Republican Senators Want National Science Foundation Investigated for Spreading Propaganda

Have you heard? We have a propaganda problem! No, I don’t mean the constant string of lies coming from the White House and their friends at Fox News, I’m referring to those darned government scientists who keep warning people about the dangers of climate change.

That’s the contention of four conservative senators, anyway. After learning about a grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that helps American meteorologists to include information on global warming into their local televised weather reports, the lawmakers are raising a stink that this program, called Climate Matters, amounts to propaganda.

Those four lawmakers are notorious climate change deniers/fossil fuel allies Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, James Lankford and Jim “How can there be climate change when I’m holding a snowball?” Inhofe. In a joint letter, the senators wrote:

“It is unacceptable for federal agencies to support such research which attempts to convince individuals to adopt a particular viewpoint rather than conducting objective research examining a given topic.”

Oh, bulls***. These legislators don’t give a damn about research—we have decades worth of objective research overwhelmingly pointing to the reality and harms of climate change, yet it doesn’t fit these senators’ agendas and now they’re trying to obfuscate the truth.

Responding to the senators, the NSF insisted that the grant went through a thorough review process to ensure the science being taught to meteorologists met the highest standards. The group does promise to reexamine the program in the upcoming months in light of the lawmakers’ objections, however.

Unfortunately, the GOP might win out on this issue, depending on whether the NSF’s inspector general considers the program a violation of the Hatch Act – a law you’ve probably heard of thanks to Kellyanne Conway’s unethical ways. Amongst other provisions, the Hatch Act forbids government agencies from partaking in partisan pursuits.

The debate, of course, is whether it’s “partisan” for scientists and meteorologists to be worried about climate change. Given that climate change is going to be devastating for the entire planet, it sure doesn’t seem like it should be labeled “partisan.” If it is deemed partisan, it’s only because the Republicans have managed to frame the issue as a supposed debate.

As for the whole “propaganda” claim, that’s just ludicrous. The 500+ American meteorologists that have participated in the suddenly controversial Climate Matters tutorials aren’t using their news segments to preach about climate change, but rather contextualize extreme weather events with scientific explanations. Since climate change is so rarely mentioned on the news, weather reports seem like a perfect opportunity to acknowledge it in an educational manner without getting political about it.

The real propaganda at play is the conservative senators continued insistence that climate change, a very serious threat to the environment that scientists are virtually unanimous about, is somehow something that cannot be agreed upon. As the Huffington Post reminds us, “The GOP is the only political party in the developed world to make climate change denial a platform issue.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock

81 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Chad Anderson
Chad A7 months ago

Thank you.

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill9 months ago

thanks for the info

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld9 months ago

Yes, most politicians choose an extremist view on this issue, regardless of any science. Some even incorporate a little science into their views to make it appear legitimate. I have not found politician, with a rational view on this issue. Although I am sure some exist.

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Susanne R
Susanne R9 months ago

Don:
Yes, I do. Unfortunately, propaganda is dangerous and adversely affects people who are vulnerable to it which, in turn, affects who gets elected and determines the policies and laws that are enacted. It's very cruel. I'd rather deal with the disappointment of learning that something I wanted to be factual was not than believe what people with agendas want me to believe.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld9 months ago

Susanne R.,
Ever notice how people refer to that information which corresponds to their own beliefs as truth, and that which does not as propaganda?

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Susanne R
Susanne R9 months ago

(continued...)
This was one of the "kinder" assessments. If you don't believe me, please do a google search on "Conservapedia."

Rated as an "Extremely Questionable" source of information. Written from the "point of view" of Conservatives. Creationists. Christian Fundamentalists. But no mention of climate scientists.

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Susanne R
Susanne R9 months ago

Paul: I don't understand what your statement has to do with the article. The deep pockets of the fossil fuel industry, to which I was referring, are being used to influence Republican senators who are trying to keep information about climate change out of weather reports, for the purpose of keeping our citizens uninformed. They're calling such information "propoganda"!

From the article: "After learning about a grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that helps American meteorologists to include information on global warming into their local televised weather reports, the lawmakers are raising a stink that this program, called Climate Matters, amounts to propaganda. Those four lawmakers are notorious climate change deniers/fossil fuel allies Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, James Lankford and Jim "How can there be climate change when I'm holding a snowball." (God help us!) Inhofe." These senators are not climate scientists. They're politicians who need to fund their next election.

As for the impact of AGW, are you referring to the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory which is being promoted by "Conservapedia"? According to Media Bias/Fact Check: "Conservapedia is an English-language wiki encyclopedia project written from an American conservative, Young Earth creationist, and Christian fundamentalist point of view. This website is not credible for science information and a lot of reports are simply false. (8/21/2016). This

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Paul B
Paul B9 months ago

Soy, pollution is bad and can definitely be controlled by human activity and control. Don't get the two confused.

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Paul B
Paul B9 months ago

susanne, world governments have deeper pockets and many would love to garner the ability to control and regulate energy, tax it more and spread the wealth... more distribution tactics.
you're right it is nearly impossible to determine what impact climate change will have over ANY time period despite what the "brilliant" scientists try to tell us because we can't predict nature nor can we agree on the impact of AGW.

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