The Atlantic’s Clive Crook needs to retract his libelous misinformation and apologize to Michael Mann

The Atlantic‘s Clive Crook has written one of the most embarrassing and willfully uninformed pieces published by the status quo media, “Climategate and the Big Green Lie.”  Coming after multiple exonerations of climatologist Michael Mann, it is libelous.  Amazingly, Mann tells me that Crook never interviewed him or contacted him at all before writing this piece.

How exactly does the senior editor for a major magazine trash the reputation of a man whose academic practices and scientific results have been exonerated probably more than any other U.S. climate scientist — without even talking to that scientist?  By basically making crap up.

You know your piece is probably blame-the-victim misinformation if it becomes is the basis of the screaming banner headline at the website of disinformer’s leading cyber-bully (who urges violence against climate scientists):  “The Atlantic Mag’s Warmist Editor Clive Crook Slams Sham Climategate Investigations….”  Similarly, the top, but fading, disinformer blog, WattsUpWithThat devoted a whole post to it.

Crook opens:

By way of preamble, let me remind you where I stand on climate change. I think climate science points to a risk that the world needs to take seriously. I think energy policy should be intelligently directed towards mitigating this risk. I am for a carbon tax.

Uhh, Memo 1 to Crook:  Those exact same words could have been written by Bjorn Lomborg (or even the CEO of ExxonMobil).  They tell us absolutely nothing about where you stand on climate change.

Memo 2 to Crook:  In case you and your magazine missed it, the big climate change policy Congress has been wrangling over for the last year and a half are cap-and-trade bills, not a carbon tax.  Who cares whether you are for some unspecified and hence possibly meaningless carbon tax?

But that’s just typically lame status quo media BS.  Where Crook jumps the shark is in this paragraph:

The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with “the hockey stick” — would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for “lack of credible evidence”, it will not even investigate them. (At this, MIT’s Richard Lindzen tells the committee, “It’s thoroughly amazing. I mean these issues are explicitly stated in the emails. I’m wondering what’s going on?” The report continues: “The Investigatory Committee did not respond to Dr Lindzen’s statement. Instead, [his] attention was directed to the fourth allegation.”)

It is Crook’s misinformed smear that would be difficult to parody.

Crook seems completely unaware that the inquiry he links to was a second investigation of Mann by Penn State.   The first three allegations were thoroughly examined and dismissed in Penn State’s first review of Mann.

Had Crook actually read the link he provides, he would know that since it clearly states that after  thoroughly reviewing all of the relevant material, “The Inquiry Committee determined there was no substance to this allegation and further investigation of this allegation was not warranted,” for each of the first three allegations.

I have no idea where Crook came up with the phrase he puts in quotes “lack of credible evidence” — if anyone can find the source for that exact word-for-word quote, please let me know. Note:  The original report (which Crook seems unaware of) uses the phrase “there exists no credible evidence” a number of times, but that is not the same as what Crook wrote.

To assert that Penn State “will not even investigate” three of the four charges and imply that they dismiss them out of hand without thorough examination is, I think, libel.

As I wrote here, I do not use the word “libel” for the vast majority of media miscoverage of climate science.  But Crook links to — and later quotes at length — a document that clearly explains his charge is false.  Thus, his false charge meets the tough legal standard for determining whether a major media outlet has defamed a public figure “” that the publisher had “knowledge that the information was false” or that the information was published “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

It is very revealing that Crook quotes Lindzen as if he were a credible scientific source.  For quite some time Lindzen has been doing little but spreading disinformation “” see Re-discredited climate denialists in denial.  He’s even started publishing nonsense that has led to unusually strong debunkings by his colleagues:

As I just posted, MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel accurately called Lindzen a liar for signing a falsehood-filled letter to Congress:

Among other untruths, it contained the sentence, referring to evidence of anthropogenic global warming, “There is no such evidence; it doesn’t exist.”

So Crook asserts that “I think climate science points to a risk that the world needs to take seriously.”  But the only person he quotes in defense of his libelous smear of Mann is a scientist who smears other climate scientists and who pushes outright disinformation on climate science.  Again, Crook never contacted Mann.

