PBS on #ExxonKnew

November 11, 2015


Oil giant Exxon Mobil was recently subpoenaed by New York’s attorney general in an investigation of whether the company has intentionally downplayed the risks of climate change. Judy Woodruff hears from Eric Schneiderman, attorney general of New York, and Kenneth Cohen, vice president of Public & Government Affairs for the Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Cohen’s play is to pretend that Exxon, in it’s wisdom, has always taken climate change seriously, and is only interested in trying to head off ineffective policy responses to this very real problem.

Cohen’s statement that investigators have taken Exxon scientists statements “out of context” suggests he suffers from an irony deficiency.

So how will they separate themselves from the climate denying individuals and organizations they have funded?  Cohen says outfits like the American Enterprise Institute, and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) will have to speak for themselves, – as if they were out there free-forming and making things up with Exxon’s money for 30 years.

Ken Cohen in Exxon Mobil Perspectives:

here’s just one problem with that statement: Claiming we stopped our research and suppressed the results is the central point to ICN’s exhausting series about ExxonMobil’s supposed perfidy. It’s the central point that has been repeated in other stories and op-eds, notably from high-profile activists Bill McKibben and Naomi Oreskes.

Ms. Banjeera and her colleagues first claimed that Exxon stopped its research in its very first report on September 16, when they wrote (emphasis mine):

Toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon curtailed its carbon dioxide research. In the decades that followed, Exxon worked instead at the forefront of climate denial.

Ms. Banjeera and her colleagues wrote that Exxon suppressed the results of our climate work in the “About This Series” section on the ICN website (again, emphasis mine):

The story spans four decades, and is based on primary sources including internal company files dating back to the late 1970s, interviews with former company employees, and other evidence, much of which is being published here for the first time. It describes how Exxon conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago and then, without revealing all that it had learned, worked at the forefront of climate denial, manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus that its own scientists had confirmed.

One way to view Ms. Banjeera’s recent statement is that InsideClimate News now admits that ExxonMobil did not halt or suppress our research.

I hope ICN will add an editorial update to its series reflecting that admission, though I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

I noted recently that InsideClimate News tends to make assertions while hoping nobody checks to see if they are correct.

That’s been their strategy in selectively quoting from our documents – they have counted on people not reading the entirety of those documents, which undercut their accusations


9 Responses to “PBS on #ExxonKnew”

  1. Just like the CEO’s of the tobacco companies in the 1990’s….the CEO’s of the fossil fuel companies (and their always ready to lie chief legal officers)…..deny the allegations that the fossil fuel companies have been lying about the dangers of pouring too much CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Here’s a link from the 1994 as 7 CEO’s of tobacco companies have no problem lying about their tobacco products:

    And here is another that showed that tobacco companies LIED about the safety of smoking:

    For a longer historical view of how much tobacco companies lied, and just how low they will CONTINUE to go….here is John Oliver:

    The fossil fuel companies are doing the VERY SAME THING. Lying about the safety of fracking, lying about the benefits of “clean coal” without disclosing the dangers, and lying about the cost of moving towards clean alternative energy.

    The game has only begun…..

    • But did any of you fellows catch the Freudian slip by Schneiderman about Inside Climate News reporting?

      I did, while further pointing out that eensy-beensy problem of the NewsHour not telling its viewers half the story for the last two decades: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/11/pbs_newshour_continues_its_biased_global_warming_coverage.html

      (cue “d.o.g.”: “DON’T READ THAT! DON’T READ THAT! We need some muscle over here!”)

      • dumboldguy Says:

        No, DOG will say this time—-READ IT (just don’t stay there too long if you value your brain). Russell needs hits on his BS in order to earn his whore’s dollar and it’s almost holiday time, so I’m feeling generous.

        Russell is great entertainment, too. It’s always funny watching him grasp at BS straws (some of them 20 years old) as he attempts to build yet another delusional straw house. He should try bricks of truth instead.

