Leakegate roundup

Coverage of the Leakegate scandal is spreading.

Media Lens has published a media alert about the disinformation about climate science being published by British newspapers. Leake, as the worst offender, gets special mention. They quote James Hansen:

"The media have done a great disservice to the public. This mess should be cleared up in the next year or so, although the damage may linger a while, because some people who paid attention to sensationalism may not bother with accurate explanations of the truth.

The impression left from this affair is that there are some parts of the media that care less about responsible reporting than about selling newspapers or other ware. Some of the problem may be honest ignorance, as the quality of science reporting has declined in recent decades. And of course some media are controlled by people who have a political axe to grind."

Eli Rabett has a summary of Leake's various misrepresentations:

It is definitely time to hold these folk responsible and linking is one way of doing it.

Robert Grumbine concludes:

Leake and The Times are unreliable sources, both for making up things and for not correcting their errors.

Bradford Plumer comments:

Leake doesn't seem like the sort of journalist anyone should be emulating.

More like this

There have been new developments in Leakegate, the scandal swirling about reporter Jonathan Leake, who deliberately concealed facts that contradicted the story he wanted to spin. Deltoid can reveal that Leake was up to the same tricks in his story that claims that the IPCC "wrongly linked global…
The Leakegate scandal keeps getting worse. Jonathan Leake, already in trouble for his habit of deliberately concealing facts that contradicted the story he wanted to spin is back with a story that reads like it was ghost written by Mark Morano. Leake wants to spin a tale that the world isn't really…
Jonathan Leake recently wrote a story alleging that the statement in the IPCC AR4 WG2 that up to 40% of the Amazon forest could vanish due to climate change was "bogus". Deltoid can now reveal that Leake deliberately concealed the fact that Dan Nepstad, the author of the 1999 Nature paper cited as…
Two contradictory stories describing the same adjudication: The Sunday Times Ed Miliband's adverts banned for overstating climate change vs The Guardian Climate change adverts draw mild rebuke from advertising watchdog One way to determine which story is more accurate is to do what anarchist does…

Thanks Tim for taking on at least one of these guys in such detail.

Science is under assault now from so many directions that the time to hold journalists (and their bosses who often set the agenda for the journo) to account. Scientists are pretty much hamstrung by the asymmetric nature of their positions as professionals cf journalists and shills who are largely free from blowback.

I have no qualms with reporters who present theories that are possible but not considered mainstream, so long as they are clear and neutral and honest in their reporting. It's the dishonest partisan idealogues who are putting the wrecking ball through people's trust in the scientific process, such as it is. There must be some way of chasing off these charlatans which is fair and transparent. Seems that your efforts so far are the closest to it. Eli also deserves a good mention too for efforts of like nature.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 22 Feb 2010 #permalink

Is there a link to or transcript of the Lambert/Monckton debate? I'm not interested in commentary - I want to actually see it for myself.

By Dirty Harry (not verified) on 22 Feb 2010 #permalink

I have a suspicion that public opinion on the matter won't lean back until we start to see a distinct set of obvious consequences of AGW: people took notice in the late 90s and early 00's when temperatures were noticeably higher than before; now we've had 10 years of those temperatures and people think that's normal now.

Meantime, keep fighting the good fight Tim.

By rossn2282 (not verified) on 22 Feb 2010 #permalink

I have a suspicion that public opinion on the matter won't lean back until we start to see a distinct set of obvious consequences of AGW.

Doesn't that sound familiar...of course, you're really saying that we should fabricate some disasters in order to trick people into accepting our secret UN communist Hitler Youth plot.

The impression left from this affair is that there are some parts of the media that care less about responsible reporting than about selling newspapers or other ware.

Oh my. Oh my. Well, that revelation changes everything.

Seriously, thank you for the good work, Tim.

I think the "dent" in public acceptance of AGW is only temporary.

One reason is that it is the denialists who are bucking the trend of history and science ... a formidable duo to obstruct. A lot of reasonably good (if less than perfect) stuff like "An Inconvient Truth" has been out there, and public opinion is quite conservative.

The fightback by the forces of science and reason has been gaining momentum ... even the Washington Post has leaned towards the science. Obama and Chu have both given a speech and an interview supporting cap-and-trade.

Signs are that the sceptics have overreached themselves ... the states of Texas and Virginia have filed court cases against the US EPA based on the Climategate hacks. Unfotunately, the climate scientists in both states have disassociated themselves from the filings, so it looks like the AGs of those states will be left with the usual cranks to offer in support of their cases. Meanwhile, the EPA can line up the science. There may be a delay but this is looking better for climate science.

Texas and Virginia - how surprising! ;)

Tim,

I covered a couple of aspects Leake's "reporting" on supposed lack of warming here:

http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/16/morano-sends-lies-from-uk-times-and-d…

First, Leake stated:

The United Nations climate panel faces a new challenge with scientists casting doubt on its claim that global temperatures are rising inexorably because of human pollution.

But of the researchers cited, only John Christy can arguably be considered a scientist. (The others included Ross McKitrick, Joe d'Aleo, Anthony Watts and Terry Mills - the usual motley crew of economists and TV weathermen).

As well, Leake glossed over McKitrick's long-standing ties with oil company fueled PR firms and think tanks, claiming that McKitrick's experience in the "last" IPCC review (i.e. AR4) recently turned him into a climate science critic. For Leake's benefit, I summarize McKitrick's history, culminating with his latest whoppers in the National Post. (Also I note Gavin Schmidt's refutation of McKitrick's "economic contamination" blather).

And yet, still better than Keith Kloor or Tom Fuller.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 23 Feb 2010 #permalink

David Adams in the Guardian has written an article http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/feb/23/climate-sce… which says pretty much what we've all been saying for months - Climategate is largely the media screwing up.
Its worth noting that its a science journalist whose written this piece, while it was the generalists who wrote the crap stuff. As for Leake, 'journalist' is probably the wrong word, although I'm sure we could all think of some words to describe him....

Looks like Herr Fuhrer Hansen is once again doing his best to demonstrate that he is being "muzzled". By the way, what's the optimal temperature of the planet anyway?

>*Looks like Herr Fuhrer Hansen is once again doing his best to demonstrate that he is being "muzzled"...*

Is that you Christopher Monckton?

>*what's the optimal temperature of the planet anyway?*

Optimal for what? Dengue fever, Large repitles, Biodiversity maintenance for the next million plus years? Human infrastructure? Human civilisation? Can you clarify your question?