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« Global warming, my foot | Main | Climate cuttings 42 »

Revkin responds

Andy Revkin has responded to the charge that the New York Times is operating a double standard, publishing the Wikileaks documents to fanfares, while refusing to do the same when the Climategate emails appeared.

His response is by way of an update to a post he made a few days after Climategate.

I'll note two things about my coverage of the unauthorized distribution of the climate files:

First, while I initially did not publish the contents of the climate files and e-mails (at the request of Times lawyers, considering the uncertain provenance and authenticity of the materials at the time), I did (from the start) provide links to the caches of material set up elsewhere on the Web.

Secon, in the rush on the day the files were distributed across the Web, I called them "private" when, in fact, I should have said their senders had presumed they were private. As I've said off and on since then, given that much of the research discussed in the exchanges was done using taxpayers' money, any expectation of privacy wasn't justified.]

It's interesting to go back to the original posting, where Revkin calls the Climategate emails at various times "purloined", "acquired illegally" and "hacked", so I find the protestations of innocence revolving around the word "private" somewhat unconvincing.

I'm not sure about claims of concerns over the authenticity of the emails are valid either, given that the University of East Anglia had confirmed that their systems had been compromised on 20th November 2009. It seems to me that the Wikileaks and Climategate scenarios are identical in terms of the evidence of authenticity of the leaked material.

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Reader Comments (34)

So let me see if Ive got this right. The reason they didnt publish anything about the climategate emails is because of they couldnt be sure the files were "stolen". Ok fair enough then.

BUT then consider this. There is absolutely NO doubt that these latest files WERE stolen from the US Government but in this instance they have absolutely no issues with posting at length on those stolen emails.

Really, the only difference here is one of preference.

NYT is a fan of Mann Made Global Warming while they hated the Bush administration with a passion and appear to continue to hate the American Government with the same passion.


Nov 29, 2010 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

If you can not blame it on the good times, or the boogie, blame it on the lawyers.

Nov 29, 2010 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

The New York Times was not the only news organisation that sat on this issue in the hope that it would go away, other papers had the info but said nothing until it became clear it was going to become wide scale public knowledge. The notion of the internet creating ‘citizen reporters’ sometime rightly gets some stick , but in this case it hard to image how this story would ever have be broken in the way it was without them. And partly that is sadly down to the failure of the checks and balance which should been in place.

It’s clear that any reason given to claim that the CRU e-mails should not be covered in public doubly applies in the case of the Wikileaks document.

The reality is the difference was in the political message each leak was thought to serve, in the first case it was a message the New York Times did not support in the second case its one that it did. It a useful reminder that despite of what some may claim it’s not only the Murdoch press whose news coverage is coloured by the political outlook for those charge , regardless of what is really in the public interest.

Nov 29, 2010 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

O/T I know but "Pugh", in the Daily Mail. I am sure its the first time I have seen a cartoon in the MSN about AGW!

Nov 29, 2010 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Distilled observation from a so-far relatively long lifetime:

Most people don't mind being hypocritical, they just mind it being pointed out

Nov 30, 2010 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Pete H,

There was this cartoon in the Independent a few days back. The link will change as the days go by and it ages.

Nov 30, 2010 at 12:58 AM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

OT. Mike Hulme has a short but interesting guest post at Die Klimazwiebel. It sounds like he is getting closer to Dr Pielke Jr's position.

Nov 30, 2010 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Andy needs to give it a rest. The NY Times is a propaganda rag. Period. We know it. He knows it. The world knows it. The climategate e-mails didn't get covered properly because they hurt the cause. If Andy wants credibility, he should just acknowledge reality.

Nov 30, 2010 at 3:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterstan

I agree with Stan.

Real disingenuous response from Andy Revkin. He's been caught in a clear act of hypocrisy and double standards. He made the wrong call, and he probably made it for indefensible reasons, ie he didn't want the CRU and cagw to take a huge credibilty hit, because he's essentially symapthetic to the warmist cause. Failure of investigative duty - unfortunately very simple.

It's all very well 12 months later to talk about the advice of lawyers, "I linked to the files" yada, yada, but the Wikileaks splash reveals what could and should have happened at the NYT re Climategate. We rely on our better journalists to tell the truth, and inform us of the difficult realities no matter what. Andrew Revkin was just one more brick in the wall of mainstream media obfuscation of this whole issue. As a consequence, it's still very difficult for sceptic views to get mainstream media traction. Regardless of his motives, Andy Revkin needs to be called out for helping to prolong this scandalous state of affairs.

Nov 30, 2010 at 3:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnyColourYouLike

Revkin is paid to support carbon trading for the NYT's corporate clients.

The NYT wouldn't print a single word of the Wikileaks documents without the permission of the United States government. Anyone who thinks they would is living in a strange, newly created conspiracy matrix, which includes global warming and peak oil.

