Washington Post Embraces False Balance in Flawed Piece on Heartland Affair

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"Washington Post Embraces False Balance in Flawed Piece on Heartland Affair"

NY Times Andrew Revkin Walks Back Some of His “Overstated” Phrases About Peter Gleick — Or Does He?

http://games.gearlive.com/blogimages/head_asplode.jpg

The media loves he-said, she-said stories. Those have the most narrative drama and require the least amount of actual judgment on the part of reporters or editors. Just relate the core facts and then slap some opposing quotes and you are done!

And so we have the Washington Post‘s story on the Heartland affair, “Climate scientist admits duping skeptic group to obtain documents.”

Of course the piece had to quote Heartland Institute President Joseph L. Bast. But recall that several leading climate scientists slammed Heartland last week for spreading misinformation” and “personally attacking climate scientists to further its goals.” Bast himself told Climate Progress last year, the “ecological impact” of mining and burning fossil fuels is “not negative”!  And remember his 2006 quote on second-hand smoking that “no victim of cancer, heart disease, etc. can ‘prove’ his or her cancer or heart disease was caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.”

Surely one representative of the misinformers is more than enough in any serious news article on climate. But no, the WashPost actually quotes the long-debunked Richard Lindzen to close its piece — please, put your head vises on for this one:

Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has questioned whether climate change will cause effects as severe as some predict, said he has been struck by “the viciousness” of his opponents. But Lindzen feels obligated to keep questioning what Gleick and others say about climate change impact “because they’re lies, it’s that simple. What would you do if people were truly misrepresenting things, and it has consequences for society?”

The WashPost quotes Lindzen attacking others for telling lies and misrepresenting things?  Here are RealClimate scientists debunking a “series of strawman arguments, red-herrings and out and out errors” by Lindzen. Then we have climatologist Kevin Trenberth explaining that the flaws in Lindzen-Choi paper “have all the appearance of the authors having contrived to get the answer they got”.  Here is The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder debunking Lindzen, “Global warming denialists have been re-discredited”

How could the Washington Post run those head-exploding quotes from Lindzen?

But they are sober stuff compared to Lindzen’s crocodile tears about how he’s been “struck by ‘the viciousness’ of his opponents?” Last year, he smeared his one-time close friend climatologist Kerry Emanuel:

Emanuel “would tell me that he really felt that it would be a mistake not to take advantage of the issue . . . there is funding . . . it could benefit the department,” Lindzen said in an interview. “I always took a more moralistic view. There has to be a foundation.”

Lindzen is the last guy any serious newspaper should be quoting on this subject — for Emanuel’s response to this “pure fabrication” by Lindzen, as he called it, see here.

In addition to two misinformers, the Post led the piece off with a confusionist:

“My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved,” Gleick wrote in a post on his Huffington Post blog.

Gleick’s admission “is the latest in an escalating spiral of polarizing warfare between self-described ‘Climate Hawks’ and so-called Climate Deniers,” which leaves the majority of scientists and the public “caught in the crossfire,” American University professor Matthew C. Nisbet, who studies the issues, wrote in a blog entry.

[Pause to clean up grey matter because your head vise wasn’t strong enough.]

You can see Nisbet’s biases in his word choice.  Climate Hawks are supposedly “self-described” whereas Deniers are “so-called.” This is just a subtle restatement of false balance. In fact, many deniers are “self-described” (see here). Lindzen himself is!

“I actually like ‘denier.’ That’s closer than skeptic,” says MIT’s Richard Lindzen.

And I don’t know of any climate scientists who describe themselves as “Climate Hawks.”

Nisbet is someone who spends far more time criticizing climate science advocates than he does deniers. That’s his right, but the WashPost shouldn’t be quoting him as if he were some unbiased honest broker. Indeed he is a widely refuted confusionist — see Leading expert withdraws name fromClimate Shift report, explains how key conclusion that environmentalists weren’t outspent by opponents of climate bill “is contradicted by Nisbet’s own data.”

