Arthur Smith on Kloor's pattern of deception

Arthur Smith details a pattern of deception in Keith Kloor's writing. Kloor's response in comments completes the case -- he takes offence at the very first sentence and uses that as pretext for avoiding the criticism.

Update: Kloor responds again, projecting:

I sense their intent is to harm my reputation

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So Deltoid has said that Arthur Smith has said that Keith Kloor has said some deceptive things.

The first one of these things I looked into was that Keither Kloor said Joe Romm was hysterical when he said that Any Revkin said something that Joe didn't approve of. At that point I gave up....

By Michael Hauber (not verified) on 19 Aug 2010 #permalink

One thing Kloor's been deceptive about is my critique of Collide-a-Scape.

It's not personal. I'm not advocating anyone hate him, or even think about him. I regard him as being in a pack that includes Pielke, Jr., and the Breatkthrough Institute - fake brokers.

I think Collide-a-Scape as opposed to, say, Audubon, is simply an area TO BE AVOIDED for reasons of unimportance and unfairness. And that's all. The point is not that it's bad, it's that positively good venues - say major newspapers or science journals - should probably get people's precious time.

I also give my opinion that people - always - should avoid without equating it with Collide-a-scape. I also express an opposite opinion on things like Dot Earth - more audience, and a more flexible, and frankly, well-meaning person running it.

The reason I kept bringing up my low opinion of Kloor's journalistic judgment was solely that I thought his vendetta against Joe Romm was pretentious. He attacked a somewhat dubious tactic by Romm with a completely dubious "journalistic" "principle" that was indicative of why magazine freelance feature writers cannot lecture real news-gatherers. He was attempting to pull rank he simply doesn't have.

The moral people need to take away from this is - avoid the Prometheus or Collide-a-Scape type venues. The personalities don't matter, but the false balance and general atmosphere of unreality do.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 19 Aug 2010 #permalink

That's kind of the problem, Michael. Keith is mistaking activity for productivity.

Damn near ALL his work boils down to a "he said/she said" and his aggressive abuse of quoting others words to put them in the owners' mouths only exacerbates the problem as you've shown in your parody.

The upshot is that Keith is making people work hard just to fluff up his work and, as seems so common now in journalism, manufacturing controversy.

Not even unhelpful, this sort of crank journalism is damaging to both the subject at hand AND journalism as a whole. I.e. any asshole on the internet can get people riled up. When this is all a journalist does, then why have a journalist at all? Assholes are ten-a-penny on the internet.

I'm glad this is being covered. Kloor, like RPJ and Curry, have certain narratives, and they seek to fit the facts around those narratives (ironically, RPJ refers to Curry as a "straight shooter", when we've seen evidence to the contrary - empty and almost trollish posts over at RC). This means highlighting partial quotes and assigning their own special meaning to them.

And if someone responds to that response, Keith, will you quote them accurately or complain about them?

i am with Marion Delgado on this one. i consider collide-a-scape to be among the worst "climate" blogs on the web, possibly even the worst one.

i had to think a little, about why i feel like that. the best analogy i can come up, is restaurants. we all know the extremely cheap kebab stall on the corner, that might leave you with food poisoning. we know places that serve very good food for a good price. and we have at least heard of the high end food in high end places. we also know of places that are supposed to serve very good food, that we will never eat. (raw fish jumps to mind).

what we will call the best and worse restaurant in town, will depend on taste, price/quality ratio and for some people on size of portions.

to cut things short, collide-a-scape is a high end restaurant, selling garbage food. Keith pretends to do real journalism from a neutral position. and who attempts to tackle important subjects: "Bridging the Climate Divide".

he does nothing of that sort. he does not correct the errors of people like Judith Curry. neither does he ask her any tough questions.

and people who dare to do that are not welcome on his blog.

> I sense their intent is to harm my reputation

Very interesting. I'm seeing a pattern - where a prolific online writer writes over-the-top un-credible things, e.g. grossly mischaracterizing online interactions, in such a way that you can make their unreliability obvious by just giving a couple of links.
...which would help newcomer readers to determine whose writing was worth taking seriously.
...and which also fits the (U.S.; IANAL) textbook definition of defamation, for a private person.

