Inhofe, Horner, McIntyre and Watts fabricate another phony “despicable smear” against Michael Mann

Let’s see if any of the serial disinformers have the minimal human decency to put up a full retraction of their falsehoods [so far the answer is no].  I have Mann’s response at the end.

Last month we saw the umpteenth exhaustive investigation of the stolen emails that ended up vindicating the science and the scientists, this time by NOAA’s IG.   “Inspector General’s Review of Stolen Emails Confirms No Evidence of Wrong-Doing by NOAA Climate Scientists,” as NOAA’s release put it.

A bunch of widely discredited pro-pollution scientist-smearers — Anthony “shout them down” Watts, Chris Horner, Marc Morano, Steve McIntyre — have spun a partially leaked transcript from the IG investigation into a bunch of libelous falsehoods.  Sen. Inhofe has now reposted those stories on the Senate EPW website (here).   The most plausible theory is that Inhofe himself leaked the information to right-wing fabricators so he could quote those stories (see below).

Sadly, no matter how many times Dr. Michael Mann has been vindicated, there will always be those who think libelous smears against one of the country’s leading climate scientists is their best strategy.  Such people deserve to be widely condemned — especially since their lies are primarily aimed at undermining efforts to preserve the health and well-being of billions of human beings.

UPDATE:  The disinformers almost made me forget that the whole point of their smears is to distract attention from the science, specifically the increasingly strong scientific vindication of Mann’s original Hockey Stick analysis.  Multiple independent analyses reveal that recent warming is unprecedented in magnitude and speed and cause. The rate of human-driven warming in the last century has exceeded the rate of the underlying natural trend by more than a factor of 10, possibly much more.  And warming this century on our current path of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions is projected to cause a rate of warming that is another factor of 5 or more greater than that of the last century.  As WAG notes, within a few decades, nobody is going to be talking about hockey sticks, they will be talking about right angles (or hockey skates, see figure above) “” when they are done cursing our greed and myopia and gullibility in the face of polluter-funded disinformation, that is.

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” “” Mark Twain

That’s how Prof. Scott Mandia begins his post, “Lie by Usual Suspects Traveling Around the World – Demand Retraction,” which I will excerpt below.

Michael Mann NEVER deleted any emails nor did he ever ask anybody to delete emails.

The well-known truth:

It is has been known for more than a year that Phil Jones sent Dr. Mann an email asking him to ask Dr. Eugene Wahl to delete emails, and that Dr. Mann did no such thing. Dr. Mann forwarded Jones’ email directly to Dr. Wahl without comment, believing Wahl had the right to see that email.

Mann did not ask Wahl to delete emails, a fact that has been confirmed by both Mann (many times, including an email below) — and now by Dr. Wahl himself, in this official reply:

The Daily Caller blog yesterday contained an inaccurate story regarding a correspondence that was part of the emails hacked from East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009.

For the record, while I received the email from CRU as forwarded by Dr. Mann, the forwarded message came without any additional comment from Dr. Mann; there was no request from him to delete emails. At the time of the email in May 2008, I was employed by Alfred University, New York. I became a NOAA employee in August 2008.

The emails I deleted while a university employee are the correspondence I had with Dr. Briffa of CRU regarding the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all of which have been in the public domain since the CRU hack in November 2009. This correspondence has been extensively examined and no misconduct found. As a NOAA employee, I follow agency record retention policies and associated guidance from information technology staff.

Dr. Eugene R. Wahl

March 9, 2011

Mandia runs through the false statements, insinuations, and smears (you can go to his website for all the links if you really want to subject yourself to the original, defamatory posts):

Anthony Watts has this post written by Steven Mosher highlighted on his blog:

“Sources confirm that a federal inspector has questioned Eugene Wahl and Wahl has confirmed that Mann asked him to delete emails. Wahl has also informed the inspector that he did delete emails as the result of this request.”

Flat-out untrue and Mosher has shown no evidence to support that claim.  Mosher, in that same blog post, shows the excerpt from the Penn State investigation that was also featured by Chris Horner.  That excerpt reveals that Dr. Mann said he did not delete emails.  So, Steven Mosher, which is it?  Are you lying or can you not read your own writing?

