Charles Montgomery’s excellent expose of the so-called “Friends of Science” group must have really hit a nerve, because it has drawn an over-the-top response from Terence Corcoran in the National Post. It appears that Corcoran was so incensed by it that he didn’t bother to check whether anything he wrote was true. Andrew Weaver lists a few of things that Corcoran got wrong, the most telling of which is this:

6) I never dismissed “the original hockey-stick research debunking research debunking the 1,000-year claim as “simply pure and unadulterated rubbish”

In fact your newspaper already published a retraction to the original quote on February 2, 2005. To remind you it says:

“Andrew Weaver, a professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, has described the contention that the theory of global warming is reliant on research published by Dr. Michael Mann as “unadulterated rubbish,” but he has not read a recent paper challenging Dr. Mann’s work, by Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre, published in Geophysical Research Letters. Incorrect information appeared in the National Post of Jan. 27. The Post regrets the error.”

Richard Littlemore has much more.

You’d think that there wouldn’t be much left to criticize after that, but Corcoran’s piece is a target rich environment. For example:

The original hockey-stick graphic actually claimed to represent temperatures going back 1,000 years, not just “hundreds of years,” as Mr. Montgomery described it. It’s an important distinction. Two major reviews of the hockey stick have found it to be wrong in its 1,000-year claim. Mr. Montgomery skips over that issue and makes it look as if Mr. Ball had misrepresented the facts.

The original hockey-stick graphic actually went back 600 years. And, no, two major reviews have not found it to be wrong. The NRC panel largely vindicated Mann, Bradley and Hughes, while the Wegman report did not address the issue.

Corcoran continues:

But Mr. Ball says he never said that water vapour is not accounted for in models, nor did he ever say — as claimed by Mr. Montgomery — that temperatures have not risen in recent years.

I added the links to that sentence so that you can see that Ball is not telling the truth. Corcoran could have found this out in a few minutes with a search engine if he had cared about the accuracy of his article.

But his ad hominem attack on Montgomery (naturally endorsed by Steve McIntyre) really takes the cake:

A visit to Mr. Montgomery’s Web site reveals a man obsessed with primitivism and dedicated to the usual leftist world views. Touring for his latest book, The Shark God, about life on islands in the South Pacific, Mr. Montgomery asks the big science questions: “Can a man convince a shark to eat his enemies?” He says he found himself believing in “the strangest things: rainmaking stones, magic walking sticks.” On geopolitical issues, he joins David Suzuki in idealizing Cuba as one of the world’s “havens of happiness,” compared with the United States and Britain. Americans, he says, are the world’s least happy people “because of their consumer-driven economies.” Mr. Montgomery is from the school of economics that believes the war on poverty will only be won when everybody is poor.

Montgomery’s book is about the culture and beliefs of Melanesians and has gotten some very good reviews. Corcoran has obviously taken some quotes out of context to make it look as if Montgomery doesn’t believe in science. And the quotes about Cuba and America weren’t written by Montgomery at all. Montgomery quoted from a news story about Vanuatu being the happiest place. Corcoran failed to notice that Montgomery did not write the story.


  1. #1 KGrandia
    August 24, 2006

    Corcoran sure is a piece of work isn’t he…

  2. #2 Ian Forrester
    August 24, 2006

    The quality (or should I say, lack of quality) of Terence Corcoran’s articles was the reason I cancelled my subscription to the National Post a couple of years ago.

    Ian Forrester

  3. #3 Paul Crowley
    August 24, 2006

    Direct link to the [printer-friendly version of the Corcocan story](

  4. #4 Dano
    August 24, 2006

    Corcoran has obviously taken some quotes out of context to make it look as if Montgomery doesn’t believe in science.

    Awww…yeah, but it’s the truthiness that they got right, see, Tim. That’s the thing that you warmers get all hysterical and alarmist about. Spredin’ yer hysteria, is all.



  5. #5 Kevin Grandia
    August 24, 2006

    Tim, I thought you might like this one, seems your infamous John A at Climate Audit of last year is [still on the same rant](

  6. #6 Stephen Murphy
    August 24, 2006

    I think we in Canada have a new leading candidate for Coultergeist of the Year. Mr. Corcoran is about as strident and inaccurate as Ms. Coulter – gotta love he called Kevin Grandia [above] “Dave” and called him an “iman” (Ok, relative to the rest of the piece these are minor errors but a columnist should get that write – they must’ve fired all the proofreaders at the Post…)

  7. #7 Stephen Murphy
    August 24, 2006

    Or should that be “right” (maybe I need a proofreader)

  8. #8 Joel Shore
    August 24, 2006

    “The real purpose of Meet Mr. Cool, however, was to turn all climate skeptics into incompetent, misguided and ignorant fools who are nothing more than paid fronts for a corporate-industrial conspiracy to debunk climate change science.”

    Well, that’s a neat trick! Now, with my magic wand, I am going to turn this rabbit into a rabbit!

  9. #9 KGrandia
    August 25, 2006

    Serioulsy, who is the John A — he’s a bit of a hot hat:

  10. #10 QrazyQat
    August 25, 2006

    After all, wasn’t it Corcoran who — about 10 years ago in the pages of the NP — claimed that those who wanted no smoking in public buildings laws were followers of the German Nazi movement — not “like them” or “the same as them” (either being stupid enough) but actually them.

  11. #11 KGrandia
    August 25, 2006

    I’m actually trying to hunt that Nazi quote down, haven’t been able to find it in any of the media databases, do you know where I can find it?

  12. #12 QrazyQat
    August 25, 2006

    No. I remember reading it — an op-ed piece — some years ago. Paper paper back then. I have no idea if it was ever online.

  13. #13 QrazyQat
    August 25, 2006

    After looking around I think I owe Corcoran an apology on that one (not entirely sure; the entire op-ed crew at the NP seems to find Nazism in every vaguely health-oriented or leftwing cause). What I read was probably this one by Pierre Lemieux.

  14. #14 Graculus
    August 31, 2006

    they must’ve fired all the proofreaders at the Post

    They never had any.

    The National ComPost is a sickly lamprey… it has been kept afloat by the complete gutting of the other Asper papers and constant infusions of millions of dollars of external cash. Since inception it has bled hundreds of milions of dollars, even so. That isn’t a newspaper, that’s a house organ.

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