Crook’s next sentence asserts, “Moving on, the report then says, in effect, that Mann is a distinguished scholar, a successful raiser of research funding, a man admired by his peers — so any allegation of academic impropriety must be false.”  That is  willfully misleading.   Among other things, the Investigatory Committee interviewed three scientists determine what standard  academic practices were and are in the field.

But  obviously the fact that Mann’s work has stood the test of both peer review and time matters.  As the panel noted, “literally dozens of the most highly qualified scientists in the world scrutinized and examined every detail of the scientific work done by Dr. Mann and his colleagues and judged it to meet the high standards necessary for publication.”  But Mann’s proven scientific record of achievement means nothing to Crook, who repeats and expands his libelous statement:

In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no. His record is swooned over. Verdict: case dismissed, with apologies that Mann has been put to such trouble.

This libelous nonsense is what passes for journalism at The Atlantic?

The key point about Mann’s “Hockey Stick” work is that it was repeatedly attacked and utterly vindicated long before we saw any of the trumped up charges around the stolen emails:

  • 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) “” see NAS Report and here.  The news story in the journal Nature (subs. req’d) on the NAS panel was headlined:  “Academy affirms hockey-stick graph“!
  • 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).
  • And then we have Penn State’s first review of Mann, which 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. While a perception has been created in the weeks after the CRU emails were made public that Dr. Mann has engaged in the suppression or falsification of data, there is no credible evidence that he ever did so, and certainly not while at Penn State.”

It would be one thing if Crook smeared Mann before the multiple vindications, but to do so after his scientific work and academic practices have been more thoroughly vetted than that of pretty much any other climate scientist in the country is journalistic malpractice that borders on harassment.  Did I mention that Crook never even talked to Mann before smearing him?

I really don’t want to waste much more time on the rest of Crook’s falsehood-filled character assassination at this point.  The piece is titled, “Climategate and the Big Green Lie” but the use of the harsh phrase “Big Lie” to smear the greens  is never defended.

The term is very strong,  as Wikipedia explains,

The Big Lie (German: GroŸe L¼ge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, for a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

Anyone reading that headline would think Crook is going to layout some elaborate and colossal case against  environmentalists (or whoever the “greens” are —  Crook never says, but at points he seems to conflate “greens” with climate scientists).  The  best he can do is quote the rarely right Walter Russell Mead:

The Big Lie is that the green movement is a source of coherent or responsible counsel about what to do [about global warming].

But that doesn’t come close to the level of a “Big Lie,” assuming it is even a lie at all.   Every group thinks they are a source of coherent and responsible counsel about what to do about the policy issues they care about.  It is absurd to call that a “Big Lie.”  It renders the term meaningless.

As an important aside, Crook himself never offers “coherent or responsible counsel about what to do” about  a problem he claims  needs to be taken seriously,  so I don’t see how we can possibly criticize those who do offer  comprehensive solutions.

I am only including this brief Big Lie discussion to show a pattern of Crook making absurd attacks that he never  supports with any evidence.  A lame attack on “the green movement” is standard stuff for the status quo media.

But libeling  one of the country’s top climate scientists  even though you are aware — or should be —  of the multiple exoneration of his work and his practices is beyond the pale of  journalistic practices.

Crook needs to retract his libelous misinformation and apologize to Michael Mann.  Merely changing a few words in his piece will not do.

Failing that, I challenge The Atlantic to have a panel of national journalists review Clive Crook’s article, “Climategate and the Big Green Lie” and the relevant Penn State reports, and interview Michael Mann and Crook.

Until that happens, readers are entitled to conclude the Atlantic is the home of “suffocating groupthink and intellectual corruption” — the absurd charge Crook levels at the scientists whose emails were hacked.

59 Responses to The Atlantic’s Clive Crook needs to retract his libelous misinformation and apologize to Michael Mann

  1. Icarus says:

    The Atlantic might just as well have copied and pasted a few contributions from some of the more rabid commenters on WUWT and other anti-science blogs, and saved Clive Crook the trouble of writing anything at all. The result would have been much the same.

  2. Sasparilla says:

    Excellent piece Joe, absolutely ripped the Atlantic’s article and its premise (if that can be said) apart.

