David Roberts shows Your media at work:

People magazine reports that Al Gore’s daughter Sarah just got married, revealing in the course of the article that Chilean sea bass was served at the rehearsal dinner.

In the Daily Telegraph, Australian Humane Society Rebecca Keeble writes that “only one week after Live Earth, Al Gore’s green credentials slipped.” Why? Because Chilean sea bass is endangered.

ABC politics columnist Jake Tapper, smelling the kind of vapid, gimmicky story upon which his profession thrives, asks, “could this be seen as the environmentalist version of Sen. David Vitter’s public sanctimony/private enjoyment of love with a red-lit glow?”

Blogger Digby points out, “Unless somebody at the wedding was schtupping the fish wearing a diaper, I’m not sure I see the analogy.”

Sierra Club’s Pat Joseph traces the fallout:

It doesn’t take long for Tapper’s readers to remind him that: a) the groom’s family throws the rehearsal dinner, not the bride’s; b) while sea bass is indeed a fishery of serious environmental concern, some of the fish are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council; and c) Jake Tapper is a two-bit hack.

Also:

But the fish enjoyed by the Gores were not endangered or illegally caught.

Rather, the restaurant later confirmed, they had come from one of the world’s few well-managed, sustainable populations of toothfish, and caught and documented in compliance with Marine Stewardship Council regulations.

Allow me to connect some dots here. How did the story get from People into an Australian tabloid? And how did it get from there to Jake Tapper?

I did a Factiva search and found that this was the first time that the Daily Telegraph had ever printed an opinion piece from the Humane Society International, so I called Rebecca Keeble and asked her about the genesis of the piece. It seems that the first she heard about the matter was when she was contacted by the Daily Telegraph, told that Gore had served Chilean sea bass, and was invited to write an opinion piece. She didn’t want to tell me who it was who commissioned the piece, but it’s not hard to figure out. You see, the opinion editor of the Daily Telegraph is Gore-hater Tim Blair. He first blogged about the story here. Then he contacted Keeble and put her opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph. Next he put up a post linking to Keeble’s piece. Then it was picked by Glenn Reynolds and Matt Drudge who can be relied upon to run with any anti-Gore story they come across. Once Drudge had linked it, Tapper knew it was OK for him to run with the story. And that’s how it’s done.

This isn’t the first time that Blair has used his position as opinion editor at the Daily Telegraph to advance his own personal agenda. See this post from Irfan Yusuf, on how Blair told Yusuf that the Telegraph would no longer publish him because Blair felt that he had been criticised on Yusuf’s blog.

Comments

  1. #1 jeffk
    July 19, 2007

    Presumably Gore made an innocent mistake, but I think the most important thing is it doesn’t matter – conservatives want nothing more than to shift discussions from science to Al Gore, because they’re children who are more interested in the behavior of the messenger than the truth value of what he’s saying.

  2. #2 Ben
    July 19, 2007

    I wish Al Gore would just come out and say that he is not actually an environmentalist himself. It would save a lot of confusion.

    Anyways, he is doing more good than any single environmentalist could by spreading the message effectively.

  3. #3 Brian Schmidt
    July 19, 2007

    JeffK and Ben, I think you missed one of the main points – Gore did nothing wrong.

  4. #4 David
    July 19, 2007

    You’re saying that that witless opinionated twat who runs timblair.net actually edits part of a newspaper?

    I must confess that I have sometimes wondered why you give so much publicity to nobodies, but I see I did you an injustice. Next we’ll learn that Jason Soon is a State Premier. Keep up the good work.

  5. #5 Jennifer Ouellette
    July 19, 2007

    This kind of breakdown of media manipulation is very helpful in terms of combating the effects of propaganda in the public sphere. Thanks for going the public such a great service…

  6. #6 z-dog
    July 19, 2007

    a real one-man-band in the right wing noise machine isn’t he!

    Maybe you need to substitute your traditional piñata pic with one like this Tim. I think there’s even some resemblance!

  7. #7 Gerard Harbison
    July 19, 2007

    The really important news is Sarah Gore, marrying Bill Lee, is also taking his name.

    Nobody doesn’t like Sarah Lee.

  8. #8 dhogaza
    July 19, 2007

    I wish Al Gore would just come out and say that he is not actually an environmentalist himself. It would save a lot of confusion.

    There you go again, Ben, skimming the surface of an issue and coming to a knee-jerk conclusion because you can’t be bothered to read that …

    …the fish enjoyed by the Gores were not endangered or illegally caught.

    Rather, the restaurant later confirmed, they had come from one of the world’s few well-managed, sustainable populations of toothfish, and caught and documented in compliance with Marine Stewardship Council regulations.

    If we didn’t have you, we’d need to invent a faux libertarian like you to poke fun at.

  9. #9 FDM
    July 19, 2007

    «Anyways, he is doing more good than any single environmentalist could by spreading the message effectively.»

    Like what, spreading the anthropogenic nature of global warming gospel.

    Replacing religion by religion, nice!

  10. #10 QrazyQat
    July 19, 2007

    JeffK and Ben, I think you missed one of the main points – Gore did nothing wrong.

    This is why stories like this work so well; they insinuate false “facts” into the audience, who then spread them without thinking. As Darwin said back in 1871, “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long”.

  11. #11 matthew
    July 19, 2007

    Good job Tim, thanks for your efforts.

  12. #12 jre
    July 19, 2007

    Like what, spreading the anthropogenic nature of global warming gospel.

