Samantagate

There have been lots of new developments in the scandal surrounding the paper by Samanta et al misrepresented by a Boston University press release.

  • Simon Lewis, in a guest post at RealClimate, explains how the paper strengthens the IPCC conclusions about the Amazon, rather than weakening them as the press release claims.
  • Scott Saleska, in a guest post at RealClimate, argues that the Samanta paper is wrong as well — Samanta’s own data shows just as much greening in 2005 as the Saleska paper that Samanta claims to be disproving.
  • Michael Tobis finds Richard Taffe, who wrote the misleading press release complicit, and suggests that Boston University should investigate.
  • Joe Romm posts an emphatic statement from 19 leading researchers on Amazon forests: “no Amazon rainforest “myths†have been debunked.”
  • Eli Rabett notes that the out-of-context quote from Marengo in the press release has gone done the memory hole. And that Ranga Myneni (last named author on Samanta et al) was misrepresenting the paper on Sean Hannity’s forum.

Comments

  1. #1 bluegrue
    March 21, 2010

    I’d be wary about attributing that post on Hannity’s forum to Mynemi. While it’s perfectly possible that it actually is Mynemi, the rmyneni account has a single post; it could be anyone hiding behind that moniker.

  2. #2 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
    March 21, 2010

    Something that should come out of this is that the press office of BU must be held accountable. Having dealt with the press office of my own University (and others), I know that they are not staffed by scientists or people with a scientific background, so their attitudes and worldview are that of the media: extremes sell, scandals sell, any attention is good attention. The best do so in a way that do not contradict the message, but not all are the best.

    (Note that it was the responsibility of the Samanta team to make sure the message delivered was the one they want, but in my experience there are researchers who either do not make it a priority to double check these things or to think about how the message delivered might be misunderstood or manipulated by some.)

  3. #3 Eli Rabett
    March 21, 2010

    Eli acknowledges that posting in anothers name is easy on forums, which raises the point of who done it. Emails have been dispatched, but truly evil thoughts are forming. In the spirit of uninhibited bs (blog stuff) the choice appears to be between a rogue grad student, a professor in the early stages of very emeritus, or a public information officer looking for a job with Fox news – place your bets

  4. #4 bluegrue
    March 21, 2010

    When I first read _rmyneni_’s post on the Hannity forum, I managed to skip over this line in the post at Hannity’s:

    _”If you wish to talk to __us__ about this article, please contact the first author, Arindam -“_

    It’s a bit curious, that the poster first refers to ___”the authors”___ in third person, then asks Hannity to perhaps contact ___”us”___ and refers Hannity to Arindam – using his first name. I find it further of intererst, that the poster points to a gmail account, not a university one. Fearing FOIs? Nah, can’t be.

    I think your evil thoughts are spot on, Eli.

  5. #5 Hank Roberts
    March 21, 2010

    Tidying up the punctuation, it’s more appropriate to say:

    | a post, flacking the paper, apparently from … Myneni.

    Someone ought to also run down the gmail address and see if it’s actually for the person it claims to be.

  6. #6 Hank Roberts
    March 22, 2010

    Well, the gmail address is repeated on a number of PR sites, so Hannity’s not a one-off.

    Here’s the same posting (the original one, not the corrected text now at BU) posted elsewhere, also apparently done by Myneni:
    http://www.enn.com/press_releases/3276

    Yet another version (hat tip to Eli, who said these easter eggs were out there to find)

    http://www.prlog.org/10569878-amazon-forests-did-not-green-up-during-the-2005-drought.html

    which includes this comment about the Editors of Science:

    > “We actually submitted our evidence to the Editors at
    > Science, but they decided not to seek peer-review,
    > perhaps afraid of a controversy given all the hoopla
    > surrounding IPCC” said Ranga Myneni, the senior author
    > from Boston University.

  7. #7 kfr
    March 24, 2010

    Good to see Simon Lewis making an official complaint to PCC over mr leake’s rather egregious attempt at science reporting:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/24/sunday-times-ipcc-amazon-rainforest

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