  3. mike roddy says:

    Thanks for this excellent piece, Joe, and I love your direct and no-time-for-bullshit attitude. When a formerly respected publication like The Atlantic blows it this badly, they need to be called on it. Amazingly, it appears that nobody else in the media is doing so. Are there any media watchdog organizations that fill this role when it comes to climate science? You’re doing a great job, but an ongoing and well supported effort is needed here.

    Who owns The Atlantic these days? That could answer a lot of questions.

  4. paulm says:

    Sue Sue Sue!

  5. Stuart says:

    Lazy journalism at its worst. Although I don’t think much of the Atlantic since they hired Mcardle. Crook is just giving ammo to the denial machine while still claiming to accept climate change – he needs to learn some science before he writes such drivel, and to at least read the reports he writes about. Thank you Joe!

  6. Ben Lieberman says:

    As an historian of ethnic cleansing, twentieth century Germany, and genocide I can not help but note the complex dance around language that is sometimes reminiscent of historical debates. Environmentalist are usually warned not to mention this on the grounds that to do so will only give their opponents a chance to act victimized, but the case of the Atlantic article is different because Clive Crook, in an attack against a leading climate scientist, appears to deliberately invite the comparison.

    In this case, it’s not just the copy editor(s) who insert the term “big lie’ into conversation, though Crook takes the courageous approach of making his comparison to the fascist era by quoting someone else. When it comes to the really ‘Big Lie” in this case it is quite clear which group has carefully constructed an alternate false reality to deny massive overwhelming evidence of climate change.

    If Crook wants to mention the ‘big lie’ he might also see where else playing with words can lead. For example the use of the term ‘denial’ has on occasion led to palpitations by some who charge that it is unfairly reminiscent of denial of genocide. The effect can be to likened to an attempt to seal of certain words. There are very real differences between the destruction of climate and environment and the planned mass murder of groups of people, but the study of knowledge of crimes against humanity raises troubling questions when it comes to attitudes toward information. Research has increasingly made clear that abundant information about the mass murder of European Jews was available long before the end of the Second World War–the problem was not simply lack of information therefore, but a lack of interest in paying attention to information or in wishing to accept it. A book published in German (Die Deutschen und der Holocaust: Was niemand wissen wollte, aber jeder wissen konnte by Bernward Dörner) makes this clear for Germans.

    Since Mr. Crook appears interested in making comparisons to the fascist era, he could also bring up the concept of appeasement. It’s common for politicians, including United States Senators to bring up appeasement every time they argue for military action or a supposedly ‘tough’ stance in foreign policy, but how would we classify their refusal to take action to curb climate change in the face of opposition from some corporate groups and political opponents? The question would be especially relevant for those political figures who in the past have recognized the threat of climate change but now refuse to take action.
    Here’s one of our great United States Senators who talks at times (including during the 2008 campaign about appeasement:
    Senator John McCain, who has been critical of President Bush on the environment and other policies this week, on Thursday morning wholeheartedly endorsed Mr. Bush’s veiled rebuke in the Israeli Knesset of Senator Barack Obama that talking to “terrorists and radicals” was no different than appeasing Hitler and the Nazis.
    “Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,” Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio.
    When is it acceptable to make comparisons with appeasement? If it is so fun to pull appeasement out of the rhetorical drawer, does that mean that everyone gets to use the term? Is it appeasement of a different sort to condemn the world to environmental catastrophes?

  7. Daniel Ives says:

    I second Sasparilla’s comment. It was invigorating to read this post, Joe. Please keep us updated if Crook or The Atlantic responds!

  8. RoySV says:

    As an Atlantic subscriber, I really hope this extended piece of supercilious, whining and reactionary slander does not appear in print. I don’t want to cancel but somethings are just too hard too swallow.

  9. knoxkp says:

    Geez! I used to revere that magazine. No doubt Emmerson is spinning in his grave. I would like a job that pays like Crook’s where I just make stuff up about people I disagree with.

    The age of stupid is upon us folks – be very afraid!

  10. BB says:

    At the risk of asking too many questions…I’ve been wondering why it is that in some conversations (like this one) it is this temperature reconstruction graphic that is presented:

    But in others, such as the Muir Russell’s investigation of whether the CRU is overplaying uncertainty in its imagery, this one is presented as the temperature reconstruction graphic:

    Though there may be many protests to the contrary, the two graphics don’t show and omit exactly the same things.

  11. Chris Winter says:

    Another good takedown, Joe.

