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This item was posted on October 20, 2009, and it was categorized as Andrew Revkin, Climate Change, greenhouse gases, population.
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It was only a matter of time before Rush Limbaugh would discover Andy Revkin, global environmental reporter for the New York Times, and target him for that special, hysterical, rage-inflected treatment that is his trademark. And now it has happened, as the audio above, courtesy of Media Matters, shows in alarming fashion.

Here’s what El Rushbo spat into the Golden EIB microphone today:

“This guy from the New York Times, if he really thinks that humanity is destroying the panet, humanity is destroying the climate, that human beings in their natural existence are going to cause the extinction of life on Earth — Andrew Revkin. Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?”

There can be no excuse for a vicious comment like this. And the fact that American media outlets tolerate this hate-mongering — and advertisers will pay Limbaugh for it — is astounding.

Nothing more really need be said. Limbaugh’s despicable comments are self-refuting.

But I feel compelled to say just a bit more: I’ve known Andy Revkin since 1981, or thereabouts. I’ve read much of what he has written over his career about environmental issues. (Full disclosure: I consider him to be not just a colleague, but also a friend.) And never once have I heard him express anything that bears even the remotest resemblance to Limbaugh’s characterization of his work. Anyone who has read Andy’s work over time knows that he is a careful, accurate and fair reporter who works hard to avoid being boxed in by the frames used by partisans to constrain public discussion about issues like climate change. While environmentalists often claim that global warming will “destroy the planet,” Andy would never write any such thing. (Do I need to say why not? Because it is so patently, absurdly untrue.)

Andy has been attacked before — from the left. Climate scientist Michael Tobis, for example, has called him “palpably evil,” evidently for not adhering to Tobis’s particular take on climate change issues. And as many readers of this blog well know, Andy has been a favorite target of climate activist Joe Romm. (Today Romm takes Limbaugh to task for remarks that are “far beyond the pale even for his brand of extremism.”) But however over the top it can sometimes become, at least Romm’s hyperventilating about Revkin’s reporting is reality-based. And however much I do not care for it, Romm’s style is within the norm for blogging.

Limbaugh’s vicious, shameful attack was, as Romm said, simply beyond the pale. It came in response to comments Andy had made via Skype to a symposium on media coverage of population and climate change. He raised a question, as a thought experiment, of whether parents could get carbon credits for “avoided kids.” In Andy’s DotEarth post today about Limbaugh’s comments and the hate mail they have spawned, he points out that explosive population growth in places like sub-Saharan Africa could be “blunted without a single draconian measure . . . simply by providing access to family planning for millions of women who already want it, but can’t get it — whether or not someone gets a carbon credit in the process.”

Andy’s point is debatable. But Limbaugh’s attack has nothing to do with debate and rationality. His approach, if not his message, has parallels to Father Charles Coughlin, the nasty, emotional, radical, Hitler-loving bigot of the 1930s who ranted about Franklin Roosevelt being a tool of international Jewish bankers.

Americans of good will, both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, must speak out loudly against this latter-day Coughlin in our midst.

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This thing has 30 Comments

  1. Katie
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    That Limbaugh’s Listeners would believe his lies without question, then send hate mail to Mr. Revkin, shows that there’s something terribly wrong with Limbaugh, and what has become his cult-like following.

  2. Jon
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. The more outrageous he is, the more you listen.

  3. mbabbitt
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys, read the whole monologue. See what the extreme climate change nut cases are proposing and talking about so nonchalantly: exchanging babies for carbon credits. If that doesn’t turn your stomach at first blush, nothing will. Now Rush has everyone talking. His statement would be something I would not out loud; it’s too personal but then maybe I am like one of those cowards in history who stood by one the sidelines when evil passed my way. Stop with the Rush bashing and take a look at the policy being proposed and calmly discussed. It is ghastly and needs a slap down.

  4. mbabbitt
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    With many AGW supporters proposing us going back to the stone age in order to save the planet, I am sure many of the AGW human despising extremists have gone beyond a simple thought experiment of carbon credits — and forced sterilization is not outside of their conversations. We saved the SE US from malaria with DDT in the 40′s but we let those people in Africa die from malaria because we love the planet. Same logic; save ourselves let other die — or not be encouraged to be born.

  5. Paul
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Hooray for Rush! With only 2 avenues (Fox and radio) for rebuttal to a superior financed and very politically entrenched but unfounded and irrational AGW alarmist agenda Rush, who may have been the first to have widely publicized the ridiculousness of CO2 being responsible for global warming, let alone anthropogenic GW, is capably serving and defending our country with the passion and ability of a living legend. Should Revkin kill himself? Those AGWers or enviros who are so sincere about thinking that there are those alive today who are not worthy of being so regarding their “carbon footprint” should, in fact, gladly reduce the human “carbon demand” by martyring themselves for the “good” of Gaia so that those left will have a better opportunity to solve problems that could well lead to a continued symbiotic relationship between man and Earth. I have long held that belief, too.

