Op-ed contributed by Michelle Stirling © 2021
This post concerns the op-ed by Josh Thomas “Nemeth report a divisive waste of taxpayers dollars” and rebuttal by Dr. Tammy Nemeth, both related to the Alberta Public Inquiry into anti-Alberta campaigns. These can be read here:
Josh Thomas Op-ed in The Spruce Grove Examiner
Dr. Tammy Nemeth Rebuttal to Josh Thomas
Supplemental Nemeth Report: https://albertainquiry.ca/sites/default/files/2021-01/Nemeth%20Report%20%28Supplement%29.pdf
Michelle Stirling’s commentary:
“Divisive” Nemeth Report Points out the Need for Journos to Up their Game
“…the only way a happy medium is going to be found between environmental preservation and the survival of the oil and gas industry, is with an accurate reporting of all of the facts.” –
Josh Thomas, The Grove Examiner, Jan. 29, 2021
Josh Thomas makes a persuasive case against Dr. Tammy Nemeth’s report for the Alberta Inquiry, claiming the report and the Alberta Inquiry are a divisive waste of public funds. Thomas argues that journalists are workaholic Type A folk who go the extra mile in extreme conditions to get the story and uncover the truth. Thomas expresses his dismay that Dr. Nemeth’s work targets journalists as speaking with one voice on the climate issue, which she sees as a fundamental barrier to the oil sands’ story being properly told. The oil sands has famously been called a ‘carbon bomb’ and ‘game over’ for climate change by US climate scientist James Hansen. Few journos have challenged that claim. Few, other than PBS Frontline, have reported on the street theatre roots of James Hansen’s ‘global warming’ testimony to Congress in 1988, wherein Senator Wirth et al set the date for the historically hottest day of the year, and then intentionally disabled the air conditioner so that people would sweat under the hot TV lights.
Unfortunately for Josh Thomas, I agree with Dr. Nemeth. I am one of the few journalists who wrote several articles for the Red Deer Advocate in 2011 [links below], denouncing and exposing the wild exaggerations of CBC’s co-production of “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands”. One of the few, because at the time, about 30 environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), most of them foreign-funded charities, had been pumping out press releases, that mainstream journos picked up without question, further hyping the outrageous claims of “The Tipping Point…”.
I had worked at Alberta Environment for a time in 2005 as an Information Coordinator, answering the public’s questions on the oil sands by interviewing field experts. Prior to that, I had worked in film and television. I saw “The Tipping Point…” as an extremely slanted, contrived piece of work that lacked facts and balance. I was also very disturbed by the connections between the on-line presenters in the show, and the funding trail that always seemed to lead back to Tides. I also recognized that this ‘shock-u-mentary’ had denigrated the oil sands and its workers in the worst way and would leave Alberta and Albertans subject to hatred. That happened. I wrote CBC dozens of letters, faxes, and emails, presenting facts to counter what was in the show and demanding a redo of the show or the production of an opposing viewpoint, to no avail.
Josh Thomas contradicts himself saying “It is the job of the journalist to report all facts from all sides of the story.” Then he says: “When presented with evidence from a body of more than 10,000 respected scientists, of course the CAJ is going to acknowledge the fact climate change is a reality we face.” He is referring to an online petition by a non-existent organization (just a homemade website) that presented no evidence of a climate emergency. In fact, it was Rebel News that did the journo work of exposing the truth that Professors Mickey Mouse and Albus Dumbledore had signed that fake news petition. Global News also reported on it. However, the story is still posted on all mainstream media sites and has never been retracted.
Thomas then says the Canadian Association of Journalists is developing recommendations on how journos can responsibly report on climate change. Many media outlets are party to Columbia Journalism Review’s (CJR) “Covering Climate Now” – 400 media outlets reaching 2 billion people, all in one voice of the unquestioned claim of a ‘climate emergency’. CJR even print their magazine in hot orange ink! That is not journalism. That is group think.
Thomas also notes that close to 500 municipalities declared a climate emergency as ‘proof’ there is one. According to a HuffPost story of 8/28/2019, the cities paid $250,000 for this privileged declaration, into a fund to support renewables. Let us have a story on who runs that fund, Josh. No questions, journos? This is taxpayers’ money!
Josh Thomas (and others) who criticize the Nemeth report talk in generalities and smear Dr. Nemeth. They do not challenge the facts presented in the report. The question back to the critics should be: what specific statements in the report do you disagree with and what is your supporting evidence?
We hosted an event recently with NASA award-winning climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer explaining the reasons why there is no climate emergency. Though we sent out press releases to over a thousand newspapers, no Canadian newspaper picked up the story. A month earlier, we had hosted investigative journalist Donna Laframboise, on how climate activism is undermining all your freedoms. The media coverage? Crickets. So where are the journalists reporting ‘all facts from all sides of the story’, Josh?
As Ezra Levant explained in a 2017 interview that I did with him: “…you have people who simply go along to get along whether you’re an academic who wants to get tenure or wants to get a government grant… I mean I have worked inside national newspapers I was on the editorial board of the National Post for two years… to be an editorial writer in Canada to go against the consensus on global warming is to instantly become a pariah to be mocked by your peers. So, I mean, most people are not conflict oriented.”