Nov 30, 2010 at 5:12 AM | Unregistered Commentere smith

I apologize in advance for this OT question but hope that some of your UK readers will be able to offer some commentary. My daughter's univ. has just appointed Anthony P. Monaco as its new president. He will be leaving his post as pro-vice-chancellor for planning and resources at the University of Oxford and is a scholar of human genetics. I found some vague mentions re his stance on CAGW but nothing remotely definitive.

Nov 30, 2010 at 5:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRayG


From cablegate:

Climate Change: 
- - - - - - - - 
8.(SBU) A/S Feltman noted the importance that the President 
places on Climate Change, and the Copenhagen Accord.  Given 
that Minister of Petroleum Al-Naimi was involved in crafting 
the final agreement, A/S Feltman noted the United States is 
counting on Saudi Arabia to associate itself with the accord 
by January 31.  Prince Torki said that Saudi Arabia was very 
pleased the United States was more actively engaged in this 
issue, and said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports 
trying to address this issue.  He noted that the MFA will 
have to consult with other involved ministries, such as the 
Ministry of Petroleum, and promised to respond before January 

Nov 30, 2010 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJason F

I also agree with Stan that Revkin has been hypocritical and is now rather unsuccessfully trying to spin his way out of this. All the mainstream papers and TV/radio sat on the climategate emails and code for weeks, (and would have in perpetuity were it not for the blogosphere and internet - I suspect they were getting inundated with emails from people asking they were not covering the story). Despite good video, scientific and eye-witness evidence, there are many other very big stories the MSM have completely ignored and even been complicit in covering up, e.g. . This demonstrates what we are up against - investigative journalism has been killed off (it is expensive and creates 'problems' for management), and even if the MSM is not directly controlled by government (or agencies of), and by corporate interests, it is certainly heavily influenced by them. As a result, it is inherently conservative with a small 'c'.

Despite this, (and despite the importance blogosphere) the reality is that the politicians will not consider U-turns on CAGW until the MSM start to expose it, there are simply too many people (or too many simple people?) who only get their news from TV, and science from the Guardian. Unless there's a significant top-down policy change, and Revkin, Harrabin etc. are all replaced by impartial and scientifically literate individuals (unlikely) they are all we have and we are stuck with them, for the time being at least. The reality is that we need them to examine the evidence for long term oceanic and solar-magnetic cycles, grow some balls, and start to expose the CO2 hypothesis for what it is - junk science, founded on dodgy data, models and statistics.

So while it is very tempting to lampoon/diss Revkin, Harrabin, Monbiot etc, I suggest political expediency, and cajole rather than attack, as they will still have a role to play in exposing the scam and disseminating the demise of CAGW to the wider Eastenders watching population. (Mother nature is proving to be a good catalyst also - minus 8C outside). Right, better get the kids' breakfast, (they are off school again due to more snow).

Nov 30, 2010 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Revkin ought to update his readers why he is not a hypoctrite with a fresh post on, not with a few paragraphs added to the year-old original post where he suddenly "notes" something amiss.

Until then he ought to be called for what he is: a hypocrite!

Nov 30, 2010 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Agree with sHx - the term "double standards" feels like a politicians' coinage to make hypocrisy sound less bad. We should call them hypocrites.

Of course in many areas of the internet the preferred term is "hippocracy", which if it means anything at must mean "rule by horses".

Nov 30, 2010 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

"rule by horses"

I'd settle for rule by Houyhnhnms - a lot better than the Yahoos we have at present!


Nov 30, 2010 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I don't think that Revkin actually made the decision not to discuss the Climategate e-mails that's clearly, to me at least, an editorial decision. He supported his bosses and now they've decided to print cables that have actually been stolen he's at least decent enough to try to be embarrassed.

That he found nothing untoward in the Climategate e-mails does defy belief there's clear evidence of all sorts of shenanigans in those e-mails, and the so called banter between friends revealed and ugly bunch of intolerant, scheming, mendacious people passing themselves off as scientists.

I don't think it's in anyone's interest ot label Revkin a hypocrite, he's certainly been embarassed by his bosses, but as I said above, it's not the sign of a hypocrite to be embarassed by a volte face, look at our politicians if you want to see true hypocrisy in action.

Nov 30, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo


Andrew Revkin was the Environment Editor for the New York Times at the time. He had considerable power by virtue of this position. Still, an argument can be made that he might have been forced to toe the editorial line of his bosses.

However, Revkin vacated his editorial post soon after the climategate controversy broke out. Thus far no link has been made between the controversy and his resignation, but one can be made now. Revkin had much opportunity to revise and clarify his personal stance on the issue for the whole year that he has been the sole, NYT Dot Earth blogger. He had greater freedom to do so. He did not... until the most recent Wikileaks release forced his hands to the keyboard.

