Do you remember the name of Bev Perdue’s DENR secretary? His name was Dee Freeman. Search for him on Google, and you get a total of TWO mainstream media stories — arguably softballs — on the first page. Try the same thing with Pat McCrory’s DENR secretary John Skvarla. You get a whole page of hard-hitting, hostile stories. It’s *amazing* what a change of party-in-power will do to news coverage.
The N&O’s Craig Jarvis has me puzzled with his latest piece on Skvarla, entitled “What’s Skvarla Think About Global Warming?” The real question to me, is THIS: “Why is Craig writing this story, asking this question, when Skvarla answered it already in a piece Jarvis wrote in December 2012 ?” :
Now, Skvarla comes with a mandate from Gov.-elect Pat McCrory to impose an attitude of “customer service” on state government. He arrives with a record of inspiring new and struggling businesses, solidly conservative politics, and the view that global warming is still an open question.
THAT tells me he believes global warming is not a settled matter of science. It’s still open for debate and discussion, which is a very reasonable position to take. So, why are we getting this latest story with this particular headline? Is Craig suffering from amnesia or, possibly, dementia? Let’s explore:
John Skvarla, the personable and accomplished new secretary of the state’s environmental-protection agency, has been evasive on the question of just what he thinks about global warming. Perhaps the fact that he suggests it’s still an open question provides the answer.
But here’s a more definitive clue.
His executive secretary emailed Department of Environment and Natural Resources division directors and senior managers last week advising them of a presentation that global-warming skeptic John Droz gave to a few dozen members of the General Assembly on Wednesday.
Droz, who was a real estate investor and has degrees in physics, mathematics and solid state science, also believes the global warming question is unsettled because scientists still argue both sides of the issue. The predominant view, however, is that climate change is real and that the world’s use of carbon dioxide and methane play a role in that.
Droz was scientific adviser to the group of 20 counties that tried to tie sea-level rise predictions to historic trends rather than climate science that predicts a faster rise and a bigger influence on coastal development. Droz, whose main cause is anti-wind power, is prone to exaggerated and provocative statements.
Exaggeration? Provocation? Sounds like The McClatchy Gang’s editorial policy to me. MORE:
His talk at the invitation of conservative legislators was about how science is being manipulated by special interest groups, which is an argument that some might turn against him.
“Secretary Skvarla asked that I pass this along to you for your consideration as an ‘optional’ event,” his assistant’s email read. Not clear if “optional” means optional or not.
Um, Craig. What else do you think “optional” means? You sound like Bill Clinton asking for clarification on the definition of the word “is.” Mr. Jarvis appears to be suggesting something insidious here. It looks to me that Skvarla is acting in line with his position on global warming. He appears to be trying to expose DENR employees to information outside the conventional wisdom that has so dominated government environmental policy.
This reminds me of something similar I heard from the late Tim Russert, the former host of Meet The Press, at a small breakfast meeting in DC back in the early 90s. Russert told us that he prepared for his shows by reading The Washington Post AND The Washington Times (the capital city’s conservative alternative), and The Nation AND National Review, among others. His point: You become a better journalist, and a better-informed, well-rounded person, by reading WHAT YOU AGREE WITH as well as WHAT YOU DISAGREE WITH. You really limit yourself by sticking solely with stuff you agree with.
It sounds like Skvarla was providing employees with a chance to be exposed to some new ideas and a different point-of-view. He should be applauded for that.
To try to twist the knife a bit, Jarvis throws in an “update” from the lefties at The Institute for Southern Studies. Sounds like a charming, harmless little think thank, huh? Check out their site:
Since our founding in 1970 by veterans of the civil rights movement, the Institute for Southern Studies has established a national reputation as an essential resource for grassroots activists, community leaders, scholars, policy makers and others working to bring lasting social and economic change to the region.
The Institute draws attention to the national importance of the South and offers an exciting vision of the region-a place brimming with a capacity for progressive change that challenges its reputation as a monolithic, conservative stronghold.
Back to Craig:
As the Institute for Southern Studies Facing South project first reported, Droz owns property on the coast. Dome finds in Carteret County he owns a half-million-dollar home in Morehead City, where he lives, and a $290,000 home on Emerald Isle.
And this has WHAT to do with the cost of tea in China? (For what it’s worth, $290,000 for a house in Emerald Isle sounds like a DEAL.) MORE:
Facing South’s Sue Sturgis also reported this about Droz’s Wednesday presentation:
“Among the publications Droz cited to make his case were Whistleblower, the monthly magazine companion of WorldNetDaily, a website that promotes conspiracy theories about topics such as President Obama’s citizenship; Quadrant, a conservative Australian magazine that was involved in a scandal over publishing fraudulent science; and the Institute for Creation Research, a Texas outfit that rejects evolution and promotes Biblical creationism and the notion that ‘All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the Creation Week.'”