Gore flunks Oscar documentary rules

Intrepid Journalist Kevin Mooney of CNSNews.com just filed a can’t-miss story on Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. On the verge of the Academy Awards, it appears that Gore’s flick doesn’t live up to the Academy’s basic “Rule 12” standards for truthfulness in the use of animation. This rule states that non-traditional documentary devices such as animation or reenactments may be used, but only “as long as the emphasis is on fact and not on fiction.”

The scene at issue is the famed cartoon of a polar bear drowning. But the sequence does not come close to approximating the reality of the study from which it is based. While Gore refers to “significant numbers” of polar bear drownings, the study only reported four bears’ bodies floating in the sea. And the study attributed these deaths to an abrupt windstorm, not to lack of ice due to global warming. Yet nowhere in the An Inconvenient Truth’s polar bear sequence is there a citing or a mention of a storm.

Among the folks Mooney talked to is yours truly. I compared polar bear cartoon to other manipulated animal scenes in now-discredited nature documentaries such as Disney’s “White Wilderness,” and noted that in past years, the Academy has applied “very strong standards against the manipulation of animal scenes in film.” But probably a more important opinon than mine is that of Academy Award-nominated documentarian Dan Gifford, who co-produced Waco: The Rules of Engagement. Gifford tells reporter Mooney that “An Inconvenient Truth” may be an example of “selective enforcement” of documentary standards by the Academy.

In my book Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health, I discuss other misleading element of Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” Specifically:

Gore relies on images of Hurricane Katrina to illustrate global warming’s alleged effects. Yet Katrina was actually a weak Category 3 storm by the time it hit New Orleans. It became a tragedy simply because of a failed levee system. And ironically, it was environmental groups who blocked levee upgrades and new floodgates that could have prevented Katrina’s tragedy.

Gore points to outbreaks of malaria in Nairobi, Kenya as proof that global warming is causing malaria to spread to higher altitudes. Yet I document, through reports of the World Health Organization, that malaria was common in Nairobi in the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s. It was wiped out there, as elsewhere, by DDT, the pesticide later banned because of enviro crusades. Now, with no DDT, malaria has returned to Nairobi and many other places

For a comprehensive debunking of arguments in the film, you should also read “A Skeptic’s Guide to An Inconvenient Truth” by Marlo Lewis.