In that report, Nisbet tried to blame the polarization on Gore, but as Prof. Robert Brulle explained: “The discussion of Al Gore ignores basic scholarship on the climate denial efforts, and supports an ideological position that is not grounded in an empirical analysis.” Many of the leading social science researchers in this country agree with Brulle’s conclusion, including McCright and Dunlap and Krosnick (see here).

Nisbet has made clear whom he blames for the polarization, despite what the social science literature and polling data say. He downplayed the role of the deniers and false balance in the media, causing Brulle to say, “I think this conclusion is bogus.” He is not the guy to turn to for some independent assessment of “polarizing warfare.”

REVKIN REPLIES

Yesterday, I excerpted part of NYT blogger Andrew Revkin’s piece on Gleick and said he should retract his overstatements about Gleick.

Revkin replied today in a head-exploding way. He wrote:

First, I will not retract the post I wrote on Gleick’s confession, as demanded by climate campaigner Joe Romm in a piece yesterday on Heartland, Gleick and me.

I didn’t demand he retract the whole piece, as anyone can see, just the overstatements about Gleick. Still, face-saving move, I get it.

Then Revkin did in fact retract some of the overstatements:

I will acknowledge that certain phrases, written in haste, were overstated. Gleick’s reputation and credibility are seriously damaged, not necessarily in ruins ordestroyed.

Duh. Awesome. But here’s the amazing part. Revkin didn’t go back into the original post and make the changes. At least as of 7:40 pm EST — 7 hours after the acknowledgment of error — the now-acknowledged overstatements were still there!

Oh well, lesson not learned.

Then Revkin proceeds to rewrite some history about some earlier errors of his.  I pointed out Revkin has made countless mistakes that he has never formally retracted or apologized for [see, for instance, “NYT’s Revkin pushes global cooling myth (again!) and repeats outright misinformation“].  He writes:

Romm’s claim that my news story on a recent lack of warming was wrong doesn’t acknowledge the sequence of scientific papers since that time….

Uhh, no. My claim his story was wrong was based on my identification of several errors — including a factor of 10 (lowball) mistake in the temperature rise in the past 10 years!

Now here’s the thing. If you check the sentences that I said were wrong or misleading, he went back and changed every single one of them in his online story for the Times — but without indicating that he made the change and without mentioning who had pointed out his errors.

So he can lecture someone else about admitting mistakes.

I critique Big Media so much because they have 10 to 100 times my readership and occasionally they fix their mistakes, even if they have a hard time admitting it.

Bizarrely, Revkin quotes some blogger who can’t count asserting I devoted only 27 words in my post to saying “Gleick was wrong.” But I reprinted Gleick’s entire mea culpa. All told, I devoted nearly 400 words to describing Gleick’s errors and agreeing with Gleick’s assessment that he committed a serious lapse of my professional judgment and ethics.

But again, I was quite confident that Big Media would overhype that part of the story. My aim is to put some perspective into the issue and criticize those who have the credibility and audience of Big Media. In this case, Revkin walked back some of his statements, sort of, so I stand by my post.

Finally, Revkin ends his piece this way:

I’m not proud of any errors, but I do make them. It’s enormously creditable that Peter Gleick has owned up to his terrible error in judgment.

The only people I see out there in the climate fight who – as far as I can tell — never admit to an error are people with agendas from which they can never stray. They’re perfect.

Obviously only the deniers — the rejectionists — never change their views as the facts change and never admit they were wrong.

I suppose Revkin wants folks to think he is talking about a certain climate blogger, but as a scientist who has written literally millions of words on this subject in the past few years, it would be impossible not to make mistakes and I admit them regularly — see, for instance, ironically enough, my post about whether you should cancel your subscription to the New York Times.

