and former spokesman for Senator James Inhofe (the top climate skeptic in the Senate).
Now before any knee jerkers start spasmodically kicking at me for “giving a platform” to a climate skeptic, I want to let one of the nation’s top environmental activist/authors, Bill McKibben provide the opening words. Last week on the environmental blog, The Grist, McKibben reached down deep for the perfect words to label this hater of all things environmental, and called Marc Morano a … brace yourself for this … is everyone listening …
Yes, I know, that doesn’t say anything about Marc’s politics or ethics or civility in general, but the word “gifted” has an undeniable ring of praise to it. So before anyone attacks me for “validating” a climate skeptic (the way that some people attacked me for interviewing Marc and other climate skeptics in my movie, “Sizzle”), please start your accusations with Mr. McKibben because I’ve never gone so far as to call the man “gifted.”
Furthermore, “just ignore him” is no longer a viable option for those worried about Morano. He was profiled last year in the NY Times, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone last December listed him as one of the planet’s top 17 “climate killers.” At what point does everyone give up on the “just ignore him” strategy?
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about why I think you should read the interview with Marc that I’ll be posting on Thursday. My first reason is that he is a very impressive communicator who embodies many of the principles I have talked about here and in my book. For starters, if you read Benshi Essay #3 (“Storytelling: The Power of Specifics) you can see in him exactly what I talk about in the essay (as well as what Nicholas Kristof talks about in Outside Magazine). Marc is really, really good with specifics. Just listen to him in these interviews below. I haven’t seen anyone on the science and environment side who seems likely to beat him in a debate. He’s fast and specific — a dangerous combination.
And just for contrast, I was recently contacted by a member of a climate action group who asked me to watch their spokesperson on a television news show commenting on Climategate. The spokesperson was not good. For starters, the “answers” given were long winded, with “the answer” finally given at the end of a bunch of rambling instead of up front. You could see the host getting frustrated. Furthermore the answers were slow and vague. The host would ask a question, the spokesperson would reply with something like, “Often when you try to corner these skeptics they tell you …” That’s called being vague. Who do you mean by “these skeptics”? Tell us a name and describe what specifically that person does. Everyone wants specifics. Who says what? Name names for us and tell stories. So guess what — Marc Morano is good with naming names and telling stories.
And most importantly, he has a sense of humor that he generally retains while in the thick of battle, even after being called an asshole (see Watson debate below).
No, he’s not overwhelmingly charismatic, but he’s a whole lot better than all these climate folks that have tried to take their swings against him. Does anybody remember long ago when Muhammed Ali was climbing his way to the top? One chump and after another would enter the ring and go home battered. This feels similar.
So tune in on Thursday to hear what Marc has to say. And in the meanwhile, here’s four K.O.s by the skeptical prizefighter, culminating with him winning an award a week ago and topped off by the quote from Bill McKibben. I’d say he’s on a roll.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO …