RoseGate becomes DailyMailGate: Error-riddled articles and false statements destroy Daily Mail’s credibility

Two top climate scientists and the NSIDC accuse Daily Mail of misquoting and misrepresenting them or their work.

Readers should assume that everything they see in the Daily Mail is untrue and unverified.   Scientists should refuse to grant interviews to the paper without a third-party present or an agreement to allow a review of any quotes used.

One of the British newspapers leading the charge to undermine the credibility of climate science has had its own credibility rocked.   Two leading scientists, Murari Lal and Mojib Latif, have accused the Daily Mail of misquoting and misrepresenting them.  And the National Snow and Ice Data Center has accused the paper of printing “nonsense” and of “very lazy journalism.”

Lending further credibility to the scientists’ charges are a pattern of false and misleading statements in the paper (and by DM reporter David Rose in comments on this very blog).

The latest self-inflicted body blow to the Daily Mail is this outrageously false headline (and subhed) echoing through the right-wing blogosphere:

Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995

… There has been no global warming since 1995

BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming.

Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

Jones ain’t great at answering questions, something I’ll return to in a later post.  For instance, he should point out the recent Met Office reanalysis of their data (see Finally, the truth about the Hadley/CRU data: “The global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming”).

Even so, no scientist should have to put up with that kind of gross misrepresentation.  And no, the fact that the story itself is (a tad) better on this one point does not excuse the headlines, which is as far as many people read.

Sadly, pushing disinformation has become standard operating procedure for the paper.

DailyMailGate (aka RoseGate) began with two articles that had unjustifiably sensational headlines in early January, “The mini ice age starts here” by David Rose and “Could we be in for 30 years of global COOLING? By [unnamed] Daily Mail Reporter.”  Both were based on misrepresenting Latif and NSIDC’s work, as I showed here.  Latif went to the UK’s Guardian with his strong charges of misrepresentation against the DM, and they ran this piece:

Leading climate scientist challenges Mail on Sunday’s use of his research

Mojib Latif denies his research supports theory that current cold weather undermines scientific consensus on global warming

A leading scientist has hit out at misleading newspaper reports that linked his research to claims that the current cold weather undermines the scientific case for manmade global warming.

Mojib Latif, a climate expert at the Leibniz Institute at Kiel University in Germany, said he “cannot understand” reports that used his research to question the scientific consensus on climate change.

He told the Guardian: “It comes as a surprise to me that people would try to use my statements to try to dispute the nature of global warming. I believe in manmade global warming. I have said that if my name was not Mojib Latif it would be global warming.”

He added: “There is no doubt within the scientific community that we are affecting the climate, that the climate is changing and responding to our emissions of greenhouse gases.”

A report in the Mail on Sunday said that Latif’s results “challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs” and “undermine the standard climate computer models”. Monday’s Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph repeated the claims.

In fact, the DM wrote, “some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs, such as the claim that the North Pole will be free of ice in summer by 2013.”

That was one more patent falsehood.  Exceedingly few people have claimed “the North Pole will be free of ice in summer by 2013.”  It is nonsense to call that orthodoxy.

Virtually every major model in the IPCC had predicted the Arctic would not be ice free in the summer until the second half of this century, so what’s going on in the Arctic today is a sharp break with “global warming orthodoxy” — since the only “orthodoxy,” if one is going to use that pejorative word, is the IPCC in its periodic literature reviews.  Ironically, the DM used the phrase “North Pole” and not “Arctic,” and obviously an ice free North pole by 2013 is a far more likely possibility.

The DM‘s reporting in this area was also challenged by NSIDC, which managed to get the Daily Mail to change its utterly false claim that “According to the The National Snow and Ice Data Center, the warming of the Earth since 1900 is due to natural oceanic cycles, and not man-made greenhouse gases.”  Yet, they merely changed it to “According to some scientists, the warming of the Earth since 1900 is due to natural oceanic cycles, and not man-made greenhouse gases.”  Except, of course, those unnamed “some scientists” don’t exist, the article never identifies them, and Latif certainly isn’t one of them, as he explained right here.
DailyMailGate exploded soon after those two error-riddled pieces when the Daily Mail‘s David Rose wrote another sensational piece, “Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified.”  That piece had explosive charges against Dr. Murari Lal, a lead author on the IPCC chapter on Asia in the 2007 impacts report.  I debunked it here:  “EXCLUSIVE: UN scientist refutes Daily Mail claim he said Himalayan glacier error was politically motivated.”  Subsequently, Lal leveled very serious charges at Rose in an email to the IPCC that Andy Revkin reprinted at DotEarth:
I am not a Glaciologist but a Climatologist and the statement attributed to me in “Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified” By David Rose in UK Daily Mail on 24th January 2010 has been wrongly placed. I never said this story at any time and strongly condemn the writer for attributing this to me.

