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Coal-Powered PAC Runs Harassment Campaign Against Climate Scientist Michael Mann

By Brad Johnson on February 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

"Coal-Powered PAC Runs Harassment Campaign Against Climate Scientist Michael Mann"

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Dr. Michael Mann

A coal-industry astroturf group is running a public campaign to harass Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann for his “radical agenda” of climate science. The Common Sense Movement/Secure Energy for America Political Action Committee (CSM/SEAPAC) has established a website asking people to criticize the Penn State Speakers Forum for allowing Michael Mann to speak about the climate change challenge. “Join us in calling on the administration to disinvite the disgraced academic,” the group says on its Facebook page.

On the webpage, CSM/SEAPAC accuses Mann of “manipulating scientific data to align with his extreme political views on global warming”:

On February 9th, the Penn State Forum Speaker’s Series is featuring Professor Michael Mann in a speech regarding global warming. This is the same professor who is at the center of the ‘Climategate’ controversy for allegedly manipulating scientific data to align with his extreme political views on global warming. Join us in calling on the administrators of Penn State to end its support of Michael Mann and his radical agenda.

The suggested text for the letter to editor says Mann is “conspiring with his left-wing cronies to intimidate and silence those who would dare to question his intentions,” tarring Mann with “questionable ethics” and “extreme political activism.”

Michael Mann, one of the most most respected scientists in the field of paleoclimatology, has been the victim of a long-running harrassment and intimidation campaign by right-wing ideologues and conspiracy theorists, including political and legal threats by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. After hackers stole emails from a climate unit in Great Britain, climate deniers renewed their attacks on Mann, forcing several academic inquiries, all of which debunked the slanderous charges.

SEAPAC is a wing of the Pittsburgh-based astroturf group Common Sense Movement, which is running the “I Am Coal” campaign. Contributors include James Clifford Forrest III, president of coal company Rosebud Mining, David Young, president of the Bituminous Coal Operators’ Association, and the top executives of Swanson Industries, a West Virginia mining equipment company.

Read SEAPAC’s suggested letter to the editor for its harassment campaign against Mann:

On February 9th, the Penn State Forum Speaker’s Series is featuring Professor Michael Mann in a speech regarding global warming. Let’s remember that this is the same Michael Mann who is at the center of the Climategate controversy for allegedly manipulating scientific data to align with his extreme political views on global warming.

Mann’s own emails, which have now become public, show him admitting that the science on global warming is still in question and, even worse, conspiring with his left-wing cronies to intimidate and silence those who would dare to question his intentions.

At a time when Penn State should be doing everything possible to regain its status as a bastion of truth and integrity, the last thing they should be doing is supporting someone of such questionable ethics and motives with our tax dollars.

There is no place for this brand of extreme political activism, disguised as academics, at Penn State now or in the future. University leadership should be ashamed for continuing to provide Mann with such high visibility – at our expense.

A TP Green cross-post

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23 Responses to Coal-Powered PAC Runs Harassment Campaign Against Climate Scientist Michael Mann

  1. BillD says:

    This is an outrageous attack on a respected scientist. Science is not political and scientist should not be harrassed or accused of politics for analyzing data and letting the results fall where they may.

    I’ve reviewed over 1,000 manuscript for peer reviewed scientific journals and never saw an influence of politics in the analysis and conclusions of even one paper.

    Won’t someone please organize to counteract this dispicable political action committee. I’m not wealthy but I would be happy to send money to group that protects scientists and even better, goes on the offense against groups that attack scientists because they don’t like the results of scientific research.

    • Mark Shapiro says:

      Yes, it’s an outrageous attack — wealthy, powerful attackers and defamers claiming that THEY are being attacked and defamed!

      Joe’s doing his part by exposing their charade. They will keep at it. Just keep telling the truth.

  2. Sou says:

    I can only imagine what Prof Mann is going through. This is disgusting.

    (I’ve just been turfed off an investment website for informing subscribers about climate science and being vocally ‘pro AGW’ (as if anyone would be in favour of global warming). The site is patronised (and run) by a number of crotchety old men who can’t accept the science. But that’s nothing compared to what climate scientists put up with on a daily basis, particularly Prof Mann.)

    Is there legal redress available for libel of this nature in the USA?

    If we top up the legal defense fund will this help?