    Let the AGWA’s sue! Let the CO2 pollutant case go to court where it will be roundly exposed as a fraud and the “scientists” who have propagandized AGW to the detriment to our own development and security will be disgraced and punished.

  6. Justin Ert
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    “…tolerate this hate-mongering…” and “…Limbaugh’s despicable comments are self-refuting…”
    Are you saying Revkin a victim of Limbaugh’s behavior? Ridiculous. Ironic that the accusation that Limbaugh righlty levels:
    “…go kill yourself and help the planet by dying.” is paralled by Rekvins distorted Malthusian philosophy will have been lost on the eco-apocalypticists. Fine is it to abuse rational people with accusations of holocaust denial and smugly suggest polulation control as a means to mitigate AGW among the torrent of abuse that Revkin has levelled over the past using NYT as a pulput for extremist proselytizing, but when the finger is pointed back at his Lysenkoist position, he’s painted as a victim by the socialist bullies he supports.

  7. Interglacial John
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    If only these leftist windbags would defend innocent babies with the same zeal! These leftists have no soul, they are shameless and tactless. It is ridiculous to attack the messenger, Rush is not your problem, the truth is your biggest issue. CO2 has never and will never drive climate. Now don’t you have some babies to go and kill now?

  8. kramer
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    satire

    satire |ˈsaˌtīr|
    noun
    the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. See note at wit .

  9. Rob Jones
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Once again, Someone take 90 seconds of Rush and completely ignores everything leading up to the statement. So typical of the left doesn’t ever actually listen to Rush to hear what he actually says but instead takes a 90 second sound bite from Media Matters and pretends it was all that was said.

    Also, the characterization of Andrew Revkin as a “careful, accurate and fair reporter who works hard to avoid being boxed in by the frames used by partisans” is ridiculous. Just because he is not as far left as some of the kooks does not make him fair. He has consistently ignored objective science while trying to give the appearance of fairness. He is a scare monger.

  10. Sigifrith
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The only hate I see in this debate is the hatred of humanity itself as manifested by the likes of Mr. Revkin, Paul Erlich, et al. Mr. Limbaugh is right in saying ‘If humanity is the problem…you first.’

  11. Mrs. Pelican
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Those silly global warmers sure get indignant when someone suggests they walk the same gangplank they are trying to push us off. Way to go, Rush – right on target, as usual!

  12. Posted October 21, 2009 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    For those of you who are so ready to defend Limbaugh, have you read what Andrew Revkin actually said, along with his comments about it at DotEarth? Or do you simply accept everything you hear on Limbaugh’s program without question?

    And please tell me what makes it okay for an influential public figure like Limbaugh to tell anyone to commit suicide? If this is acceptable, where does it end? I believe this knee-jerk acceptance of hate-mongering leads us inexorably downward to a very dark place.

  13. Posted October 21, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Limbaugh’s unstated logic (such that it is) goes something like this:

    “Revkin argues that humanity is destroying the Earth. So he should help save the Earth by killing himself.” (Never mind that he has never said anything even remotely like “humanity is destroying the Earth.”)

    The implied logic here is that violence is warranted in Revkin’s case (he should KILL himself) because he has advocated for something that is equally or even more violent.

    If you bother to read to what Revkin said you will see that this is utter nonsense. He posed a thought experiment that was meant to spark thinking on a variety of issues, including these: the role of population growth in rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; how the logic of carbon credits could possibly be taken to an absurd extreme; and, most important, how providing women WHO WANT IT access to contraception, particularly in places like sub-Saharan Africa.

    Advocating for the provision of contraception to women who want it is not in any way advocating for a violent outcome of any kind whatsoever.

  14. anon
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    If there are to many people on earth then of course the environmentalists should be the ones to volunteer.
    I concur that Revkin should kill himself for the good of the planet.

    Or are we on your list of to many people on this planet?

  15. Posted October 21, 2009 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Rush Limbaugh is odious. But this post is hardly measured or sensible. Like it or not, much of the environmental movement comes across as unsympathetic to humanity. It’s as if, somehow, we alone are not natural. Everything else on this planet is, however – and must be shielded from our impacts.

    If we really believe the Earth’s overriding problem is us, it’s logical (albeit outrageous) to ask who’ll be volunteering to ease the planet’s burden by offing themselves. This is the kernel of Limbaugh’s thought experiment. Whether it appeals to you or not, he’s raised a significant and substantive issue.

