Death threat denial

Even when we have video of a death threat there are those who try to deny that scientists have been threatened. Like, oh, The Australian. Media Watch reports on media coverage of death threats on climate scientists:

One news outlet comes out of it, in our opinion, almost unscathed: Fairfax Media’s The Canberra Times. The ABC doesn’t look so great, and The Australian looks worst of all.

What The Australian did in several stories was pretend that a lack of death threats in emails over just six months at the ANU showed that there had been no death threats. For example: (Google “Police not told of ‘threats’ to ANU climate scientists”):


The Australian yesterday revealed Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim had debunked claims of death threats in 11 emails sent to university staff. …

Fairfax Media and the ABC reported last June that ANU climate researchers had been subjected to a vicious and unrelenting campaign that included death threats. …

As Media Watch says:

The Australian could have checked the hard copy of the Canberra Times’s original article in June last year.

You will be chased down the street with burning stakes and hung from your f*** neck, until you are dead, dead, dead!

Die you lying bastard!

F*** off you lying communist c—!!

Eat S*** and Die!!!

– The Canberra Times, 4th June, 2011

Or even better, The Oz could have actually gone to climate scientists around the country and asked for examples of threatening and abusive emails.

That’s what we did. We got these from just two scientists, one in Melbourne, one in Brisbane, received in that same six month period. They’re on our website, and they are not pretty reading and yes they were reported to police.

The response from Chris Merritt in The Australian is truly pathetic. Most of the story is about Media Watch’s criticism of the ABC’s reporting, even though Media Watch said The Australian was worse. Merritt’s defence of his paper’s reporting:

Holmes also criticised The Australian, but the basis of his criticism was in error.

Holmes gave the impression that the newspaper’s reports debunking death threats at the ANU had extended to other alleged death threats at other universities.

Well, yes, he gave that impression by quoting The Australian’s stories that said just that.

Merritt continues:

The Australian’s reporting of the issue has focused on tracking the progress of Mr Turnill’s FOI request, which focused only on ANU.

And only covered emails and six months of those. Not that you would know if this if you relied on The Australian‘s stories on the emails. There are now nine of them and not once has this important piece of information appeared.

Merritt continues with:

Holmes also mistakenly asserted that The Canberra Times had not reported there had been death threats at ANU. But articles to the contrary were published by that newspaper on June 4 and 5 last year.

In context it’s clear that Holmes meant that The Canberra Times had not reported that there had been emailed death threats at ANU in the previous six months. Which is what the FOI request covered. Not that Merritt and The Australian would ever tell you that.

And The Canberra Times was correct to report that there had been death threats at ANU as Media Watch confirmed by talking to Will Steffen. Not that Merritt and The Australian would ever tell you that.

Comments

  1. #1 DarylD
    May 21, 2012

    A sick sad sorry state of affairs, indeed.

    In other news, old Sydney Town has broken another weather record [here](http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/rain-just-a-trickle-in-driest-may-since-1859-20120520-1yz16.html) and [here too.](http://www.theage.com.au/environment/weather/nsw-is-getting-hotter-20120514-1ylj5.html)

    Denial of reality, that [global warming is real and is happening](http://www.ted.com/talks/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change.html), is truly a sad evil beast.

  2. #2 Boobialla
    May 21, 2012

    It’s also worth highlighting one of the gems from the Media Watch segment.
    Quote from Christian Kerr’s report: “Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, who was the ANU’s vice-chancellor at the time, last night admitted he did not have any recollection of reading the emails before relocating the university’s researchers.”

    As Media Watch pointed out: “Professor Chubb was Vice-Chancellor at the time the scientists were moved. But he couldn’t have read the emails before that, because they weren’t sent until the following year.”

    Will The Oz correct this egregious blunder?

  3. #3 bill
    May 21, 2012

    I hope this is directed to the attention of the egregious Tallbloke, whose grotesque performance from here on down makes him doubly worthy of the name Denier.

  4. #4 Watching the Deniers
    May 21, 2012

    There is also greater irony in the fact that [the Australian reported on death threats, exhibiting an willful amnesia](http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/death-threats-why-guv-theres-been-no-death-threats-the-australian-claims-threats-against-scientists-not-real-forgetting-it-has-reported-on-death-threats-made-against-scientists/).