It's almost as if they're trying to make this happen, to immunize themselves against consequences for the real defamation they inflict on others.


I like your analogy, especially as my local was razed and replaced by a fancy-shmancy restaurant/bar/reception centre with a reputation for high-end exclusivity. Unfortunately the food there is consistently crap, even though it is served with an overabundance of garnishment and on oversized plates. The only reason that most people don't recognise that the emperor is starkers is probably because the views are astonishing, and the new building is a bit shmick.

The food sucks though, and the locals never go there anymore even though we all loved the setting... which says it all, really.

Kloor's work is exactly the same, as Marion pointed out. So many people have raved about him, but I really can't fathom what the fuss has ever been about. There are countless amateur bloggers who make a far better fist of journalism than Kloor, who is supposed to be a professional.

I gave up poisoning myself at his plate, even infrequently, long ago.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Compared to Pielke, Jr., Dr. Curry IS a straight shooter. It's all relative.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 20 Aug 2010 #permalink

Compared to Pielke, Jr., Dr. Curry IS a straight shooter. It's all relative.

Damnation by faint ... damnation.

Actually, I'm not sure I agree. Pielke's a polisci guy who's inserted himself into the debate, as an "honest [libertarian] broker".

Curry's an insider, hurling veiled (and not so veiled) accusations of science fraud against those in her own field.

So one could imagine that Pielke JR's honest, but out of his depth (I don't hold this belief).

On the other hand, there's absolutely no excuse for Judith's behavior, and she's been getting just what she deserves at WUWT for (in some sense) backtracking by publishing an actual scientific paper which is clashing to some degree (at least in the denialsphere) with her non-technical blog persona.

Compared to Pielke, Jr., Dr. Curry IS a straight shooter. It's all relative.

if Curry is a straight shooter, the problem is with the direction of her shots!

[(via WuWt)](…)

Yes, you've certainly been raked over pretty good by certain sites like Real Climate and Climate Progress. Oh yes. Those guys are directly involved in Climategate so that's not a huge surprise. (note: Joe Romm, of Climate Progress, was not directly involved in Climategate as his private e-mails were not published. Gavin Schmidt, of RealClimate, points out that he was the victim of a crime and not guilty of anything.)

why does Curry say such things? this is not only simply wrong, but also plain out stupid...

Seeing the unconcerned, offhand way Dr. Curry back-stabbed Phil Jones was unprecedented in my experience - I'd never observed anything like it from a serious scientist. That said, what about the sneaky, plausibly deniable, backpedal-able, gotcha nature of Pielke, Jr.'s attacks?

My guess was that, like Lubos Motl, Curry must be overwhelmed by some rabid partisanship that caused her to try to lift the reputation of (of all things) WUWT and CA. (And, I suppose, C-a-S, though I don't wish to equate them). In the end, they are sinking her.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 21 Aug 2010 #permalink

read the latest article by Keith, and see him fail even lowest journalistic standards:…

analysis does not get more shallow than this:

Adams clearly went to great lengths to build his green house, but he has no illusions about the tradeoffs involved, the psychological appeal of being an âearly adopter,â and the aesthetics of hippies.

why not add some original thought, and point out errors in the original piece, like this one:

We have a photovoltaic system for generating electricity. That's the most visible sign of a green home, and probably the dumbest. I expect the system to pay for itself in nominal dollars, perhaps in 15 years. But if I compare it with the most obvious alternative, it makes no economic sense. The smart alternative would have been to wait until the costs for systems like this drop by 50%, which will probably happen in a few years.

hint: if nobody buys photovoltaic systems NOW, the price will NOT drop!

even Keith Kloor should have understood that!

> The smart alternative would have been to wait

Actually the smart alternative when building new is to install solar thermal collectors to preheat hot water; more mature technology, faster payback.

