The Fake News left has a theme going. In light of Howard Portnoy’s report from earlier today, on the weak-sauce allegation that Trump pressured Kuwait to move an event to a Trump hotel, it’s no surprise that the suspect in this case is, once again, ThinkProgress.
The theme is a different one, however.
According to this theme, the incoming Trump administration is inaugurating witch hunts against climate experts and others who deal in science-related policy in the federal agencies.
How is Team Trump mounting this malevolent effort? By asking question about how money is being spent by the agencies, and who is working on what.
In the latest nefarious move, the Trump transition team has asked the State Department to detail its expenditures on international environmental groups and foreign climate programs.
This McCarthyite probe has outlets like ThinkProgress beside themselves. Lest readers fail to understand the danger here, TP introduces it with a title and slug conveying dark-alley menace:
Trump transition presses another government agency about its climate spending
This time it’s the State Department that is under the microscope.
If I may, a few of points of order.
1. The taxpayers are paying for this.
2. The State Department is an executive department that works for the president.
3. The American people just elected Trump as president, expecting that he would govern policy in the federal executive branch.
So…exactly what is the problem here?
To its credit, the actual U.S. State Department (as opposed to its breathless defenders in the leftosphere) acknowledges that Trump has every right to this information. Michael Bastasch at the Daily Caller News Foundation:
The State Department…said the transition team’s questions were “legitimate.”
“They are legitimately looking at the organization of things here at Foggy Bottom, and asking responsible questions about how the State Department is organized, how it’s resourced, how it’s managed, and trying to get a handle on the organization they will inherit in a few weeks,” an anonymous official told the Post. “It’s legitimate. It’s normal. It’s responsible. If they weren’t doing it, you’d be asking questions.”
An earlier kerfuffle arose over a questionnaire reportedly sent to the Department of Energy for the Trump team. Trump’s people actually disavowed the questionnaire, but in light of our points of order above, there was nothing wrong with it to begin with. Trump had the right to know everything asked in the questionnaire.
Still, hysterical climate researchers, ably abetted by ThinkProgress and other left-wing sites, took it to mean that Trump was going to come in with a bulldozer and destroy all their work.
In the interest of intellectual hygiene, it’s important to point out a couple of things. One: what ThinkProgress is engaged in is partisan journalism. TP is taking facts or alleged facts and putting a partisan construction on them. This is not the same thing as actual “fake news.” Fake news is stuff like “Michelle Obama adopts alien wolf-baby,” or the Craigslist rent-a-mob hoax, or the Pope-endorsed-Trump hoax, or the hands-up-don’t-shoot lie about the Michael Brown shooting. Things that were wholly made up and never happened, at all.
But (point two): what ThinkProgress is engaged in is what ThinkProgress calls “fake news,” if someone on the right does it.
And interestingly, TP’s partisan journalism contributes to things like the deranged frenzy of climate researchers in the last couple of weeks, rushing to “guerrilla archive” their data because the Trumpmonster is coming.
No one should doubt that overamped partisan journalism sometimes makes real things happen. In the case of the wild Trump-on-a-rampage theme, the real thing that’s happening is that the left is spooking itself into eye-rolling mania.
Which brings us to the final point. How did we get to the day when federally-managed researchers and policy activists would think that legitimate questions about who’s working on what projects, and where the money’s being spent, portend a witch hunt or purge of some kind?
Oh, I don’t know, maybe from the behavior of the Obama administration. Turns out Obama’s Department of Energy fired a top scientist for failing to help DOE hide things from Congress. Summarizing the findings of a congressional investigation this week, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) wrote:
Instead of providing the type of scientific information needed by Congress to legislate effectively, senior departmental officials sought to hide information, lobbied against legislation, and retaliated against a scientist for being forthcoming. In this staff report based on lengthy record before the committee, much has been revealed about how senior level agency officials under the Obama administration retaliated against a scientist who did not follow the party line.
The scientist in question, Dr. Noelle Metting, was fired because she told Congress too much:
During an October 2014 briefing with senior DoE staff on the matter, lawmakers heard testimony from Dr. Noelle Metting, the radiation research program’s manager.
Less than a month later, lawmakers discovered that Obama administration officials had “removed Dr. Metting from federal service for allegedly providing too much information in response to questions posed by” Congress during the briefing, the report states.
Metting’s excessive disclosures apparently undermined Obama’s climate-policy agenda – by arming Congress with too much information.
Emails unearthed during the investigation “show a sequence of events leading to a premeditated scheme by senior DoE employees ‘to squash the prospects of Senate support’” for the radiation act, a move that lawmakers claim was meant to help advance President Obama’s own climate change goals.
So I think we can all unite in affirming that Donald Trump should not continue that sort of thing, when he takes over on 20 January. Only an Obama progressive-leftist, on the other hand, would think that asking legitimate questions about departmental programs and expenditures means Trump would do so.