    Of course all the usual denial blogs and journalists jumped on the bandwagon claiming that NO death threats had ever been made against scientists *ever* (Bolt did a feature article in the HUN).

    It was all a lie/beat up. The Australian did the damage it wanted to do: play fast and loose with the truth, but when exposed slink behind some paper-thin excuses.

    True to the Oz’s style: dishonest, misleading and cynical.

  5. #5 StevoR
    Adelaide, SA
    May 23, 2012

    Boobialla : “Will The Oz correct this egregious blunder?”

    If they do, you can bet it’ll be very small print tucked away inconspiculously at the bottom of a page – not at the top of the front page like the original error. :-(

  6. #6 Trent1492
    May 24, 2012

    The Monckton and the Mob story does not open. What gives Science Blogs?

  7. #7 TrueSceptic
    May 24, 2012

    Trent,

    Works for me, although it’s very slow right now. It’s a link to Hot Topic.

    Tim,

    I see that we’ve lost the numbering of comments. This is a shame, as it makes it harder to be clear which one we’re replying to, and there’s no Reply link on each one either.

  8. #8 chek
    May 24, 2012

    Brenda, anger and contempt are two different things.

    Where did you pick up your latest item of idiot tinfoilhat lie? I’d guess from a numbskull like Alex Jones, but that’s probably slightly too sophisticated for you.

  9. #9 chek
    May 24, 2012

    Ah, another nobody nutter, much like yourself.
    I suppose that’s the attraction.

  10. #10 P. Lewis
    May 24, 2012

    Bring back my killfile capability! Quick!

  11. #11 TrueSceptic
    May 25, 2012

    WTF is going on here?

  12. #12 TrueSceptic
    May 25, 2012

    Brent,

    That’s a great spoof site (Poe?). What could anyone possibly add?

  13. #13 bill
    Australia
    May 25, 2012

    ‘Brent infestation removed’ is inevitable. Please don’t trouble yourself to respond.

  14. #14 Michael
    May 25, 2012

    Only slightly OTT.

    Fascinating stuff from Curry.

    One of her nutters, er… denizens, suggests physical violence;
    “When the popular perception of these “Never let a crisis go to waste” leftist pseudoscientists is such that they find themselves at risk of physical assault whenever and wherever they show themselves in public, we can slack off.”

    Curry’s response to a complaint about the above;
    “Well Tucci78 is regarded as high entertainment by many of the regulars here. Not so much accepting his sentiments, as being entertained by his presentation of them”

    If other people find threats amusing , well that’s OK then.

  15. #15 bill
    Australia
    May 25, 2012

    Amazing! I thought it was worth expanding on that exchange that Michael has referred to above, and Curry’s reaction to it:

    Tucci78: On the the contrary. When the “labels” fit, when they point out just how loathsome, just how evil, just how rotten [emph. in original] these AGW fraudsters are and have always been, there should be no holding back, no restraint, no respite.

    Hammer the message home, keep hammering, and never let up.

    When the popular perception of these “Never let a crisis go to waste” leftist pseudoscientists is such that they find themselves at risk of physical assault whenever and wherever they show themselves in public, we can slack off. [my emphasis]

    BillC: I’m not 100% sure, but I think threats of physical harm to climate scientists are a violation of blog policy…

    Tucci78: BillC maunders:

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think threats of physical harm to climate scientists are a violation of blog policy…

    Your censoring sniveling notwithstanding, the efficacy of ever more vigorous critique of the flagrant moral (as well as intellectual) bankruptcy of las warmistas might be best assessed by virtue of how the general populace receives them, when these “cork-screwing, back-stabbing, and dirty dealing” flim-flam men cease being accorded solemn nods of donkey respect for their “peer-reviewed” concerted duplicities and start running like hell from angry mobs bent upon treatments involving hot tar and poultry offal. [emphasis mine]

    Think of our purpose not as encouraging the immediate infliction of “physical harm” upon these charlatans masquerading as “climate scientists” but rather making so pikestaff plain their fraudulence and malicious intentions that the average citizen perceives them as the perpetrators of actions which are such clear and present dangers to civil order, the common weal, and individual human rights as to warrant the same vigilant regard in which the average citizen holds the convicted serial rapist or tax assessor.

