Newsweek Fawns over New Head of Frugal Environmental Group

     At Newsweek, The Fight Is Never Over trying to convince the public that global warming is a problem, and the magazine applied that attitude to an interview under that headline with the incoming head of the left-wing Natural Resources Defense Council.

     Under the header Leadership & Innovation, Newsweek described Frances Beinecke as the new president of the most influential environmental group in the nation. However, the piece attributed 650,000 members to the group, which is 350,000 fewer than it claims on its Web site. The story didnt delve into the speckled history of NRDC, a group involved in the now-discredited Alar pesticide/apple scandal. Instead, Newsweeks Jerry Adler depicted Beinecke sitting in a corner office with not much space to spare; frugally, the lights are switched off on a sunny afternoon and the coffee served to visitors is barely lukewarm.

     Adler hammered home the frugal description of NRDCs new boss by calling her a Prius-driving graduate of Yale and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

     But Adlers questions about global warming were even more revealing. He prepped Beinecke: Youre taking over at a critical time for the environmental movement, when people are suddenly waking up to the threats of global warming and the need for energy conservation. A few questions later, Adler asked about NRDCs position on nuclear power, in light of the greater threat posed by greenhouse gases.

     That wasnt a new position for Newsweek. Despite scientific opposition, the magazine has done its part to say any weather changes are likely initial symptoms of enduring climate change, as the magazine said on August 8. That same issue described nations coming to grips with global warming.

     Beineckes comments fit in nicely with that position. The whole global system is at risk. The atmosphere is at risk from global warming; the oceans are at risk from depletion, she argued.

     But Beinecke wasnt just opposed to carbon-based fuels like oil or gas. She also came out against nuclear power because we continue to think it has serious problems. One of those problems, she claimed, was economic. If nuclear power could compete in the marketplace without major subsidies from Congress, it would be an interesting thing to look at. But answering the very next question, Beinecke was arguing for subsidies -- not for nuclear power, but for solar power and Adler was excusing it. But youre not suggesting that we hold, say, solar power to the same standard of competing economically without subsidies, are you? Adler asked. Beineckes response was typically inconsistent. We think subsidies or assistance from the federal government should go to the new technologies that need to come to the market, she said. Adler didnt even follow up this hypocrisy with another question on the topic.