    Or, more accurately, spreading the well-supported -by-the-evidence yet staunchly-resisted-by-the-loonosphere message of human-caused climate change.

    Anyone making further references to “gospel” will risk having Blake’s Law invoked on your ass.

  13. #13 Jeb, FCD
    July 19, 2007

    jeffk and Ben,

    Did you actually read this post before commenting?

  14. #14 Sven DiMilo
    July 19, 2007

    Somebody needs to do the calculations to see if the amount of CO2 produced by Gore while digesting his toothfish is actually more CO2 than the toothfish would have produced if allowed to live out its natural life. He just has to be hypocritical somehow!!!

  15. #15 Ed Darrell
    July 19, 2007

    Take a look at this badly-formatted FAQ from the U.S. Department of State, regarding Chilean sea bass:
    http://www.state.gov/g/oes/rls/fs/2002/8989.htm

    In other words, Gore did it right, according to Department of State standards.

    Which is more than can be said about Tim Blair and Glenn Reynolds, eh? Tabloid journalists go for the flash, fluff and fog — to hell with the facts.

    Which is why we should avoid tabloid journalism.

  16. #16 nanny_govt_sucks
    July 19, 2007

    jre, from your link:

    Data get checked and rechecked,

    Except, I guess, the surface data (http://www.surfacestations.org), that is.

    It seems that some of the rechecking would reveal that temps of asphalt parking lots, rooftops, and brick walls were being measured.

  17. #17 anon
    July 19, 2007

    In fact, if the fish is in danger, Gore not only did wrong, but did quite right by supporting a sustainable product over some mass market commercial fisher.

  18. #18 Robster, FCD
    July 19, 2007

    Jeb, a better question would be, “Can jeffk or Ben pass the Turing test?”

  19. #19 Nathan Parker
    July 19, 2007

    conservatives want nothing more than to shift discussions from science to Al Gore, because they’re children who are more interested in the behavior of the messenger than the truth value of what he’s saying.

    This characteristic is shared all across the political spectrum.

  20. #20 Another PS
    July 19, 2007

    Let’s see if I have the logic of the charge against Gore correct. Some people have endangered species for dinner. Al Gore ate dinner. Therefore Al Gore ate endangered species.

  21. #21 QrazyQat
    July 19, 2007

    NGS tries the “surface station” appraoch to GW denial. This ignores how the data is given — and especially ignores the way some (read: the web site he links to) cherrypick weather stations to show only a few out of the … I think it’s about 1500 in the US and Canada alone. Also ignores that study has shown the heat island effect doesn’t really make that big a diff to GW, as it turns out (surprised a lot of people, that).

    That denialist argument also ignores that the surface station temp data is consistent with the data from a variety of different gathering methods, including (as pointed out in Grist):

    Satellite measurements of the upper and lower troposphere
    Weather balloons show very similar warming
    Borehole analysis
    Glacial melt observations
    Declining arctic sea ice
    Sea level rise
    Proxy Reconstructions
    Rising ocean temperature

    How having a couple weather stations on pavement changes temperature readings from the ocean may seem like a mystery, but that’s the wild, whacky world of denialism for you> Then there’s this: let’s say you’ve got a temp-monitoring station on pavement and over time it shows an increase in temp. For NGS’s denialist argument to make any sense, this would mean that the pavement got more reflective over time, rather than the temp in that area getting hotter over time — which sounds more likely to you?

  22. #22 jre
    July 19, 2007

    QrazyQat, you are forgetting that, in NGS world, a single kiddie with a camera can bring down the entire edifice of climate science. And then everyone gets a pony!

  23. #23 Dano
    July 19, 2007

    na_g_s buffooned:

    It seems that some of the rechecking would reveal that temps of asphalt parking lots, rooftops, and brick walls were being measured.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    As if that crew were measuring temps!

    Good one.

    Best,

    D

  24. #24 David
    July 19, 2007

    Shorter version:

    Al Gore ate dinner. Therefore Al Gore is fat.

  25. #25 Bill O'Slatter
    July 19, 2007

    Having observed Blair’s site over the last few weeks I could see the build-up of stupid going on. Well and truly overdue for a piñata.

  26. #26 Amanda
    July 19, 2007

    It’s hilarious that Blair who carries on so much about the Bush “Fake Turkey” thing has himself created a fake food smear. Good job.

  27. #27 tim
    July 19, 2007

    Not hard to figure out, eh? Well, I didn’t contact Ms Keeble, with whom I’ve never had any contact at all. You might want to fix that.

  28. #28 Alex
    July 19, 2007

    Blair,

    Are you going to issue a correction?

  29. #29 jc
    July 19, 2007

    “Rather, the restaurant later confirmed, they had come from one of the world’s few well-managed, sustainable populations of toothfish, and caught and documented in compliance with Marine Stewardship Council regulations.”

    Yea right, the restaurant would of course know that the fish they’re serving:
    1. come from a well managed, sustainable populations of toothfish:

    2. caught and documented with marine stewardship council regulations.

    Yep. I could imagine the head chef at any top restaurant looking through all that certification before accepting his twice weekly fish supplies.

    Was that also side barred on the menu?

    Anyone got any proof of this little piece of hindsight backside protection?

    If it’s Al we’re talking about, he ate the sea bass… possibly two or three. They’re delicious by the way.

    Another point:

    Who would actually believe Al knew sea bass stocks were running low?

  30. #30 rmp
    July 20, 2007

    jc, does that pass for a rational argument in your house?

  31. #31 anthony
    July 20, 2007

    Yep. I could imagine the head chef at any top restaurant looking through all that certification before accepting his twice weekly fish supplies.