    Tom Yulman can’t see any of that. According to him, Limbaugh’s comments are “alarming,” “vicious,” “hate-mongering” and “despicable” – amounting to a “vicious, shameful attack”. Not content with this hyperbole, he then adds a comparison to a historical figure who admired Hitler.

    Congratulations, Mr. Yulman. You win this week’s Drama Queen award.

  16. Posted October 21, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    My apologies, sir, for misspelling your name. It should, of course, be Mr. Yulsman.

  17. Posted October 21, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for taking the time to add your comments here. I appreciate it. And your criticism of my reference to Hitler is quite well deserved.

    But I’d like you to understand where I’m coming from. Rush Limbaugh shrieked into his microphone yesterday that Revkin (a friend of mine for decades) should commit suicide. And millions of listeners heard it. Have you any experience with suicide? I do, involving a close loved one. Suffice it to say that I know from personal experience that it is no joking matter. It is a horrifically violent act.

    Revkin said or did nothing to deserve being treated this way. And given the hate-mail Revkin is receiving as a result of Limbaugh’s comment, I stand by almost everything I said.

    Are you arguing here that twisting what someone has said and then exhorting him to commit horrific violence against himself — all for the entertainment of listeners — is not vicious, shameful, alarming, despicable and worthy of strenuous criticism?

  18. Mark
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Rush is right

  19. Posted October 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Specifically what is Rush right about, Mark? That a good man with two children should kill himself?

  20. WestHoustonGeo
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Revikin wants to tax one of my two children. Obama wants to tax my utilities, my transporatation and my liveleyhood. Obama, Pelosi, et al, call me a NAZI, a religious fanatic, a gun-toting hothead, a mobster, the “A word” and “silly”.

    You want sympathy from me when Rush tells to to take a flying leap -into the afterlife?

    I don’t think so.

  21. Posted October 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    WestHoustonGeo: Did you actually bother to read what Revkin has said, or do you simply trust every word out of Limbaugh’s mouth?

    Revkin does not want to tax anyone, let alone one of your two children. Open your eyes and your mind and you might be pleasantly surprised at what happens.

  22. John Zulauf
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Tom my friend, it’s a rhetorical device. (Breath in, breath out. :) )

    Limbaugh doesn’t want Revkin to kill himself, he wants him to recant, or barring that, be discredited.

    It’s certianly a juvenile, schoolyard “oh yeah, prove it!” level taunt (and an attempt at humor). There is also a rationale behind the anger and intensity of the taunt. The comments above about DDT are on target. The environmentalist were willing to sacrifice 40M lives to malaria, but none of them volunteered to *be* one of them. Hmm, maybe some juvenile taunting *is* in order.

  23. Posted October 22, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    John: Some “rhetorical devices” are way beyond the pale. And in this case, Limbaugh’s so-called “schoolyard” taunts (Revkin is a “jihadist”; Revkin “go kill yourself”) has generated scary, vicious hate mail to a good man with two children. (Offline, I will tell you more about this.) So I stand by what I’ve said. He must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

    I will also stand in support of ANY reasonable argument made in a respectful, constructive way. More of that would counteract the corrosive impact of the Glen Becks, Rush Limbaughs, Keith Obermans, etc. of the world. Maybe it would enable people of good will from different sides of the political divide to get together and agree on some things that would make the world a better place. You speak of the DDT issue as if it is the only possible solution to malaria. But surely you and I could agree on a program to provide insecticide impregnated bednets to every human on Earth at risk for malaria. (Proven to drastically reduce the incidence of the disease!) Surely we could agree on a much more robust program to develop vaccines for malaria and other tropical diseases. Surely we could agree on a major program combining government R&D and significant tax incentives to develop transformative energy technologies. But right now we can’t agree, in part because of the extreme polarization caused by the despicable behavior of influential, juvenile blowhards like like Rush Limbaugh.

    As you have told me many times: “take off the bozo shoes.”

  24. ron from Texas
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Revkin is receiving heat because he dared to report Latif (UN IPCC) commenting that we are in for decades of cooling. That being said, Limbaugh might have been a bit overreaching. But I have known that some factions of environmentalists, including Obama Science csar, John Holdren, believe in population control and even population reduction. And my invitation to people that hate humans that much is to go and head toward oblivion and then, later, the rest of us won’t follow you. I happen to like humans and wish to see the human race survive, not perish for some ideological fantasy of “life without humans.” Then, again, Revkin had painted himself into a corner for ignoring other qualified scientific opinions for so long. Only now will he print about the cooling and only because Latif said it.