Watts actually put a note atop this Tuesday post, “Note: this will be a ‘top post’ for a day or two.”  This is precisely his idea of a ‘top’ post.

Anthony Watts has perhaps more than any other leading anti-science blogger, viciously smeared scientists and urged his readers to do the same (see Watts urges WattsUpWithThat readers to disrupt Forbes blog: “shout them down in the comments section”).

Chris Horner writes: ”Wahl says Mann did indeed ask Wahl to destroy records, and Wahl did.”

Flat-out untrue and Horner has shown no evidence to support that claim.  In fact, Chris Horner himself in an earlier article states that Dr. Mann said he did not delete emails.  So, Chris Horner, which is it?  Are you lying or can you not read your own writing?

Chris Horner, in addition to writing for The Daily Caller, is an attorney who has represented the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).  CEI is no friend of the truth but has been very friendly with ExxonMobil and Koch Industries among others.

This is nothing new for Horner, who has also falsely “accused NASA’s chief climate scientist, James Hansen, of “doctor[ing] temperature data on two occasions in 2001 and once in 2007 in attempts to show an impending climate catastrophe.”

On ClimateAudit, McIntyre published the leaked partial transcript and writes: “From Capitol Hill come excerpted notes from the interview transcript between the NOAA Inspector General and Eugene Wahl.”

Horner writes here of the leaked transcript, “This has been confirmed to Senate offices.”

So it would appear that the source is a Senator.   And what a shock that Sen. Inhofe was the fastest to repost these lies.  And what a shock that one of his former staffers was one of the fastest to repost these lies — though, in fairness to Marc “Swift Boat smearer” Morano, I’m quite certain he would have reposted these lies no matter what the source (see Even now, ClimateDepot’s Marc Morano reiterates his call for a “hostile reaction” to climate scientists).

Let me give the final word to one of the country’s leading climate scientists, Michael Mann:

The claim by fossil fuel industry lobbyist Chris Horner in his “Daily Caller” piece that I told Eugene Wahl to delete emails is a fabrication–a lie, and a  libelous allegation. My only involvement in the episode in question is that I forwarded Wahl an email that Phil Jones had sent me, which I felt Wahl needed to see. There was no accompanying commentary by me or additional correspondence from me regarding the matter, nor did I speak to Wahl about the matter.  This is, in short, a despicable smear that, more than anything else, speaks to the depths of dishonesty of professional climate change deniers like Chris Horner, Marc Morano, Stephen McIntyre, and Anthony Watts.

UPDATE:  RealClimate has a post that explains some of the background in more detail:

So what is the actual issue at the heart of this? A single line in the IPCC AR4 report (p466) which correctly stated that “Wahl and Ammann (2006) also show that the impact [of the McIntyre and McKitirck critique] on the amplitude of the final reconstruction [by MBH98] was small (~0.05C)”. This was (and remains) true. During the drafting Keith Briffa corresponded with Eugene Wahl and others to ensure that the final text was accurate (which it was). Claims from McIntyre that this was not allowed under IPCC rules are just bogus – IPCC authors can consult with anyone they like at any time. However, this single line, whose inclusion made no effective difference to the IPCC presentation, nonetheless has driven continuing harassment of everyone involved for no good purpose whatsoever. Wahl and Ammann did show that MM05 made no substantial difference to the MBH reconstruction, whether it got said in the IPCC report or not.

That this inconvenient fact has driven hundreds of blog posts, dozens of fevered accusations, a basket load of FOI requests, and stoked multiple fires of manufactured outrage is far more a testimony to personal obsession, rather than to its intrinsic importance. The science of paleo-reconstructions has moved well beyond this issue, as has the interest of the general public in such minutiae. We can however expect the usual suspects to continue banging this drum, long after everyone else has gone home.

51 Responses to Inhofe, Horner, McIntyre and Watts fabricate another phony “despicable smear” against Michael Mann

  1. robert says:

    Aren’t there actual… you know… libel laws about these things?

  2. caerbannog says:

    Man, this s** travels fast. A copy of these “allegations” landed in my in-box at work this morning. The email contained a couple of wuwt links (which I refused to defile my browser with).

