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Michael Mann responds to the “false and misleading claims” in the error-riddled, defamatory WSJ piece by Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson

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"Michael Mann responds to the “false and misleading claims” in the error-riddled, defamatory WSJ piece by Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson"

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Has the WSJ’s vaunted ‘firewall’ between straight news and ideological-driven editorials been breached?

I’d like your help debunking this atrocious piece of media misreporting, “Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel.”

Yes, the WSJ piece wins the prize for the most unintentionally ironic headline since it is the media’s self-destructive push to oversimplify that has led to repeated libeling of Michael Mann and other climate scientists (see “Newsweek staff who play fast and loose with the facts are imperiling not just their profession but the planet” and “Abandoning all journalistic standards, CBS libels Michael Mann based on a YouTube video “” while reporting his exoneration!

I am running a full response by Dr. Mann below.  It seems the least I can do in response to the umpteenth false attack on his reputation.  It simply boggles the mind — and raises serious questions of journalistic bias for the paper — that the WSJ can run this error-riddled attack on Mann and the Hockey Stick without even mentioning any of these three central facts:

  • The Hockey Stick was affirmed in a major review by the uber-prestigious National Academy of Scientists (in media-speak, the highest scientific “court” in the land).
  • The Hockey Stick has been replicated and strengthened by numerous independent studies.  My favorite is from Science last year “” see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds (the source of the figure below).
  • Penn State itself in recent review, concluded, “After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data.”

Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson mention none of that, since those facts would undermine their phony narrative on the subject, which sums up this way, “In other words, maybe the chart shouldn’t resemble a hockey stick.”

In other words, maybe it should:

figure

Here is Mann’s quick response to the piece:

The article creates a factually incorrect narrative by conflating a number of unrelated things which follow a timeline that doesn’t support the interpretation provided.  It refers to email discussions between Keith Briffa and various 2001 IPCC report chapter 2 on “climate observations” co-authors, including Chris Folland, myself, and others:

“I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more,’ ” he wrote to other researchers in the email, among those hacked at East Anglia. “In reality the situation is not quite so simple,” Mr. Briffa wrote.

These emails were from 1999 and referred to an early draft of the IPCC report. In this draft, Briffa had provided a reconstruction of past temperatures based on high-latitude tree-ring density data. Briffa had used an extremely liberal means for removing “growth trends” which left very little long-term variability in the reconstruction at all. Convening lead author Chris Folland had indicated that Briffa’s reconstruction detracted from the comparison with other reconstructions that were shown (one of ours, and one co-authored by Phil Jones, as well as Briffa himself, and others) which were based on multiple types of proxy records (ice cores, corals, tree-rings, sediments, historical documents). Both of these latter two reconstruction showed far more low-frequency variability and better consistency with instrumental temperature data.

Subsequent to that discussion, Briffa and colleagues went back and used more conservative methods to produce a tree-ring density-based temperature reconstruction with more faithful retention of long-term variability. This reconstruction was shown with the two other (Mann et al and Jones et al) reconstructions in the final draft of the IPCC report. All three reconstructions indicated that the recent warmth was anomalous in the long-term context of the reconstruction (back 1000 years for Jones et al and Mann et al, while Briffa et al only went back 600 years).

Even the revised Briffa et al reconstruction suffered from yet another problem however.  This problem was well known, as was the focus of Briffa et al’s original 1998 article [Briffa, K. R., F. H. Schweingruber, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn, S. G. Shiyatov, and E. A. Vaganov (1998), Reduced sensitivity of recent tree-growth to temperature at high northern latitudes, Nature, 391, 678-682] presenting their  high-latitude tree-ring density dataset.  What they noted in their original article is something peculiar to these tree-ring data (it does not generally apply to other tree-ring data, let alone other proxies such as ice cores, corals, etc), that they stop accurately reflecting temperatures after about 1960. For this reason, the reconstruction is typically (as was the case in the IPCC report) terminated at 1960 when the tree-ring data are known to be unreliable. The reason for this so-called “divergence problem” is still an area of active research by dendroclimatologists–it may be due to other limiting influences on tree-growth in recent decades such as pollution.  In any case, however (i) the problem was well recognized in the IPCC report and was discussed clearly in that report [see: http://www1.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/068.htm ], only applied to one of the three reconstructions shown in the IPCC report (the Briffa et al tree-ring density data), and not to the multiple-proxy based reconstructions of Mann et al (the “Hockey Stick”) and of Jones et al (1998).