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    Attacks on Mann have nothing to do with fraud, since multiple independent investigations completely exonerate him. And Mann is only political in the sense that his work leads to the conclusion that continued dependence on fossil fuels will exacerbate currently observed warming.

    CSM’s attack is really about playing to the gallery. The right wing rabble that listens to Fox gets particularly agitated by Mann, even though he’s far less political than Hansen, and his papers are less controversial than those of others in the field.

    The reason for these bizarre and unhinged attacks is that Michael Mann is the bald, bearded, and probably Jewish pointy headed intellectual who excites weird fever dreams among the Far Right. Focusing on Mann is part of a calculated strategy by oil and coal company PR teams, since his appearance pushes the right buttons, keeping the suckers frothing at the mouth.

    • John McCormick says:

      Mike on a DotEarth post you said:

      “Hollywood should tell this story. We have a classic case of good vs. evil, with the future of humanity at stake.

      I know a couple of screenwriters who could write the script. Any angels out there?”

      I have a finished screen play and will send it to you.

      My email: johnmcc793@aol.com

  4. catman306 says:

    A lawyer will know if this may be applied to Dr. Mann’s situation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gang_stalking#Stalking_by_groups

    Gang stalking is also called criminal harassment or criminal menace.

    There’s a lot of this sort of thing going on in America today. It’s illegal.

  5. caerbannog says:

    Dr. Mann will be speaking at the Aquarium of the Pacific in about two weeks (Feb 15, IIRC). It is located in Long Beach, CA, which happens to be in Dana Rohrabacher’s Congressional district. Lots of young-Republican wingnut-types live in the area (especially in Orange County just to the south).

    Wouldn’t be surprised if folks attending the lecture get treated to a denier freak-show outside the venue.

    Folks interested in attending can find more info (and make reservations) here: http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/the_hockey_stick_and_the_climate_wars_dispatches_from_the_front_lines/

    • Mike Roddy says:

      Thanks, caerbannog. I will plan on attending, and hope to meet Dr. Mann. The Aquarium of the Pacific is actually located between LA and Orange County, and there should be plenty of supporters there as well.

  6. Zach says:

    Ok, how about instead of telling us about it, getting right back in their face and gathering a bunch of climatologists to tell the idiots and the potentially deceived public that his views ARE NOT extreme? FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE! If they are trying to single this guy out and say he’s extreme, prove that he isn’t make a fool out of these assclowns and gather a bunch of climatologists to back him up!!! The “climate hawks” with the true power to rally climatologists instead blog about it and let this group of misinforming backwards bullies roll over this guy. The problem with reasonable liberals in this country, if I can quote a line from “The Ides of March” is that you’re too afraid to “get down in the mud with the fucking elephants” and you know what, the morons with the loudest voice will win every time if you let them. And they’re winning. Have you seen the polls? Only 30 percent of Americans think global warming is a problem that will affect their way of life in their own lifetimes. That’s down, by the way, from previous years.

  7. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    If you cannot attack the science attack the Mann. Although all the attacks on Michael Mann have been discredited, it is all they have left. All their other tricks have been discredited time and time again ad nauseum.

    As despicable as the latest attacks are they are no surprise.

    As for donations there is a link from this Think Progress post
    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/01/27/412674/climate-science-legal-defense-fund-is-established/

    A post from Climate Science Watch
    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2012/01/26/peer-adopts-the-climate-science-legal-defense-fund/

    Then there is the Union of Concerned Scientists.

  8. Belgrave says:

    This harassment campaign is such an inversion of the truth that I immediately thought of “1984″. So now to “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength” we can add “Lies are Truth”. But then this is the party which fabricated the Swift Boat “scandal”. They have no shame. If they get into power, 1984 will have arrived. In fact, from my memory of reading it, the dystopic, ecomomically collapsed Britain it describes bears some resemblance to what I’d imagine an economically and environmentally collapsed urban wasteland would (¿will?) be like.

  9. Paul Magnus says:

    It really is time the law was put to good use on things like this. It really is an abomination.

  10. Bill Walker says:

    Can Mann or the University sue this entity for defamation?

