Before President Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize, the real signal that the Norwegian Nobel committee had become politicized was its 2007 prize to Al Gore, largely for his global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth.”
For a public figure, Mr. Gore has been strangely reluctant to answer questions or debate the more controversial parts of his work. But over the weekend, he deigned to take a few questions during a meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Madison, Wisconsin.
Irish documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer was in the line. A former Financial Times journalist, his new film, “Not Evil, Just Wrong,” is a direct refutation of Mr. Gore’s thesis and warns that rushing to judgment in combating climate change would threaten the world’s poor. When his turn came, Mr. McAleer asked Mr. Gore about a court case in Britain in which a parent had objected to “An Inconvenient Truth” being shown to British schoolchildren because it was largely propaganda, not science.
Mr. Gore swatted away the question by claiming the judge had found in favor of his film. He also briefly addressed one of the objections to his film by scoffing at claims that polar bears weren’t an endangered species. Mr. McAleer tried to follow up by pointing out that polar bear populations were increasing, but his microphone was quickly cut off. Organizers insisted that several other people were waiting with questions and they had to move on.
In fact, Mr. Gore didn’t answer Mr. McAleer’s question and was wrong on the facts. The British court found that An Inconvenient Truth “is a political film” riddled with scientific errors. The judge also held that requiring the film to be shown in schools would be a violation of law, unless accompanied by “guidance” pointing out its errors. The judge concluded that the claimant who objected to the film “substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act.”
As for polar bears, Mr. McAleer was correct: Surveys show their numbers are increasing.
Mr. McAleer, whose film premiers this weekend, says he’s more disappointed in the environmental journalists who give Mr. Gore cover than in the former vice president. Mr. Gore is simply doing what any propagandist with a weak case would do — avoiding serious debate or exchange. To quote the late William F. Buckley, “There is a reason that baloney rejects the grinder.”