More specifically, I never said during my conversation with Rose the following statements being attributed to me:

(a) ‘it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.’

(b) ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.’

(c) ‘It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.’, and

(d) ‘We as authors followed them to the letter,’ he said. ‘Had we received information that undermined the claim, we would have included it.’.

Contrary to the claim by Rose that “Hayley Fowler of Newcastle University, suggested that their draft did not mention that Himalayan glaciers in the Karakoram range are growing rapidly,” the Asia Chapter does include this finding under section on page 477.

What I said was “As authors, we had to report only the best available science (inclusive of a select few grey literatures as per the rules of procedure) which is “policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral” and that’s what we collectively did while writing the Asia Chapter. None of the authors in Asia Chapter were Glaciologist and we entirely trusted the findings reported in the WWF 2005 Report and the underlying references as scientifically sound and relevant in the context of climate change impacts in the region.


Dr. Murari Lal

1006, Osimo Bldg., Mahagun Mansion-II
1/4 Vaibhavkhand, Indirapuram
Ghaziabad – 201014
Uttar Pradesh, INDIA]

I have interviewed both Lal and Latif, analyzed Latif’s work at length (and published his op-ed here), and talked to other leading scientists about Lal.  Again, they seem credible, whereas the DM does not.

Others agree.  See the various stories on ScienceBlogs, including Deltoid’s Rosegate scandal grows and James Hrynyshyn on Rosegate.

Note that David Rose denies these charges, but he has posted several misleading comments on Climate Progress that further undermine his credibility.

He wrote here:

I merely quoted him [Latif], accurately, saying that his team’s work suggests that up to half the global warming observed in recent decades was due not to greenhouse gases but long-term ocean temperature cycles.

That is a gross misrepresentation of what Latif’s work shows, as I explained here.

According to Latif, over a short time span, say, the period since 1990, it’s hard to determine exactly what fraction of the temperature change is due to what cause, but Latif does not believe nor ever said what the Daily Mail suggests, which is that you can add those periods together.  Remember, for Latif, the periods of slow warming are just ocean cycles temporarily negating the impact of warming.  The ocean cycles can make some periods appear to warm faster, and some appear to warm slower, but overall, as he told me, “you can’t miss the long-term warming trend” in the temperature record, which is “driven by the evolution of greenhouse gases.”  His work simply “does not allow one to make any inferences about global warming.”

Rose continues on CP about what Latif’s work supposedly means:

Such predictions, I wrote, “challenge some of global warming orthodoxy’s most cherished beliefs”, including the assertion that the north pole will be ice-free in summer by 2013.

Again, it is laughable to say “the assertion that the north pole will be ice-free in summer by 2013” is one of “global warming orthodoxy’s most cherished beliefs” — though ironically, as written by Rose, it’s entirely possible that this assertion will still prove true, because he has confused “the north pole” with the entire Arctic!

Finally, Rose asserts here:

I did not misquote Dr Lal, and I have verbatim, contemporaneous notes of our conversation. I did not, however, accuse him of knowingly publishing false information, as others have implied.

Oh that is rich.  No, Rose did not accuse him of that — but the Daily Mail‘s clever falsehood-pushing headline writers created that misimpression, which is why Lal saw fit to correct the record.  Go to the original headline and lede here:

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn’t been verified

By David Rose
Last updated at 12:54 AM on 24th January 2010

The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said….

Unless you knew that Lal was not a “glacier scientist,” you would naturally assume that the headline referred to the first person discussed in the piece:  Murari Lal.  But this headline actually refers to a glaciologist mentioned halfway down the story.  But there is almost no possible way a typical reader could know that.