Aside from the errors common to all bloggers, I’d add that I have made two big errors in my two decades working on this issue. I have consistently underestimated the timing and speed of climate impacts and the level of greenhouse gas emissions that would likely cause catastrophic warming. In the 1990s, I was actually a 550 ppm guy! Now I’m a 450 ppm guy and I still may be too high! There’s also a mistake I’ve made in my approach to blogging that I’ve worked to fix in the last year or two. But I think I will leave that for a separate post.

NOTE: ThinkProgress is among several publications to have published documents attributed to the Heartland Institute and sent to us from an anonymous and then unknown source. The source later revealed himself to be Gleick. Heartland Institute has issued several press releases claiming that one document (“2012 Climate Strategy”) is fake and asserting other claims regarding the other documents. ThinkProgress has taken down the 2012 Climate Strategy document as it determines the document’s authenticity.

See also “CAPAF General Counsel Responds To Heartland Institute.”

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49 Responses to Washington Post Embraces False Balance in Flawed Piece on Heartland Affair

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Bout time to look out for a better climate blogger at NYT.

    • Know what you mean. But seriously, it’s way past _that_ time. Years past, truths buried in FUD, opportunities for more graceful, cost-effective mitigation lost.

      And still better late than never. Still waiting for integrity to out at the Times.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Pot, Meet Kettle
    An open letter from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund to the Heartland Institute: http://climatecrocks.com/2012/02/21/pot-meet-kettle/

  3. Lore says:

    Watts, after a conspicuous delay about “Denial Gate”, once again proudly posts this sticky controversy at the top of his blog, believing he has gained some moral high ground. Does any of this get away from the the evidence, however wrongly extracted?

    If this was a war, and it is in my view, how would Gleick’s actions be considered?

    • Gestur says:

      Lore, that’s a wonderful point. As it happens, today I read Naomi Klein’s great TED talk titled Addicted to Risk. I highly recommend everyone reading it, if you haven’t already done so. She ends with the following words:

      “The bottom line is that we badly need some new stories. We need stories that have different kinds of heroes—and we need heroes willing to take different kinds of risks. Risks that confront recklessness head-on, and that put the precautionary principle into practice—even if that means direct action.”

  4. FatherTheo says:

    DeSmogBlog does a line by line evaluation of the so-called Heartland Climate Strategy document and concludes that it is authentic. See here http://www.desmogblog.com/evaluation-shows-faked-heartland-climate-strategy-memo-authentic

    • Bill Woods says:

      Remarkably inadequately, since at this point the default assumption is that Gleick wrote the Strategy document, after he’d gotten the authentic documents from Heartland. Pointing out that bits from the latter were copied into the former does zip to challenge that theory.

      What would help him is something like producing the physical document he claims he received, plus the postmarked envelope it came in.

      • FatherTheo says:

        There is absolutely no evidence that Gleick wrote the strategy document, merely denials from an organization that has already been caught misrepresenting the facts in this case.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          Precisely. The sheer hypocrisy of the Right, the distorters, misrepresenters, the takers out of context and the liars in accusing others of malfeasance, on their word alone, is stupefying. If the Heartland mob said it was raining, I’d happily leave my umbrella at home.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    All i learn from Lindzen is that he is adopting orwellian speak. Is he pushing his agenda at the campus too? Is this troll ignored? Did Lindzen ever discussed his doctrine with other MIT people, for instance with Chomsky? Lindzen is probably just there to use the reputation of the MIT and to spew his bs each time someone holds a microphone infront of his Koch mouth. Can he be sued, since he apparently is broadcasting false-debunked claims and utter nonsense?

    How much lives will be lost because he helped to prevent climate action?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Do you think that he cares? I think that none of them give a stuff what happens after they are dead.

  6. Hi Joe,

    Not surprising you resort to the “false balance” frame here.