    I was wondering what prompted it… and now I know.

    I can’t help but note the term “libelous allegation” in Mann’s response. Here’s hoping that Dr. Mann has already hired a really mean, nasty “junkyard dog” lawyer to help make all this nonsense go away.

  3. Lou Grinzo says:

    Notice that this is such a Big Deal because…. why, exactly?

    Mann did nothing wrong. PERIOD.

    The e-mails in question have been publicly available for over a year, thanks to a yet-to-be-prosecuted computer crime.

    So ask yourself, everyone: Who makes a Big Deal out of such a non-event, except some group like the deniers who are working 24/7 to turn everything related to climate science into a non-stop and very nasty political campaign?

    As I’ve pointed out before, the deniers have no other cards to play. The science sure isn’t on their side, so they have to resort to these pathetic and transparent attempts to assassinate the character Dr. Mann as their only way to try to discredit the hockey stick. And discredit it they must, simply because they realize how incredibly effective it is for communicating our situation to newcomers. And make no mistake, that’s ALL the deniers care about — convincing the vast majority of people not yet engaged on the climate issue to do nothing. Whether they’re acting out of a warped political ideology or plain old greed connected to our use of fossil fuels, both sub-groups of deniers have the same goal: Stop us from acting in our own best interest. They’re working as hard as they can to trade the future of billions of human beings for their own short-term personal gain.

    At least they didn’t resort to death threats this time. Well, not directly.

  4. Karmel Korn says:

    He is finnally busted.

  5. 350 Now says:

    EPA tells Oklahoma utilities to clean coal plants:

    “State officials…did the right thing…but that was too much for the Obama EPA, which rejected the Oklahoma-led plan in favor of their preferred scheme to put Washington bureaucrats in charge and…make fossil-fuel-based electricity more expensive for consumers,” Inhofe said in a statement.

    So one more bur up Inhofe’s back end.

  6. OregonStream says:

    Busted to what degree, Karmel? Mann used the term “libelous”, but the question is whether this be yet another example of the denier camp getting away with propagating nonsense. I guess if we come back to this in 6 months and still see such claims circulating as truth, that will be some indication.

  7. PSU Grad says:

    This has indeed been well coordinated among the deniers. The extremist Commonwealth Foundation, a Pennsylvania propagandist outfit billing itself as a “think” tank, and specifically their former accountant turned denier Paul Chesser (who doesn’t even live in Pennsylvania), posted this on their web site yesterday:

    Governor Corbett revealed the next fiscal year budget plan yesterday, a plan that calls for substantial cuts in spending. Yet this…THIS…they demand the legislature spend precious dollars “investigating”. Why? Because it’s what the Koch brothers want.

    The Koch’s are certainly getting their money’s worth from these phony “scholars”.

  8. Scrooge says:

    Fox news could not have manufactured a better lie.
    As far as Inhofe, for gods sake, he is a senator and supposedly a leader in this country. What can be done? To many Koch buddies in congress and supreme court. They only thing we’ve got is the court of public opinion. Keep swinging the hammer.

  9. Jim says:

    I do not know why Mann has not sued for libel. Andrew Weaver, of the Univ. of Victoria and the IPCC, has successfully sued in Canada.

    Mann needs to get a lawyer, pick a target slanderer, and get some relief through the justice system.

  10. MapleLeaf says:

    Karmel @4,

    Going by the facts, I can only assume that you are referring to Mosher and Watts being busted (again) for lying and slandering respected climate scientists. Time to also ask Watts who Steven Goddard really is.

    Time for someone to take legal action against these SOBs (including Inhofe) for damages. and if Inhofe did leak confidential material surely that is actionable. This really does show how truly desperate Watts, Mosher, McIntyre, Morano and Inhofe are.

    Jim @9,

    Weaver has sued, but there has been no decision yet, so it also premature to say he has been “successful”. that said, it did send a very strong message to the media to get their facts right and address the real issues instead of libelling people and spreading lies. The tone of the media has improved as a result of Weaver’s brave actions.

