It's not uncommon for people to have a different interpretation of the same thing — say, in this case, President Obama's 2015 State of the Union.
But while Republicans, Democrats and independents may have had differing opinions on what they saw Tuesday night, anyone who watched Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner's "enhanced webcast" of the speech on Wednesday wouldn't have been in the same position for one simple reason: They didn't see the same thing.
As Think Progress first noted, the speaker's staff appears to have edited out a few lines of argument on climate change. Rather than air the president calling out climate change deniers, it looks an awful lot like Boehner and the GOP decided it didn't want its audience listening to Obama at all.
The cop-out is below, in the form of selective editing at the 43:25 mark:
"I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists, that we don't have enough information to act. Well, I'm not a scientist either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict and hunger around the globe."
Instead of including this righteous jab, Boehner's version of the video skips directly to the president saying: "The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it." The mention of scientists was completely erased.
Think Progress reports that Boehner's press secretary, Michael Steel, claimed that the error was unintentional and that people are "working with YouTube to figure out what happened." The video in question has disappeared from the GOP's website, but has an overwhelming number of downvotes on YouTube.
Mic reached out to Speaker Boehner's office for any possible updates on the nature of the error but has not yet received a response
Here's why Republicans might have wanted to silence the POTUS: An overwhelming 97% of climate scientists — as well as organizations like NASA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences — agree that climate change is indeed real and very likely caused by humans.
The overwhelming weight of this evidence and the qualifications of those presenting it are inconvenient to the GOP, which boasts a booming alliance with the fossil-fuel sector and wants to build the massive Keystone XL oil pipeline regardless of the potential impact on CO2 emissions. The GOP has successfully politicized the debate over the cause of climate change, resulting in over half of its elected officials in Congress holding beliefs at odds with science.
It's also inconvenient for Boehner, who pledged "jobs and energy bills" would be at the forefront of his agenda. (Never mind the fact that the entire Keystone pipeline would only create 50 permanent jobs — oil company TransCanada wants the public to believe it will create 42,000.)
Why should should care: John Boehner's Politifact profile records an astonishing 55% of his controversial statements as "mostly false," "false" or "pants on fire" and just 31% as "mostly true" or "true." His office has a history of misleading the American public on climate issues. So while this might just be an embarrassing slip-up, the timing and exact section of the State of the Union that was cut seem pretty suspicious. If deliberate, this tactic would take Republican denialism to a whole new level.
Boehner must know he can't win the argument, since the vast majority of Americans believe in man-made climate change. Unfortunately few enough people rank climate change as a major priority that the GOP can still rely on the public to ignore a warming globe for a while yet. The Republican Party can't bury its head in the sand forever, but in the meantime it can long enough to cause some real damage.
h/t Think Progress