This comes up all the time. I heard it when I made a climate movie in 2008 that included climate skeptics. Back then, before Climategate, I was labeled by some in the climate community as misguided. When Participant Productions did the same thing this year with some of the same skeptics (Marc Morano, Fred Singer) they were admired. Now J.K. Rowling is hearing it in dealing with gay marriage. It’s a lame criticism.
GOD HATES FLAGS. This is some of the Twitter mess that J.K. Rowling is dealing with in calling out the Westboro Baptist Church over their idiocy. As she says, “gay kids need to see hate speech challenged.”
IGNORING THE BAD GUYS DOESN’T WORK
In 2004 John Kerry was attacked in his Presential campaign by the Swift Boaters. His “strategy” in response was to ignore them in hopes they would go away. They didn’t. They destroyed him. He lost, big time.
Same thing in 2006 with Al Gore’s campaign to save the world from global warming. In his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the only micro-nod he gave to climate skeptics was to talk about Naomi Oreskes’ Science paper counting how many scientists disagreed with the idea of human-caused climate change. His answer was zero, which suggested you’d have to be a fool to think that way. That was all the screen time he gave to the roughly 50% of Americans then who weren’t buying his climate story.
In 2008 I made my small, humble, both silly and serious mockumentary “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy” which included 6 climate skeptics — three of whom continue to be about the loudest voices in the climate skeptic movement — Marc Morano, Fred Singer, and Pat Michaels.
The movie was invited for consideration by five “environmental film festivals” in DC, Georgia, Colorado and California. All five rejected it. Wasn’t their brand of planet worship (plus included gay and non-white people, demographics they’re not used to). In the meanwhile numerous enviros suggested I was “helping the enemy” by giving them screen time. I had to endure a lot of snide and stupid comments.
And then there was ClimateGate in 2009 where the climate community revealed it’s communications incompetence — so severely that even Jon Stewart made fun of them.
And then there was 2010 when the last piece of climate legislation collapsed and I attended a workshop in DC where supposedly the best minds in the environmental movement conceded they had completely failed in their mission. Apparently their opponents weren’t negligible.
And now there is this year’s documentary “Merchants of Doubt,” which features the same Marc Morano and Fred Singer, almost a decade later. This time around there are no comments of “helping the enemy by giving them screen time.” Apparently there’s been a change in the thinking. (Minor note: I guided the director, my buddy Robbie Kenner, to Marc Morano.)
Whatever. The bottom line is that Kerry, Gore and lots of others have slowly learned this basic lesson — that yes, you do have to roll up your sleeves and get down in the trenches to confront even the most dishonest of opponents. There is no high road in this stuff. It’s America. You can’t send people to prison camps if they speak out against the orthodoxy.
All you can do is communicate more effectively than they do. Which is bad news for lousy communicators.