    And how does Judith Curry contend with the bile spouted by this lunatic?

    curryja: Well Tucci78 is regarded as high entertainment by many of the regulars here. Not so much accepting his sentiments, as being entertained by his presentation of them.

    Here’s someone else who has clearly learned nothing from the HI Billboard fiasco – and all this is going on, ironically, in a comment thread discussing it.

  16. #16 bill
    Australia
    May 25, 2012

    Further on that same thread at Judith Curry’s David Wojick – you know; the HI ‘climate science curriculum’ guy, weighs in:

    If you read the green Guardian stories carefully you will see that Heartland actually picked up some new, heavy duty sponsors. Heartland may have just emerged as the counter to Greenpeace, which has a combined global budget of over $100 million a year. I am sure Joe Bast would be happy with that.

    That the lukewarmers are aghast is irrelevant, as they are not Heartland’s constituency. Heartland has always been angry and anger is the political motif of the day. This is ideological warfare.

    The only new ‘heavy duty’ sponsor that’s been reported recently is the Illinois Coal Association – and hence yet another shot aimed squarely at whatever vestiges of foot or limb may remain at HI.

    ‘Ideological warfare’ indeed!

    And, speaking of Greenpeace, they’ve just reported Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and Verizon have withdrawn funding from HI.

    So, at this stage it wyuld appear to be Greenpeace, what?: 15 Heartland 1 (own goal!)

    It’s instructive to examine further rambling from one who would teach schoolchildren:

    Not to worry, Blue. My scied stuff will be wonderously apolitical. My message will be to ignore the debate and let science do its work. Children should not participate in a debate which scientists themselves cannot resolve, right?

    ….

    However, Heartland is at least a Brigadier General. The lowest rank of general for those of you who do not follow warfare.

    Heartland is clearly the leader at this point. Who else is even close among skeptical US think tanks? They have the conferences, the newsletter, theNIPCC reports, the Forbes articles, plus a bunch more. This is why they are under attack, but attack measures success.

    Well, they had the conference… ;-)

    Heartland speaks for the substantial number of skeptics who think CAGW is an ideological movement, at best, or even a hoax. Heartland is their emerging voice. The purpose is to stop the greens. The strategic direction is to channel widespread anger to get political results. (This is ideological warfare.) Joe Bast is in charge. What do you not understand?

    I do not know the Heartlanders personally. But we share the moral conviction that the Greens are a menace to society, not unlike the Unibomber, who acted on the same perverted principles.

    And more post-satiric rambling follows.

  17. #17 Michael
    May 25, 2012

    The libertarian nutters are on the rise at Curry’s.

  18. #18 Betula
    May 25, 2012

    Justice Through Music!
    http://www.jtmp.org/jtmp/index.php?q=node/28

    C’mon Climate scientist, more Justice Through Music!
    http://www.jtmp.org/jtmp/index.php?q=node/33

    Let’s all chant together now….Justice Through Music! Justice Through Music!…..Oh, wait….

    http://tinyurl.com/cytcpbs

    Nevermind.

  19. #19 chek
    May 25, 2012

    Judith Curry outed herself as a lightweight, slipshod intellect in the Real Climate/Kloor debacle over Montford’s novel in 2010.

    The look of polite horror on her face at the Lisbon non-event as the leering, horsefaced Rog Tallquack pressed a cheap Josh t-shirt onto her (you can almost see her thinking ‘do these morons expect me to put this piece of trash on and pour a pitcher of beer over my tits’?) left me thinking her flag nonsense was delusional but possibly well intentioned in 2011.

    But now in 2012, she’s not just off with the crazies, but finding excuses for and pandering to the dangerous, rabble rousing, lunatic lynch mob crazies.

    Expectations for next year aren’t looking good for Dr. Curry.

  20. #20 TrueSceptic
    May 25, 2012

    chek,

    You’re right. At RC she came over as a run-of-the-mill idiot.

