Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson asks herself how the media would treat a given behavior if it were practiced by a Republican. If the media would go ballistic, Attkisson suggests, the same behavior ought to be deemed newsworthy when a Democrat practices it. As she explains in her memoir Stonewalled, she calls it The Substitution Game.
There is more than one reason why Attkisson resigned her employment with CBS News. Her use of The Substitution Game is one of many signs that she was not a team player and why by early 2014 she found herself preferring to pursue other interests beyond CBS News.
Now comes the wretched Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva to give us the opportunity of playing The Substitution Game. Grijalva has sent letters to seven university presidents based on his concerns about the heterodox climate-related testimony of professors at the institutions. He seeks “detailed records on the funding sources for affiliated researchers who have opposed the scientific consensus on man-made global warming,” as the Washington Post’s Joby Warrick puts it in “House Dems: Did Big Oil seek to sway scientists in climate debate?”
It’s early, but let’s take a moment for The Substitution Game. If we were talking “House GOP,” that’s not how Warrick’s story would read. The story would seek responses from the targets of the inquiry. The story would note the unusual nature of the correspondence. The story would ask what is really going on here. The story would intimate the underlying threat to academic freedom.
Our own Steve Hayward has proclaimed his membership in the Magnificent Seven. Steve has outed himself and posted Grijalva’s letter to the president of Pepperdine University in “Are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic?” Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., another target, has posted his comment on the inquiry in “I am under ‘investigation.'”
Steve is a happy warrior; I’m sure he’ll have more to say with gusto in his usual style and he’ll punch back twice as hard. Professor Pielke, however, presents a striking contrast. The likes of the grating Grijalva have taken their toll on him, precisely as intended. He candidly confesses as much.
How would the mainstream media react if a Republican congressman lobbed threatening inquiries hounding seven university presidents regarding the funding of professors’ research? They would recall the ghost of McCarthyism in the spirit of Steve’s post.
Yet today the proverbial crickets chirp, with the exception of National Review editor Rich Lowry. Rich takes note in the Politico column “A shameful climate witch hunt.” Thank you, Mr. Lowry.