Leakegate: Introducing the Jonathan Leake game

Here's a game you can play at home. All you need is a search engine. Take a Jonathan Leake science story with a dramatic headline. For example, Facebook fans do worse in exams. Then do a search on the headline. You win if you can find complaints by scientists that their research was misrepresented by Leake. Like this.

However, researchers Aryn Karpinski, a doctoral student in education at Ohio State, and Adam Duberstein, an academic adviser at Ohio Dominican University, didn't examine the influence of Facebook on grades. Facebook may be a symptom of a big procrastination habit, not a cause. ...

The researchers say they, too, were troubled by some of the coverage. Ms. Karpinski and Earle Holland, Ohio State's assistant vice president for research communications, criticized a report from the Sunday Times of London (also owned by News Corp.) that attributed to the study the finding that "the website is damaging students' academic performance," which "will confirm the worst fears of parents and teachers."

In fact, the Ohio State study cautioned, "It cannot be stated if Facebook use causes a student to study less hours per week or have a lower GPA."

Try the game, it's fun!

More like this

I haven't got time to play right now, but surely a game in which you win every time is going to get old soon...?

Given I couldn't be bothered reading any of his articles, I just put 'misrepresent science sunday times' into Google and found this gem. Seems that over the years, he's been playing for both sides...


>The data which was altered was not that of the so-called skeptics, this was the data collected and published by those who believe in global warming. By so crudely altering this data not only does the Sunday Times do a disservice to itself, it also calls into question the motives of ICCUK and CRU who have remained noticeablly silent over this obvious misrepresentation of their data by their media acolytes in the Sunday Times.

Here's one Ben Goldacre wrote about last year:

[Oceans charge up new theory of magnetism](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6493481.ece)

Leake's article originally said that the Earth's magnetic field might be "produced by" ocean currents, and was silently corrected to read "linked to" ocean currents.

Goldacre's article is here: http://www.badscience.net/2009/06/behind-the-curtains/

In a [follow-up](http://www.badscience.net/2009/09/correction/), Goldacre adds that "Reporter Jonathan Leake told me that Prof Ryskin had approved his copy. In fact this was untrue: I have the emails between Leake and Ryskin. Ryskin was sent a version of the article which said that changes in the earthâs magnetic field were related to the movement of the oceans â which Ryskin did not object to â but of course the paper printed the incorrect claim, that the earthâs magnetic field was caused by the movement of the oceans. So Ryskin did not approve the Sunday Timesâ error."

I can sympathize with Leake, inasmuch as we all make mistakes... but still, you gotta own up.

Dagnabit! [shakes fist at Bruce @ #3]

Try again.

Bingo! Maybe. Sort of. See what you think:

[At the heart of the story was a young physicist named Alex Wissner-Gross, who, according to the article, says âthat performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of teaâ. This sentence alone was enough to rile up reporters around the globe, and has now been repeated in hundreds of articles worldwide. Unfortunately, according to Wissner-Gross he never said anything of the sort ... Leake has confirmed that the wording was changed during editing, but insists that Wissner-Gross claimed the statistic as one of his own findings during a phone conversation.](http://techcrunch.com/2009/01/12/revealed-the-times-made-up-that-stuff-…)

I fear the day Leake spends time following fire trucks around town. He may come to the conclusion that, as more trucks approach a location, they cause the fire to get larger.

I spent some time yesterday digging out many of the Leake links that mostly relate to climate matters from the New Statesman and Times going back to around 2002.

I've read some of them, briefly, and they all looked suspect in one way or another. I was hoping that some of you might be able to pick a few and confirm that they are mostly BS and twist the facts.

Sorry about the raw list of URLS - I don't have the time to try and fix that with titles at the moment but I am sure you will find something interesting no matter which ones you look at.

Thanks in advance. Hope it helps the game as well!

Jonathan Leake Articles





























































[Interesting to see [GP comments about this comment at Richard Noth's blog](http://umbrellog.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1008161&start=870#p97827):

>Unless you have a strong stomach I would not recommend visiting 'deltoid' so I won't supply a link. ...

>I prepped a list of most of the AGW related articles from Mr. Leake (most means I likely missed a few ...) from the start of the on-line archive in 2002. I offeed the list to Mr. Lambert in a post but it seemed not to pass moderation. I'm not surprised - my post was more or less just a list of articles and he likes them to be more structured - but there were a lot of them and I really did not have the time to add titles and neat links.

>It's a pity, I thought, because the list could have kept his Leake-gate game going for hours.

>Oh well. His rating loss, not mine.