Most people reading the story would assume that the headline referred to Lal and accused him of publishing data that he knew hadn’t been verified, which, after all, seems consistent with the other charges Rose levels in the piece, charges that Lal has made clear our grotesquely false.

The headline is best described as intentionally deceitful in the light of the Daily Mail‘s recent deceitful headline on Jones’ interview.

Given all the charges against them, the Daily Mail should undergo a thorough internal review.

Until then, readers should assume that everything they see in the Daily Mail is untrue and unverified.   Scientists should refuse to grant interviews to the paper without a third-party present or an agreement to allow a review of any quotes used.

28 Responses to RoseGate becomes DailyMailGate: Error-riddled articles and false statements destroy Daily Mail’s credibility

  1. Joe, thanks for the evaluation. Perhaps we need a more formal description that defines the scientific bias for any popular news organization. MSNBC, Fox, USA Today, Bloomberg, etc – all deserve ratings. Daily Mail now has a firm spot on the very fringes.

  2. Richard Brenne says:

    “Abortion Hope After Gay Genes Finding” is an infamous Daily Mail headline and indicative of their deep caring for humanity.

    What they really want to be is paperback writers. We need to join the Beatles in mocking this paper, which even dead fish refuse to be wrapped in.

    Toward the end of the Daily Mail Wikipedia entry there is a list of at least 15 libel lawsuits where the Daily Mail admitted wrong-doing by paying damages:

    Obviously lying and paying for lying is their business plan. This is not journalism in any ethical sense, but just lying, misrepresenting and sensationalizing for money.

    We should work to get Elton John, Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkison, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Keira Knightly involved in this mocking, since each has been awarded damages after they were libeled by vicious lies. I’ll volunteer to contact the last three – (check that, wife over shoulder, I meant the first three) about this.

    I don’t think we can expect retractions or any other show of journalistic ethics. The Daily Mail needs to be mocked, scorned and marginalized until and unless they changed their tactics, which might accompany a headline where pigs flying F-16s land them on the frozen reaches of hell.

  3. A Siegel says:

    Thank you for doing this.

    This is truly an abysmal piece, with the exaggeration / misrepresentation of Jones. Perhaps we will see yet another WashPost piece like Milbank’s Sunday with a line something like “as British newspapers are reporting”. (On that, see: POSTal Schizophrenia re Climate Science strikes again

  4. Sean Thomes says:

    This is all well and good, but the deniers are winning right now. facts are facts but perception is reality and this kind of lazy and intentionally misleading journalism has gotten lots of traction and is feeding perception.

    [JR: What’s your point? I should have let this slide? I endeavor to pursue every plausible strategy for getting out accurate scientific information — and for holding the anti-science crowd accountable.]

  5. George Ennis says:

    We live in very frustrating times when scientists are competing to have their message delivered through news media that are not in the business of journalism but that of infotainment. This is a variation of the story of Faust in which such ‘journalists’ in return for selling their soul so to speak by manufacturing a story are advancing their careers.

    The answer is in sites like yours and the conferences, podcasts that you have arranged in an attempt to educate journalists about climate science and the danger of climate change. Unfortunately the ‘war’ that scientists and for that matter all of who accept the science behind climate change are engaged in is a long one. Unfortunately I do not expect there will be any sudden ‘ahaa!’ moment in the general population, at least not for another decade.

    For my part at every opportunity I refer friends, family and government officials to sites such as this one, requesting that our public policy response be based on science and not on ignorance or economic interests with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

  6. Mark Bigland-Pritchard says:

    I find I accumulate paper which is printed on one side: I keep this for writing notes on, etc. In our family we have long referred to it as Daily Mail, because it is one-sided scrap paper.

  7. Leif says:

    George, #5: “I do not expect there will be any sudden ‘ahaa!’ moment in the general population, at least not for another decade.”

    For some reason I think the “ahaa” moment is going to happen this year. The opposition is still strong no doubt but Nature bats last.

  8. scruss says:

    I really don’t know why people stateside give the Mail any credence; it’s a step above the Weekly World News, but not a very big one.

  9. George Ennis says:

    Leif, #7

    Living in Canada I think many people are aware how rapidly our Arctic is changing, correction has changed. I would have thought that would have been an “ahaa moment”.