Given the above information (which Johnson was provided before this article was published) it is clear that the following statement by Ball and Johnson is completely false:

The problem: Using Mr. Briffa’s tree-ring techniques, researchers in the ’90s built charts suggesting temperatures in the late 20th century were the highest in a millennium. The charts were dubbed “hockey sticks” because they showed temperatures relatively flat for centuries, then angling higher recently.

There is not even a grain of truth to the statement. Neither the multiple proxy-based “Hockey Stick” reconstruction of Mann et al nor the multiple-proxy based Jones et al reconstruction used “Mr. Briffa’s tree-ring techniques” let alone their data.

Ball and Johnson compound the erroneous statements by:

But Mr. Briffa fretted about a potential issue. Thermometers show temperatures have risen since the ’60s, but tree-ring data don’t move in tandem, and sometimes show the opposite. (Average annual temperatures reached the highest on record in 2005, according to U.S. government data. They fell the next three years, and rose in 2009. All those years remain among the warmest on record.)

The statement falsely implies that the Hockey Stick reconstruction of Mann et al central to their discussion somehow suffers from the problems of the Briffa et al reconstruction. It simply doesn’t. The statement is false, and indeed it is only this false assertion which allows the authors to try to fit the Hockey Stick into their disingenuous overall narrative about the IPCC supposedly exaggerating science.

The problem is further compounded by a similarly disingenuous statement later on in the article:

The data were the subject of heated back-and-forth before the IPCC’s 2001 report. John Christy, one of the section’s lead authors, said at the time that he tried in vain to make sure the report reflected the uncertainty.

Mr. Christy said in an interview that some of the pressure to downplay the uncertainty came from Michael Mann, a fellow lead author of that chapter, a scientist at Pennsylvania State University, and a developer of the original hockey-stick chart.

The “very prominent” use of the hockey-stick chart “overrules what tentativeness some of us actually intended,” Mr. Christy wrote to the National Research Council in the U.S. a month after the report was published. Mr. Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, provided that email.

If John Christy made the above statements, then he too has been untruthful. In fact, the use of the term “likely” (which was agreed upon by all IPCC chapter 2 co-authors including Mr. Christy) in assessing whether recent warmth is unusual in a millennial context, is precisely the same wording that was used by Mann et al themselves in their original millennial Hockey Stick article which has the words “limitations” and “uncertainties” in the very title of the paper: “Mann, M.E., Bradley, R.S. and Hughes, M.K., Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations, Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 759-762, 1999″. During a press conference following the 2006 release of a National Academy of Sciences report widely viewed as a vindication of the Mann et al work (BBC: “Backing for the Hockey Stick”, New York Times: “Science panel backs study on warming climate”, Nature: “Academy Affirms Hockey Stick Graph”) chairman of the NAS committee Gerald North of Texas A & M, asked about whether Mann et al had ever over-stated their conclusions, attributed any blame for overstatement of the conclusions to others: “The community probably took the results to be more definitive than Mann and colleagues intended.”

The “tentativeness” of the conclusions was emphasized in the original 1999 article. the question that was actually debated by the IPCC chapter 2 co-authors was how to make an assessment of confidence given that one of the three studies (Mann et al) had estimated uncertainties in reconstructed values, making it possible to obtain a statistical estimate of significance, and allowing the conclusion to be drawn that recent warmth was “likely” anomalous in at least the past 1000 years. However, the two others (Jones et al and Briffa et al) did not estimate the uncertainties in the reconstructed values, making it difficult to draw statistical inferences. The IPCC chapter 2 lead authors collectively determined that “likely” (amounting to a roughly 2/3 likelihood), the same choice used by Mann et al themselves, was the best level of confidence to attribute to the collective evidence from the three reconstructions.