  11. Bob Doublin says:

    I’d be willing to bet money that this is Inhofe’s (R-A**hole)response to the Inspector General’s report.This will be remembered much longer than the report.

  12. Jim says:

    MapleLeaf, there has been no verdict, but the right-wing CanadaFreePress has isued an apology and a retraction – and I would bet they are not continuing their jihad.

    I consider that a successful lawsuit. We need a similar suit towards Fox, or whoever else is most culpable.

  13. MapleLeaf says:

    Jim @12,

    that was a separate incident. Weaver did not sue CFP (he just had his lawyers contact them), he has filed a libel suit against the National Post and some of its editors.

    Anyhow, we are on the same side, this can all get a little confusing :)

  14. David Smith says:

    Is there an ongoing investigation of the original hack? What is the status? Who is doing it?

  15. MapleLeaf says:


    We are fighting an asymmetrical war. We have to follow the rules, ethics and laws–while they can lie, steal and cheat at will.

    I suspect only a judge might be able to change their behaviour. But until now at least, the good guys have been playing far, far too nice…IMO.

  16. PeterW says:

    Imagine if the media actually did their job. Just for a moment think what would happen if they took some of that Charlie Sheen time and concentrated on Watts and his lies, or the Koch brothers. Unfortunately corrupt corporate power rules America. :-(

  17. mike roddy says:

    I liked Mann’s statement at the end of this post. Too bad MSM will ignore this story, and continue to quote climate “contrarians” Watts and McIntyre. The media is almost as bad as the denier crowd.

  18. Mark S says:

    FYI uWatts has updated his site ‘to be consistent with Mann ans Wahls response’. This is his way of admitting that there is no basis for the charges, even though he will never outright say so. The posts original content is still there for all to see just with strikethroughs and brackets.

    Even the backing away from the original post is done in a shameful way. How can his readers not see how transparent this cr*p is?

    Joe, I applaud you for having the fortitude to continue to read his site, even if just for the purpose of debunking. I used to read WUWT just to see what the deniers were talking about but it has become worse than a waste of my time. It makes me mad and ruins the rest of my day. Keep up the good work.

  19. beesaman says:

    I’d love to see this go to a court of justice.
    But it seems both sides are just swinging handbags at the moment and crying shame on you.
    Come on who is going to bite the bullet and actually sue?

  20. Lewis C says:

    At what point in his serial vendetta against Mann is Inhofe guilty of an abuse of power ?

    When he publicly repeats allegations that have been wholly rejected by impartial competent authorities ? When he does so using his office as senator ?

    What are the checks within the US constitution on a senator abusing his position in such a manner ?



  21. Scrooge says:

    Every time they try to smear Dr Mann they lose a chunk of integrity. The majority of people can see through these childish acts.
    Would a publicized white house meeting or senate meeting thanking Dr Mann for his work do anything to stop these children.

  22. paulm says:

    Were too defensive.

    The others are using this as distracting tactics.

    When addressing these issues we should always end by bring it right back to the focus topic!

    ie Mand made greenhouse gasses causing Global Warming driving dangerous Climate Change which requires us to reduce our emissions immediately or else our future is burn toast.

  23. J Bowers says:

    Real Climate has a response.

    “These claims are simply the latest attempt to try and manufacture scandals and smear scientists, particularly Mike Mann,…But the facts of the case do not support the narrative they are pushing at all…”

  24. mike roddy says:

    Scrooge, I like your idea of Obama sticking up for Mann, but it’s unlikely.
    We also need to hear a Senator describe Watts, Morano, and McIntyre as circus acts.

  25. Don Lewis says:

    Clever how this smear was timed to coincide with the Senate hearings, yesterday.

  26. Solar Jim says:

    The senator swore to uphold the constitution and protect the country from enemies external or from within. The military has stated that climate change is a national security threat, and a “threat multiplier.” If the fossil burning-climate connection could be made Under Law, he might be guilty of treason.

    The capitol is flush with foreign money and paid lobbyists, some from foreign oil interests (to keep us hooked like addicts), not to mention a half dozen of the most powerful transnationals on the planet, known as “Big Oil.” Oklahoma is a crossroad of petroleum pipelines (and their owners interests).