    Is this truly the Atlantic of James Fallows? Clive Crook’s article would make me drop my subscription, if I were a subscriber.

    I looked at a portion of the comments. There were a few refuting Crook’s position, but only a few, and I had to scroll way down to get to them. The great majority of the comments are insult-laden arguments over the Hockey Stick graph.

    Just how many of the comments I looked at is impossible to tell. The software does not number them, nor was there any other indication of how far along I was in the then-total collection of 606 comments. Also, if you get a few levels of reply, you’ll be reading a column of text that’s about seven characters wide. What is it with newspapers and magazines using lousy blogging software? Usenet was far better than this 15 years ago.

  12. MarkB says:


    The first image is the Arctic “hockey stick”. The second is the “hockey stick” for the entire northern hemisphere.

    If I were contructing a “hockey stick vindicated” section, I’m not sure I’d use the recent Arctic reconstruction (even though it’s made clear what it is), as it’s somewhat apple to orange, or at least the top chunk of an apple to apple.

    I would instead show the many other hemispheric reconstructions, many of them entirely independent of Mann’s work.

    and another more recent and novel analysis (not sure if this has been published yet)…

  13. RobLL says:

    Atlantic Monthly is not to be trusted in scientific matters. They seem to love ‘contrarian’ articles, and the do not particularly label them as such. HIV doesn’t cause Aids was one of the worst. I am dropping my subscription. There ideosyncratic articles on medical care in the US were particularly vapid and misleading.

  14. fj2 says:

    Lots of oil industry ads in the July/August issue of Atlantic.

  15. Andy Olsen says:

    I posted a link to Joe’s story over at The Atlantic’s Facebook (see “Just Others” on their wall. Encourage others to post your thoughts there, as well, to take it to them.

    Maybe this link works:!/posted.php?id=29259828486&share_id=120796881299733&comments=1#s120796881299733

  16. Andy Olsen says:

    And, yes, I hope Mr Mann sures The Atlantic and the author for libel.

  17. Ryan T says:

    I can’t seem to find a specific email address, but I spose we can try sharing our disappointment with Mr. Crook/The Atlantic, providing a link to this article, here:
    Ask him to retract and apologize, or specifically address the points in Joe’s piece.

  18. Steve Bloom says:

    Shorter Crook: “My colleague [friend?] Fred Pearce needs to sell books.”

    Joe, in an NPR SciFri interview last week, Andy Revkin demonstrates not only that he has learned nothing from the “scandals,” he’s ever at the ready to repeat the behavior. My favorite is near the end where he argues that Pat Michaels should be granted as much credibility as Jim Hansen when it comes to climate policy. In a selfless act of journalistic solidarity, interviewer Flatow says nothing about Revkin’s culpability in launching the CRU scandal.

  19. MarkB says:


    I submitted a comment with 7 links. Do these get caught in the spam filter? You can delete this message.

    [JR: I don’t see it. Over 2 links goes into spam folder — but it isn’t there either.]

  20. John Mason says:

    Ryan (#15)

    That sounds ominously like Morano or more lately Monckton (“if you would be so good as to….”) tactics to me! I wouldn’t go there! Best avoided!

    Cheers – John

  21. John McCormick says:

    RE # 3

    Mike Roddy, you asked”

    “Who owns The Atlantic these days? That could answer a lot of questions.”

    The following link to the Atlantic Media Company will tell you David Bradley owns the Atlantic and he should respond to Joe’s post.

    David Bradley
    David Bradley is the Chairman and owner of Atlantic Media Company.
    Before entering media, David founded and owned two (now public) research companies – The Advisory Board Company and The Corporate Executive Board Company. With 50,000 applicants each year, the enterprises are the largest employers of young professional talent in the Washington region. David was a Fulbright scholar in the Philippines, serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and KIPP DC, and is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations.
    David graduated from Swarthmore College, received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and holds a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

    John McCormick

  22. PeterW says:

    Nothing like MSM character assassination. Someone really needs to stick a microphone in Crook’s face and ask him to explain himself or better yet Michael Mann needs to sue Atlantic for libel.

    Someone should start a fund to help scientists pay for libel suits like this. I would certainly kick in $100.

