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« More media | Main | That IoP submission »
Wednesday
Jul212010

Media blitz

In the comments, I am asked if there is a coordinated programme of stories in the media on warmist themes. I think the answer may well be yes.

Ben Webster's "Sceptics funded by big oil" story in the Times the other day was very peculiar: with no obvious news value it looked exactly like a PR piece. Then there was the BBC's travesty of an article about the melting (that isn't) on Everest.

Today we have this toe-curlingly awful piece in Nature, in which a series of oceanographers are lined up to say that there was nothing in the Climategate emails.

I wonder if anyone is still taking this kind of thing seriously?

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Reader Comments (76)

"David Shull, professor at Western Washington University, says that although he didn’t read the emails, he is familiar with the situation. “There’s no cover up."

Déjà vue, when faith is brought into the dock.
"I haven't looked at the evidence but, without doubt, I am convinced that all allegations of misconduct are totally unfounded. QED.
Evidence! I see no evidence.
Intelligence! I see no intelligence in those who grasp at this strawman. I only see eternal shame that you prostituted yourself by uttering such stupidity.

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterroyfomr

Sorry Bishop for venting off in my last post, I just got a tad annoyed. Hope I didn't cross lines in the sands.
As I was somewhat fulminated I missed my main point.
When I hear an "expert" state that they haven't read the e-mails but ..., here's my opinion anyway, my bp approaches a tipping point!
If they haven't researched the background then their opinion is irrelevant, if they have looked at the evidence and denied that they have, then they are lying.
They're either lacking in intelligence, incapable of defending their position or plain lying.
Guys, your reputation does really matter. Soon your funding will severely ablate and then you'll be scrabbling about for funding, any funding, while trying to re-establish your integrity.
Meanwhile the big-boys will still be awash with cash.
Sleep tight!

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterroyfomr

We really are into the Emperors new clothes syndrome here folks.
They wheel out more and more people who are prepared to say that the emperor looks really cool, even though he is stark (snipped) ing naked.
Consensus rules!
In the good old days of science, the fact that the world cooled from 1940 to 1970 would send the warmists back to the drawing boards. The fact that the world has not warmed since 1998 would send warmists back to the drawing board.
The fact that after interglacials CO2 rises for 2500 years and all that time the world cools would cause the warmists to jump off high buildings.
However they have a mantra.
None of those things are important, we know CO2 is "now" rising and that the world is "now" warming.
Anything that happened before the last 150 years is no longer relevant.
How do we remove the Emperors new clothes?

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Don Pablo,

"You don't appear to be a troll at all." Well, I'll take that as a compliment!
I thought it was obvious that my concern was about posting something that came from behind a pay-wall, not about posting a dissenting opinion. I didn't actually express any opinion of my own in that post, so heaven only knows what you think you might be planning to "convert" me to or from!

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterGenette

Gennette

Whatever your views, we only ask that they be yours, and you be willing to listen to other viewpoints. That is a two way street. We too must have an open mind. So your posting was interesting, for me at least.

Welcome to our happy group of dissident thinkers. And yes, it was a compliment. You clearly have a mind of your own. Please express yourself as yourself.

There have been a steady stream of trolls wandering through here and annoying me. Being a crotchety curmudgeon, I tend to snap at them after a while. So far the Bishop has been tolerant of my dementia.

However losing your temper appears to get you time in the corner. I suspect the Bishop is a old time Presbyterian disciplinarian. :)

I wonder whatever Dung did?

Jul 22, 2010 at 2:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

They have some guys with big shovels over at Whatsupwiththat

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/21/us-doe-apparently-funded-cru-millions-not-200k-as-reported/

Jul 22, 2010 at 5:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

whether or not there is any coordination on the scale of the "journolist 400" is hard to say, tho it will be interesting to see if there are CAGW revelations to come on that score, but:

22 July: Guardian: Amelia Hill: UN in fresh bid to salvage international deal on climate change
Campaigners welcome plans to amend the way Kyoto protocol resolutions are passed
Under the plans, countries could be forced to accept decisions made by a majority of members…
If the UN’s suggestions are adopted, decisions will be forced through if four-fifths of the protocol vote in favour, after all efforts to reach agreement by consensus have been exhausted. The amendments would come into force after six months…
In a further attempt to galvanise the climate change body into motion, the UN also suggested that countries could be forced to opt out of any amendments, as opposed to the current arrangement whereby they must explicitly agree to any decisions tabled..
The amendment, which will be presented in Bonn in August, reads: “An amendment would enter into force after a certain period has elapsed following its adoption, except for those parties that have notified the depositary that they cannot accept the amendment.”..
Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary, acknowledged that the current deadlock has to be broken. “We know there needs to be reform of the UN process around tackling climate change,” he said. “We saw at Copenhagen how some countries blocked progress and we can’t allow that to happen again.”
The amendment was welcomed by Farhana Yamin, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
“The stalemate in negotiations has gone on for 15 years,” she said. “This consensus arrangement is an extraordinary and ridiculous anomaly in the make up of Kyoto that exists in few other UN organisations.
“This is a positive way of forcing laggard countries who hold out and play their veto hand the whole time, to engage in constructive talks,” she added. “Under this new system, they will realise that unless they are constructive, they will lose their voice altogether.”…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/22/un-bid-international-deal-climate-change

Jul 22, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

"I wonder if anyone is still taking this kind of thing seriously?"