Perhaps most troubling is this sentence:

“I was suspicious of the hockey stick,” Mr. Christy said in an interview. Had Mr. Briffa’s concerns been more widely known, “The story coming out of the [report] may have been different in tone and confidence.”

If Christy did indeed say this, then he knowingly making a false claim in the Wall Street Journal. As a participant in the IPCC chapter 2 deliberations, he surely was aware that the “concerns” by Briffa et al referred to an early comparison in a draft report, objected to by convening lead author Chris Folland due to the known problems with the early versiion of the Briffa et al reconstruction in that version of the plot.  The final plot that appeared containing Briffa’s most up-to-date reconstruction. That plot suffered from the “divergence” problem, but the Hockey Stick did not.  By implication, the reader is again led to believe that this “problem” somehow compromises the reliability of the Hockey Stick when it in fact has absolutely no relevant to the Mann et al Hockey Stick reconstruction at all–it only applies to the Briffa et al reconstruction shown in the IPCC report.

What is even more troubling is the asymmetry of the criticism by Ball and Johnson.

A far more interesting set of questions would have involved John Christy and his satellite estimates which were used by contrarians in the climate debate for more than a decade to cast doubt on the reality of global warming. Christy was indeed pushing personally for the conclusion that there is little warming evident over the past few decades, purely based on his own satellite estimates with Roy Spencer which contradicted all other lines of evidence supporting warming.  A few years ago, independent teams of scientists got ahold of their satellite data and after repeated questioning of them about their methods found that there were two critical errors in their algorithm.  One of them was a sign error in the diurnal correction term, the other was an algebraic error.  Once those errors were corrected by other scientists, the Christy and Spencer claim that satellite data contradict surface evidence of warming evaporated.

There is a good summary of these developments by William Connelly here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/11/more-satellite-stuff/

By contrast with the key conclusion of Christy and Spencer’s original work (that the atmosphere was not warming), which has now been overturned by all independent assessments, the Mann et al work has stood up remarkably well. the most recent IPCC report not only affirming the Mann et al conclusions, but extending them further back based on the existence of more than a dozen reconstructions that now point to the same question: The 2007 IPCC report found that recent warming is *likely* unprecedented for at least the past *1300* years.

Why wasn’t the  WSJ more interested in the Christy & Spencer story. Why didn’t they interview Frank Wentz of the RSS group in California, who discovered the Christy and Spencer error? Not only was it an honest-go-goodness error, it mattered–it provided a specious talking point (“the atmosphere isn’t warming”) for climate change deniers for more than a decade. And it was a product of some botched algebra by Christy and Spencer. There was no scientific validity to the claim at all.

The authors of the WSJ story were provided all of the information indicated above. They still chose to publish false and misleading claims. Unfortunately, this has become par for the course for the Wall Street Journal, whose denialist opinion page rhetoric is increasingly creeping past the supposed “firewall” into their news division.

The WSJ owes Mann an apology and a major retraction.

Failure to do so will feed the suspicion that their rabidly anti-science editorial page is infecting — directly or indirectly — their news coverage.

And yes, quoting Christy as a reliable source on the matter without mentioning his catastrophic and consequential decade-long series of miscalculation is indicative of the “asymmetric” standard the disinformers are held to, as Energy Secretary Steven Chu put it, “ What standard are they being held to? It’s very asymmetric. They get to say anything they want.” See also “Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?

There are many, many more erroneous and misleading statements in the WSJ piece — aside from the fact that the entire thrust of the piece is disingenuous:  The media bears a great deal of the culpability for any oversimplification in the presentation of the IPCC’s results, a point Dr. Alley alludes to.

But here’s where you come in.  I’ve already spent the entire morning on this and am out most of the afternoon.  So I’d like you to document the other errors and distortions in the piece, and over the weekend I will highlight the best of what your write, which is to say, the worst of what the WSJ wrote.