  23. homunq says:

    @fj2 (“lots of oil ads”): It would be great if you could back that up with page numbers and company names. We don’t all have copies lying around to check.

  24. Let us consider motive. Why would Penn State risk the name of their institution and incredible amounts of research money for Dr. Mann who has only brought in 0.06% of PSU’s grant funding total since he has been there? Of course the investigation is legit! They would drop him in an heartbeat of the allegations had any merit. Easy.

    See more about this at Scholars & Rogues:

  25. Bill Woods says:

    “As an important aside, Crook himself never offers “coherent or responsible counsel about what to do” about a problem he claims needs to be taken seriously, so I don’t see how we can possibly criticize those who do offer comprehensive solutions.”

    Sure he does, right there at the top: “I am for a carbon tax.” Putting a price on fossil carbon emissions, one way or another, is the only essential element of a solution.

  26. Leif says:

    All you folks above are great, thank you for your dedicated presence.

    It would seem to me that humanity should be able to bring a class action suit against corporate profits. The science does appear to be sound on our side. It is straight forward that the Anti-Science Folks opposition would collapse in a heart beat without corporate funding and think tank support.

    We continually tell the media what we think about them and back it up with facts and reason. (At least try hard.) We don’t swear at them much and few death threats, (except for the end of the world part. Maybe we should leave that part out.)

    The Military is admitting that Climatic Disruption is a National Security issue.

    The Scientific community at large is concerned to say the least.

    All this and 30+ years of practice and more, yet still Journalists cannot write a coherent report on Global Warming.

    Well, I would like to say this about that.

    When the Dam breaks on this one it is going to be impressive.

  27. Marion Delgado says:

    If Mann sues, I’ll chip in for legal fees :)

    What else can be done?

  28. Marion Delgado says:

    Also, Joe, I saw this via the Twitter Times which goes beyond Twitter to extract the articles that tweets refer to. It’s simply brilliant.

  29. Ryan T says:

    John, perhaps there is a small difference in that Joe has backed up his claims, and Mr. Crook seems to have seriously erred. Calling him to account (and I am talking civil request, not empty harassment) seems reasonable. At least if there’s no correction or response to this piece within a reasonable time. Things like this are allowed to pass in the mainstream media (where many peoples’ impressions are formed) all too often.

  30. Tim L. says:

    Crook. His name says it all. “Crock” would be just as fitting.

  31. George says:

    Funny that you should have this post. For sometime I have been debating the value of renewing my subscription to The Atlantic. My impression is that overall journalistic standards have fallen and Mr Crook’s column is just the most recent example of this decline.

  32. fj2 says:

    #24 homunq

    “The Ideas Issue”
    The Atlantic July/August 2010

    Shell (may have tie-in with it being an “ideas issue”)
    Two-page spread starting with inside front cover to next page
    Inside back cover
    Back cover
    Opposite Table of Contents Page 38

    Citgo page 59

    Lots of car ads (probably normal)

  33. Mike says:

    I’ll try this again. Did you talk to Crook before writing your post? I agree with your critique of his column. But I am curious if you tried to contact him.

    [JR: Not sure what point you are making. No, I didn’t talk to Crook, though I did reach out to the Atlantic, but in any case I’m doing a straight fact-based debunking of his written word, whereas he is libeling someone’s character who has been repeatedly exonerated (based on repeated misrepresentations of those exonerations). That is, he is trying to overturn multiple, thorough investigations of someone’s academic practices and research.

    I should add that I did talk to Mann before writing this post.]

  34. Mossy says:

    I am reading “Murder of a Journalist, the True Story of the Death of Donald Ring Mellett,” by Thomas Crowl. Don was murdered in Canton, OH, in 1926, probably for exposing crimes and illegalities associated with the police dept. How different journalists were then, risking death threats and ultimately being murdered, to expose the truth.
    Pertinent quotes from the book about the press: Joseph Pulitzer, 1904: “An able, distinguished press, with trained intelligence to know right, and the courage to do it, can preserve the public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery.”
    Also, James Cox of the News League,ownder of Canotn’s Daily News, in his 1946 autobiography: “Any newspaper in time of stress which does not recognize its duty to a community is not deserving of the name. There us nothing worse than an invertebrate publisher. He does neither the public nor the profession any good.”