        Russell says”… NewsHour (has not been) telling its viewers half the story for the last two decades”, and proceeds to tell us that “…their bias against denialism now stands at a ratio of approximately 529:5”

        Now that has ME upset! Why would they mention denialism 5 times out of 534? If they are supposed to be reporting science news, they ratio should be 529 to nearly ZERO, since denial of the science that 99.99% of all climate scientists agree with would be journalistic malfeasance. “Skepticism”, as Russell and his A-H buddies would like us to believe, is NOT the “other side”, but merely the maunderings of a bunch of sickos like Russell who practice it for $$$$$. There is no “half”, Russell—-its 9999 to 1 now, so the deniers actually got 20 (TWENTY) times more mentions than they should have, and, as I said, that upsets me.

        Snhneiderman has launched EXACTLY the right investigation into the right people, and Russell’s BS and cozy little “nest”right next Fred and the other Heqrtland stooges is going to result in Russell getting sucked up in the dragnet once it dips down to the denier blogosphere. A “bias against skeptics” shines Russell? Actually it’s a bias FOR truth and AGAINST lying POS’s like you. I’m going to double my next donation to public broadcasting in anticipation of them giving even LESS mention to deniers and denialism as the AGW case solidifies.

        PS I’ll visit you in prison, Russell. Maybe I’ll even gift you with a wall plaque saying “S**T—They Proved It” to decorate your cell.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Sorry—it’s hard to get motivated to proofread when wasting valuable time responding to Russell’s horsepucky. Apologize for the several typos—the one that most needs correcting is that it should be “WHINES Russell” in the last paragraph rather than “shines”—-Russell is about as “shiny” as a pile of six-month-old cow manure.

  2. otter17 Says:

    Ken Cohen has a peculiar job as a public affairs guy for Exxon. It must be driving him crazy.

    He is quoting damning parts of the investigations thus far and just saying, “See? Nothing to worry about here. I hope ICN and PBS issue a retraction of this”. The parts that he quotes makes no connection with the statements he makes about it.

    None of what Cohen wrote in the Exxon company magazine makes any sense. It sounds like insanity.

  3. indy222 Says:

    Slippery character. Obfuscate with 20 words where 3 would do. Bore ’em with the drone of the other 17 words…. this is how you play poker when you hold nothin’ in your hands.

  4. indy222 Says:

    Frontline’s performance here was pretty awful. They let this guy dominate the conversation with bland cover-over statements, and Woodruff didn’t get to the meat of the case until nearly 3/4 of the way through, and then let Cohen dilute his single word answer “yes” on funding climate denial organizations, with more emptiness. She should have forced him to commit Exxon to a position on CO2/Exxon back in the ’80’s, and to the documents of their strategy to emphasis the “uncertainty”. It was really a pathetic effort at investigative reporting. PBS should be ashamed of it. Cut this guy off mid-sentence – Cohen KNOWS there’s only a few minutes of air time and all he has to do is run out the clock.

  5. mbrysonb Says:

    An interesting legal strategy here– I wonder how the courts will treat it: We didn’t lie– we paid other people who went out and lied (thereby defending our interests and delaying action on climate change), but they did that on their own, so it’s not our fault. I don’t think Congress has had oil executives testify as to their views on climate change. So maybe they’ve kept the lies at ‘arm’s length’ enough to protect themselves from liability. Of course documents showing that this was the plan might undermine such a defense… A subpoena would lead, no doubt, to a massive document dump. But it might be worth wading through the flood.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Yes, it’s going to be interesting to watch this thing develop. IMO, the “harm to individuals and the biosphere” part of the case is going to take a longer time to develop, but the “harm to investors” attack might bear fruit sooner.

      The fat cats don’t care if little “Johnny 99%” gets asthma, but they will scream bloody murder if they think Exxon did something that caused the value of their “investments” to drop. Like they did with Goldman Sachs after the meltdown.

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