    I was born in Newfoundland and have seen the world miss many such ahaa moments because it did not affect them directly. In the case of Newfoundland the collapse of the cod fishery based on the Grand Banks (once the world’s largest) should have been such a moment. It was not.

    I think the ahaa moment will come when people in North America and more particularly the US are affected directly by climate change in a very direct and meaningful way and in a way that allows them to link it back unequivocally to climate change. That is a difficult task since it is difficult to isolate climate change from natural volatility in the weather. It is also difficult to alter the prism through which people choose to see the world particularly if it involves religion or politics. Keep in mind the vast majority have a stake in trying to maintain the status quo, even though from a strictly scientific perspective it is not sustainable. Accordingly facts are accepted, rejected or altered to the extent they support that world view.

    I think what gives me hope is what happened at Three Mile Island, when it was only when the engineers finally accepted what their instruments were telling them (i.e. the core was melting down) that they were able to take action to correct the problem. The climate scientists are our instruments and only when we really come to embrace what they are telling us will we take effective public policy actions to avert massive climate change.

  10. Donald says:

    The Jones Q&A session is being spun out of all recognition. Roger Harrabin started it off by poorly inaccurately reporting what Jones said.

    “But he agreed that two periods in recent times had experienced similar warming. And he agreed that the debate had not been settled over whether the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the current period.”

    Jones was clear to point out that the causes of past warming could not explain present warming (indeed they should have caused cooling) and he said “There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not.”

    Harrabin’s sentences were spun to imply that Jones said current warming could be natural- which he explicitly rejected in the Q&A session.

    When talking about the MWP, Jones said we don’t have enough evidence from the southern hemisphere to say if the MWP was global, nor should we infer from northern hemisphere data that the southern hemisphere was as warm. I’m pretty certain he was supporting the present view that the MWP was probably not global and that present temperatures are very likely warmer, but a hypothetical remark he made is being taken to mean he believes the opposite.

    Several of the questions in the Q&A session were submitted by “sceptics”, so it looks like Jones fell victim to a straw man argument to some extent (that scientists don’t accept that natural warming has occurred previously). The story can be spun to suggest Jones has shifted his position because he is answering questions that imply that scientists never considered the fact that the world has warmed before.

    He also stated that he didn’t think most scientists agreed that the debate on AGW was over. Roger Harrabin seems to have fallen into the trap of thinking that because Jones doesn’t think the debate on the science is over, and the “sceptics” don’t think the debate on the science is over, Jones is legitimising the “sceptics”. (He has a further story under the link “Can two sides of climate debate be reconciled?”)

    The science that Jones knows is still debated is very different from the science that the “sceptics” would like to debate. Jones is talking about the uncertainties in predictions of future temperatures and measurement and estimates of past temperature and temperature changes. The sceptics would like to debate the very validity of temperature records and reconstructions, argue that the WMP was warmer than the present (on the very same data), that CO2 can’t cause significant warming, that present warming is due to natural changes or the urban heat island effect, that temperatures have not really risen at all, that extra CO2 will actually be good for plants, and any other number of contradictory arguments.

    It’s a trap that “sceptics” have long set for reporters- that there are two sides to the story, where in fact there’s good science (albeit with uncertainty) and crap science that says AGW is nothing to worry about (brought to you by X think tank or Y industry funded scientist or Z crackpot peer or geology professor).

    Deniers on web forums are crowing that Jones has given them legitimacy. I’m not surprised that the mail is spinning Jones like a Frisbee, but I’m more concerned that the BBC is starting to portray a new debate between scientists and legitimate AGW sceptics who have manufactured a phoney legitimacy themselves through a series of leaked emails and spin and misrepresentation.

    (The Guardian seems to have fallen for the same thing in its latest series of reports on the CRU hack as well, but that’s another story.)

  11. Robert Nagle says:

    I can’t say it often enough; thank you for demolishing these kinds of articles. That reduces the amount of time nonexperts like myself have to spend responding to people who forward these kinds of articles. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  12. David HS says:

    Does one need to be confident at the 95% level that an aircraft, say, is going to crash before one decides not to fly on it?

    Jones presumably could have said the trend is significant at the 85% or 90% level. Would anyone then still act on the basis he is wrong?