  35. Sig says:

    There are so many errors in this piece it isn’t funny.
    Shall I start?

    [JR: The Crook piece, yes, was error riddled.]

  36. dhogaza says:

    There are so many errors in this piece it isn’t funny.
    Shall I start?

    There are so many errors in your response that it isn’t funny.

    And there’s no need to start.

    Oh, BTW, brilliant hand-waving assertion on your part, without the least effort of supporting your utter stupidity.

  37. dhogaza says:

    Did you talk to Crook before writing your post? I agree with your critique of his column. But I am curious if you tried to contact him.

    Writers live and die by their published words (and I speak as one who has, in a very modest way, long ago, published some non-fiction in nationally distributed magazines and my local daily).

    If in those days, I’d written utterly false, totally indefensible bullshit, I wouldn’t expect anyone to contact me for an explanation.

    Of course, I was subjected to a few of the typical copy editor and caption writer (since I’m also a photographer) gaffs that everyone suffers.

    But there’s no way that falsehood on the scale of the opinion piece being discussed here is due to copy editor screw-ups.

    So, why do you think the author is due the honor? He own-goaled himself linking to a piece that says the opposite of what he claims. The standard he’s set here is just *barely* up to (but not above) the level of WUWT. Yet The Atlantic expects us to believe it’s a legit journalistic outlet.

    Feh. Burn as many copies as you can find (being law abiding, I won’t of course, and really, you shouldn’t either – shred them instead!)

  38. Steve Bloom says:

    I’m not sure Joe plans to blog on this otherwise fairly predictable Politico piece (“Greens fracture over Obama”), but it did turn out to have a kicker at the end from Joe’s boss:

    But Obama is still calling for a 17 percent cut in heat-trapping emissions by 2020, a goal Podesta said he believes will be met.

    “I actually sit here today quite confident that that can be accomplished,” he said. “I will not make predictions about what the legislative outcome in the United States Senate will be, but the president has a lot of authority to move forward.”

    In other words, the EPA it is. Now the test for Obama becomes whether he moves up the implementation schedule so that meaningful reductions take place in his second term.

  39. Richard Brenne says:

    I’ve been a freelancer for papers like The Christian Science Monitor and magazines like Sports Illustrated since 1980, and Joe’s sense of journalistic ethics is so right-on as to be breathtaking, while in this case Clive Cook’s journalistic incompetence and lack of basic research, fact-checking and quote-seeking is equally breathtaking.

    All this and Joe writes several blog posts a day, seven days a week, while Clive Cook writes much less.

    I can see Joe channeling his newspaper-editor father in all his work in journalism, which I find as impressive as anyone’s. I’d like to see Bud Ward take up this Clive Crook piece in the Yale Journalism Review. For my money he should just re-post Joe’s excellent blog above.

    I don’t want to Brit-bash unnecessarily – well, I do, but that’s another story – but I think those with English accents are often getting jobs those without those accents who are often more competent don’t get. For instance during the World Cup some of the English commentators peered out from behind their century-old clichés to make laughable misstatements about what was going on – one of the prettiest goals of the tournament being called “lucky” etc. The U.S. won the group England was in, so what are we listening to them for?

    Tony Hayward is another example of pure incompetence sugar-coated with an accent some 13-year-old British Invasion fans once found charming (as I know I did), and so is the Geico gecko. (Ever notice how insurance companies that were sensible institutions when they began as farmer’s co-ops but who’ve grown into evil behemoths have the cutest little gecko-talking duck-quirky girl characters to hide their monstrosity?)

    Clive Crook wouldn’t know a hockey stick from a cricket paddle, nor in this case a responsible piece of journalism from a bloke’s steamer in a bonnet on a lift.

  40. Colorado Bob says:

    Well the LA Times gets it …….

    You can’t explain away climate change
    Some hold that global warming stopped in 1998, but scientists know better.,0,4284048.story

  41. Richard Brenne says:

    Joe, check out the LA times editorial Colorado Bob (#41) links to above: It’s among the best in the mass media I’ve read.

    Thanks for sharing that, Bob.

  42. John Mashey says:

    Actually, Crook attacked Penn State more than Mann.

    Speaking as a PSU grad, I do observe that PSU has:
    ~500K living alumni, of whom ~140K are members of the PSU Alumni Association, which is (I think) the largest such paid organization in the US. Perhaps not a good idea.