    If they don’t know where their product’s coming from or can’t trust their suppliers, they’re not a top restaurant. Simple as that.

  32. #32 Tim Lambert
    July 20, 2007

    So Tim B, you are not disputing anything else in my account?

    Can we conclude that someone from the Terror contacted Keeble on your behalf?

  33. #33 Patrick C
    July 20, 2007

    tim,
    It’s more interesting what you don’t deny. Did you ask someone to contact Ms Keeble? Were you chatting to someone in your office who said “What about the HSI?” to which you replied “Good idea – give someone there a call!”. There’s a lot of ways in which you yourself could deliberately pull the HSI into this story in the Tele without being the guy on the phone to Ms Keeble.

  34. #34 jc
    July 20, 2007

    Yep, right Anthony.

    Convseration between chef and supplier

    “hi John, where do these fish come from?”

    “from Chile, Pete, 5 degrees north of the 3rd longitude”.

    “Do you have the documents showing they come from a well managed, sustainable rain forrest documented with marine stewardship council regulations?”

    “Sure Pete, let me just open the two brief cases containing the pile of docs.”.

    “Where’s the lettuce from? ”

    This is too funny. Anthony people have to eat. Big Al made a mistake the wedding wasn’t evirnomentally friendly, but it’s no big deal. I forgive him. I always do for his frequent omissions and errors of judgement.

  35. #35 tim
    July 20, 2007

    “You are not disputing anything else in my account?”

    I would, were this a serious matter. But it’s just a Lambert post filled with your usual inaccurate assumptions. Do carry on.

  36. #36 Tim Lambert
    July 20, 2007

    Err, JC, people want to eat sea bass that is from a sustainable fishery, and not illegally caught. You don’t think that the market can do this? You don’t believe in free markets?

  37. #37 anthony
    July 20, 2007

    Stock identification and traceability is at the heart of industry QA programs. But I see you have an imaginary conversation to support your claim.

  38. #38 pough
    July 20, 2007

    Don’t let’s feed the troll. The restaurant is a high-end one in Beverly Hills. The thought of the chef not being particular and environmentally friendly is ridiculous, but folks whose idea of fancy is putting onion rings in a burger wouldn’t know that.

  39. #39 Patrick C
    July 20, 2007

    tim,

    Your reply to Tim Lambert is extraordinary. He’s accused you of manufacturing a dustup in the Tele opinion pages; were TimL’s statement substantially false you’d have a good argument that he’s defamed you, by implying that you’re the sort of editor who manufactures stories where none exist.

    And you don’t consider that a serious matter?

  40. #40 dhogaza
    July 20, 2007

    JC’s a funny guy…

    Yea right, the restaurant would of course know that the fish they’re serving: 1. come from a well managed, sustainable populations of toothfish

    Anyone familiar with the high-end restaurant business would say “yes, of course they would”. Same with decent grocery chains such as New Seasons here in Portland. They verify the source of all their stuff, and pay particular attention to seafood. Consumers are willing to pay more.

    And Nanny Gov’t Sucks sure does fit the libertarian profile, doesn’t he?

    A buncha science-illiterate goons walking around with cameras are going to outdo the statistics folk who subject the data to intense analysis designed to compensate for siting issues, broken instruments, etc.

  41. #41 SG
    July 20, 2007

    Jc is obviously unaware of the fact that there is a large amount of work going on in many industries to ensure the environmentally sustainable products are traceable.

    Apparently also he is unaware of the possibility that those little “dolphin safe” stickers you see on some tins of tuna might possibly be part of a broader world of environmental certification processes. A suitcase of documents my arse.

    But this is a little pointer at Jc`s real feelings. Here we have an example of how free markets can work for environmental improvement, the very thing libertarians supposedly love, and he immediately heaps scorn on it. I think his problem may not be so much an ideological commitment to free markets as a naked terror of anything which might have even the slightest hint of a basis in compassion rather than manly lust for profit and meat.

  42. #42 Ian Gould
    July 20, 2007

    “He just has to be hypocritical somehow!!!”

    Nah, not as long as he’s still fat.

  43. #43 BT Murtagh
    July 20, 2007

    Actually jc is probably correct that the chef won’t have pored over that documentation.

    That’s the restaurant manager’s job.

  44. #44 jc
    July 20, 2007

    Tim

    The market can do anything…. however we’re not really talking about that. When was the last time you went down the Sydney fish markets and bought a bag of fish knowing their origin or in this case their provenance (it’s French….to make it sound more intellectual).

    Sure they tell you the fish are from the various states in Oz, farm raised or the prawn prawns (shrimp to our American cousins) from Vietman.

    Have you or anyone else at this site asked if the flounder (oz flounder is superior as it’s like dover sole and not anything like the American variety)is from depleted fisheries?

    You couldn’t get a bigger greenie head than my wife and she never asks although I planted this silly idea in her head by merely raising the question earlier. (Thanks guys)

    —————————-

    Pough indignantly says:
    “Don’t let’s feed the troll (or the fish)”.

    Err, we’re talking about fish here, pough and people shamelessly eating ( in Al case wolfing down) endangered species. We’re not talking about trolls.

    Dude, disagreeing with people is not trolling, ok.

  45. #45 jc
    July 20, 2007

    “Jc is obviously unaware of the fact that there is a large amount of work going on in many industries to ensure the environmentally sustainable products are traceable.”