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32 Responses to Michael Mann responds to the “false and misleading claims” in the error-riddled, defamatory WSJ piece by Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson

  1. Lars Karlsson says:

    In the box with the header “Climate Clarity”, they claim that the first chart (from the summary report) shows a smaller degree of uncertainty (gray area) than the second chart (from the full report). But both charts show an uncertainty a bit under 1.0 degrees from 1000 to 1600. From 1600 to 1900, uncertainties in both charts are somewhat less than 0.5 degrees. Didn’t they notice that the scales are different?

  2. Esop says:

    Indeed, why are we not seeing the media highlight the highly critical errors made by the UAH team in the past. Just as interesting: now that even their own satellite data has turned against them, with currently more warming than in the GISTEMP and HADCRUT surface series, the media is still not reporting on it, instead slandering proper scientists like Mann and Santer, using the discredited guys as a “reliable” source. Seems like Bizarro World.

  3. dhogaza says:

    I’ve been making a similar point elsewhere, Lars. The NAS (NRC) 2006 report said the reconstruction from 1600-present was very robust (forget the exact words), from 1000-1600 “plausible” (more likely than not, as they later explained after the denialist community spun “plausible” as “no evidence for”). Mann’s paper and the IPCC AR3 diagram based on Mann ’99 show much larger uncertainty from 1000-1600, just as you say.

    So from the beginning Mann ’99 showed the same increase in uncertainty in the 1000-1600 period as the NAS (NRC) report did.

  4. Lewis says:

    I’d love to help but my head exploded just reading that hatchet piece masquerading as responsible journalism. In the sixth paragraph this jumped out at me before the meltdown:

    Emails hacked from a U.K. climate lab and posted online late last year appear to show scientists trying to squelch researchers who disagreed with their conclusion that humans are largely responsible for climate change.

    Do they or don’t they show researches ‘squelching’ those who disagree? When did innuendo become journalism?

  5. Jeff Huggins says:

    Huge Misconception and Harmful Paradigm in the Media

    Simplicity is beauty, it is sometimes said.

    By mentioning this, I’m not talking directly about climate change science. I’m talking about conveying a problem that the media don’t seem to get.

    Take the phrase “the public good”. The media — and especially news — are supposed to serve “the public good”, yes? That’s why we give the media special access, why we want it to be healthy, and so forth.

    Considering that phrase …

    The word ‘the’ is about as neutral and unbiased as you can get.

    The word ‘public’ is also neutral and unbiased, pretty much, especially now that everyone is considered part of the full “public”. (Before slavery was abolished and women were given the right to vote, even the word ‘public’ meant very different things to different people, unfortunately.)

    So, so far, we have two relative neutral and unbiased words — ‘the’ and ‘public’.

    But now consider the word ‘good’ in the phrase ‘the public good’.

    The word ‘good’ is not a meaningless place-holder word, completely without any directional definition. It is not really a “whatever you want it to be” word.

    Killing someone is not the same as saving them. Taking someone’s property is not the same as leaving them to keep it. Sustainability is not the same as catastrophe. Killing other species, and undermining the biodiversity on which we depend, is not the same as preserving a healthy planet. Honesty and accuracy are not the same as dishonesty and false facts. And — importantly — when a problem is on the horizon, focusing on that problem accurately and honestly is not the same as ignoring it, confusing the matter, or focusing more on disagreements between people (of highly different levels of credibility), for the sake of controversy or ratings, rather than on the honest problem itself.

    So, there IS a built-in and necessary “bias” — if someone wants to think of it that way — in the very thing that the media (especially news) are supposed to be serving … and in the very thing that makes the news media worthwhile to society at the highest level. There is that darn word ‘good’.

    ‘Good’ doesn’t mean disaster, and it has real, directional, meaning. It doesn’t mean anything you want it to mean. Simply putting words on a page, and calling it news, or simply focusing on “who said what” yesterday, is not the same as serving “the public good” and falls WAY short of that aim.

    Although two of the three words in the phrase ‘the public good’ can be seen as nuetral, unbiased, and almost meaningless, the third word in the phrase — and the key one — ‘good’ — is not at all without meaning.