    It’s good that the “sceptic” blogs leave so much lunatic drivel uncensored, though, exposed for all to see. That stuff does them more damage than anything the rational side could do.

  21. #21 John
    May 26, 2012

    It’s more likely that she felt marginalised in a sea of scientists who were much smarter and more influential than she was. Now she’s the biggest fish in a small pond and surrounded by lightweights who validate her as long as she gives them what they want to hear, even if she doesn’t herself buy it.

  22. #22 Bernard J.
    May 26, 2012

    Now she’s the biggest fish in a small pond and surrounded by lightweights who validate her as long as she gives them what they want to hear, even if she doesn’t herself buy it.

    Hmmm, there’s a word for that.

  23. #23 ianam
    May 27, 2012

    When I put Judith Curry into Google, it says “people also search for” …

    Richard A. Muller

    Stephen McIntyre

    Anthony Watts

    Andrew Montford

    Roger A. Pielke

  24. #24 ianam
    May 27, 2012

    Curry’s current post is a huge chunk of chum tossed to her rabid denialist crowd, a typical strawman from a “philosopher of science” about “the unscientific belief in science”.

  25. #25 ianam
    May 27, 2012

    In her previous post, she lays the cards on the table:

    Heartland has lost the plot. I would think that the ‘plot’ is really about preserving freedom and libertarian values, as Vaclav Klaus states.

    David Wojick’s comments are remarkable for their lack of discretion.

  26. #26 bill
    May 27, 2012

    Also worth reading is Joseph Bast’s ludicrous email to Curry in response to her post. Here’s a taster -

    (e) Our PR response to Fakegate has been called “brilliant” even by the folks at DesmogBlog. History will record it as another major scandal that helped bring down the man-made global warming movement. But the MSM and environmental groups doubled down on their strategic mistake, understanding that the only way to prevent Fakegate from “becoming another Climategate” is to take down Heartland and its network of scientists and donors. Their tactics compelled us to match their intensity.

    (f) I am not surprised or disappointed that you and other bloggers disapprove of our tactics. It is simply not your role in the controversy to be aggressive or controversial. But it is ours.

    (g) The billboard, which cost $200, generated more than $5 million in earned media so far, and that figure doesn’t include television, radio, and tens of millions of page visits and online commentaries. Was the MSM coverage overwhelmingly negative? Of course. How could it be otherwise? There has been no positive coverage of skeptics since Fakegate broke, none at all, and reporters have made it clear that they will not report the debate fairly, so there is no longer any point in trying to appeal to their ethics or honesty. Thanks to the billboard, 37 million Americans now know that the debate over climate change continues.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Jim Lakely if you have questions or suggestions.

    Joseph Bast

    Wow. That’s, like, brilliant. $5m in earned overwhelmingly hostilemedia exposure.

    ‘Ideological warfare’ indeed.

    And, gee, it’s all going so fantastically swimmingly brilliantly indubitably cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die double-plus-good well; that’s the story, right?

    Um…

    “Please consider supporting the Heartland Institute. These conferences are expensive, and I’m not a good fundraiser so as a result I don’t raise enough money to cover them, we really scramble to make payroll as a result to cover these expenses. If you can afford to make a contribution, please do. If you know someone, if you’ve got a rich uncle or somebody in the family or somebody that you work with, please give them a call and ask them if they would consider making a tax-deductable contribution to the Heartland Institute…

    I hope to see you at a future conference, but at this point we have no plans to do another ICCC.”

    Source: Desmogblog (http://s.tt/1cC5H)

  27. #27 Chris O'Neill
    May 27, 2012

    David Wojick’s comments are remarkable for their lack of discretion

    Yet somehow Heartland thinks this fruitcake would produce material that would be accepted for teaching children.

  28. #28 ligne
    May 28, 2012

    “Our PR response to Fakegate has been called “brilliant” even by the folks at DesmogBlog. History will record it as another major scandal that helped bring down the man-made global warming movement.”

    quick quick quick, Heartland, no time to waste! the faster you persuade people that global warming is a lie, the sooner the planet can stop warming!

    no time to lose, Heartland!