For solar photovoltaic your local answer varies. California:

"... the utility company will not buy back more electricity than you use in a year.... On January 1, 2011 this is going to change for California solar electricity. However, the rate that the utility company will pay has not been determined .... likely to be below even Tier 1 and 2 rates ...."


To be fair, Scott Adams does point that out himself at the end of the article.

> Kidding aside, I do love the Earth, damn it. And if my only contribution to its well-being is joining the early adopters (OK, idiots) so that those who follow have better information and lower costs for green building, I'm OK with that.

The Scott Adams essay is humor. You know, how the some of the best comedians are the ones who actually make fun of themselves with clever anecdotes? Come on! Remember the Deltoid is a muscle attached to a large bone called the Humerus.
Can't Liberal Greenies loosen up and have a laugh?…
There's the link if you have taken a formal vow to avoid c-a-s. It's just a drop in the bucket for the WSJ website.
It's the weekend, so try to have some fun!
(Sorry that I haven't learned who to do HTML. It's going on my to-do list.)

To be fair, Scott Adams does point that out himself at the end of the article.

i had read the final line, but i missed a more important paragraph in the middle, which is even more relevant:

Conclusion: Photovoltaic systems are a waste of money. But I'd do it again in a heartbeat, because I love the Earth, damn it. In my defense, the price of your future photovoltaic system will never come down unless idiots like me pay too much today. You're welcome.

either i was scrolling fast, or i stopped reading the paragraph after the waste of money claim. sigh.

There's the link if you have taken a formal vow to avoid c-a-s. It's just a drop in the bucket for the WSJ website. It's the weekend, so try to have some fun! (Sorry that I haven't learned who to do HTML. It's going on my to-do list.)

i do understand the humor part of the original article. i don t think that Keith Kloor was writing a post, that is inline with the original article.

the parts he quoted and the comment he made about it seem to proclaim: finally an environmentalist admits the uselessness ("tradeoffs") of the affair and that it is mostly about ego ("psychological appeal").

i still think, that Keith is giving the article a false spin.

a real analysis could point out, that low energy houses are produced in series in Europe.
you will face some similar problems, if you want a special solution, but in general it will be much eassier there...

i still think, that Keith is giving the article a false spin.

As though this would be a first for Keith Kloor, or anything like that ...

Oh, preview turns &-g-t-; into > which means when you then post, your encoded brackets disappear!

There was a "</snark>" there, Sod ...

The real problem I see is not the individuals or actual sites/institutions involved. It's the common-sense issue that just because, e.g., someone declares themselves a broker or referee does not make them one.

Pielke, Jr., being a libertarian DISQUALIFIES him from being a broker on AGW - on either the science or the means to respond to the science. Just as a Bible literalist is DISQUALIFIED from being a broker on evolution.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 22 Aug 2010 #permalink

>Pielke, Jr., being a libertarian DISQUALIFIES him from being a broker on AGW - on either the science or the means to respond to the science.

Surely not on the first point, Marion? A libertarian may say "Sure the science on AGW is right, but I trust the free market to sort it out eventually. Just don't infringe on my right to pollute now."

They may understand the science perfectly. But they're still an idiot, so you're right on the second point: "...the means to respond to the science".

"Surely not on the first point, Marion? A libertarian may say "Sure the science on AGW is right, but I trust the free market to sort it out eventually. Just don't infringe on my right to pollute now.""

No, a staunch libertarian would say "Government CANNOT GET INVOLVED". Since they've restricted the options a priori, they are not a broker.

A broker CANNOT have a pony in the outcome.

Wow said precisely what I would have.

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

The meme of the "honest broker" is simply a political tool used to try marginalize scientists.

"A broker can tell you there has to be a pony in there somewhere."

that isn't why you get a broker.

"His job is just delivering everything he can find; it's left for you to dig through it."

then why did you get a broker in the first place, if all they're going to do is add another mind with preconceived ideas and a bias you cannot know?