(One) For you who have been exagerating the effects of climate change to now launch this campaign against a journo who may or may not have played loose with the facts is disingenous.

Secondly, At a time when flaws within the IPCC, revelations of fraud within the scientific community and the all but confirmed fact global warming had stopped over a decade ago you find nothing to post but Leake gets his facts wrong.

Its like you are in denial or something.

I seem to remember someone taking me to task a while back for saying this blog was too interested in newspaper articles rather than what was happening in the real world re climate change. Since then nothing but newspaper articles - no matter.

However, I will mention a little anecdote. Years ago I wrote to a respected journalist at the Guardian complaining that an article of his in the Comment section about the deployment of US nuclear weapons in Europe actually ended up saying the complete opposite of what he started out writing.

He wrote a letter back, saying I was absolutely right but changes had been made to the article by sub-editors whom he said were 'the bane of his life'.

A couple of posts above seem to indicate that Leake's copy was later edited so it is perhaps possible that the mistakes were introduced at that stage.

By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 18 Feb 2010 #permalink

This posting already appears *twice* on the first page of Google search results for "Jonathan Leake" (one instance is for Google News). As a public service to scientists of every field could those of you with blogs please post a pointer to this page to boost it's page rank? And Tim seeing as this one is now your top-ranked Leake story, consider linking back out to all of your others?

By Powelliphanta (not verified) on 18 Feb 2010 #permalink

Powelliphanta, plus linking Leake stories to this page will also raise it's ranking. I think its all the Leake stories linked by poster that have raised it so quickly.

.. At a time when flaws within the IPCC, revelations of fraud within the scientific community and the all but confirmed fact global warming had stopped over a decade ago...

[citation needed]

@Ray, @Dave Andrews

This blog has a focus on exposing the media's bullshit. Other blogs focus on other topics. So what? Get over it?

It's a common denialist trick to pretend that the article they are currently commenting on is the only article ever published, which allows them to come up with absolute rubbish non-statements like "you find nothing to post but Leake gets his facts wrong" or "Since then nothing but newspaper articles".

Unfortunately there is only one Tim Lambert and he can only tackle one lie at a time. There is simply no way that one article, or even one man, could take down every single one of the thousands upon thousands of denialist lies.


"Secondly, At a time when flaws within the IPCC, revelations of fraud within the scientific community and the all but confirmed fact global warming had stopped over a decade ago you find nothing to post but Leake gets his facts wrong."

Wow. That's kind of like saying, "At a time when Saddam Hussein is about to destroy America with his massive stockpiles of WMD and Al Qaeda operatives, you find nothing to post but that the Bush Administration has its facts wrong."

The things you believe are untrue. To whit:

1) The IPCC report had one minor flaw that wasn't even in the synthesis report; other accusations of error have turned out to be bogus. 2) Allegations of fraud within the scientific community are completely unfounded. 3) Global warming did not stop 10 years ago; temps have gone up 0.15 degrees over the last decade, as seen by looking at the temperature record.

You have come to believe these untrue things because people like Jonathan Leake have misled you. He is responsible for, among other things, much of the misinformation about the supposed errors in the IPCC report. That is why Leake's factual errors and misrepresentations of scientists are relevant here.

If Dave Andrews is complaining about the focus on news articles, then perhaps the strategy is starting to cut through.

I guess Dave knows that most people don't get their information from journal papers.

I've been coming here for years and I have yet to see a post on Deltoids. Is this not a blog about Deltoids? I'd even accept a post on the muscle or the character from A Clockwork Orange, yes? But I can't be bothered to read things that are not Deltoid-related and I choose to not think about them and, in this way, they never happened.

Awww,Dave A. @10,ya breakin' my heart. 'Poor wittle Jonathon Leake must be suffering at the hands of sub-editors'...except at the Times he is billed as a Science/Environment Editor.

Dave A has long been on my [kill] file for talking rot and being trollish, but that doesn't necessarily mean everything he says is rot (not that I'd necessarily know these last 12 months).

It doesn't matter that Leake is billed as a Science/Environment Editor (it's a glorified job title), a sub- or copy-editor will almost certainly have read and corrected or modified his piece prior to publication. That sub will have tried to ensure that Leake stayed just the right side of acceptable (as far as legal niceties and paper policy allow) and space allow. Almost everything will be seen by at least two people before it makes it into print.

But of course, the buck starts with Leake.

Leake is a crook and the sooner he gets runover by a bus the better....

By manbearpig (not verified) on 17 Mar 2010 #permalink