Former Vice President Al Gore will be receiving an honorary degree at the graduation ceremonies of the University of Tennessee on Friday, and local Tea Partiers intend to show up outside the event to protest.
“The reason we don’t want him to get a degree,” Knoxville Tea Party Chairman Jonathon Baloga explained to WVLT News, “is because, you know, he gives the, the theory of global warming more credibility.”
A rally of nearly 100 Tea Partiers on Thursday evening was addressed by what local news coverage described as “speakers from around the world,” including Lord Monckton, a prominent British climate change denialist, and Irish journalist and filmmaker Phelim McAleer.
Monckton, who is best known for referring to global warming activists as “Hitler Youths,” as well as for his recent embrace of birtherism, told reporters, “It is, frankly, a joke to give an honorary doctorate to a man who has told a string of lies.”
McAleer, for his part, explained, “I’ve come to ask [Gore] questions I would like answered and, I think, most Americans would like answered about global warming alarmism.” McAleer previously confronted Gore at a conference last fall, where, according to Huffington Post’s Katherine Goldstein, he “starts aggressively questioning Gore about inconsistencies in An Inconvenient Truth and whether he accepts the British High Court’s ruling that the film contains errors. McAleer goes on to badger Gore about polar bear statistics until he’s asked to stop and then his mike is cut.”
“We’re not trying to take away from the proud moment that all these graduates are experiencing and going through,” one would-be protester told WBIR News. “We’re just trying to say we don’t like the person that is being honored at your big day of honoring.”
This video is from WVLT, broadcast May 13, 2010.
This video is from WBIR, broadcast May 13, 2010.