    In that context, there SHOULD BE a “bias” in news coverage, if we see the meaning in that light. The “bias” SHOULD BE to serve the public good. This does NOT mean lying to the public, deceiving the public, distributing false facts to the public, distracting the public, or treating all sources as if they are equal, equally wise, equally honest, and equally responsible. Quite the contrary.

    If the media were to reject THAT “bias”, it would be rejecting its own main purpose, its own claim to fame, and its main worth to society. And indeed, that’s just what it seems to be doing.

    How many different ways can the same thing be said? Do the media “get it”?

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  6. Leif says:

    Bumped into a quote by Bertrand Russell…

    “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”

  7. mike roddy says:

    We all saw this coming when Newscorp bought WSJ, but didn’t know it would be this bad, this soon. Ball and Johnson’s article is embarrassing, really. And Michael Mann has earned my deepest respect, not only for his work, but for maintaining himself in every way in the face of this kind of nonsense.

    Nobody in journalism is calling for a minimum standard of accuracy in scientific reporting. SEJ and CJR appear to have become cowed; there are no Edward R Morrows speaking up, apparently because they are afraid of ending up like Rather or Trumbo. This is not at heart a political issue, it’s a question of scientific evidence, so simple fact checking should be a routine endeavor here.

    Maybe a scientific organization should set up a press monitoring office, especially one tied to climate science, such as Physics, Geology, or Climatology. You did a great job debunking this article, Joe, as always, but an institutional voice may have more of an effect.

  8. MarkB says:

    Excellent commentary by Mann. I was just writing on this topic over at shewonk.

    To strengthen your second bullet point “The Hockey Stick has been replicated and strengthened by numerous independent studies”, here are some of those studies, independent of Mann’s work:

    http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2010/02/24/enron-and-the-zombie-fungus/#comment-1281

    Mann also rightly points out that the WSJ (and almost all of the media) ignored a huge story – the persistent upward corrections to Spencer and Christy’s UAH satellite data and Christy and Spencer’s early confidence in the faulty data, which is a nice addendum to Christy’s dishonest false assertion that Mann downplayed uncertainty.

    If it had any integrity, the WSJ would allow Mann’s response to be published.

  9. Dean says:

    Even if the WSJ published Mann’s response, 99% of the readers would not get past this sentence: Briffa had used an extremely liberal means for removing “growth trends” which left very little long-term variability in the reconstruction at all. This is simply beyond comprehension for almost all non-scientists, nor would an extra science course in High School deal with it.

    The precision of scientific language is a world away from colloquial usage. If a scientist tries to use colloquial English, they will get criticized for being inaccurate. If they use scientifically accurate language, the people who need to understand the response won’t. There needs to be somebody that the public trusts enough who can say “they really do know what they are doing” but the anti-elitist attitude makes that impossible. There are no more Cronkites nor can there be in the contemporary culture. To be honest personally, I don’t trust most elites either, but I’m referring to fields outside of science.

    If the WSJ did real journalism, this particular instance wouldn’t come up, but far more people these days get their news from blogs than old-line papers like the WSJ (or the NYT or the WaP). I don’t know how Michael Mann keeps his sanity and health (if indeed he has) given how much of a target he has become.

  10. Doug Bostrom says:

    The firewall being penetrated here is the so-far intact envelope of integrity protecting the trust placed in the IPCC scientific assessment.

    Arsonists are thrusting a torch into the IPCC assessment because it’s an inconveniently stubborn obstacle to producing confusion in the mind of citizens and more importantly policymakers.

    Look at the big picture here. Inhofe and his criminalization of climate science, WSJ’s reputation as a news source being expended as a propaganda cannon, CEI launching volleys of FOIA requests. These guys mean business; the PR campaign of the last couple of decades is going to appear thoroughly tame by comparison to the present mobilization.

    I don’t know who can do it, but somebody needs to pony up some serious cash, be a proxy defender of science, hire a heavy-duty PR firm as well as some legal talent to begin going after frivolous litigation as well as slander or this could turn out to be a bloodbath.