    Really? Do the local dailies talk about anything else? TV? You guys? They’re even talking about environmentally friendly sustainable sex these days… I kid you not. What barren desert are you living in, SG?

    “Apparently also he is unaware of the possibility that those little “dolphin safe” stickers you see on some tins of tuna might possibly be part of a broader world of environmental certification processes.”

    So Al was scoffing down tinned tuna at his gals wedding? Bull! I don’t believe that for a second.

    Most probably it’s a gimmick because quite honestly I can’t quite see how you can stop Flipper from getting caught in a net or munching on a hooked line.

    ————————

    —————————-

    “A suitcase of documents my arse.”

    Pleazzzee. No one in his or her right mind would go near that thing.

    “But this is a little pointer at Jc`s real feelings. Here we have an example of how free markets can work for environmental improvement, the very thing libertarians supposedly love, and he immediately heaps scorn on it.”

    No, you’re twisting this up in knots and dare I say you’re off subject. I threads about Al and the possibility he ate the entire species at one sitting. It’s not about markets delivering superior products and services.
    As an aside, I actually think farm raised seafood will eventually be the way to go.

    ——————————

    ———————-

    “I think his problem may not be so much an ideological commitment to free markets as a naked terror of anything which might have even the slightest hint of a basis in compassion rather than manly lust for profit and meat.”

    Free markets are terrible to make money in. You want rigged markets to make real dollars. Look at the mullah Kerry Packer was able to make with a rigged media market. I would love to be at that dinner table with my bib on :-)

    Which is why all rigging and market meddling should stop.

  46. #46 ajay
    July 20, 2007

    Tim Blair:Not hard to figure out, eh? Well, I didn’t contact Ms Keeble, with whom I’ve never had any contact at all. You might want to fix that.

    So, let me get this straight. Timmy’s the opinion editor of the Telegraph. A piece appeared on the opinion pages of the Telegraph. And he says he never had any contact at all with the author?
    Not really doing his job, then, is he?

  47. #47 Ian Gould
    July 20, 2007

    Of course if one were interested in facts (i.e. if one were not JC) one could visit the Marine Stewardship Council’s website read their detailed criteria for certification and look at their list of certified suppliers. (Of course, the restaurant where this dinner was held wouldn’t do that. The reason is of course “Because”. Just ask JC. Or it might be “stalin”, that’s another favorite.)

    Now it is of course possible that the restaurant or their supplier were risking their entire business for no good reason.

    Then too its possible that JC’s look butcher grinds up pups for mince. Cute little dalmatian pups at that.

    So maybe Al is a hypocrite – and by the same logic Jc’s a puppy-eater.

  48. #48 Ian Gould
    July 20, 2007
  49. #49 jc
    July 20, 2007

    See Ian , you too have a sense of humor ………..in deep cover somewhere.

    Yes of course The Rain forest and Marine Stewardship Council’s website is the most traversed website in all of the Western world. Because of sheer demand it is now published in 178 languages including 25 varieties of new Guinean.

    Note to diary.

    Remember to check RF&MSC website next time I wanna take down a mud crab.
    You are fast becoming a funny guy.

  50. #50 Fox1
    July 20, 2007

    This is the stupidest argument I’ve seen all week. jc, your contention is that: no one cares if their fish is gathered in an environmentally friendly way, if they do care they don’t check, if they do check they have no way to find out, if you do get the information it’s not verified by anyone, if it is verified someone’s lying?

    And this is all based on your wife’s shopping habits and, apparently, never working in an industry of any kind or eating at a restaurant with entrees over the price point of $12.

  51. #51 jc
    July 20, 2007

    Ok Boys

    This haunt is one of the best Restaurants in New York. West Coast digs don’t really count as they like Sydney’s; the food is really average slop in comparison. (Al,
    please note next time do it in NYC).

    The food at Le Cirque is exquisite…. better than sex when they have Italian truffles in season. It’s owned by one of NYC most well known owner chefs- Marco Maccioni and his family who have been in the trade for eons.

    Here is the place: http://www.lecirque.com/index2.htm

    This is the menu: http://www.lecirque.com/pdf/dinner.pdf

    Scroll down past the tuna roll on the starters( note no yellow tag, SG) and get to the main courses. What a surprise, they have Bass on the menu

    Paupiette of Black Sea Bass
    wrapped in crispy potatoes on a bed of braised leeks
    and Barolo wine sauce

    Ian, SG. Please tell me where the bass was caught and why it’s not displayed on the menu?

    Shall I book dinner for the three of us including TimL of course?

  52. #52 Fox1
    July 20, 2007

    So, Al Gore attended a tasting menu dinner, with 75 other people, that Al did not, as far as is confirmed or traditional, arrange or pay for, where he he may have eaten a species of fish that is often harvested in an ecologically destructive way, except that the fish served wasn’t, but Al might not have known that beforehand.

    So, if we make the assumption that neither Al nor anyone Al knew asked about the fish, and the menu wasn’t marked, then… Al ate a fish and global warming is a hoax.

  53. #53 dhogaza
    July 20, 2007

    I see, so now JC’s argument is since a restaurant that Gore did NOT eat at doesn’t mention the provenance (a French word!) of their black sea bass, then clearly the restaurant that Gore DID eat at doesn’t, either!

    Impeccable logic.

    Have you or anyone else at this site asked if the flounder (oz flounder is superior as it’s like dover sole and not anything like the American variety)is from depleted fisheries?

    My grocer color-codes seafood, green to red, based on sustainability criteria published by conservation organizations here in the United States.

    Makes it easy.