  27. Ben Lieberman says:

    No reason to be surprised–after manufacturing ‘reality’ 24/7 it must be normal to just making &%#! up.

  28. David B. Benson says:

    libel 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others. from

  29. MrCannuckistan says:

    WUWT has 350 comments, mostly condemning Michael Mann and the Penn State investigation. Your post has 29 comments. That’s gotta hurt. And if that’s any measure of the public opinion, I think you are all in the minority.


    [JR: Yes, that’s what it is, a measure of the public opinion. I’m crushed! Let’s do online voting on science to determine what pi is.

    You win the award for most unintentionally humorous comment of the month.]

  30. J Bowers says:

    @ 30 MrC. Pensioners have to fill their time somehow.

  31. Dano says:

    Liars gotta lie. Haters gotta hate.



  32. MapleLeaf says:


    Going by the juvenile tone of MrC’s post, he could be 12 :)

  33. paul says:

    4c degrees in 90 years with a temperature trend that is currently flat.
    Who are you trying to kid.

    [JR: If only it were flat. Spread your disinformation elsewhere.]

  34. 350 Now says:

    OT – Naomi Klein – My Fear is that Climate Change is the Biggest Crisis of All
    interview on Democracy Now

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I will respect Mann a little less if he does not sue these creatures. When are we going to fight back? Nothing will stop these insects but resistance. And what will become of them when denialism is over when the truth is hideously undeniable? While we all live with horrors that they caused, will they be free to just slither under a rock somewhere, probably in one of the Kochtopus’ heavily guarded gated communities?

  36. Colorado Bob says:

    If one gets the conversation to be about Mann, or any other person for that matter, then they don’t have to explain a 1,000 mm rainfall in the last week in Queensland ……..

    In the 24 hours to 9am (AEST) Thursday, South Mission Beach received 321mm, Euramo 185mm and Tully 158mm, compounding massive falls over the last few days.

  37. EFS_Junior says:

    Well the last time I posted here the entire article, that I replied to, was removed from Climate Progress. Why? I know that that reply went into great detail at that time on WUWT tactics of disinformation.

    Please don’t post the this sentence and the above if you do post this message at all, thanks Joe.

    I’ve been posting at WUWT, under the same screen name, EFS_Junior.

    Most of the above article is almost verbatim of comments I’ve posted in the aforementioned WUWT article, circa yesterday.

    I conjectured the whole Chris Horner/CEI/McIntyre/Inhofe linkage, further, I conjectured that if this appeared on Inhove’s website (which it has) this would be strong evidence of the source of the Senate leak (RE: one Senator James Inhofe).

    My closing comment, here, is this, is this an actual new NOAA (IG) investigation, as this is what is implied from the Horner/CA posts? Or is this the original IG investigation, with new materials that were not included in the original IG report?

    I close with this inequality (posted twice at WUWT);

    forwarding an email != deleting emails

    I do hope that this get’s posted here, sans the first sentences (and this sentence), if so TIA Joe.

  38. Richard Brenne says:

    Congratulations WHIM (Watts, Horner, Inhofe, McIntyre)! You won! You win the perpetuating of all business as usual until climate change, resource depletion, species loss, pollution and the other limits to growth collapse our civilization and then species into a writhing, quivering mass of suffering like, well, hell. Maybe in your next life you can just go there yourself and not drag the rest of us with you.

  39. Zetetic says:

    IANAL but I’ve often wondered why there aren’t libel suits against such deliberate misinformation. I suppose the biggest mitigating factors are the cost, time spent away from both work and family, and the potential political ramifications for the employers of the those filing suit to defend their reputations. For the denialists, such factors seem to be far less of a concern (it’s not like they seem to do any real research anymore, for example).

    I do wonder though why some enterprising lawyers haven’t tried to file class-action suit against the biggest polluters. Just imagine what the judgment against Koch industries would be for their “regular” pollution, not to mention CO2 emissions. Since Koch industries, and other fossil fuel interests, like to hide behind a faux “free-market” rhetoric it would be interesting to see how they would react to the revelation of their infringement of the rights and property of others. Too bad it’ll probably never happen.

