Published on March 1st, 2007 | by Hans Fruck


More Ridiculous Shit from Miranda Devine

Yep, another week, another egregiously absurd piece in the SMH from Miranda Devine. To no one’s surprise, least of all mine, she’s taken potshots at Hollywood, Al Gore, environmentalists, and the veracity of climate change.

Miranda wastes no time training her telescopic sight on Gore:

After the excruciating Al Gore lovefest the Oscars became this week it is too tempting not to sink the slipper into Tinseltown hypocrisy on climate change. The opportunities are endless. For starters, there is the sainted Gore, who gave new meaning to the term “stuffed shirt” when he strutted onstage in Ralph Lauren with Leo DiCaprio. (All added emphasis is mine.)

Miranda starts off with a Maureen Dowd-lite putdown. Ha-ha, hypocritical Al Gore is a fatty! And how unmanly, or undignified, or unsomething of him to wear Ralph Lauren to the Oscars. Note also, Miranda’s novelistic resort to interpreting Al’s body language: he didn’t walk onto the stage, he “strutted”. Hmm, could Miranda possibly be loading the dices? Surely not.

As the Drudge Report highlighted the next day, Gore’s eight-bathroom Nashville mansion and pool house complex “consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service”.

By the way, I should tell you (because Miranda won’t) that The Drudge Report is a wingnut propaganda site with about as much credibility as Andrew Bolt or, for that matter, Miranda Devine. She continues:

The evidence is his electricity bills, acquired by the Tennessee Centre for Policy Research, a small free-market think tank, and reviewed by the Associated Press.

Yeah, and I should also tell you (because Miranda won’t — she’s remarkably reticent about some things) that the president of the Tennessee Centre for Policy Research is part of the American Enterprise Institute, which, you won’t be surprised to find out, takes money from Big Oil, is riddled with neo-conservative cheerleaders for the disaster in Iraq, and works against anything that’s not right-wing and pro-business. Hmm… do you think they might have an ulterior motive in this debate? Do you think readers might be interested in this background when they’re weighing up what to think about this controversy?

Miranda lists the incriminating evidence:

The Gore estate – one of three he owns – burnt nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours last year, more than 20 times the national average, with a monthly electricity bill averaging $US1359 ($1716). Coupled with previously reported calculations of Gore’s copious jet-propelled carbon emissions as he criss-crossed the planet promoting his movie An Inconvenient Truth, which won two Oscars, the news of Gore’s latest eco-gluttony is too delicious for words.

Yairs, “delicious” if you’re into lame-arse gotcha journalism — the kind of journalism that obscures the ideological orientation of its sources and specialises in telling only half the story. As for Al’s “jet-propelled carbon emissions”, let’s balance them against all the good Al Gore can do by being a widely travelled climate-change spokesperson, shall we? Do you think that offsets his travels at all? Blinded by her ideological blinkers, Miranda won’t figure this one out, and trusts that no one else will, either. Finally, in a press release, Al Gore’s staff make the following points that put his energy consumption into context:

100 percent of the power the Gores use in their home is green power.Both the Vice President and Mrs Gore have home offices and conduct business at the house so obviously they use more power than someone who is just a homeowner. The Gores drive a hybrid, use compact fluorescents, et cetera.And the Gores live a carbon neutral life which means that for every ton of carbon they emit, they also purchase offsets.

Miranda, to be fair, acknowledges at least part of this:

Gore’s spokespeople didn’t deny the figures but said the Gore family has been buying carbon offsets to bring their ecological “footprint down to zero”. It’s easy being green. If you are rich enough, go ahead and guzzle as much energy as you like, then just pay the offset.

Of course, he’s only “guzzling” energy if he’s using it profligately — and that’s something that comparing his energy consumption to an average household’s consumption ain’t gonna tell ya. He’s a former VP, a statesman, and one of the world’s foremost environmental advocates. Is anyone surprised in the slightest that his household consumes more energy than an average household? The really significant metric here, one which Miranda and Drudge ignore, is whether Gore’s consumption is more than a person in his position and with his responsibilities should consume. Keep in mind, also, that Gore, as a former VP of the United States, probably has a security detail and staff, not to mention the fact that he pays considerably more for his electricity than he needs to by using only “green power”.

Anyway, Miranda then tut-tuts about all of us gullible victims of global warming propaganda and, in the process, manages to slip in another couple of jibes about Gore’s weight.

In Australia we have caught the bug well, as evidenced by An Inconvenient Truth’s fat Down Under box office, and Gore’s long-winded (by Oscars standards) speech to Nine’s Richard Wilkins on the red carpet, urging our Prime Minister to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Gore joked about announcing his run for the US presidency on stage and sort of ruled it out backstage, despite the best efforts of tout Hollywood. All affable beefiness

I don’t know what Miranda’s weight obsession is all about — was she an obese child? Maybe she’s just a bitch who enjoys taunting portly people? I’m not sure. Anyway, she reserved similar mockery for Michael Moore when she wrote about last year’s Oscars. I’m also unsure why she has a problem with Gore’s “long-winded” red-carpet chat with Richard Wilkins… It was 90 seconds at most (less, I suspect). And so what? Maybe, in contrast to some actors, he has something worth saying. And maybe he’s just polite and, you know, answers questions that journalists ask him. How is that a bad thing? (I didn’t see Richard Wilkins complaining.)

And finally, Miranda tops off her column in inimitable style:

But there have to be handbrakes on this headlong rush into a costly and probably misguided climate change-centred future. The former BHP chairman Sir Arvi Parbo provided one in a speech yesterday in Parliament House in Canberra, launching the book Nine Facts about Climate Change. “One must admire the skilful way in which the public has been led to believe that there is no longer any uncertainty, and that disastrous climate change caused by humans is imminent,” said Parbo, 81, one of Australia’s most formidable business brains. The author of the book, the former Western Mining executive Ray Evans, the founder of the climate-sceptic Lavoisier Group, said that Gore, “with his private jet and his imperial lifestyle, reminds me of Elmer Gantry, the fictional American preacher of the 1950s who was vehemently against fornication and other sins of the flesh, but whose frailty in these matters matched the vigour of his preaching … “His message is a very simple one; a message with a long tradition in American religious life; and that is that man is sinful and should repent and seek salvation; or to use the environmentalists’ synonym of salvation, ‘sustainability’.”

Miranda’s not at all troubled by the vast preponderance of scientific opinion — ie, researched and written by people who actually know what they’re talking about, as distinct, you know, from her. No, no, the scientists are wrong on climate change, and acting on their representations is “probably misguided”. Miranda’s evidence? Her evidence is provided by the former chairman of BHP and a former Western Mining executive! Well, they’re clearly experts in the field, and they obviously don’t have any vested interests in the issue, do they, Miranda? Not like Al Gore.

I mean, how can anyone take Gore seriously? He struts, and he wears Ralph Lauren.

And he’s fat.

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