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Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's because we expect so much less from Think Progress than from Wonkette

Think Progress, the Democratic messaging website run by John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, has been a frequent focus here for its outlandish race-card playing and other antics.

This week Think Progress hit a new low, when it ran a blog post mocking the politics of southern states which were hit by tornadoes, using the devastation as an excuse both to push a global warming agenda and to take a swipe at the conservative politics of the region. 

It was in many ways Think Progress' Wonkette moment.

Here is a screen shot of the original post (this somehow has disappeared from Google cache, but I had the screenshot saved):

When an internet firestorm erupted, the post title was toned down a bit eliminating the rolling body count:

To make sure no one missed it, the post was run again in the evening under the "Healthy Communities" section of Think Progress:

Putting aside the offensive and crass political swipe, the attempt to draw a connection between the tornadoes and climate change simply was false:
US meteorologists warned Thursday it would be a mistake to blame climate change for a seeming increase in tornadoes in the wake of deadly storms that have ripped through the US south.

"If you look at the past 60 years of data, the number of tornadoes is increasing significantly, but it's agreed upon by the tornado community that it's not a real increase," said Grady Dixon, assistant professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University.
"It's having to do with better (weather tracking) technology, more population, the fact that the population is better educated and more aware. So we're seeing them more often," Dixon said.

But he said it would be "a terrible mistake" to relate the up-tick to climate change.
Here is a chart of tornado history in the U.S. (via Watts Up With That), showing that even with better detection and tracking, the number of strong tornadoes is not really increasing:

Lacking a scientific basis for the crude political swipe, Think Progress did what Wonkette originally did, double-down. 

The author of the original post ran a third post the next day trying to justify his original posts, and Think Progress' lead blogger, Matthew Yglesias (one of the first bloggers to make a connection between the Sarah Palin electoral map and the Gabriell Giffords shooting), came to his defense in response to a critical post by Tabitha Hale.

The outrage at the Think Progress post will not last, unlike the outrage directed at Wonkette.  In part, it's because there is no one to whom to complain.  Think Progress, flush with cash from big Democratic donors, has no advertisers.

But in part it's because we expect so much less from Think Progress than from Wonkette.

(As an aside, notice how the author uses the term "climate pollution."  Is that the new verbiage?)

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  1. "Imagine if Republicans had ... scenario #14,682:"

    Imagine if Republicans had tied 9/11 to the liberal, better-dead-than-appear-to-be-Islamaphobic-merely-by-noticing-almost-all-terrorists-are-muslims liberal politics of New York?

    So, we can't expect Papa George's Pizza to withdraw support from Thunk Progress?


  3. Way back in the '68 McCarthy Clean-for-Gene Campaign, John Podesta and I worked together in a storefront in Brooklyn. He was a great hard-working kid still in college. I last saw him in the '80s at a Dem fund-raiser when I worked as a Mondale Campaign member. I've finally grown up and it's a shame to see John taking Soros money to undermine the dollar so that arbitrage predator can short the dollar.

    He's obviously lost all perspective or else doesn't even busy himself with his online staffers. Another professional leftist.

  4. "Poison the atmosphere" idiomatically works, whereas "pollute the climate" doesn't, either figuratively or scientifically.

    Think Progress, Don't Make Any.

  5. Professor, do you have a theory about why the Koch funded Cato Institute invited Soros to speak at one of their events on Thursday?

    I mean the Soros funded Think Progress has been on a relentless smear campaign against the Koch's for months. And now the Koch's most prominent think tank, Cato Institute, invited Soros to speak there? I don't understand.

    BTW, Soros wrote a column in Politico yesterday explaining why his view of the world, influenced by Karl Popper (Popper was once a hard core Marxist whose views moderated in his later years), is the correct one and anybody who disagrees with him is wrong. In it, he hysterically distinguishes between a "hard right" and "the so-called left, in so far as it exists".

    This is the guy who decries polarization in the media, but he had no problem comparing George Bush to the Nazis leading up to the 2004 campaign. More recently, he played the Nazi card against Fox News. And he's unleashed his Think Progress propaganda machine to relentlessly stoke hatred against, and smear, the Koch Brothers. And he complains about polarization in the media?

    He's a despicable hypocrite.

    But again, why do you think Cato would invite him to speak given the despicable smears leveled against the Koch's by Think Progress?

    Here's the Politico column:

  6. According to the chart, peak tornado activity over the last 55 years occurred around the time we were entering a new ice age--or so said the "experts".

  7. Progressives using death and tragedy for political gain (a la the Tuscon massacre).

    I expect nothing less from such insufferable phallic symbols.

  8. OK, I know about Anthropogenic Global Warming. It morphed into Global Climate Change when it became apparent that the "warming" wasn't happening (as demonstrated by the famous phrase "hide the decline", from the Climategate emails).

    But this "Climate Pollution" thing is a new one to me. I'm not sure how one COULD pollute "the climate". Pollute the ocean, yes; or the air; or groundwater. But... the CLIMATE? Hunh???