    For readers, a full reply to Romm on the spending analysis referenced in Climate Shift report is at link below.

    http://climateshiftproject.org/2011/04/22/response-to-joe-romms-statements-on-spending/

    For my research focused on conservative advocates and others who seek to undermine action on climate change as well as how the scientific community can better engage the public on the issue, see video presentation I recently gave as part of a NOAA Town Hall lecture series on the climate change challenge. Downloadable slides as well.

    http://climateshiftproject.org/2012/02/19/noaa-video-town-hall-series-on-the-climate-change-challenge/

    See also recent book chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Climate Change & Society.

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/40797?page=all

    • Joe Romm says:

      Resort to? You mean “document”.

      • Rabid Doomsayer says:

        The false balance between proven bulls@@@ and overly conservative published science.

        The paleo record shows that current levels of CO2 will end up with a worse climate than the climate models predict. The Eemian had far less CO2 than we have today yet it not expected to get any hotter than that.

        We have changed the forcings more than an order of magnitude faster than anything previous; yet we expect the response to be slower.

        Oh yes; things are different now we have reflecting aerosols. But they will clear about six months after we stop polluting.

        Science will fill in the blanks, but do not expect good news.

    • a face in the clouds says:

      Mr. Nisbet, out here in the real world no one has engaged the public better than Joe Romm. If there were more straight talkers like him there would be fewer people being blindsided by Global Warming and big polluters. He is being kind when he speaks of “false balance” in a business where censorship, blackmail and blacklisting are alive and well. But then you probably knew that from your research.

      You will have to excuse me for being so blunt, but out here in the real world I and my wife are seeing the first big waves of victims of a warming, toxic Texas. It’s nothing like you imagine. They didn’t deserve this. They are honest, decent people who believed the press had enough honor to watch their back. Until you look these victims in the eyes – and let them look into yours – keep your hands to yourself.

      • MikeB says:

        Face in the Clouds – You have to forgive Nisbet, since he has long been a ‘false balance’ guru. His ‘Framing Science’ posts at Scienceblogs (long since gone and not in the least bit missed) tended to be teachable moments in the art of not seeing things as the rest of us do.

        I remember one classic, which tried to (sort of) argue that ‘Far left’ blogs like DailyKos(!) had turned Joe Lieberman into some sort of Republican http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/09/did_the_far_left_blogs_turn_li.php – the obvious answer, that Lieberman turned Lieberman into a Republican, was something that seemingly eluded him.

        Nisbetism should be seen in the same way as Broderism – a sad inbalance of the mind. Its no wonder that he see’s Joe as some sort of rebel, rather than someone who is simply telling the truth (although you could have left out the criticism of Glieck, Joe – the guy need all our support).

        In fact just read the links Nisbet provided – one of them trying to argue that Green groups ahve more money than climate deniers. That’s an interesting point of view, when you consider that Exxon made $10.3 billon profit last quarter, up 41%.

      • Walter Borden says:

        Well said

  7. Gosh it sure would be wonderful to have a stable future.

    These kinds of discussions would be so important then. But very soon, every child now, will ask parents – “What did you do in the climate wars?”

    Professor of computational climate modeling Steve Easterbrook said in 2009:
    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=255

    “The Hadley Centre gives us about a 50/50 chance if carbon emissions peak by 2015, and then fall steadily at a rate of 3% per year (They are currently rising by nearly 3% per year). If we manage to pull this off, and also win the 50/50 bet, our children and grandchildren will ask us how the hell we managed it.”

    “If we can’t stop emissions growth in the next five years, things look much more grim. Perhaps the simplest way to explain it is the picture painted by the New Scientist: How to survive the coming century: a world that is 4°C warmer, 90% of the human population wiped out, the rest relocated to dense cities in Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia. Uninhabitable deserts across the subtropics. Virtually no life in the oceans. And that’s the good part. The New Scientist article glosses over the climate wars that are almost certain if large parts of the world become uninhabitable. If they survive, our children will demand to know what the hell we were doing: we knew it was coming, we knew how bad it would be, and still we did almost nothing to prevent it.”