  25. Nat Lowell
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    The first time I saw the bumper sticker; “save the planet, kill yourself” , I believe were getting apocalyptic global cooling reports in the 70′s… Some things never change do they… Rush has his schtick when explaining the topic… Climate Change is running out of downs.. If they don’t score a touchdown in Copenhagen the game is over…..

  26. Posted October 23, 2009 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    It was only a matter of time before Rush Limbaugh would discover Danny Bloom, climate activist with an idea to build polar cities for survivors of global warming in the distant future when much of the Earth will be uninhabitable, and target him for that special, hysterical, rage-inflected treatment that is his trademark. And now it has happened, as the audio above, courtesy of Media Matters, shows in alarming fashion.

    Here’s what El Rushbo spat into the Golden EIB microphone today:

    “This guy from Taiwan, if he really thinks that humanity is destroying the panet, humanity is destroying the climate, that human beings in their natural existence are going to cause the extinction of life on Earth, that polar cities are going to be needed to house survivors of some imaginary global warming ‘event’ in the year 2500 or so — Danny Bloom, Danny Bloom, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?”

    There can be no excuse for a vicious comment like this. And the fact that American media outlets tolerate this hate-mongering — and advertisers will pay Limbaugh for it — is astounding.

    Nothing more really need be said. Limbaugh’s despicable comments are self-refuting.

    Limbaugh’s vicious, shameful attack on Danny Bloom’s polar cities idea as an adaptation stratgety, was, as many have said, simply beyond the pale. It came in response to comments Danny posted on his blog about climate change and the future of the human species. See http://northwardho.blogspot.com

    Danny’s ideas about polar cities are debatable, of course. He is not a scientist and he has no PHD or academic cred. But Limbaugh’s attack has nothing to do with debate and rationality. His approach, if not his message, has parallels to Father Charles Coughlin, the nasty, emotional, radical bigot of the 1930s who ranted about Franklin Roosevelt.

    Americans of good will, both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, must speak out loudly against this latter-day Coughlin in our midst.

  27. Posted October 23, 2009 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    For those of you wondering who Danny Bloom is and what point he’s trying to make in the post above, see Revkin’s post at DotEarth from March of 2008: Polar Cities a Haven in a Warming World?

  28. John Zulauf
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    “Go kill yourself,” likely should be covered under some corollary to “Godwin’s Law” — (telling some to kill themselves, loses and ends any discussion).

    However, Revkin’s concept of reducing the numbers of westerners for valuable cash prizes, seems scary — especially since there are some already dedicated to the concept. Gee, I wonder what the carbon footprint reduction of 9/11 was? (I think I see another Godwin’s Law corollary coming.)

  29. Tom Yulsman
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    John: What makes you say that Revkin proposed “reducing the numbers of westerners for valuable cash prizes”? Here’s what happened: He phoned in to a symposium and floated a thought experiment about carbon credits for not having children — a thought experiment designed to — OH MY GOD, WHAT A SHOCK! — get people to think. The absurdity of carbon credits was one of the things that occurred to me as a result of this thought experiment. To think that Revkin was “proposing” this as a way to deal with climate change is ridiculous.

    Another thing that occurred to me is that population growth is the elephant in the room that few people are willing to talk about. In fact, if you dare to bring it up, someone is inclined to shriek at you that you are a jihadist and should go kill yourself. So please tell me, how are we going to provide for a decent standard of living for 9 billion people? (We’re up to about 6 billion now.) Maybe we can do it. But few people are willing even to explore how we might do it while protecting the ecological services we depend on for food, clean water, etc.

    Lastly, the carbon credit thing was a straw man. And Andy made other comments that the hyper-partisans chose to ignore because they didn’t conform to their cartoon caricatures of what they take to be the opposition. Let’s face it, these people are not interested in thought experiments, let alone thinking. They’re only interested in remaining comfortably smug and sanctimonious in their own certitude. (As some of the comments on this string quite graphically demonstrate.) And let me make sure to emphasize one last thing: This a problem of both the left and the right.

  30. John Zulauf
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I admit to the big nose and shoes on the last post, but I will say that you and I read Revkin’s comments differently.

This thing has 3 Trackbacks

  1. Posted October 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    [...] be compensated for not having babies. Media Matters has the full story.  Among other critics, Tom Yulsman rightly takes Limbaugh to task.  Maybe I’ll do the same in a future post.  For now, on to more pressing [...]

  2. Posted October 21, 2009 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    [...] Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to soft pedal what Limbaugh said. It was despicable. In fact, I thought Tom Yulsman captures the disgust felt by many, myself included, with this post. [...]

  3. Posted October 28, 2009 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    [...] out of context, as Media Matters for America and the Center for Environmental Journalism’s Tom Yulsman intentionally did, and you’ve got red meat remarks for leftists. But Limbaugh’s point [...]

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