Climategate: MSM’s amazingly unrelenting “greenwash”

With most MSM currently focusing on the aftermath of the latest foiled terrorist attack, one can well imagine that proponents of the “science is settled” crowd are desperately hoping that Climategate will retreat to the back-burner of public consciousness. No doubt the coalition of willing “science” journalists will be somewhat disheartened by an editorial in yesterday’s Washington Times:

Biased reporting on Climategate

Associated Press coverage raises eyebrows

With trillions of dollars at stake in the battle over global warming, now would be the time for the press to closely scrutinize the claims of those who would reorganize the world’s economy from farm to factory and laboratory to living room. And the Climategate scandal – where leaked e-mails and dodgy computer programs from the University of East Anglia raise powerful new questions about the role of politics in climate science – would be the perfect opportunity to explore what is going on behind the scenes.

That’s not happening. To judge by recent coverage from Associated Press, the Fourth Estate watchdog has acted like a third-rate pocket pet. Case in point is an 1,800-word AP missive that appeared in hundreds of publications, many carrying it on the front page of their Sunday, Dec. 13 issue with the headline, “Science not faked, but not pretty.” AP gave three scientists copies of the controversial e-mails and then asked them about their conclusions. The wire service portrayed the trio of scientists as dismissing or minimizing allegations of scientific fraud when, in fact, the scientists believe no such thing.


Arizona State University professor Dan Sarewitz is quoted by AP as saying, “This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds.” However, Mr. Sarewitz wasn’t speaking about the validity of the climate science; he was discussing his belief that politics infects how most scientific research is conducted. While AP used the quote to suggest that there was nothing terribly wrong that had been revealed in Climategate, Mr. Sarewitz was trying to issue a warning that politics infects too much science and that reporters, politicians and the public are naive about that reality.

[The editorial concludes:]

East Anglia and Penn State are not the only two institutions that need to answer questions about what is going on behind the scenes. [link and emphases added -hro]

Over the last decade, Associated Press has demonstrated that it could rarely be accused of presenting unbiased reporting on many issues. Their coverage of Climategate is obviously no exception. In fact, considering that the early media message on Climategate was that the emails had been “taken out of context“, in this instance, the expression “Pot.Kettle.Black” comes to mind!

Another aspect to this unrelenting post-Climategate “greenwash” can be found in the unabashedly pro AGW alarmist December 3 [“Published online 2 December 2009”] editorial of Nature magazine, an “International weekly journal of science” (and home of many of the much vaunted “peer reviewed” IPCC dependent articles). The editor whines:

Climatologists under pressure

Stolen e-mails have revealed no scientific conspiracy, but do highlight ways in which climate researchers could be better supported in the face of public scrutiny.

The e-mail archives stolen last month from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK, have been greeted by the climate-change-denialist fringe as a propaganda windfall (see page 551). To these denialists, the scientists’ scathing remarks about certain controversial palaeoclimate reconstructions qualify as the proverbial ‘smoking gun’: proof that mainstream climate researchers have systematically conspired to suppress evidence contradicting their doctrine that humans are warming the globe.

This paranoid interpretation […]

Interestingly, the “see page 551” above is linked to another article, dated December 2, in NatureNews:

Battle lines drawn over e-mail leak

Climatologists remain sanguine over incident.

Quirin Schiermeier

As the blogosphere continues to buzz with discussion about e-mails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, UK, climatologists are insisting that the controversy will not discredit their science, or hamper a global climate deal.

CRU confirmed on 20 November that more than 1,000 e-mails and documents had been copied from its servers and distributed on the Internet

The above is considered “Premium content” [and evidently requires a paid subscription to view in full]. The comments are “free”, though, and worth reading. One commenter noted:

Researchers concerned about scientific integrity are broad brush dismissed with epithets and pejoratives: “paranoid” “systematically conspired” “laughable” “denialist” “harassment that denialists inflict”. Solid science does not need to be protected by these characterizations of its critics.

Another strongly urged that the editorial be retracted:

The Nature editorial is unfortunate. The emails are embarrassing, for sure, and contradict Nature’s editorial position that the UEA scientists did nothing wrong by “hiding behind” data transfer agreements to avoid releasing data, deleting emails in anticipation of Freedom of Information requests, and destroying primary data. All of this would be grounds for a Nature inquiry, were this field not protected by the politics. […] By refusing to undertake an inquiry, the first step in the self-correcting processes in science that is clearly necessary in light of the code, Nature has now enhanced the distrust of the public, which is long past believing that the self-correcting mechanisms of science operate when strong political pressures act to prevent them from doing so. Thus, Nature has done no favors for climate science. We would urge Nature to retract this editorial, and begin the appropriate investigation based on an assessment of the code. [emphases added -hro]

But, I digress … back to the Editorial … apart from the observations of the commenters above, one wonders how the Editor arrived at the conclusion that the emails had been “stolen” (as opposed to “leaked”).

Furthermore, as if the demeaning lemming-like dismissive tone of the article was not bad enough, as Steve McIntyre noted on Climate Audit, yesterday, “Nature uncritically accepted [the] myth” that “providing data in response to FOI requests was interfering with [Climatologists’] work.”

Indeed, this urelenting grudge-grinding, fact-free, MSM “greenwash” is nothing short of amazing, simply amazing. Thank goodness for Canada’s National Post, eh?

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