    I really don’t want to say that I got tripped up by deniers and distractors. The Heartlandishers have succeeded too well for too long. It is now time to step past them.

  8. John Tucker says:

    Really if the press was competent they would have pointed out the difference between politics and the scinece a long time ago, We’d ALL know Heartland is not reputable or trustworthy and this wouldn’t have been necessary.

    And yes, it was necessary. You dont allow any organization to distort and mislead while knowingly harming others.

    Its not ethical Washington Post – and after such a perjury you drug on for years you are in no position to dictate ethics.

    Incidentally I would be very careful as a “professional” commenting on this as it frames some very complex popular cultural arguments and moral positions.

    Too many I respected are looking rather unqualified out of their element, if not foolish now.

  9. Robert Brulle says:

    Joe:
    Perhaps your readers would like to read an empirical analysis on the drivers of public opinion. See “Shifting public opinion on climate change: an empirical assessment of factors influencing concern over climate change in the U.S. 2002-2010″ http://www.springerlink.com/content/k17856khp026w174/

    As this paper notes, a great deal of focus has been devoted to the analysis and development of various communication techniques to better convey an understanding of climate change to individual members of the public. However, this analysis shows that these efforts have a minor influence, and are dwarfed by the effect of the divide on environmental issues in the political elite. Introducing new messages or
    information into an otherwise unchanged socioeconomic system will accomplish little. Political conflicts are ultimately resolved through political mobilization and activism. Somehow, I doubt that persuasive speech and dialogue will convince Senator Inhofe to change his opposition to action. But political action might.

    Best
    Bob Brulle

    • Mike Roddy says:

      Good point, Bob. The Right has been punking us on this issue; note that they never apologize for anything.

      There are many options available for political action, including public protests, product boycotts, identification and defeat of corrupt Congressmen, and much else. I’m interested in your ideas here.

      • Robert Brulle says:

        To be effective, public opinion has to have an electoral influence. Politicians will take notice if their reelection is threatened. My best thought on this is by historical example. In the early 70s, Environmental Acton developed an electoral strategy that focused on the “Dirty Dozen” Congress members. This campaign was pretty effective, and the Congress elected in 1972 was much more environmental friendly. The League of Conservation Voters carries this effort on to today. So targeting Congressional Reps. that deny AGW for defeat is one strategy.

        In my fantasy, I’d like to see a Global Climate Change PAC that could run ads focusing on the climate change issue.

        Bob

        • Walter Borden says:

          My partners and I have the same idea and are currently exploring approaches. We are currently trying to decide to wait until after this cycle or not along with some other details. Either way, it seems to be an essential action given the advent of the Citizens United Era.

  10. PeterW says:

    Once again the corporate media shows its stripes. Revkin is just another self-important puppet. He’s all over Gleick but has given Heartland a complete pass. He’s pathetic.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Yes, Peter but we can NEVER expect any different from the corporate MSM. It is the moneyed ruling elites in propaganda mode, brainwashing the rabble from birth, to make them love their masters, love their wage slavery and debt peonage and never, ever, talk back to power.

    • Walter Borden says:

      I have been very puzzled by that as well. Some may say I am being too simplistic, but the list of Heartland Supporters numbers many big NYT advertisers.

    • Lionel A says:

      As I wrote over at Eli’s, welcome to the ‘Curry Wing‘ of ‘The Heartland Club‘ Andy (Revkin).

  11. gasman says:

    This post verifies why I am a “climate progress” addict. Joe, you nail the inconsistencies in the mainstream media’s coverage of climate change, and their understating of the grave risk.
    Yet here I am, a climate hawk concerned about the world I leave to my grandchildren. I wanted to mention as a gasman I quit administering N2O years ago due to its heat absorption.
    I expect I am like many that read this blog, we struggle to have an impact on skeptics around us. So my question is “How can the climate hawks out there have a bigger impact on the public to change the dialogue”?