  40. The sad fact of the matter is that these people are destroying the lives of their own descendants, not just ours.

  41. MarkB says:

    EFS_Junior writes:

    “forwarding an email != deleting emails”

    Half of their regular readers won’t know what != means. They might think you’re adding emphasis to the equals sign.

  42. Mark L. Vines says:

    Legislators making statements in the course of their official duties, or in a forum where their office entitles them to speak, typically cannot be sued or prosecuted for libel, slander or other forms of defamation under the legal and constitutional systems of the USA and many other countries. Legislative (or parliamentary) privilege protects them from civil suits and legislative (or parliamentary) immunity protects them from criminal prosecution. Many state or provincial jurisdictions offer their legislators comparable protections as well. I’m no expert but I seem to recall that a legislator accused of defamation must be stripped of such protection by their own colleagues or by a court before a lawsuit or prosecution against him (or her) can proceed.

  43. Anne says:

    Jim Inhofe has a facebook page, where he frequently “brags” about taking down EPA on climate, poo-poo’ing climate change legislation, and promoting the “drill baby drill” stance on energy policy. While it’s totally juvenile — but not as juvenile as counting comments on websites and mistaking that for some sort of indication of public opinion, tee hee! #30 — one of my new favorite pastimes is to comment on Inhofe’s facebook page, always starting with, “Jim, you’re an idiot” — then stating just why he is an idiot. Or sometimes I just stick with “Jim, you’re an idiot.” There is something gratifying about being able to say that to a US Senator who frankly acts un-Senatorial on a regular basis and, well, is an actual idiot. I think of it as therapy, a silly little way to exercise my first amendment rights. Hey Jim Inhofe: You’re an idiot for trying to disparage Michael Mann! He will see you in court. Oh, and this: Mean people suck.

  44. J Bowers says:

    43 – “but I seem to recall that a legislator accused of defamation must be stripped of such protection by their own colleagues or by a court before a lawsuit or prosecution against him (or her) can proceed.”

    Step One?

  45. Keith says:

    Gated communities against the millions, billions who will be suffering? Good luck (not really) to the scabs who chose to defend those gates.

  46. John Mason says:

    I must have gotten out of bed the wrong side this morning, because although familiar with (or more accurately weary of) this sort of carry-on I’m particularly annoyed about this instance! These bastards have not one shred of science to go with, so again and again they just make shit up and spread it around to the places where the unquestioning lap it up.

    You know, I like a gamble once a week, so I go buy a Lottery ticket, the chance to win tons of money at ridiculous odds. Sometimes I win a tenner. Once I had 500 quid – that was nice. And if no numbers come up I lose a quid. I can live with that.

    The gamble that these guys are taking is rather different. If they win, i.e. get their way, future generations are condemned, literally, to “hell and high water”. And if they lose, because of the inaction to date, there will still be hell and high water – hopefully a little lower and a little less hellish – but the costs will be way, way in excess of the cost of mitigation ten years ago. I wish, if they wanted to gamble, they could just go and get interactive with slot-machines – both operate on a similar intellectual level so they should be in good company!

    Rant over!

    Cheers – John

  47. David Smith:

    Is there an ongoing investigation of the original hack? What is the status? Who is doing it?

    For my side, I’m still on the lookout for more clues and information regarding SwiftHack, but unfortunately the trail seems to have gone cold. I’m not sure what the Norfolk police — or other folks who happen to have classified or otherwise sensitive information about the break-in — are up to at the moment. Maybe I should post a useless non-update on my blog about the case…


  48. PurpleOzone says:

    Mann’s use of the word “libelous” has to be deliberate. the continuing smears and investigations of him are disruptive and damaging. I hope he has legal grounds for a lawsuit for this and other scurrilous attacks. And can make them retract this or have a successful suit.

    It is much harder in the U.S. to sue for libel than in Canada or G.B. It’s rare to hear of a successful suit here even for outrageous behavior. One movie actress did get a favorable outcome after a tabloid portrayed her falsely as drunk in public, I can’t remember her name.

  49. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    PurpleOzone#49, you mean a movie actress sued for being falsely accused of being sober in public, surely?