This story by Heidi Blake in the Telegraph about how Anthony Watts’ findings show that surface temperature records are wrong might sound familiar. That’s because it’s blatantly plagiarised from Jonathan Leake’s story touting Watts’ report. Every element in Blake’s story was drawn from Leake’s story — it’s just been rearranged and reworded slightly. It looks like it would have taken her about 15 minutes to do the whole thing. To be fair to Blake, she has actually improved the story — her version is tighter and flows more naturally, so if the Telegraph fires her for plagiarism she could also get a job as Leake’s editor.
So Blake copies from Leake. But where does Leake get his material from?
Tim Holmes details how Leake got his bogus Amazongate story from global warming denier Richard North:
Blogger Richard North was the originator of one such story. North is a climate change denier who has worked with the Telegraph’s Christopher Booker on a number of publications, including most recently Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth. In the words of sceptical writer Richard Wilson, the book is a “surrealist masterpiece“, claiming to debunk “the dangers of passive smoking, white asbestos, eating BSE-infected beef, CO2 emissions, leaded petrol, dioxins, and high-speed car driving”. Examining the book’s commentary on climate change, one atmosphere physicist noted that its “references are very selective and misrepresentative”; another concluded: “[t]hese people have added two and two and got five”. The book misrepresents and even reverses the findings of published scientific literature, and includes a fabricated interview with a Cambridge astrophysicist that had long since been retracted. As the Guardian’s Robin McKie puts it in his review of the book, Booker and North “accuse other journalists of ‘unthinking credulity’ but commit egregious errors that would shame a junior reporter.” …
While it is wholly unsurprising that the denial lobby should be attempting to push baseless and misleading stories to the press, what is surprising is the press’s willingness to swallow them. In this case, two experts in the relevant field told a Times journalist explicitly that, in spite of a minor referencing error, the IPCC had got its facts right. That journalist simply ignored them. Instead, he deliberately put out the opposite line – one fed to him by a prominent climate change denier – as fact.
Leake’s story about Watts and co seems to have also been fed to him by Richard North. This post from North appeared at almost the same time as Leake’s story was published and contains more extensive details than Leake’s story.
So this is how the British press is promoting global warming denial. Leake stovepipes denialist material into his stories and then other journalist steal it from him for their stories.