  54. #54 Ben
    July 20, 2007

    response to people who replied to my earlier post:

    I think I didn’t get my point across very well. My opinion of Gore is that he does a great job as a messenger, but he doesn’t really live the life of an environmentalist. It is hard to do this if you have to fly all over the world doing lectures.

    I realize he does carbon trading for his emissions, and buys green energy, but I think there are people who expect him to live like a farmer in an eco village. It is not really realistic to expect this of him, so he should explain that he is not that kind of person to those who don’t find it obvious and can’t stop pointing out the fact.

    Sorry if I rattled any nerves.

  55. #55 Jc
    July 20, 2007

    Don’t be silly Dehoza. The point i was making was to show some earlier commenters that not every expensive restaurant and their patrons may not know the latitude and longitude of their seafood supplies. Some people were silly enought to suggest that.

    So i picked an old fav, took a look at the menu and went from there.

    It’s laughable to even suggest such a thing.

  56. #56 Ragout
    July 20, 2007

    Let me see if I understand the chain of publication. An Op-Ed piece is published in one of the UK’s major national dailies. Despite its unseemly origins, Drudge and Instapundit pick it up. With the blogosphere’s certification, it finally makes it into an ABC New blog.

    Isn’t this media analysis kind of backwards? The usual complaint is that sketchy stories work themselves up the media food chain, not down or sideways.

  57. #57 pough
    July 20, 2007

    So, let me get this straight. Timmy’s the opinion editor of the Telegraph. A piece appeared on the opinion pages of the Telegraph. And he says he never had any contact at all with the author? Not really doing his job, then, is he?

    Is he the only editor for the opinion pages? Is that like a Highlander thing where there can only be one?

    Mind you, it would be just as easy for him to say “I didn’t commission that piece” as “I didn’t contact Ms Keeble”, but he said the ambiguous latter and can proclaim a Humpty-Dumpty-like “there’s Glory for you!” to his fan.

  58. #58 ben
    July 20, 2007

    See here’s the thing… you guys would still defend gore even if, in his huge mansion, he had 48 ovens running, for no particular reason, at full blast with the doors open, and 73 air conditioners to counter the ovens, provided he “offset his carbon.”

    And that’s the problem I had with his old mansion/energy use. Not even a tiny attempt to USE LESS like the rest of us will have to in order to “save the planet” and deal with the “most important environmental spiritual blah blah” of the century. Good grief.

    Yeah, the sea bass thing is dumb.

  59. #59 Robster, FCD
    July 20, 2007

    JC,

    Black sea bass is not a threatened species. The restaurant probably uses black sea bass as a means of approximates the flavor and texture of chilean sea bass. Your example actually points to an attempt at being an environmentally friendly business, and supporting a regional fishing industry.

  60. #60 cce
    July 20, 2007

    Of course, Ben, but Gore isn’t doing that. He has reduced, and is reducing his emissions, far more than the vast majority of the public. His point isn’t that we should live in trees, but that there are things that can be done to reduce emissions and offset the rest.

  61. #61 K. Signal Eingang
    July 20, 2007

    JC, there are at least two seafood markets within a few miles of my home that list the origin of every fish they sell, as well as whether it’s from sustainable stocks/fisheries.

    Certainly even a small-time caterer is going to know whether their fish is caught in the wild or farm/fishery raised. I don’t know of many restaurants that don’t list that information right on the menu.

  62. #62 ben
    July 20, 2007

    “He has reduced, and is reducing his emissions, far more than the vast majority of the public.”

    In overall terms, or as a percentage of his total use? It’s easy to reduce your consumption of hot dogs more than the average person if you eat 100 hot dogs per day and the average doofus only eats 2.

  63. #63 nanny_govt_sucks
    July 20, 2007

    But isn’t Gore’s strategy to offset his carbon footprint basically stock investments that his company, Generation Investment Management ( http://www.generationim.com/ ), manages?

    I’m not sure I get it. How is the supposed amount of carbon offset through these investments quantified? Doesn’t his carbon offset loss become his investment company’s gain? Is he receiving compensation for his position as chairman?

  64. #64 cce
    July 20, 2007

    An Inconvenient Truth (movie and book) was offset using Native Energy. For the rest, it doesn’t matter if he uses his own company for the offset or someone else assuming it meets the criteria of a true offset. If you are directly investing in companies that reduce carbon, Gore is actually closer to the reduction than someone who pays someone else to do it for them. People talk about how offsets are like “buying favors” but if Gore owns part of these companies, he’s doing the offset himself.

    And as far as his own energy use is concerned, I suppose part of the difference is that his home is also a business, complete with a staff. It is a large, old, inefficient house, and that’s why it’s being renovated. He doesn’t have to buy green power and he doesn’t have to install solar. He can spend all the money he wants on this stuff.

  65. #65 theo
    July 20, 2007

    nanny_govt_sucks,

    If you actually care how carbon credits are quantified, and you’re not just trolling, go read something written by people who work in the industry — like TerraPass’s TerraBlog.

    They’re entrepreneurs pioneering a new industry. You fake libertarians should love them.

  66. #66 theo
    July 20, 2007

    Let’s squash the other anti-Gore smear that’s been posted.

    Despite what the right wing blogs say, Gore doesn’t profit from the carbon credits his company purchases.

    Here’s how it actually works:

    1. Al Gore owns part of Generation Investment Management.

    2. Generation Investment Management buys carbon credits to offset its employees’ activities, including Gore’s personal and business activities.

