Media myth: Global warming science is ‘solid,’ despite scandalous e-mails suggesting alarmists might have been ‘manipulating’ data and preventing skeptics from being published.
In 2009, the news media ignored plenty of worthy stories, but none as big as the global warming scandal that broke just before Thanksgiving on Nov. 20. That was when word got around thanks to the Internet, Fox News and talk radio that leaked e-mails suggested unethical and possibly illegal behavior on the part of climate scientists.
ClimateGate began after someone (hacker or whistleblower) attacked servers of University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and made thousands of e-mails and documents public. Those e-mails appear to show a conspiracy to falsify temperature data, a willingness to destroy information rather than release it under Freedom of Information (FOI) law and the intimidation of publications willing to publish skeptical articles.
Here are just two of the most disturbing messages:
From Phil Jones, CRU director, to climatologist Michael Mann and two others:
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd [Sic] from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
Jones to Mann Feb. 2, 2005:
“The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”
The publication of those messages has led to the temporary resignation of Jones and an investigation of Mann by Penn State University, yet ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows refused to cover the ClimateGate scandal for 13 days. It wasn’t until Dec. 4-6 that the network news programs finally mentioned the controversy. A mere four stories mentioned ClimateGate, Tiger Woods’ car accident, infidelity and apology were covered more than 15 times as often (62 stories).
Most egregious was the omission of ClimateGate during the Nov. 25 evening broadcasts, the night that all three networks reported that President Obama would be attending the climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark and would push for a pact to reduce carbon emissions.
Global warming science had been portrayed as incontrovertible by the news media which used a “peer-reviewed” stamp of approval to UN IPCC reports warning about climate change. But other leaked e-mails suggest that the very scientists criticizing skeptics for not being published in peer reviewed publications were attempting to game the system by intimidating publications willing to publish skeptical work.