Indeed, both the Nemeth report and the Allan Inquiry have instantly been mocked by the mainstream media in Canada. Is that journalism? Or a herd mentality? No conspiracy necessary, Josh. Just watch the Asch Conformity Experiment. As we revealed in our expose on the 97% ‘consensus’ studies, ‘consensus’ on climate change is nothing but a ‘social proof’ – a powerful psychological trigger that works like magic on people because we have a built-in herd mentality! To ensure your social proof is air-tight, just make sure you call dissenting voices ‘deniers’ so that those courageous 3% of independent thinkers will be excluded from the ‘herd’. In fact, once so named, their presence will be seen as a threat to the herd and they will be mercilessly attacked, as Nemeth and the Alberta Inquiry have been.
Journos are supposed to protect society from herd mentality – instead, they have reinforced it through unquestioned repeating of claims about on the oil sands and an alleged climate catastrophe. Where was the media coverage of our 2004 documentary – “Climate Catastrophe Cancelled”?
Why was there a media blackout on the recent award-winning film by Matthew Embry – “Global Warning”? A film that showed the oil sands tailing ponds are not the toxic wasteland they are made out to be, that showed Canadian scientists know that carbon dioxide is not the main driver of climate change, a film that showed that climate activists have the ear of government – but are not willing to listen to any science that contradicts their ideology. Where is the media coverage, Josh?
Alberta is spending money on the Alberta Inquiry because, based on 2009 forecasts, anti-Alberta campaigns have cost Canada about a million direct oil sands jobs, $2.1 trillion in economic stimulus (2010-2035) and hundreds of billions in tax revenues and royalties.
That is a lot of money and jobs. Isn’t that worth a couple of million bucks worth of inquiry? Wondering why this is not front page news?
Journalists have an obligation to fairly report on the Alberta Inquiry and the Tar Sands Campaign, especially now that most journalists and newspapers are funded by federal tax dollars. While many journos have interpreted this funding as meaning they work for the government, in fact folks, you now work for the people of Canada.
So, show us your stuff, journos! As Josh Thomas says, “It is the job of the journalist to report all facts from all sides of the story.”
Let us have reporters, not repeaters.
NEMETH Rebuttal to Josh Thomas:
It is interesting that the recent editorial by Josh Thomas chose to focus on a small seven-page segment in a report and supplement of 229 pages and 465 footnotes. To call the report and its supplement “bordering on propaganda” because it questions not only the attacks on Alberta’s energy industry, but also the trajectory of our country, is not a misinterpretation, it is flat out wrong.
My reports offer a bigger picture of the attacks that have been mounted against Alberta’s energy industry, situating them within a global context. They pull together various trends and activities that document a Transnational Progressive Movement that has diverse fellow-travellers, in Canada and abroad, including elements in the media, working towards a reset of the entire global economic and political system. The transformation or reset, with climate change at its heart, is predicated on the eventual destruction of the petroleum industry in Alberta and western countries. Indeed, the venerable TIME magazine ran a cover story in October 2020 about the Great Reset – not as a conspiracy theory but as a vision for the future.
The reports document this Transnational Progressive Movement: the environmental movement to “keep it in the ground”, the push to divest from petroleum companies, the changes proposed to “green” the financial industry, the institutes and think tanks that provide intellectual capital for these actions, the business groups who support it, the international institutions involved, the organizations that allow the different players to assemble and cooperate, and the foundations that have funnelled a staggering amount of money to make this transformation happen. Some have just concluded meeting virtually in Davos to discuss how to bring about this global change.
The reports also examine the interconnections between the Build Back Better motif, the various Green New Deals being implemented in other jurisdictions, and the initiatives proposed by the Trudeau government that amount to a Green New Deal in Canada. The reports quote and reference what people have actually said. For example, economist Marianna Mazzucato, in a September Project Syndicate article stated quite clearly, “In the near future, the world may need to resort to lockdowns again—this time to tackle a climate emergency…. Under a ‘climate lockdown’, governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling. To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures to do capitalism differently.” She is not alone in that viewpoint. That is a vision of the future that ought to make every Albertan question where this is all going.
As for the media, my research briefly discusses Covering Climate Now, and other news facilitators that, among other things, provide quick information for busy journalists on climate issues. From their website: “All [partners] are committed to increasing the volume and quality of our profession’s coverage of the climate story.” Sometimes they even do an “ask”. Chris White, in the Daily Caller, reported in April 2020, “The founders behind Covering Climate Now are asking their network of more than 400 media outlets to blanket the airwaves with stories about climate change during the week of Earth Day [19-26 April 2020].” That did happen, and perhaps helps to explain the surge in “silver lining” stories and other op-eds on using a recovery package to facilitate a green recovery. As I say in the report, “more organizations not only allow the message to be spread more broadly, it also helps to protect and insulate journalists if criticism arises.” Indeed. The current response to the reports seems to prove that point.
The media should encourage Canadians to have an honest conversation about how these proposed changes will affect our very way of life, not shout down and dismiss those who call it into question.
I encourage people to read the report and its supplement so that the full context can be appreciated.
Tammy Nemeth is a historian based in the UK and a paid author of a report tabled with the publicly funded Allan inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns.
Some of Michelle Stirling’s commentaries in the Red Deer Advocate linked below. The principle article about CBC’s “Tipping Point…” is no longer posted on their website.
New report by Robert Lyman:
Related Reports from Friends of Science Society:
Protest vs Green Trade War
Fear and Loathing: The Alberta Oil Sands – from National Pride to International Pariah
ENGOs – Environmental Charities, Power, Money, Influence
A series of reports on ENGOs in Canada and the implications for democracy and the economy.