    As you say, sadly, Jones is not the greatest communicator and so journalists run rings around him.

  13. Greg N says:

    I think you’re over-estimating the influence the Daily Heil has. Even people who read it laugh at it.

  14. Deep Climate says:


    Here’s some additional background. Rose’s climate science career apparently began with his risible parroting of Steve McIntyre’s climategate fantasies.


    (starting halfway down)

    Rose summarized McIntyre’s post, stating that the true “context” of the emails leading up to Jones’s [“hide the decline” email], was an attempt to pressure Briffa to produce a “tree-ring” chronology that would show a reduced Medeival Warm Period and enhanced warming in the 20th century.

    As I explained in a previous post, this absurd account simply does not stand up to scrutiny. First, McIntyre’s explanation in its original form was contradicted by key passages that were deleted from the referenced emails. Not only that, but in another email passage that McIntyre conveniently omitted, Briffa pointed to a previously published reconstruction that he considered to be more appropriate, one very similar to that eventually published. And Briffa’s 1999 chart already contained the truncation after 1960, along with a separate instrumental curve post-1850 – just like the later IPCC chart.

    The mash notes I found in comments from Rose to McIntyre are both hilarious and revealing.

    As a veteran member of the MSM (Vanity Fair and the UK’s Mail on Sunday) may I state for the record: Sir, I salute you. Bravo!

    I am honoured by the kind comments on my article. For the record: without Steve’s brilliant work and this magnificent website, it could not have been written. May I also pay tribute to Ross McKitrick, who gave me several hours of his time on Thursday and helped clarify the issues in my mind.

    I am not a scientist, but an open minded investigative journalist. I have not written on climate before. For the record, the article appeared in the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail’s Sunday stablemate. It sells well in excess of 2 million copies a week. I hope to return to this subject in future.

    Unfortunately for all of us, he did just that.

  15. Dano says:

    In a press conference about the Himalaya glacier thing, several scientists wished for a multi-million dollar PR campaign to counter denialist garbage. The kind of money corporations have. Surely Jones should not be let within 25 km of this campaign if it begins.



  16. Doug Bostrom says:

    Fun times over at Real Climate as they go after the Mail with a new posting, The Daily Mangle plus another more generalized piece, IPCC errors: facts and spin

    Skeptics swarming out of their little holes like angry bees to defend their twaddle.

    Roger Pielke Jr. puts in a guest appearance on the IPCC errors thread.

  17. David B. Benson says:

    Never had any credibility.

    Soap Opera News is more factual.

  18. Richard Brenne says:

    Deep Climate (#14) – Thanks for sharing this with us!

    I love David Rose’ gushing comment, especially where he bays about the Mail on Sunday’s circulation of two million and describes it as the Daily Mail’s Sunday (I had guessed that from the name) “stablemate.”

    Puts one in mind of stable-neighbor pantomime horses enjoying feedbags of hayseeds, two million to be exact.

  19. Part of the problem is the very nature of scientists versus that of journalists. It is an almost autistic answer. The scientist doesn’t understand the alacrity with which the journalist (or her editor!) will twist this meandering answer to serve the funding source of the Newspaper.

    We need “minders” for climate scientists to sit with them, confer with them, check the veracity of the answer, (“in other words, “No”?”) and answer for them – the way that The Accused has the right to A Lawyer who likewise prevents any quotes that might be used against his client.

    BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming.

    Jones: (Whispers to Minder): Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    Minder: (Whispers back) Would this sum it up? “No, we do not find that global warming has slowed. Global warming continues upwards, with statistically insignificant ups and downs within some decades”.

    Jones: Well, of course, everyone knows that, and you know, that reminds me, it ‘s interesting, another find I had one time was…

    Minder: Mr Jones says “No, we do not find that global warming has slowed. Global warming continues upwards, with statistically insignificant ups and downs within some decades”.

  20. Andy says:

    Jones needs to be cut copious amounts of slack. Attacking him is useless.

    It is obvious he is taking into account that every answer he gives will be posed to him again while he’s under oath. He is simply being extremely accurate.

    [JR: I’m not attacking him. Nor does he deserve to have slack “cut.” You aren’t a scientist, are you? What I do is mild compared to what scientists do at colloquia and the like. But he’s had a lot of time to prepare. If he wasn’t ready, he should do interviews.]

