Senate Dems' 'Web of Denial' Climate Inquisition is Really About Free Speech
Early this week, Senate Democrats launched a systematic campaign against the alleged #WebOfDenial -- a cabal of nonprofit groups dedicated to "denying" the idea that the burning of fossil fuels does concrete harm to the earth's climate and is causing an unusual level of natural disasters. Contrary to their claims of a "scientific consensus," the evidence does not fully support this idea, but their efforts are not about science, but about stifling free speech.
Nineteen Senate Democrats took the floor on Monday and Tuesday to argue in favor of a resolution from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), which compares fossil fuel companies to tobacco companies and attacks their "sophisticated and deceitful campaign that funded think tanks and front groups" to "mis-lead the public and cast doubt in order to protect their financial interest."
The Democrats took to the Senate floor, speaking against specific organizations one by one over the course of two days. They attacked many notable groups, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and Reason magazine. They alleged that these diverse groups were all in league (despite their rather important disagreements on other issues) because they each opposed the "settled science" of climate change.
Here are some examples of the Democrats' rhetoric:
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) July 11, 2016
The Kochs don’t care that climate change is happening. They don’t care it is making wildfires and droughts more intense. #WebOfDenial — Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) July 11, 2016
— Sen. Al Franken (@SenFranken) July 12, 2016
The Democrats spent hours attacking these groups without giving them so much as a word in edgewise. Perhaps it is telling that they didn't want Americans to hear the other side.
"Sen. Whitehouse is, once again, abusing the power of his office to lead a coordinated attack on free speech," Jim Lakely, director of communications at the Heartland Institute, told PJ Media in an email statement. "By singling out Heartland and other groups, Whitehouse and his allies are trying to intimidate us and our supporters into silence, but he will fail."
"The words uttered by Sen. Whitehouse and others participating in this stunt are as unAmerican as they are unscientific," Lakely declared.
Next Page: Why the Democrats' attack on free speech is based on bad science, and is more about power than the environment.