  11. dhogaza says:

    Mann also rightly points out that the WSJ (and almost all of the media) ignored a huge story – the persistent upward corrections to Spencer and Christy’s UAH satellite data and Christy and Spencer’s early confidence in the faulty data, which is a nice addendum to Christy’s dishonest false assertion that Mann downplayed uncertainty.

    Not to mention that the WSJ published an editorial at the time proclaiming Christy and Spencer’s original satellite reconstruction, which showed slight cooling from 1979 up to then (late 90s?), as being “the wooden stake through the heart of global warming”.

    AFAIK they never published any editorial backtracking from that in the years that followed, when it because clear that it was actually a wooden stake through the heart of Christy and Spencer’s competence …

  12. Lou Grinzo says:

    None of this surprises me in the least, except in the sense that it isn’t even worse and didn’t happen even sooner.

    The battle lines have been drawn between those trying to preserve an environment reasonably close to the one that existed throughout human civilization, and those who perceive that they have a huge financial and/or ideological incentive to resist change. The deniers think they’re on a mission from God or Ayn Rand or Lou Dobbs or Glenn Beck or who knows who, and they will do absolutely anything, in time, to fight public policy that takes meaningful action against climate change.

    Remember that we’ve already seen climate scientists receive death threats, and people like Bill McKibben (as he pointed out in his recent “OJ” piece) getting deluged with disgusting hate mail. Who here thinks it will end there? Anyone?

  13. Ryan T says:

    Hmmmm, “defamatory”?…

    Still waiting for a scientist to either demand correction/retraction, or hire a lawyer when this stuff happens. The more these reporters(?) get away with it, the more they’ll do it, given any opportunity.

    Tick, tick, tick, tick.

  14. caerbannog says:

    Here’s a link to a podcast of an interview with Michael Mann here: http://media.libsyn.com/media/pointofinquiry/POI_2010_02_26_Michael_Mann.mp3

    Chris Mooney conducted the interview this week, and the podcast was just put on the web today.

  15. Richard Brunell says:

    I can’t figure out what the WSJ is trying to say with the two charts. The main difference between the two appears to be the fact that the chart in the summary report (SPM 10b) projects to 2100 (which looks like a boomerang, not a hockey stick), while the chart in the full report (Figure 2.21) is retrospective only. And indeed, the chart in the summary appears at the end of the summary in a discussion about projections and in support of the robust finding that “Global average surface temperature during 21st century rising at rates very likely without precedent during last 10,000 years.” The historical temperatures in the “summary report” chart look pretty much like the ones in the “full report” chart; in fact, given the different scale, the summary report chart seems to deemphasize the increasing temperatures in the last century. Moreover, is the WSJ even correct when it says that “summary report” chart involves “the averaged historical temperature from various reconstructions?” Finally, why focus on the 2001 report instead of the more recent report?

  16. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    People with good short comments might want to post them at the WSJ.

  17. David B. Benson says:

    I’m sorry that any of those fine scientists have to put up with this.

  18. Wit's End says:

    David B. Benson, yes, they are definitely taking the brunt of the denialist hysteria and attack, in a very public and personal way. We should let them know we have their backs! But how…Some creative, and well-known media darlings should take a stance. This is more far-reaching than local earthquakes and tsunamis…not to diminish their devastation.

    What is at stake is losing a habitable climate across the globe – for all intents and purposes, permanently.

  19. “If Christy did indeed say this, then we knowingly making a false claim…”

    typo: “we” should be “he”

    Dr. Mann, hang in there — plenty of people are behind you on this one.

  20. Ryan T says:

    What I’d like to know is when we’ll see a rebuttal (or at least a timely correction) in the WSJ. I hope this won’t just be just another case of preaching to the choir, when so many people regularly read publications like theirs, but probably not climate blogs.

  21. MartinJB says:

    Rebuttals like this really put the lie to the rejectionist claim that the problems impeding wider acceptance of climate science derive from the arrogance and opacity of climate science.

    Horse puckey! It’s lies and distortions from rejectionist opinion-makers and in the media that are getting in the way.

    If there is hard language and defensiveness coming from the climate science community, it’s in response to the lies and distortions.

