A Meeting of the Mindless

Sun, 2006-02-19 08:01Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

A Meeting of the Mindless

Bush’s Chat With Novelist Alarms Environmentalists
The New York Times, Feb. 19, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 - One of the perquisites of being president is the ability to have the author of a book you enjoyed pop into the White House for a chat.

Over the years, a number of writers have visited President Bush, including Natan Sharansky, Bernard Lewis and John Lewis Gaddis. And while the meetings are usually private, they rarely ruffle feathers.

Now, one has.

In his new book about Mr. Bush, “Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush,” Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, “State of Fear,” suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.

Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as “a dissenter on the theory of global warming,” writes that the president “avidly read” the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest “talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement. The visit was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more.”

And so it has, fueling a common perception among environmental groups that Mr. Crichton’s dismissal of global warming, coupled with his popularity as a novelist and screenwriter, has undermined efforts to pass legislation intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that leading scientists say causes climate change. 
 

Mr. Crichton’s views in “State of Fear” helped him win the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ annual “journalism” award earlier this year.