Well, we can always hope. In a recent column about global warming, Paul Krugman makes this ancillary point (italics mine):
Nor is this evidence tainted by scientific misbehavior. You’ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers — allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of “Climategate,” and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media. You don’t believe such things can happen? Think Shirley Sherrod
Look at the scientists who question the consensus on climate change; look at the organizations pushing fake scandals; look at the think tanks claiming that any effort to limit emissions would cripple the economy. Again and again, you’ll find that they’re on the receiving end of a pipeline of funding that starts with big energy companies, like Exxon Mobil, which has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting climate-change denial, or Koch Industries, which has been sponsoring anti-environmental organizations for two decades.
While this isn’t news to anyone familiar with the Republican War on Science, it’s good to see this clearly stated in the national media.
Like E.J Dionne, I hope I never hear the phrase “teachable moment” again. But the Sherrod non-scandal (or maybe it’s an anti-scandal) could–and should–serve as a prime example of how the right constantly distorts or flat-out lies (and this is the modus operandi for the more genteel practitioners too). Just as ‘Sister Souljah’ entered the lexicon, so too should Sherrod.
And the Coalition of the Sane should mercilessly beat the Tea Partiers and the theopolitical right over the head with it.