    –MartinJB

  22. I would just like to point out again the link in comment 14 by caerbannog to the podcast of Chris Mooney’s interview, today, with Dr. Michael Mann.

    http://cdn3.libsyn.com/pointofinquiry/POI_2010_02_26_Michael_Mann.mp3

    It is an excellent interview wherein Dr. Mann describes the climate denial industry that has been in existence for decades, and wherein he adamantly states that scientists in this situation should fight back.

    I absolutely agree, and I hope that more scientists will come out publicly and fight against these criminal activities by the fossil-fuel industry to smear and libel the scientists. It is abhorrent and almost impossible to describe the reality of the situation and how the fossil-fuel industry has gone full out to destroy the hard-working reputable scientists, how they have suborned mass media like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, CBS News, the list goes on and on and on.

    It really is time to take the gloves off. Draw a line in the sand. Fight back. I don’t know how, but please find a way!

    [JR: I'll post it.]

  23. Steve H says:

    Re Chris Mooney’s interview: while I’ve not yet listened to it, I have read his Intersection blog and the atrociousness of the comments. Poor fellow gets torn apart by the New Atheists on a regular basis, and also by the climate denialists. It would be wonderful if some CP’s brainpower could help make his and Sheril’s comments section as valuable as this one is.

  24. Lars Karlsson says:

    #15 Richard Brunell,
    The key statement is: “A version of the chart in the full reprot suggested less certainty.” In other words, WSJ claims that in the chart in the summary report, IPCC “faked” a lower uncertainty.

    But uncertainties (gray areas) are basically the same in both charts! It is just the scales that are different.

  25. Michael Y says:

    JR opens this post with the subtitle, “Has the WSJ’s vaunted ‘firewall’ between straight news and ideological-driven editorials been breached?”

    For a relatively clear answer, it might be good to hear the owner himself. Please see the following video interview of Murdoch at the Hoover Instiuttion.

    http://fora.tv/2010/02/05/Rupert_Murdoch_The_Future_of_Newspapers#Rupert_Murdochs_Wall_Street_Journal_Fair_and_Balanced

    It is pretty striking!!! Well worth spending the 2 minutes it takes to watch.

  26. Sou says:

    As an aside, you are probably on top of this, but here are submissions to the Muir Inquiry in the UK:

    Muir Inquiry

    The one from The Institute of Physics is doing the rounds of the denialists.

    Responses from Professor John Beddington among others look fairly solid on first reading. Several more are predictably self-interested and shallow when not outright false. (I haven’t read them all.)

  27. Warren Eric says:

    *sigh*

    I have written an open letter to Mr. Murdoch in the comments section of the article “Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel” at the following link:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704188104575083681319834978.html?KEYWORDS=global+warming+oversimplification#articleTabs%3Dcomments%26commentId%3D952893

  28. JasonW says:

    In related news, the CRU has released a press statement pertaining to the widely distributed claim the ICO had found evidence of FOI obstruction regarding data release. Turns out that is not quite true, as their correspondence with ICO shows.

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/ICOcorrespondence

    Perhaps a post on this, Joe?

  29. Dan L. says:

    Why on Earth did Science link to the Wall Street Journal article?

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/02/un-review-of-ipcc-could-have-unc.html?rss=1

    (last paragraph)

  30. Aunt Sally says:

    Somewhat tangentially related, what in the world is going on with this:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

  31. MapleLeaf says:

    Someone please explain to me why Man (and others) are not pursuing legal action against the WSJ (and other media outlets) who knowingly choose to defame and libel them? Who is holding the WSJ (and other malicious outlets) accountable? If not, why not?

    This has gone far enough. I’ll have a look at their piece again when I have some time and see if this humble soul can ID some more errors/inconsistencies.

  32. zed ink says:

    re backstory… motivations etc… any truth in big Saudi money stake of Fox News..?

    WSJ was always a big ambition buy for Rupert Murdoch wasn’t it. When did that happen.. late last year. A whole lot of media connections there.. and right across the world.. point being media foci for deniosaurus swarms… yes?

    When I touch base with likelies they go all quiet.. for their own reasons of course. How is this with you folks?