    • Tom King says:

      How can Climate Defenders out perform Climate Deniers? Some answers might be found at the local pub. I have a friend who was a great dancer, but a poor conversationalist. At the dance club his great moves were the perfect chick magnet and they would flock around. Outside the club, however, the communication medium changed to one that he could not master and women quickly tired of him. As long as he changed clubs regularly he always had lots of dates.
      My point is that each layer of interaction offers different insights into a person. At the primal level people are attracted to characters who are energized and animated. The “life of the party” has a weird sort of charisma that comes from unpredictability and humor. We use these qualities as short hand in our assessment of others. And we should try to build such qualities into ourselves as we offer alternatives to denierhood.

  12. Tom King says:

    The media thinks it needs raw controversy in order to create interest and sell newspapers. But actually, some types of controversy lack intellectual nourishment and will eventually push readers away. What is really needed is cooperative controversy. This is where we throw ideas against each other in a playful, friendly, and respectful way – often disagreeing, but equally often synthesizing higher levels of understanding.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There is no ‘balance’ ‘false’ or otherwise in the Big Business owned MSM. There is near 100% propaganda, uniformity of opinion and absence of dissent and real debate wherever the ruling elite sees its crucial interests at stake. There is no dissent from negative reporting of Putin and his regime, of the Chinese regime or of any target state in the throes of ‘regime change’. The ruling caste and their property, the so-called ‘journalists’, treat anthropogenic climate destabilisation as a threat to the capitalisation of the trillions in fossil fuel reserves that they are absolutely determined to see mined and burned, come what may. If you think things are detestable, preposterous and vile at present, as a supposedly ‘sapient’ species commits auto-genocide, just wait until climate change is undeniable and mass revolt threatens the moneyed caste. Then things will get really nasty. The chances of a ‘change of heart’ are negligible, because they have neither a heart to change nor a conscience to trouble them.

    • Tom King says:

      If it was near 100%, I suspect most people wouldn’t read it (except for Foxbots). My problem is when it hovers around 10%-20%. In other words, offer enough factual information to create reality congruence with the reader. But then throw in strategic pieces of disinformation to bend that reality.

  14. lizardo says:

    There was a terrible NPR segment on this yesterday which quoted of all people ROGER PIELKE Jr weeping crocodile tears about the tragey of Glieck’s destroyed career blah blah. The text on NPR’s site seems different than the audio I heard. Link is here, only one I could find:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/02/22/147263862/climate-scientist-admits-to-lying-leaking-documents

  15. Raul M. says:

    Could start a web site for used cars. Where the gas hog over hyped truck is shown in a different light.
    You know about how the impressionable youngster spends most all monies maintaining the dream of having…
    Even begging for more gas monies so that hand can set down the hundred dollars for the next tank of gas.
    Dad used to call it the s&&& eating grin to close the ad for the used truck sale.
    Yep, reality bites could be the headline.

  16. John Tucker says:

    Other than here two places ive seen well thought out commentary on this so far are:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/02/21/breaking-news-heartland-leaker-is-scientist-peter-gleick-says-documents-are-all-real/

    and the best probably, once authenticity is established (even if you all dont always see eye to eye with him):

    http://www.monbiot.com/2012/02/20/plutocracy-pure-and-simple/

    Monbiot cuts to the chase. A lot of it has been said here also but worth a look.

  17. ltr says:

    I finally realized that Gleick deserves the same respect that I have for Daniel Ellsberg, though Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papaers before I was born. I am completely satisfied that was Glieck did was moral.

  18. ltr says:

    As for Revkin, I find him always slanted in writing since he stopped being a formal reporter for the NYTimes. I never bother reading him anymore.

    • Tom King says:

      I feel the same way. During the heatwave / tornadoes last year he composed articles showing no change in extreme weather. The articles might have been factually accurate, but they really undermined the inertia of the moment. If he truly cared, he would have simply remained silent until the winter and then re-examined the data. I’ve deleted my NYT links and don’t plan to go back.