  43. Steve Bloom says:

    Here’s the transcript to the SciFri interview of Revkin I mentioned in #19. Richard, I’d be interested in your take on this as well.

  44. Marion Delgado says:

    The Atlantic is not a good magazine, not a news magazine, and this is pretty typical, really.

  45. Richard Brenne says:

    Steve Bloom (#41), thanks for the link. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

    IRA: Hi, I’m Ira Flatow, and welcome to Doubletalk. With me today is Andrew Revkin, DotEarth author and Senior Fellow for Environmental Misunderstanding at Pace University.

    ANDY: Thanks Ira, I’m flatowed to be here.

    IRA: Okay Andy, why haven’t you or anyone else in the mainstream media including myself ever referred to Climategate as a crime?

    ANDY: I give up, Ira, why haven’t we?

    IRA: (whispering) It isn’t a riddle, Andy, it’s a question. . .

    ANDY: Question? Well, that would be like only reporting what the Watergate burglars found instead of the crime and cover up, wouldn’t it? Maybe the New York Times would’ve done that decades ago before our journalistic ethics fell below those of the National Enquirer and the New Rochelle Weekly Shopper and Penny Saver.

    IRA: Penny saver?

    ANDY: They merged. Also, I’d like to mention why I’ve never mentioned that what the scientists in the e-mails were appropriately if slightly discourteously reacting to was ideolgoically driven extremely junk science. I think scientists want to see their fields advance and progress in knowledge, not retreat and regress.

    IRA: Retreat and Regress is the name of your blog now?

    ANDY: No, but that’s a thought. . .

    IRA: What else have you failed to mention about this, Andy?

    ANDY: Well, that “hide the decline” really meant “reconcile” tree ring data with temperature data due to trees stressed by ozone, acid rain, drought or any combination of these. Also I failed to mention how reliable ice core data is, where the bubbles contain the actual atmosphere from the past.

    IRA: Why have you failed to mention that, Andy?

    ANDY: I have no idea.

    IRA: What can you say to confuse us all about the hockey stick, Andy?

    ANDY: Well, that’s tough, because it’s really quite simple. In fact population, per capita consumption, the consumption of all three fossil fuels, essentially all minerals, CO2 and temperature are all roughly the same. They started out as the handle of the hockey stick, then when each exploded into exponential or near-exponential growth they’ve each shot up the right hand side of the graph. A child could understand this, and many do. But instead I’d rather dance around this subject and not come within a hockey stick of a complete sentence.

    IRA: Mm-hmm.

    ANDY: Right. . .

    IRA: I have a follow up: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

    ANDY: That’s an excellent point, or question, or maybe just dozing off, Ira. Look at Bob the Science guy’s excellent comment below this transcript, or go to RealClimate or especially Joe Romm and Climate Progress if you want any of this stuff explained, because I got tired of explaining it a couple of decades ago and would rather concentrate on the He Said/She Said horserace of it all.

    IRA: Okay, I’m up. Those short naps are wonderful. I’m here with Mr. Ed. . .

  46. Eric Steig says:

    Joe, of course I agree with you about this bit of journalistic garbage, and I do think it is important that someone take aim at this stuff. But mostly I say, ‘move on’. Why even bother to link to these sorts of articles? This only makes it more likely someone will find and read them in a google search, which is of course exactly what the me-too journalists want — to keep the story alive, since they can’t come up with anything original.

    Just like Shirley Sherrod, Mike Mann and Phil Jones won, and those who tried to destroy them lost. Anyone that continues to attack them simply forfeits their credibility on this issue.

    There is not even any good evidence that public opinion on climate change budged as a result of this entire fracas. Indeed, 3/4 of Americans think we should be regulating greenhouse gases, according to the latest work at Stanford.

    [JR: I agree the emails didn’t move public opinion. And I agree the right-wing anti-science disinformers should usually be ignored. But “Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic, a columnist for National Journal, and a commentator for the Financial Times. He worked at The Economist for nearly 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor.” The Atlantic gets a lot more readers than blogs like RC or CP — readers who aren’t mostly self-selected self-deceivers like, say, those who read Watts. My piece doesn’t boost the likelihood someone will read it who wouldn’t otherwise have from a search. My piece boosts the likelihood someone researching Mann or that piece will see the facts.]

