When delivered, on a silver platter, an opportunity to demonstrate learning and fulfill the Fourth Estate’s essential role of fostering a more informed public, Associate Press reporter Raphael Satter and Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin trip over themselves in a rush to press and disseminate deceptive truthiness rather than engage in truthful reporting.
Satter seems to double down on reporting innuendoes and falsehoods disproven in multiple investigations by institutions around the world.
Although their context couldn’t be determined, the excerpts appeared to show climate scientists talking in conspiratorial tones about ways to promote their agenda and freeze out those they disagree with.
Even though noting that the “context couldn’t be determined …”, Satter decides to move forward with “excerpts appear” even though the 2009 “ClimateGate” stolen email leakage was shown, through the following year, to have been a manipulated effort by those seeking to undermine climate science. The stolen material released today all dates back, evidently, to prior to the first theft — this is old material that the thieves have had for years. And, even so, they have released only a small share of the material. And, even with that selective manipulation, what we have are appearances as opposed to some form of proof (for anyone other than the most serious anti-science syndrome suffering haters of a livable economic system).
Note that Satter is explicit about shortfalls in reporting,
The content of the new batch of emails couldn’t be immediately verified — The Associated Press has not yet been able to secure a copy — but climate skeptic websites carried what they said were excerpts.
Thus, Satter / AP are running with a story based solely on material provided by people who have repeatedly been documented as promoting deceitful information.
Satter at least had the common sense (decency) to engage and quote some of the targets of this selective and deceptive representation of stolen emails.
Penn State University Prof. Michael Mann — a prominent player in the earlier controversy whose name also appears in the latest leak — described the latest leak as “a truly pathetic episode,” blaming agents of the fossil fuel industry for “smear, innuendo, criminal hacking of websites, and leaking out-of-context snippets of personal emails.” He said the real story in the emails was “an attempt to dig out 2-year-old turkey from Thanksgiving ’09. That’s how desperate climate change deniers have become.”
Bob Ward, with the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, said in an email that he wasn’t surprised by the leak.
“The selective presentation of old email messages is clearly designed to mislead the public and politicians about the strength of the evidence for man-made climate change,” he said. “But the fact remains that there is very strong evidence that most the indisputable warming of the Earth over the past half century is due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.”
Juliet Eilperin, who simply should know (far) better than this, seems determined to jump on the bandwagon of conspiracy theorist rather than serious reporting. In a piece highlighting climate denial spinmaster Marc Morano (“Marc Morano, a prominent climate skeptic and editor of the website Climate Depot, welcomed the e-mails’ release.”), in the first paragraph, Eilperin theorizes that this release of stolen emails
may ignite a renewed debate, at least among some bloggers and climate-change skeptics, over whether scientists have exaggerated the link between human activity and global warming.
Later in the story, Eilperin quotes a University of East Anglia press release that comments on how investigations (repeated and exhaustive investigations) have found no scientific wrong-doing and nothing in these emails that undermines the Scientific Theory of Global Warming and humanity’s growing impact on the climate. E.g, quotes an involved party’s press release in a ‘he says, she says’ manner rather than providing truthful and direct reporting about these investigations.
Two years after a global rush to report, rather than investigate, facilitate a criminal conspiracy to undermine climate science, these two reporters have sadly provided a quick response to Brad Johnson’s question: Climategate 2.0: Have Journalists learned their lesson?
Update: See Jocelyn Fong’s excellent Media Already Botching Reports on Hacked Climate Emails for additional perspective and documentation.
Earlier today I asked whether American news outlets would do their due diligence in evaluating the content of the newly-released batch of “Climategate” emails hacked from the University of East Anglia two years ago. It didn’t take long for our esteemed print outlets to disappoint.
Writing on the Washington Post’s website, Juliet Eilperin quotes an email exchange that she said was about “whether the IPCC has accurately depicted the temperature rise in the lower atmosphere” …. Astoundingly, Eilperin does not tell readers that these email exchanges took place in February 2005 and were about the first draft of a chapter of the IPCC report released two years later. The emails depict the authors of the chapter hashing out what should be included — exactly what you would expect this process to look like.
This is clearly an attempt to sabotage the international climate talks for a second time, and there has not been enough attention paid to who is responsible for these illegal acts. If this happened surrounding nuclear arms talks, we would have the full force of the Western world’s intelligence community pursuing the perpetrators. And yet, with the stability of our climate hanging in the balance with these international climate treaty negotiations, these hackers and their supporters are still on the loose. It is time to bring them to justice.
See the following for thoughts on the stolen leaked emails:
- Jocelyn Fong, Media Matters, Memo To Media: Research First, Then Report On Climate Emails
- Jocelyn Fong, Media Matters, Media Already Botching Reports on Hacked Climate Emails
- Brad Johnson, Think Progress Green, Climategate 2.0: Have Journalists learned their lesson?
- Richard Littlemore, DeSmogBlog, Climategate Hackers Slither Again in the Night
- Shawn Lawrence Otto, Climategate 2.0? New Emails Hacked — Pay No Attention to the Energy Industry Behind the Curtain
- Joe Romm, Climate Progress, Fool Me Once, Shame on You, Fool Me Twice, Shame on the Media: More Stolen Emails Can’t Stop Catastrophic Global Warming, Only We Can
- Peter Sinclair, Climate Denial Crock of the Week, Been There. Done That. Got the T. Climate Hackers try again.
- Scott Brophy, Say What? Breaking Story: Climategate Redux? (Nah, Broken Story, Except for the Theft, the Smear Campaign, and the Upcoming Press Coverage)
- Barry Bickmore, Anti-Climate Change Extremism in Utah, New Stolen Emails Released
- Kate Sheppard, Blue Marble, ClimateGate … again?
- A Siegel, Get Energy Smart! NOW!, ClimateGate Redux: An opportunity to show learning