  19. Barry Saxifrage says:

    The Heartless papers reveal everything you need to know about Revkin.

    He has morphed over the years from science reporter to an advocate for a “go slow” response to accelerating climate changes. This is the reason that the Heartless group saw him as a potential ally in their efforts to protect fossil fuel interests from climate policies.

    Revkin lost his professional cool over Gleick’s actions but not over the Heartless group actions. That shows where his heart is in the climate wars.

  20. SecularAnimist says:

    Joe asked: “How could the Washington Post run those head-exploding quotes from Lindzen?”

    Because the Washington Post is as much an integral part of the fossil fuel industry’s campaign of deceit, denial, delay and obstruction as the Heartland Institute.

    It’s time — long past time — to state the obvious:

    The corporate-owned mass media in the USA is actively covering up the climate crisis on behalf of the fossil fuel corporations. They promote the deniers, like Lindzen. They refuse to even discuss the role of AGW in the escalating onslaught of devastating drought and weather of mass destruction. And they relentlessly attack the renewable energy industries.

    Sorry, but to attempt to explain this as some kind of inexplicable mass “lapse of journalistic judgement” that somehow simultaneously, spontaneously occurs all across the mass media, consistently following the exact same pattern, is just silly.

    It’s a cover up. Call them out on it.

  21. Robert says:

    Hello Folks,
    After a few days of this, and a bit more contemplation, I’m growing weary of this false narrative — partly created by Gleick himself, amplified not only by the usual suspects (WaPo, Revkin, Watts, etc.), but also those who should know better (Schmidt, Romm, Oreskes, etc.)
    The false narrative is that Gleick engaged in some heinously unethical act. Um… no. Gleick’s sleight of hand was the moral equivalent — and had all the guile and cunning — of yelling “HEY, YOUR SHOELACE IS UNTIED” to distract a mugger and grab the gun.
    THE REAL NARRATIVE IS THIS: This is a man (Gleick) with a long and distinguished record of real and valuable contribution to science and to society. We need to be talking about what it is that would drive someone like Gleick to a mildly dubious act — to actually spend some time trying to extract information from a ridiculous place like Heartland.
    And the answer is, Heartland is a major cog in a noise machine that has produced death threats and major harrassment for many of our most distinguished climate scientists. The story is not Gleick’s actions, but what produced them.
    As for all this nonsense of Gleick having seriously tarnished his reputation, I absolutely reject it.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Imagine a serial killer was terrorising a community, and some ‘evil-doer’ sank so low as to tricking him into revealing himself. Ah, the perfidy of it all!

    • Spike says:

      I agree. We’re in “A Street Fight Named Denial” so to speak and I think his transgressions are justified in that they expose the truth about power.

    • Gestur says:

      Damn straight, Robert. Many thanks for putting it so very clearly.

  22. lizardo says:

    Desmog blog has a long analysis and comparison of the genuine documents Heartland provided to Dr. Glieck and the document he was sent anonymously that Heartland claims it can’t find on it’s computers and which must therefore be “faked” and demonstrates that the original one is genuine.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/evaluation-shows-faked-heartland-climate-strategy-memo-authentic

    That of course is beside the point because Glieck was too responsible to depend on that first one.

  23. “He said, she said…” This really hits the nail on the head with respect to Revkin. He is into drama, and for drama’s sake (at least according to his script) he has to treat climate proponents and climate denialists as if they were morally and intellectually equivalent. It has to be an “even fight.”

    PS sorry this comment is coming in so late. Last couple days have been non-stop.

  24. Chris Winter says:

    http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/02/24/pacific-institutes-work-rises-above-the-gleick-fiasco/
    Pacific Institute’s Work Rises Above the Gleick Fiasco
    February 24, 2012 | 1:17 PM | By Craig Miller

    Writes about the important work of the Pacific Institute. Mentions the fact that Dr. Gleick is now on temporary leave from there.