Some readers might be curious why I'm making such a big deal of climate change denier and corporate whore Tim Ball's lack of a Ph.D. in "Climatology." It's simple -- it's because he makes such a big deal of claiming to have one.
It's one thing to simply stretch reality just a wee bit and puff up your credentials on the spur of the moment, and hope no one looks too closely. It's quite another when you make that bit of fiction the main hook on which you hang all of your credibility.
A great parallel is when comedian Al Franken took right-wing blowhard and serial liar Bill O'Reilly to task for continually claiming to have won journalism's coveted Peabody award for O'Reilly's former show "Inside Edition," In fact, the show won the Polk award (not quite as prestigious), and that happened after O'Reilly left the show.
Now, that by itself wouldn't be such a big deal, except for the fact that O'Reilly kept rubbing the (fictitious) Peabody awards in everyone's face. As the Washington Post reported (emphasis added):
Investigative humorist Al Franken thought something was amiss when Fox News star Bill O'Reilly -- whose Feb. 10 speech at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach was featured last weekend on C-SPAN's "Book TV" -- claimed that his previous show, the syndicated tabloid "Inside Edition," had won the coveted George Foster Peabody award.
"It seemed strange to me, but he was so adamant," Franken told us ...
Exactly. It's not the false claim that's so grating, it's the fact that O'Reilly used that false claim as a club over and over and tediously over. And when your entire case rests on a claim like that, well, you'd better have all your i's crossed and your t's dotted because, as O'Reilly found out the hard way, when the truth comes out, having your fibbery exposed for the world to see can be a real bitch.
It's the same for Ball -- claiming a Ph.D. in "climatology" when he technically doesn't have one wouldn't be such a big deal, except he never shuts the fuck up about it. It's constantly the first thing out of his mouth, which makes it eminently fair game to demonstrate what kind of lying sack of weasel feces he really is.
And if you need another supporting example, well, it's kind of like Stephen Harper's conservatives, campaigning long and loud against Liberal corruption, then turning out to be just as corrupt and sleazy after they're elected.
Yeah, it's kind of like that.
AFTERSNARK: It should set off warning bells when the claimant starts to subtly change the claim, probably hoping you don't notice. In O'Reilly's case (and from that same WaPo article), we have O'Reilly's story undergoing just a bit of transmogrification, depending on when he tells it:
"A program that wins a Peabody Award, the highest award in journalism, and you're going to denigrate it?"
"All I've got to say is that 'Inside Edition' has won, I -- I believe, two Peabody Awards, the highest journalism award in the country"
So, is it one Peabody? Or is it two? Or is O'Reilly just not sure? Why can't he keep his story straight? You'd think that winning journalism's highest honour is not something you'd lose track of that quickly -- especially when you haven't actually won it at all.
It's the same with Ball -- sometimes he's Canada's first Ph.D. in Climatology, and other times he's merely one of Canada's first Ph.D.'s in climatology. So which is it? And why would he switch from one claim to the other? Unless, of course, they're both bullshit.
In any case, I think my work here is done.