  47. Eric Steig says:


    Note that I was by no means saying that you shouldn’t have written this, merely that linking to the Atlantic article was probably pointless. But I get your point, and I agree. Good work, and thank you.


  48. dhogaza says:

    For instance during the World Cup some of the English commentators peered out from behind their century-old clichés to make laughable misstatements about what was going on

    Since you’ve gone off-topic on us, my favorite was one of the english guys saying “one of the most difficult things to do in soccer is to score a goal” during one of the games broadcast on ABC …

  49. dhogaza says:

    Richard Brenne:

    Steve Bloom (#41), thanks for the link. Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

    Brilliant. And spot-on. Andy, of course, doesn’t understand why he’s the object of so much criticism, but your satirical “transcript” is totally accurate.

  50. Sable says:

    @Richard Brenne
    Re: the English – Play nice please, plenty of people get jobs over more qualified applicants in this world, and it just as often has nothing to do with accents. The attraction of the “outsider” works both ways, by the way – and the Geico Gecko’s accent is Australian, if memory serves.

  51. john atcheson says:

    One of the under appreciated players in the denier camp has been the field of neoclassical economists. Again and again, they have provided fodder for the delayers and deniers. This particular school of economics — what Krugman refers to a the freshwater school of economics — believes passionately in uber-free markets. As Oreskes and Conway pointed out in “merchants of Doubt” this almost religious belief in unfettered free markets creates a cognitive dissonance in its believers when it comes to climate. The reason for this is that climate change is the ultimate repudiation of their dogma — An externality that is potentially larger than the entire economy they worship.

    The aptly name Crook has been a purveyor of neoclassical economic BS for years now. His stuff has frequently been couched in that iconoclastic “everything-you-know-is-wrong-because” oeuvre popularized by Lomborg and the Feakonomics boys, it has, until now, standard denier stuff. This time he jumped the shark. It is very possible he broke the law. It is certain that the Atlantic — a once proud and thoughtful magazine — must fire him if it is to have any credibility at all.

  52. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #46: Thanks for that, Richard, it’s dead on. Should I post it at Revkin’s blog?

  53. Roger D. says:

    @john atcheson

    I don’t see logically why there should be any connection between neoclassical economics and ‘denialism’, nor why “climate change is the ultimate repudiation of their dogma.” Externalities are a fundamental part of the neoclassical economics. Even if they are large.

    By normal useage, Krugman himself is an adherent of neoclassical economics (but not the freshwater variety).

    I suspect that it is more the iconoclastic point that you make which has more force, especially in relation to Freakanomics.

  54. Richard Brenne says:

    Sure Steve (#53), and thanks for pointing that out to us.

  55. Roger D. says:

    “Since you’ve gone off-topic on us, my favorite was one of the english guys saying “one of the most difficult things to do in soccer is to score a goal” during one of the games broadcast on ABC …”

    A suspicious quote: “soccer” is what Americans call the game; a genuine Englishman would call it “football” normally.

  56. Steve at 19 and 46: in partial defense of Revkin, he was saying that to the extent Hansen’s climate expertise is unrelated to the best climate legislative policy, then libertarians like Michaels have the same right to speak. I wouldn’t call it putting them on equal scientific pedestals.

    OTOH, and even though I think Hansen’s opposition to cap-and-trade was wrong, I disagree with Revkin’s implication that scientists might want to stay away from public policy.

  57. Chris Winter says:

    Brian Schmidt wrote: “OTOH, and even though I think Hansen’s opposition to cap-and-trade was wrong, I disagree with Revkin’s implication that scientists might want to stay away from public policy.”

    Scientists do, in general, want to stay away from public policy. James Hansen certainly does. In The Climate War, Eric Pooley describes him as someone who has trouble looking a stranger in the eye. Mark Bowen’s Censoring Science notes that Dr. Hansen is not a crusader and only began to speak out after seeing the public policy sector refuse to act on climate change decade upon decade.

    I must add that I’m glad he did speak out, even though I wish he had done so more adroitly.

  58. Chris Winter says:

    Mossy (#35):

    Another quote from Joseph Pulitzer: “This republic and its press will rise or fall together.”