    3. This decreases Generation Investment Management’s profits, which costs Gore money.

    Even if what the wingnuts were saying was true, and Gore were buying carbon credits from a company he owned, he would still be making back only a fraction of what he spent. It would be as if he bought a share of McDonalds, and then bought 1000 hamburgers for his daughter’s wedding. Even though profits theoretically accrue to the shareholders, he would still be out $1000.

    The smear never made any sense; there’s no way anyone with functional critical thinking abilities could have bought it. The media spreading it, including Investor’s Business Daily, certainly have no interest in telling the truth. Needless to say, it reflects poorly on their readership.

  67. #67 Sortition
    July 20, 2007

    Much as I despise the Cons and recognize that for them to call Gore a hypocrite is akin to the US criticizing Iran for going nuclear, one must admit that they have a point.

    Profits or doesn’t profit – for Gore to consume 20x as much as the average guy and then to justify that by saying “offsets”, is a bit too convenient to be credible. Is that really all his “global warming” campaign is about? Go ahead and emit, just don’t forget to offset?

  68. #68 ben
    July 20, 2007

    That’s what I was thinking, Sortition. I don’t mind if he’s making profits, that’s great. What I mind is that he says:

    I think if it is important to look at the pressures that made it more likely than not that mainstream journalists in the United States would convey a wholly inaccurate conclusion about the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.

    …and then burns up the fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, excusing his behavior because he buys “carbon offsets.” Now if it really was the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced. and he truly believed his own BS, then I’d expect a little more sacrifice from the guy. Instead, it’s do as I say, not as I do, and he looks like he’s full of crap.

    Remember, it’s the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.!!

  69. #69 Fox1
    July 21, 2007

    Do you guys even know what credits and offsets are? You keep using the terms, but your following points don’t seem to show any evidence that you comprehend how the whole thing even works.

    Since Gore has the publicity and the money to travel and really bring attention to the issue, inspire entire audiences and communities to reduce emissions instead of just individuals and maybe even affect government policies, that is far and away the most important thing for him to be doing, even if it requires him to fly in a plane regularly, or whatever.

    How, precisely, would him selling his possessions to live in a solar-heated yurt with no phone be better for the environment than what he’s doing? This is a man who has done a good bit to reduce his carbon footprint, even if it’s not a perfect attempt, and is trying to encourage others to do the same and these “hypocrisy” charges are nothing but hollow ad hominems that do nothing to challenge Gore’s overall message, just Gore himself.

    Perhaps these charges of hypocrisy would have more teeth if Gore had ever claimed to be perfect, or declared that no one could speak to this issue unless they lived their life to the highest environmental standard possible, but he didn’t. He wants everyone to what they can because of what is demonstrably true. That’s why this all reeks of people whose true goal is to slyly (so they think) discredit Gore’s message by smearing Gore.

  70. #70 dhogaza
    July 21, 2007

    Dehoza

    That’s all JC seems to have, an ad hom … well, I think it was meant to be an ad hom. He can’t seem to do a good job at much of anything, as ad homs go, that’s innocuous.

    for Gore to consume 20x as much as the average guy and then to justify that by saying “offsets”, is a bit too convenient to be credible. Is that really all his “global warming” campaign is about? Go ahead and emit, just don’t forget to offset?

    People have pointed out that he runs his business out of his home.

    So do I – freelance software engineering and photography. I have two home offices. I have servers, a large-format printer, and until digital matured a darkroom. My home energy consumption is undoubtably significantly higher than a typical single person’s as my house is large (those two offices take space), etc.

    However, the alternative is to:

    1. Lease a 750 sq ft office and move my work-related energy consumption from my house to my office and …

    2. Drive there.

    The logic some show on this thread would label me as being “more green” if I did so.

    Stupid.

  71. #71 Sortition
    July 21, 2007

    Fox1 – I’m not talking about any carbon he emits while traveling to in order to increase awareness to the global warming problem. Those are justified by the importance of the message and the positive effects of his activism.

    I’m also not suggesting that his household should consume dramatically less than the average US household (2x less would probably be a good start).

    I’m talking about the fact that when it was publicized that his home consumes ~20x more power than the average US household, his response was that it’s ok because he buys offsets. He is discrediting his own message with this behavior.

    If all that is needed is buying offsets, just leave us alone and create a cheap government program that buys offsets for all of us. With a few hundred dollars a year per household, this program would cost a few tens of billions of dollars a year. A drop in a $2000 billion budget. This does not sit well with his high flying rhetoric.

    Regrading the effectiveness of offsets: As far as I know, reductions in energy consumption – especially in the US – will be necessary to achieve the reductions in emissions that are necessary in order to reverse the global warming trend. Do you have any data to support the position (implied by Gore’s behavior) that offseting alone can do the job?

  72. #72 Sortition
    July 21, 2007

    dhogaza – If Gore came up with a reasonable explanation (someone on this blog suggested that he has a secret service team leaving in his house, for example, or your office argument, or something of the sort), backed up with a reasonable calculation of the emissions, I would have no problem with that. He didn’t do that. All he said was that he offsets.

    Beyond being a non-satisfactory explanation for his personal behavior, I am also worried that this reflects his whole approach to the issue – that we should buy, trade, or technologize our way out of it. If this is indeed his thinking, then I would not like him to be the one handling policy on this topic.

  73. #73 JC
    July 21, 2007

    dhogaza

    Sorry mispelled your name. It wan’t meant to be an ad hom in any way.

  74. #74 Sortition
    July 21, 2007

    …living…

  75. #75 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “But isn’t Gore’s strategy to offset his carbon footprint basically stock investments that his company, Generation Investment Management ( http://www.generationim.com/ ), manages?”