The broker should have nothing to gain in any outcome. Libertarians do: they DO NOT WANT government ANYWHERE. Since that is the only certain way to control the degradation of the commons, that HAS to be an acceptable possible result. Except it is one the extreme libertarian WILL NOT CONDONE.

Which means the will not deliver everything they find. They'll pre-remove options.

Wow, I'm not arguing that brokers will have their own biases, just pointing out that by the definition used by PielkeJr and others discussing the subject for decades, the 'honest broker' in politics is nothing like the real estate or loan broker a consumer relies on to pick out the best options. In politics, it's a "bring in everything" job and that too can be misused.

The news story I mentioned says in part:

"Rather than slim down the negotiating text to allow politicians to make choices at Cancun, the US, China and many developing countries all added pages to draft texts in a series of tit-for-tat moves that critics said had sent the talks backwards after a week of meetings...."

"In politics, it's a "bring in everything" job and that too can be misused."

Then that isn't what RPJr is about either. RPJr is not a "bring in everything" person. He will refuse to bring in any option that will mean government has to get involved in corporation business.

This is all I'm saying.

RPJr is not a "bring in everything" guy. Therefore he IS NOT AN HONEST BROKER.

EVEN by political standards.

Scott Adams is a market fundamentalist. Open and overt. He's written tons of non-fiction, non-comic, non-satirical prose. His opinions aren't a matter of speculation.

Among other things, he believes that all people should depend on themselves AND, FOR INSTANCE, *AFFIRMATIONS*, rather than "gummint." He firmly believes affirmations were the Secret to his success, and that people make their own luck.

He's written extensively as kind of a low-IQ Freakonomics author.

For instance, he said 3 strikes laws must reduce crime because to believe otherwise is to think that if you put career criminals in prison for life, that more criminals will rise up to take their place - which he says is impossible.

He's also written that not buying "foreign oil" or even cutting back the AMOUNT of oil you purchase will have no effect (in the specific case, on terrorist funding) because "oil is fungible." Whatever oil you don't buy will be bought anyway and it's all mixed together at the gas pump. In other words, crime is not part of market economics but the sale of non-renewable resources is.

Part of his crime thing may be, as he's implied sometimes, a belief that some markets are less marketier than others. In other words, if you break up Microsoft you depress the entire tech industry, because "the market" won't replace it with anything, including the "Baby Microsofts" that would arise. On the other hand, a completely government-tied market like the world oil industry, complete with cartels, frequent state control, a massive subsidy via military spending from the American taxpayer, etc. functions like an ideal market out of something from Ludwig von Mises circa 1940.

I actually think Dilbert became formulaic pretty quickly, the initial run was successful not because of affirmations but because Adams had a free-ranging imagination and sense of humor. Once he was successful, his thinking rigidified quite a bit. I think the Norman Solomon and Dan "Tom Tomorrow" Perkins critiques of Dilbert were beside the point, essentially chiding Adams for not being more pro-worker. The real problem was the same problem most comic strips have - their profitable lifespan, with rare exceptions like Calvin and Hobbes, exceeds their creative lifespan by an order of magnitude.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 06 Sep 2010 #permalink

BTW now that Curry is a full-fledged Pielke clone but with added credibility, I will just say I was wrong. She's not a straight shooter, even compared to Pielke, Jr. and dhogaza and sod were correct. I stand dumbfounded.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 16 Nov 2010 #permalink

> He firmly believes affirmations were the Secret to his success, and that people make their own luck.

However, there's no need to make your luck if you have pots of money. And if you have pots of money, you don't want government spending it because you're one person paying more than poor people for it.

That you get more out of it is, of course, the moose in the room.

And you still need the luck to pan out.

It's a little odd because there's a bit in, I believe, The Dilbert Future when he talks about how people get their jobs and, making light of it, it boils down to someone who gets hit by a car and thrown through a plate glass window and lands in front of a recording agent and becomes a rock star.

But I don't think "making your own luck" involves "jumping in front of speeding vehicles near resturaunts where recording agents have dinner".

It's probably more accurate to say that you can throw your luck away, rather than you can make your own luck.