Palin’s polar bear fib

Sarah Palin is having a rough month. First, Matt Damon called her candidacy “absurd” and compared it to a “bad Disney movie,” while others started referring to her as “Caribou Barbie” and “Spawn of Satan”. We at Plenty won’t go so low as to jump on the mudslinging bandwagon, but we will call “Liar, liar, pants on fire” after recent reports about Palin’s discussion concerning polar bears.

You see, it turns out Palin was a little less than truthful when it came to her reasons for suing the government to keep polar bears off the endangered species list. She argued that the listing was unnecessary, citing that scientific findings from Alaskan state officials showed insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct any time soon. She even wrote about it back in January 2008 in a New York Times Op Ed piece, writing, “My decision [to sue] is based on a comprehensive review by state wildlife officials of scientific information from a broad range of climate, ice and polar bear experts.”

That state wildlife officials would disagree with federal wildlife officials sounded a bit fishy to Rick Steiner, a professor at the University of Alaska, so he decided to do some digging. And boy did he find some dirt. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, Steiner was able to snoop through some old US Fish and Wildlife Service records concerning the polar bears’ status, and found that Alaskan officials did agree with the federal government’s findings that the species were indeed endangered.  

“So, here you have the state’s marine mammal experts, three or four of them, very reputable scientists, agreeing with the federal proposed rule to list polar bears and with the USGS studies showing that polar bears are in serious trouble,” said Steiner in a recent Democracry Now! piece.

This juicy dirt recently won Palin the Center for Biological Diversity’s 2008 Rubber Dodo Award, which was given, in part, in recognition for Palin’s masterful ability to wage “a deceptive, dangerous, and costly battle against the polar bear,” according to environmental group’s press release.

But it’s not just the uber-liberal media and environmental groups that are pouncing on Palin’s deception: Recently, the New York Times wrote a scathing piece outlining many of Palin’s questionable practices, including the bear fib. These and other environmental faux pas—like claiming that global warming isn’t caused by humans—forecast a grim outlook for future environmental goals if McCain is elected. And the missteps don’t make ol’ Sarah look too great either. But hey, it could be worse. After all, this picture could actually be real.