    Bo it isn’t and five minutes research would have told you that.

    Generation Investment Management purchases offsets to cover its own emissions and the emissions of all its employees (including Gore) from an independent external company in which they have no investment.

    But he is still fat.

  76. #76 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “If Gore came up with a reasonable explanation (someone on this blog suggested that he has a secret service team leaving in his house, for example, or your office argument, or something of the sort), backed up with a reasonable calculation of the emissions, I would have no problem with that. He didn’t do that. All he said was that he offsets.”

    Since 9-11 Gore and all other living former Vice-Presidents have been receiving Secret Service protection.

    It is standard Secret Service policy not to discuss operational details (such as numbers of personnel and whether they live full-time on the premises) for security reasons.

  77. #77 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “I’m talking about the fact that when it was publicized that his home consumes ~20x more power than the average US household, his response was that it’s ok because he buys offsets. He is discrediting his own message with this behavior.”

    It WAS publicised that his energy use was tewenty tiems higher than the US average.

    What wasn’t publicised

    - the initial reported figure for his households energy use was overstated;

    - the house is in Tennessee where energy use is almost double the national average because Tennessee has cold winters and hot humid summers;

    - the “average” US household has only 1.33 members (every individual; living alone is counted as a separate household);

    - in addition to Gore and his wife there are an undisclosed number of servants and security personnel living there;

    - the figures reported were for the first year after the Gores moved in – during that year they were adding insulation and installing solar panels;

    - there were extensive renovations made to the house including adding several rooms; construction chews up the power;

    - in addition to the offsets; Gore was paying for green power for the house (i.e. power derived from renewable sources) and the green power credits he paid for actually exceeded the houses energy consumption.

    But he is fat.

  78. #78 dhogaza
    July 21, 2007

    But he is still fat.

    But not as fat as Michael Moore, which means “An Inconvenient Truth” is a more accurate film than “Sicko”.

  79. #79 jc
    July 21, 2007

    Ian

    Is it racist to accuse Gore of being fat now? You seem to see racists looking in from every window these days.

    Lol with your 39 excuses as to why the Gores use so much energy.

    I particularly loved this one

    “national average because Tennessee has cold winters and hot humid summers;”

    Does everyone know Tennessee is a huge state. One side borders with Canada while the other with Mexico. Hence the Artic like winters and the humid summers.:-)

    Cold winters compared to where Vermont or Florida?

    The piece de resistance (French again) has to be this little gem

    “there were extensive renovations made to the house including adding several rooms; construction chews up the power;”

    LOL.

    You’re such a apologist, Ian.

    Before you get Jihadi on me, let me tell you I couldn’t give a continental how much power Gore uses. Al is entitled to use as much power as he likes including maximum use of the Google jet- a very handsome Gulfstream 5.5. Pretty soon though it could be a Hercules C135 if he doesn’t stop it with the appetite thing.

  80. #80 dhogaza
    July 21, 2007

    Is it racist to accuse Gore of being fat now? You seem to see racists looking in from every window these days.

    No, but his weight has nothing to do with the accuracy of his documentary, nor of Michael Moore’s (and, the first newspaper editorial I saw attacking Moore’s “Sicko” said, in essence, that he was a hypocrite for complaining about the health care system in the US because he’s fat).

    You’re such a apologist, Ian.

    Citing facts doesn’t make one an apologist.

    Ridiculing said facts makes you look like an idiot, and your tone makes you look like an asshole.

    My guess is that you’re both.

  81. #81 z
    July 21, 2007

    The fact that “they” think that a critique of the fish served at Al Gore’s daughter’s wedding constitutes a stinging rebuttal of anthropogenic climate change theory says everything there is to say about the theoretical basis of what-climate-change proponents, as well as the telling you everything you need to know about both the character and the thinking of the rightwing noise machine.

  82. #82 z
    July 21, 2007

    “Big Al made a mistake the wedding wasn’t evirnomentally friendly, but it’s no big deal. I forgive him. I always do for his frequent omissions and errors of judgement.”

    Well, halfway through the comments, and he still hasn’t read past halfway through the original posting. I guess that’s symmetrical, in a bizarre way.

  83. #83 Sortition
    July 21, 2007

    Ian -

    As I wrote before, all of your points should have appeared in Gore’s response (together with some details and data sources, making the argument quantitatively plausible). If these are old numbers, for example, why won’t he disclose the current numbers? The fact that all of those potential arguments were replaced by “we offset” is problematic on both the personal level and the implied policy level.

    Aren’t *you* concerned about the tone of his response?

  84. #84 Jc
    July 21, 2007

    dhogaza

    Gould is posting stuff suggesting that Tn has cold winters and ignores the obvious, that Al has built himself a mini version of Versailles that needs a great deal of power to run. Tn has mild winters, certainly milder winters than Vt which makes a mockery of the 250 Gould induced reasons why Gore uses less power than flashlight ” all things being equal of course” . In the Gould universe 1,200 sq feet is about equal to 10,000 sq feet

    Z says (with a straight face)
    “The fact that “they” think that a critique of the fish served at Al Gore’s daughter’s wedding constitutes a stinging rebuttal of anthropogenic climate change theory”

    Who’s talking about climate change, Z. I’m religious zealot like you when it comes to climate change. We’re talking about wolfing down endangered species. If Al wants to gobble down a dozen at a sitting more power (not that sort) to him.