It should be further noted that,

1- Revkin did not see the need to update his Climategate post after two earlier sets of Wikileaks relase. No, he waited until a sceptic blog called him a hypocrite.

2- Instead of writing a fresh blog post, he added an 'update' to the original post from Nov 2009. While this might delight internet archivists and historians, his daily readers will keep reading Dot Earth, ignorant of the fact that Revkin, since that surreptitious update, is no longer an hypocrite.

Nov 30, 2010 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Please don't post links to 9/11 ‘Troofer’ websites. (See above)

Debunking climate change alarmism uses the same rational thought processes as debunking 911 conspiracy theories.

Nov 30, 2010 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Stuck record

Which link is a problem?

Nov 30, 2010 at 11:44 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

November 20, 2009, 6:32 pm
Private Climate Conversations on Display

[Nov. 29, 3:41 p.m. | Updated In the last couple of days, some conservative commentators have compared the treatment of the East Anglia climate files in this post with the dissemination of Wikileaks files by The Times and charged that a gross double standard exists.

Note the date and time stamp of the original post, November 20, 2009, 6:32 pm, and the update, Nov. 29, 3:41 p.m. One may be forgiven in thinking that the update came only 9 days later. In fact, it came after 1 year + 9 days.

Andrew Revkin is morally obliged to do a fresh, stand alone blog post on the issue, if he doesn't intend to mislead and confound archivists and historians along with his regular, daily readers.

Nov 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Here's the sad thing. The ClimateGate leak is a reversal of momentum in the SuperBowl; Wikileaks is a penalty call. What did we learn from Wikileaks? That Ahmadi-Nijad got slapped and that Arabs fear Persians. What did we learn from ClimateGate? That there's no need to stampede the human herd over the cliff.

Andy missed the greatest story of his career, and is still missing it. Wake up Andy! I trust your integrity and curiosity. Validate my trust.

Nov 30, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim


There's a post above that points to It is a troofer site campaigning for the ‘mystery’ of building seven's to be solved.

Nov 30, 2010 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Andrew "Duranty" Revkin cements the NYT's reputation as an information suck hole.
Want to find out whats happening? Don't go there. The fifteen minute page load is fifteen minutes of your life you will never get back.

Mendacity and time banditry are their stock and trade.

Nov 30, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterpapertiger


'troofer' is on a par with 'denialist', childish name calling. You may accept the official story as to why WTC7 collapsed after not being hit by a plane; many don't.

It would be just as easy for me to post 'Debunking climate change alarmism uses the same rational thought processes as debunking official claims about 9/11'.

Nov 30, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

In fact when you see a blogger posting a link to the Times the proper response is, "Get that crap off there."
Much as Stuck-record treats a troofer site the NYT's link should be treated as a badge of dishonor and a clue that the blogger who linked it is admitting by default that they are lying to you.

Nov 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterpapertiger


Michael Meacher, probably the brightest member of the Blair government is a 9/11 sceptic. As is Andreas Von Bulow, Former German Secretary Of Defense. It's an intelligence thing. These guys make Bush (43), Clinton, Gore and Obama look like extras from Deliverance.

Nov 30, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAGallacher

9/11 is off topic on this site. Further comments about this will be deleted.

Nov 30, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Times' is persisting on double standard : all Climategate e-mails may be accessible through FOI request, whilst State department messages are covered by secrecy.

It's very much fancyful to describe the publication of State Department messages as a service rendered to democracy and still discuss of hackers about CRU.

Or it's all about what does or does not fit with the East - or west - coast elites criteria for political correctness !

Nov 30, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

For the reader who opined: Thus far no link has been made between the controversy and his resignation, but one can be made now."

Let me do what I can to stamp out this speculation. As part of costcutting, the NY Times offered buyouts to many staffers, including Revkin, prior to Climategate. Revkin, like many others, took the offer. I was aware that this was going to happen prior to the event.

Nov 30, 2010 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre


your clarification is much appreciated. There is a difference between a buy-out ('retrenchment', some call it) and resignation. I certainly didn't seek to imply that Revkin's separation involved any acrimony resulting from Climategate. I thought there was sufficient context to make that clear. After all, I was responding to geronimo's suggestion that Revkin the editor might have been constrained by his NYT bosses at the time, and my response was that since he vacated that position he was no longer constrained.

BTW, I do have name.

Nov 30, 2010 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Mr. Revkin - are your eyes brown??

Nov 30, 2010 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDBD

I am prepared to accept Steve M's statement that Revkin was offered an early retirement before Climategate, but that does not explain why DotEarth was moved from the Science section to the Opinion page. Something happened and so typical of the newspaper that claims to cover "all the news that's fit to print", it never covers its own screw ups.

Nov 30, 2010 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered Commenternvw

I wouldn't put any interpretation on the Dot Earth move other than Revkin was no longer a staff reporter.

Nov 30, 2010 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

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