  21. Stephen Watson says:

    “Readers should assume that everything they see in the Daily Mail is untrue and unverified. Scientists should refuse to grant interviews to the paper without a third-party present or an agreement to allow a review of any quotes used.”

    My Dad bought The Daily Mail for years and years and I can tell you that it’s a nasty, reactionary rag and should be avoided like the plague. One of its columnists, Jan Moir, recently published a homophobic column about the death of singer Stephen Gately which resulted in so many complaints that the Press Complaints Commission’s web server buckled under the load and generated the most complaints it had ever received on one subject in its history. Also, not only scientists should refuse interviews without a 3rd party present, so should anybody.

    My personal experience is that newspapers distort what they’ve been told in interviews and frequently report facts incorrectly and asking my friends who had also been interviewed by the press produced 100% corroboration of their behaviour in this area.

    But, we’re not just talking about the Daily Mail here, my experience was with The Independent, one of the UK’s ‘Quality’ newspapers, and it was a cynical, distorted and slanted piece of reporting. In October 2005, the Guardian, another of the UK’s ‘Quality’ papers, smeared and distorted an interview with Noam Chomsky who had the temerity to challenge the political status quo, government statements on war and more.

    Please go and read some of the many media analysis sites out there, in the UK the best is in my view, and realise that newspapers are there to deliver consumers to advertisers and not to report ‘the truth’. They report what sells – climate scandals, climate ‘controversy’, death, the promotion of government wars to improve our lives, celebrity garbage, promoting lifestyles which are acknowledged as helping cripple the climate in their Travel and Lifestyle supplements whilst wringing their hands over Climate Change on their front pages and editorials. The Guardian gets 75% of its revenues from advertisers and they have to be kept happy at all costs.

    If you want the least biased news you can find, the place to go for it is the web and to blogs like this that don’t have the advertisers scrutinising their copy for the ‘wrong sort of news’.

  22. Deep Climate says:

    I cover the latest nonsense in the U.K. newspapers the Daily Mail and the Times here.

    Get ready. Lies originating in the U.K. over the weekend in newspaper stories by Jonathan Leake of the Times and Jonathan Petre of the Mail on Sunday, are about to hit the contrarian echo chamber. As usual, Marc Morano is on the case, with his Climate Depot science fabrication clearinghouse claiming that “World may not be warming, say scientists” and “Phil Jones admits: There has been no global warming since 1995″.

    But a cursory examination of the actual articles shows that not only are both claims false, but the articles themselves are chock full of other misleading statements. And reborn skeptic evangelist Jonathan Leake of the Times has not only selected highly dubious research, but has glossed over the fossil fuel industry ties of the researchers, especially those of economist Ross McKitrick. So, for the benefit of Leake and other journalists, I’ll also go over a few unsavoury facts about McKitrick that I didn’t get to last time.

    Not that any of that matters to the contrarian blogosphere and the right-wing U.S. press who will no doubt embrace these latest supposedly fatal blows to climate science in the days to come.

  23. Reasic says:

    So frustrating…

    Some have commented that the Daily Mail has, or should have, very little if any credibility. Maybe so, technically, but it seems to be just credible enough for countless denier blogs and even mainstream television shows to run with this nonsense.

    I’m afraid we might be losing the PR war with the deniers:

    This was seen (and believed) by millions of viewers here in the states, further entrenching them in the belief that AGW is a “myth” or a “hoax”. Public opinion may not mean much compared to scientific literature, but it means nearly everything when it comes to enacting policy in response to what the literature tells us.


    I agree that it’d be nice to have millions to counter the deniers’ garbage, but this particular instance didn’t take millions. It took only one “reporter” with an agenda and his interview with a scientist, which was then spread throughout the blogosphere and certain media outlets. I think the infrastructure is in place for an adequate rebuttal. It’s just not interesting enough to make headlines.

  24. Andy says:

    I am a biologist with a masters degree. I don’t know if that qualifies me as a scientist or not. I do some minor research and publish, but my peer-reviewed work is very slim. I guess you could characterize most of my career as a bureaucrat trying to make environmental regulations work in an extremely (Texas) hostile environment. I believe that what I see in Dr. Jone’s answers is that he is responding as a scientist who expects to be deposed or already has been deposed by lawyers seeking to sue him or his employer. One is not allowed to elaborate in such a situations as your elaboration may open up new avenues of questions for the prosecuting lawyers. Anything Jones says to anyone that can then be quoted back to him will be questioned.

