Al Gore’s making most of the climate news at the moment. Winning a Nobel Peace Prize and having a British judge find nine â€œerrorsâ€ in An Inconvenient Truth has generated a lot of copy, and more hot air. Others have done a lot of footwork on this story: Deltoid looks at the nature of the â€œerrorsâ€ and RealClimate examines the underlying science, but New Zealand has its own band of stalwarts banging away. Former ACT MP Muriel Newman, who runs a web site titled the NZ Centre For Policy Research, not content with fulminating against â€œpolitical indoctrinationâ€ in NZ schools, has now written to the president of the Academy Awards demanding that Gore’s Oscar should be removed:
â€œWith the release of the British High Court judgement overnight that found that â€˜An Inconvenient Truthâ€™ was littered with nine inconvenient untruths, it is clear that Al Gore embellished the truth to create dramatic effect (see the High Court Judgement http://www.nzcpr.com/dimmock.pdf). Given that the Oscar Award was presented in the documentary category and not the drama category, the only appropriate action now is for the Academy to rescind the Award as it was clearly inappropriately classed as a documentary. The second Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’ is not affected by the Judge’s ruling. The truth, as inconvenient as it is to Al Gore, is that his so-called documentary contained critical distortions that are quite contrary to the principles of good documentary journalism. Good documentaries should be factually correct. Clearly this documentary is not.â€
What a broadside. I’m sure the Oscar committee are quaking in their boots and rushing to consider such an urgent issue, raised by such an important and perceptive commentator. Set aside for a moment that â€œembellishing the truth for dramatic effectâ€ is pretty much what film-making is all about, Muriel seems to have forgotten a few basic facts herself.
In her post on political indoctrination in schools she says:
Schools around New Zealand that are using Al Goreâ€™s controversial film â€˜An Inconvenient Truthâ€™ to promote the Governmentâ€™s climate change agenda should be warned that a High Court ruling in Britain has just found that the film is unfit for schools.
Er, no. The judge found that â€œAl Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurateâ€, and expressly said that it could be shown in schools. The nine â€œerrorsâ€ were to be addressed by some amendments to the teaching notes accompanying the film. No â€œcritical distortionsâ€. Not â€œunfit for schoolsâ€. I hope that Dr Newman’s research on other aspects of public policy is a little more thorough.
She contributed to a session on National Radio’s Nine to Noon with Maggie Barry yesterday (stream and podcast available to 23/10), featuring the UK lawyer involved in bringing the case, and Dr David Wratt from NIWA to provide a science reality check. Muriel’s bit is towards the end, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear her use a lot of the standard NZ CSC sceptic phrases. David W audibly sighs with frustration. Most amusing. Unless of course, Dr Newman is going to have a say in ACT policy, in which case tears are in order.