  11. fj says:

    The best side of this is when the ugly propaganda rears it’s head Joe Romm’s posts below — besides this one — pretty much put deniers on the defensive:

    3 Dozen Top Climate Scientists Slam Murdoch’s 16 Posers

    And,

    Climatogolist James Hansen on “Cowards in Our Democracies”

  12. fj says:

    Much worse is the direct violence the oil industry stages against net zero forms of transportation.

    The local & global monopolies of cars, buses and truck are maintained by the extreme life-threatening danger they present to much more practical net zero and near net zero modes.


    http://www.streetsblog.org/2012/02/02/in-other-news-times-of-london-pilots-unprecedented-cyclist-safety-program/

  13. prokaryotes says:

    If you want to support him buy his book too.

    The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines

    “[I]f you read just one book on climate change, make it Michael E Mann’s riveting exposé of disinformation and denial, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” –The Irish Times (“Books to Read in 2012″)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/023115254X/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=1278548962&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=3822831417&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=129NQHT6646K1T6P6818

  14. John Tucker says:

    They need to go on the offensive – defamation of character as it has to do with professional work in a field. Let some firm worry about it – or let it go.

    The far right has been doing this to the GBLT community for decades if not centuries. Spend a lifetime looking over your shoulder then get back with me. If you let people behave disrespectfully and/or unreasonable to others one day it could be you on the receiving end of the same kind of injustice.

  15. The Penn State Forum, where Dr. Mann is scheduled to speak, has a web site with a link for comments at

    http://pennstateforum.psu.edu/

    A short note of support for Dr. Mann and support for the Forum for inviting him would be nice. I just sent one.

  16. MarkfromLexington says:

    If Stephen Colbert can create a Super-PAC, why not consider having Climate Progress do the same?

    I’d love to see a Climate Progress Super-PAC.

    Perhaps it could work with other groups like Skeptical Science and Crock of the Week to produce 30 second spots to reach a broader audience.

  17. John Mason says:

    Revkin comes out in support for Mann against this undemocratic hatemongering:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/a-shameful-attack-on-free-speech-by-a-group-claiming-to-speak-for-coal-dependent-workers/

    Cheers – John

  18. Chris Winter says:

    There’s apparently no way to leave comments directly to the announcement of Dr. Mann’s lecture. But I sent this e-mail to the chair of the Penn State Forum:

    I just wanted to comment on the sorely misguided attack this group has launched against Dr. Mann, calling for you to cancel his lecture.

    It’s now 14 years since the original “Hockey Stick” paper (MBH98) came out, and various right-wing groups have only just quit their denunciations of it, because that tactic has become so transparently ridiculous.

    So now they’re going after Dr. Mann himself, and other climate scientists who reveal truths they don’t want to hear. They also don’t want the rest of us to hear those truths either.

    It’s a despicable attempt to suppress free speech, brought to you by groups that have long protested that they themselves are being prevented from speaking on campuses. It’s blatant hypocrisy, and I trust you will reject their demands.

    Best regards,

    Christopher Winter

  19. Phillip Wynn says:

    What’s telling to me about the climate deniers is that they not only represent the most irrational tendency of the Republican party, but also strikingly exhibit a fundamental pathology of the radical right, that of psychological projection. Ask sometime a climate denier what possible motivation scientists would have for making this stuff up. If you can get them past the usual cursing of liberals, you’ll find the theory that these scientists are hoping to make money off the new green technologies that would be necessary to combat warming. Is it useless to point out to them that they’re stressing hidden motives for possible profits, while hidden motives for those funding climate denial is in protection of actual ones? Answer: yes, unfortunately. The projection, not the only instance of it among righties, follows from they’re not being able to conceive of any bad motive that doesn’t involve money.

    One other motivation they’ll throw out: Climate scientists love big government, because they’re liberals, and they want the big government intrusion into the economy. But how do we know these scientists are liberal? Well, obviously because they believe in global warming!

    If arguing with deniers, when all is said and done, and they have to admit that even with “Climategate” there has to be a broad conspiracy of hundreds if not thousands of scientists to hide the truth, leave them with the Russian proverb: Two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead.

  20. Lecoor says:

    I’m shocked as a trained scientist to see the depths of either
    ignorance or vicious word-smithing, intended to take away from legitimate and sound work.
    It is presumably aimed at silencing such contrarian views and threatens all who don’t retreat to silence or go along with these bullies.
    It wouldn’t take long to read enough good science to see where the rights and wrongs are.