  29. #29 Rog Tallbloke
    UK
    May 29, 2012

    “The Canberra Times was correct to report that there had been death threats at ANU as Media Watch confirmed by talking to Will Steffen!”

    Australian National University former chancellor Ian Chubb has gone on record in the Australian today saying:

    “For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story.”

  30. #30 Lotharsson
    May 29, 2012

    Similar to what I posted on the other thread where you repeated this:

    For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story.

    So…apparently it is correct that there were alleged death threats. Which is entirely consistent with what the OP says.

    Do you have better support for your claim (and you know, an actual cite would be helpful)? Or were you merely disputing the timing, not their existence?

  31. #31 Bernard J.
    May 29, 2012

    RT seems to be a one-track record, and one where he can’t even manage to get the words right.

    If he were a chicken, staggering around and bumping into the walls as he is, he’s be put down.

    And no Roger Smallbrain, that wasn’t a death threat…

  32. #32 rhwombat
    Oz
    May 29, 2012

    Bernard: …more like Palin’s turkey.

  33. #33 SteveC
    May 29, 2012

    Tallbloke is probably getting his “facts” from the Oz:

    Chubb: no death threats in emails

    Tis a pity Australia is too gutless to run something like the Leveson inquiry.

  34. #34 bill
    May 31, 2012

    One more time for the hard of thinking: MediaWatch’s Jonathon Holmes writes -

    The story starts with a front page article by Rosslyn Beeby in The Canberra Times on June 4 last year, headlined “Climate of Fear”. You can view a PDF of the original front page here.

    Its first paragraph (as first pars usually do) stated the general thesis of the article:

    Australia’s leading climate change scientists are being targeted by a vicious, unrelenting email campaign that has resulted in police investigations of death threats.

    The second paragraph began to supply the detail in support of that broad statement:

    The Australian National University has confirmed it moved several high-profile climate scientists, economists and policy researchers into more secure buildings, following explicit threats to their personal safety.

    The Australian keeps claiming that any ordinary mortal reading those two paragraphs would assume that people at ANU had received death threats. Yet the story says no such thing. It says they had received ‘threats to their personal safety’.

    Media Watch pointed out that the Canberra Times’s article had not been ‘debunked’, nor was it ‘in tatters’, because it had never claimed that death threats had been sent to the ANU. However much The Australian tries to obfuscate, that is the simple truth.

    (Nor, incidentally, do the 11 emails released prove that no ANU academics received death threats in those six months. The FOI request covered abusive emails sent to just six scientists, all of them at the Climate Change Institute. There are plenty of other people studying climate change and related issues at ANU. Professor Young still insists that some of them did receive emails that amounted to death threats in the relevant period.)

    Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, who was the ANU’s vice-chancellor at the time, last night admitted he did not have any recollection of reading the emails before relocating the university’s researchers.

    Well, as Media Watch pointed out, of course he hadn’t read ‘the emails’ – if by that, Kerr meant the 11 emails released under FOI. Because they had been written between January and June 2011, and the ANU scientists had been moved in February 2010. In fact Chubb ceased to be vice-chancellor in February 2011.

    The Australian has simply ignored this blunder, preferring instead to cook up non-existent ‘errors’ in Media Watch’s reporting. I know it’s tedious to say so, but this isn’t a matter of ‘he said, she said’. Media Watch has reported accurately. The Australian has not. It’s as simple as that. [emphasis mine]

    Here, yet again, is the text of the original Canberra Times story (since the original link now 404s on their website.)

    Australian climate scientists and climate campaigners are subject to horrible threats and abuse, including death threats, and including in the Deniers’ cherry-picked time period.

    One of the horrible abuses they are subjected to is attempts to nit-and-cherry-pick away the threats and abuse.

    (There are precedents for this in history, you know. None of them are pretty.)

    That The Australian is one of the chief offenders in the latter category says everything you need to know about News Ltd.’s dismal record in this matter.

  35. #35 Bill Koutalianos
    Sydney
    June 11, 2012

    As some here appear to have missed it, see correction and clarification on ‘ANU death threats’ from the ABC themselves:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/corrections/