"Climategate 2.0: Have Journalists Learned Their Lesson? UPDATE: No."
Climategate was a scandal of corrupt, deceitful, and shoddy reporting. In 2009, as all of the world’s leaders prepared to meet in Copenhagen to tackle global warming, thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit webmail server — a top climate research center in the United Kingdom — were hacked and dumped on a Russian web server. Polluter-funded climate skeptics, along with their allies in conservative media and the Republican Party, sifted through the e-mails, and quickly cherry picked quotes to falsely accuse climate scientists of concocting climate change science out of whole cloth.
The results weren’t pretty — for the credibility and reputation of the news media. As several progressive and environmental organizations wrote in a letter in July 2010:
News outlets across the globe hastily published hundreds of stories — based on rumors, unsubstantiated claims, and the shoddy reporting of their competitors — questioning the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are causing climate change. One by one, the pillars of evidence supporting the alleged “scandals” have shattered, causing the entire storyline to come crashing down.
There have been nine independent investigations of the allegations made based on the stolen emails of scientific fraud and wrongdoing, and all of them cleared the scientists. In addition, a Koch-funded project independently confirmed the validity of the data at the heart of the claims of manipulation.
Pollution from burning fossil fuels continues to destroy our climate. There is now a record-breaking Category 4 storm, Hurricane Kenneth, in the eastern Pacific. The real scandal continues to be the failure to report and to act on the incontrovertible threat. Hopefully, journalists have learned their lesson.
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