    I admit his interview was bogus. His employer should not have allowed him to give it. However, how could he not when so many people were asking him and his employer to respond to all of the accusations?

    Sometimes this world sucks. Sometimes the bad guys win. But facts and reality are on Dr. Jones’ side and as long as he and we don’t panic, it will all work out in the end.

  25. Hank Roberts says:

    equal opportunity nitpicking:

    > …. If he wasn’t ready, he should [NOT] do interviews.
    > Jone’s [Jones’s]

    I, too, have a Master’s Degree. In Science!

  26. MikeB says:

    Jones wasn’t ready to do interviews – full stop. But since he did give one, he should have been prepped.

    Frankly, I’m not surprised at the Mail. My parents have been buying it for as long as I can remember, and repellent though it is, it is masterfully put together.

    Want tabloid sleaze? Yes, but put in such a way that it is merely reporting. Do you really want to know that the actress daughter of a british actor is a lesbian? Their readers do, and if you dress it up in a certain way, you make it look like lifestyle reporting, rather than grubby voyeurism.

    The Mail is a perfect mix of gossip, lifestyle (often with woo thrown in), partisan news, pretention, anti-interllectualism, and a constant stream of hate to help its readers feel better. It is cognitive dissonance in paper form, and sells very well. Its influence is widespread in politics, and the media often feel they have to follow it s lead. The Express tries, but pushes it too far.

    The Mail would have hung a story on this, no matter what, but the worst thing is how easy it was for them to do it. A clear message, confidently spoken, and a means to hit back at false stories such as this is vital. Climate change scientists seem utterly unaware of the need for these, and so keep losing the war. If you get enough of the media on your side, the Mail will switch. The Mail is acutely sensitive to which way the wind is blowing and hates to be alone. In fact, on plastic bags and such-like, it led the way (a pointless gesture, but very Mail like).

    Push hard, and you might get a result. Hide, and like all bullies, they will just keep coming after you.

    Steve Watson – as a Guardian reader I might be biased (how do you think I found an alternative to the Daily Mail?), but despite its faults, the Guardian is the best out there. The Indy is boring, and Deltoid is covering the Sunday Times right now. The Telegraph is simply bonkers. Personally I love the FT, but perhaps more narrow than I need. they don’t always get it right (Simon Jenkins, the weight of coverage on CRU, etc), but the idea that the Guardian spins certain stories to please advertisers seems unlikely. For one thing, we’d read about it on all those blogs.

  27. Passerby says:

    So that’s where our governor, Rick Perry, came up with the claim the planet hasn’t warmed since ’95. He spit out that gem during a press conference here in Austin, TX, to announce the state is suing to stop the EPA from messing with one of our biggest exports: dirty air. Texas reportedly supplies the nation with over a third of its greenhouse gases, so it’s big business in a twisted sort of way. The Dallas Morning News — the state’s biggest journalism protection racket — slanted its coverage in Perry’s favor. If you interested, here is my response to their 2/16/10 article.

    “You’ll have to excuse Governor Perry. He spent too much time in the sun last summer — the hottest ever known in Austin. And the summer before, which tied 1998 as the then-hottest ever. They were even hotter than 2000. Dallasites remember 2000, when a teevee network thermometer hit 180 degrees in Texas Stadium just before the Cowboys-Eagles kick off. Even hotter than epic summer of 1980. Dallasites remember that one too, when cattle were disappearing into massive cracks in North Texas farmland.
    As for Governor Perry, he knows better. He knows Texans know better too. Aside from the routine posts by oil lobbyists here, the tone of fear is evident on both sides. In part Governor Perry’s denial is aimed at soothing Texans who see the bigger picture of a rapidly failing eco system and the role Global Warming plays in it. He’s also trying to protect the money flow from big polluters because he is living like there is no tomorrow. As in too late. Thanks to decades of sloppy reporting, censorship and political cowardice by shills like The Morning News, it may be.”

  28. prokaryote says:

    Carl Sagan:”We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”