  85. #85 dhogaza
    July 21, 2007

    Ahem …

    Tennessee:

    Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 91.5 degrees to a low of 27.8 degrees.

    Seems like Ian’s right about the state having a wide range of temperatures.

    Al’s mansion is 10,000 sq ft. Shit, I have friends with a 5,000 sq ft house. No where near versailles.

  86. #86 jc
    July 21, 2007

    So you agree then, that he should have built a smaller house if he was championing energy conservation with such temp variation despite it being a milder clime than the north eastern states.
    A 10,000 sq foot home is a decent wack at shelter, don’t you think?

    “Seems like Ian’s right about the state having a wide range of temperatures.”

    Ah No. Not really. Warmer weather is of longer duration and colder shorter that far south. Come on this isn’t NY state where summer basically starts in June 21 and ends on labor day almost to the date.

    Variation is not duration.

  87. #87 matthew
    July 21, 2007

    jc,

    How have you missed the posts stating that Gore and his wife run all of their organizations out of their house which includes offices for all of their employees and secrete service detail? Are you just messing with us now?

  88. #88 Fox1
    July 21, 2007

    No, Matthew, jc makes pithy little comments and then takes a few hours off to marvel at his own wit. He doesn’t actually respond to anything on topic or use, ya know, facts or data.
    The best arguments are, apparently, the amusing ones that you make up from whole cloth.

    Troll, idiot or egomaniac who only reads his own posts.
    Pick one or all three.

  89. #89 Fox1
    July 21, 2007

    So you agree then, that he should have built a smaller house if he was championing energy conservation with such temp variation despite it being a milder clime than the north eastern states.

    Nope, no one agrees with you, and you blithely ignored hosts of points regarding why your comment makes no sense.
    I thought this was about eating not-endangered fish while thinking about endangered fish, or something? Now the fish doesn’t matter and it’s about his house? Would you like to clarify what your rather hazy point is exactly? With, preferably, at least a 1:1 fact to stupid joke ratio?

  90. #90 ben
    July 21, 2007

    Once again: Al Gore thinks that Climate Change is the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.

    His actions, merely “offsetting” his carbon, speak louder than his words. Seems if he really believed what he said, then he’d be doing more about his own consumption of natural resources and carbon emissions etc., to set the example.

  91. #91 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “Is it racist to accuse Gore of being fat now”

    No but its an example of the pathetic lame name-calling his critics have to fall back on when all their attempts to nail him for something serious fail.

    When was the last time a liberal critic of Bush had to resort to pointing out that he has big ears?

  92. #92 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “Aren’t you concerned about the tone of his response?”

    So far as I know, the totality of the Gores’ response was a single press release issued by a spokesperson the day the story broke.

    Maybe Al thinks its none of our business.

    Or maybe he thinks that defending his actions at length would detract from the larger issue of global warming.

  93. #93 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “Al has built himself a mini version of Versailles that needs a great deal of power to run”

    No, Al bought an old house and renovated it.

    Considering how much energy goes into the initial construction of a house, had he built a new house from scratch, even a highly energy-efficient one, his total energy consumption to date (including the embedded energy in the construction materials) would be higher.

  94. #94 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “Ah No. Not really. Warmer weather is of longer duration and colder shorter that far south. Come on this isn’t NY state where summer basically starts in June 21 and ends on labor day almost to the date.”

    Tennessee’s average per capita energy consumption is 50% higher than the national average.

    Maybe Al has a secret gigantic automated slaughterhouse which constantly draws huge amounts of power as it slaughters endangered species for his insatiable appetite.

  95. #95 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    “His actions, merely “offsetting” his carbon, speak louder than his words. Seems if he really believed what he said, then he’d be doing more about his own consumption of natural resources and carbon emissions etc., to set the example.”

    This is the “Al Gore wants us all to starve to death in the freezing dark. Al Gore isn’t starving to death in the freezing dark therefore Al Gore is a hypocrite.” argument.

    Yes, global warming is a major problem and the consequences of failing to address it will be disastrous. Fortunately, technology and market-based economics (such as offsets) will allow us to address the problem – provided we act soon.

    How is Gore spending thousands of dollars a year on offsets and renewable energy hypocritical?

    George W Bush says he’s concerned about malnutrition in the third world – is he a hypocrite for not starving himself?

    He advocates adoption as an alternative to abortion. Is he a hypocrite because he hasn’t adopted any children himself?

  96. #96 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/states/sep_sum/plain_html/sum_btu_res.html

    Total per capita energy consumption in Tennessee (2004) ca. 85,000 BTU. Total US per capita energy consumption (2004), ca. 70,000 BTU.

    Now watch as JC twists and turns to explain away the facts.

  97. #97 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    Oops. those figures should actually be 70 million and 85 million BTU.

  98. #98 Ian Gould
    July 21, 2007

    A further clarification, the 50% higher figure I used first isn’t actually wrong – its just misleading because it includes non-residential energy use. The 22% higher figure is for the residential sector.

  99. #99 Fox1
    July 21, 2007

    ben: seems if he really believed what he said, then he’d be doing more about his own consumption of natural resources and carbon emissions etc., to set the example.

    He has and he does, so I guess he must really believe. Continue trolling though, the internet is a great place for completely unsupported character assassination.

  100. #100 ben
    July 21, 2007

    How is Gore spending thousands of dollars a year on offsets and renewable energy hypocritical?

    I never claimed that it was.

    He has and he does, so I guess he must really believe. Continue trolling though, the internet is a great place for completely unsupported character assassination.

    I said doing more, not doing something.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!