On Tuesday, Minnesota Public Radio reported in Minnesota Republicans change their tone on climate change that even Representative Glenn Gruenhagen had mellowed on the environmental issue.
However, a legislative update that the Glencoe Republican emailed to his list on Wednesday afternoon demonstrates that he's still the same old Glenn. His email directed readers to Weather Channel Founder Explains the History of the Global Warming Hoax, an article and video published by the Tea Party News Network.
MPR's Catharine Richert reported:
When the Republican-controlled Minnesota House debated an energy bill earlier this year, Democrats offered an amendment that would have had the Legislature state on the record that climate change is real and caused by human activity.
The amendment failed, but the debate revealed how a national trend among Republicans is playing out in Minnesota: As public opinion on climate change shifts, the ways Republicans are talking about it are too.
In 2013, for example, state Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen took to the floor of the House floor to denounce arguments that climate change is linked to humans.
"There's more and more evidence coming that it's just a complete United Nations fraud and lie," said Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe. "The facts show that in the last 16 years there has been no global warming."
This year, Gruenhagen softened his tone during the debate over the amendment to the energy bill. When House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, asked Gruenhagen if he believed climate change is caused by people, the Republican legislator said he would defer to researchers he trusts.
"Representative Thissen, I believe there's eminently qualified scientists who disagree with that comment, and I tend to agree with those scientists," Gruenhagen said. . . .
Gruenhagen wrote in his email:
I wanted to send along a video from meteorologist and Weather Channel founder John Coleman and his thoughts on Democrats' climate change rhetoric. For years, Democrats have tried to claim that climate change (first it was global cooling, then it was global warming, now it's climate change) is an imminent danger and we must implement policies that would crush low and middle-income families in order to combat it.
Republicans proposed sensible legislation this session that would allow us to take advantage of breakthroughs in technology to make our energy sources both cleaner and cheaper. Nobody is against cleaning up our energy, but we must do it in a way that doesn't crush low and middle-income families under sky-high energy bills and other taxes.
I hope you'll take a few moments to watch the video and let me know what you think. Watch the video by clicking here: http://www.tpnn.com/2014/03/17/weather-channel-founder-explains-the-history-of-the-global-warming-hoax/
Who is this scientist that Gruenhagen trusts on the Tea Party News Network and what are his credentials? The Washington Post's Jason Samenow wrote in Why does anyone pay attention to John Coleman, Weather Channel co-founder, on climate change?:
Both Fox News and CNN have recently invited John Coleman, one of the founders of The Weather Channel and former TV meteorologist, to express his views about climate change to their national audiences. Coleman is simply an awful choice to discuss this issue. He lacks credentials, many of his statements about climate change completely lack substance or mislead, and I’m not even sure he knows what he actually believes.
To begin, Coleman hasn’t published a single peer-reviewed paper pertaining to climate change science. His career, a successful and distinguished one, was in TV weather for over half a century, prior to his retirement in San Diego last April. He’s worked in the top markets: Chicago and New York, including a 7-year stint on Good Morning America when it launched. If you watch Coleman on-camera, his skill is obvious. He speaks with authority, injects an irreverent sense of humor and knows how to connect with his viewer.
But a climate scientist, he is not. . . .
Samenow is not alone in pointing out that Coleman, whose degree is in journalism, isn't a scientist. The Guardian's Dana Nuccitelli reported in Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman prefers conspiracies to climate science:
The Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman was recently interviewed by Megyn Kelly on Fox News, calling human-caused global warming “a myth.” The interview was then amplified through the media echo chamber, including an article at left-leaning Huffington Post, and Coleman was subsequently interviewed on CNN’s Reliable Sources.
Coleman has publicly denied the scientific reality of human-caused global warming for years, telling Fox News in 2008 that he wanted to sue Al Gore, for example. There’s no new content in these latest interviews; just the usual long-debunked climate myths and conspiracy theories. Coleman is apparently considered a credible climate interviewee because he was instrumental in creating The Weather Channel 32 years ago, but he’s woefully misinformed when it comes to climate science. . . .
Several times during the Fox interview, Megyn Kelly commented that The Weather Channel will “be pushed out of existence since [Coleman has] taken this position.” In reality, Coleman was forced out of The Weather Channel in 1983, just a year after he helped found it. Coleman has had no affiliation with The Weather Channel for over 30 years. . . .
On CNN, Coleman claimed to be a scientist. He’s been a TV weatherman for over 60 years, but his degree is in journalism. In recent years he forecasted the weather in San Diego, where it generally ranges from sunny and warm to sunnier and warmer. . . .
DeSmog Blog has published a detailed dossier on John Coleman.
But it's not just Gruenhagen's placement of John Coleman among "researchers he trusts" that's problematic. The Tea Party News Network itself enjoys a dubious reputation. In February 2015, most of the staff resigned over the owners' focus on "clickbait" headlines and content that rivalled TMZ.
Not that this was the first scrutiny of Todd Cefaratti, the force behind TPNN. Buzzflash reported in 2013's There's Money to Be Made in Milking the Tea Party, 'Natch! that the entrepreneur looked at the grassroots citizens movement as something of a cash cow.
Given how Gruenhagen has made it clear which "respected scientists" and publications he trusts to share with his constituents and email list, Bluestem hopes that Minnesota Public Radio will update the piece to let listeners know that Glenn just maybe might not yet be the poster child for GOP evolution on this one.
Photo: Insurance salesman and state representative Glenn Gruenhagen (top); an April 8 Facebook post on Representative Gruenhagen's official page. Whatever story MPR was pitched about softening Republican attitudes about climate change, perhaps Richert could have picked a different poster child.
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