If anything, it might make them look suspicious

Jul 22, 2010 at 8:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterAsYouLikeIt

I was seriuosly considering signing up to the Times paywall, thinking they may have had some corresponding increase in quality to justify the price. However that sample of Ben Websters is a sorry tick list of innuendo and lazy smear. Frankly I think I might design a computer program to generate this kind of stuff "Exxon", "profit from", "former Tory", yadda yadda. Anyone who thinks Exxons' 'threatened' gas investments are the key to their sponsoring sceptics cant't be too clued up when you consider it is the move from coal to burning gas that is the only thing keeping the UK within a spitting distance of its CO2 targets. Not paying for that bilge.

Jul 22, 2010 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

Glenn Beck has mentioned the 'journo list' (Guardian, Washington Post etc) quite often, journalists pushing progressive (AKA Fabian) policy in place of unbiased reportage, see the July 21 2010 edition, for example:
http://watchglennbeck.com/
I would guess a very similar network of activist 'journalists' co-ordinate in pushing green memes through the organisations that they infest.

Jul 22, 2010 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan

@Adrian
"Here's a gem from a certain Mr Tim Yeo (who he ?)"

http://www.trg.org.uk/uploads/u8187/File/Green_Gold_July2010.pdf

Nice link! I'm sure you really know who Tim "Love Child" Yeo is! But this booklet looks like being a good source of nonsense quotes for years to come. According to the blurb on the back cover:-


"In this timely book, Tim Yeo MP urges the new Coalition Government to
take radical steps to fulfil our responsibilities by tackling climate change and
greenhouse gas emissions. He argues that if Britain leads the way in
switching to a low carbon economy, we would reap financial rewards and
prove that “going green will be rewarded with gold”."

Reading through this is a mixture of pain and pleasure. Pain in seeing the old zombie AGW myths, that have been buried stake-through-the-heart so many times, rear up and shamble towards you yet again. (Kilamanjaro snows, sinking Maldives). Pleasure in laughing out loud at sections that made me wonder if thay had been penned by Private Eye back in the good old days. Not so, the twit actually thinks this bufoonery is serious stuff.

It does also have some insights into how he sees the political challenges inherent in the Coalition working out. And his view on Copenhagen. And on political events in Australia. And at least some acknowledgement of some of the skeptics' position.

But whilst there isn't a page in the report that even the trolls on here would have difficulty in demolishing, it does suggest that this is what we must expect from a guy who obviously gets all his "science" from the Guardian and from "Scientific Advisors" who have been carefully selected for their AGW credentials. Sheeesh.

Scarey to think that the Rt. Hon Tim Yeo is in a position to cause so much damage. If he had a brain he'd be really dangerous.

Jul 22, 2010 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

Martin:

In his position as Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, I emailed Yeo to ask him to use his power and influence to remove Watson from his post as chief scientific adviser to DEFRA and obtain a new adviser; namely a scientist with an open mind who is interested in the pursuit of knowledge, not promoting his personal agenda. I think I was wasting my time.

I also wrote to Caroline Spelman (SoS at DEFRA) along the same lines. I await a reply.

Jul 22, 2010 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Today’s issue of Times Higher Education has a cover story, entitled “And yet it works”, about what Climategate means for peer review. The story quotes His Eminence. There is also a related editorial.

The article is by a research associate in Psychology at Cardiff University, Adam Corner. Corner’s biography says that he is “very interested in the application of psychological and social scientific research to practical questions such as the effective communication of climate change, and the psychological barriers to engaging in pro-environmental behaviours”. I e-mailed Corner the following.

Dear Dr. Corner,


Your article asserts that researchers at the Climatic Research Unit have been exonerated of wrongdoing. I dispute that.

I have alleged that Phil Jones committed fraud in his work on the 2007 IPCC Report. My allegation was published in a peer-reviewed paper. It was also widely publicized, including in a front-page story in The Guardian. Yet neither the Russell Review nor the Oxburgh Review considered any of the evidence for the allegation.

Other people have also had their allegations against researchers at CRU not properly investigated. David Holland’s allegation, for example—where the Russell Review just asked CRU researchers and their supporters if the researchers were guilty, and then accepted the replies without question, or asking Holland for comment.

The Reviews were plainly not attempting to reach justice. That, however, is not the problem. The real problem is that the lack of systemic accountability. The reviews were ad hoc responses and should never have existed. There should be some general mechanism in place whereby allegations of improper behavior are dealt with.

There are tens of thousands of scientists in the United Kingdom. As far as I know, none have been convicted of research fraud in at least twenty years. That is not credible. What kind of society would we have if there were no police, judiciary, or prisons? That, in effect, is the system in place in science today.

The result is a culture of impunity. The main problems with the peer review system are consequences of that culture. There are many other consequences: bogus research is widespread.


Sincerely,

Douglas J. Keenan

Jul 22, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas J. Keenan

Richard Black BBC is on the CAGW media blitz as well

A Stephen Schnieder piece, which ends up linking scepticism to an extreme group..

That was a choice.

He could have equally linked a postive story, with Anthony Watts, Steve Mcintyre, Bishop Hill, etc, respectful stories regarding Schneiders death, and written a positive story, following many MAINSTREAM sceptical/pro people meeting at the Climategate (Guardain) debate and having drinks together afterwards.

Yet, chooses some group, I'd never heard of, with some extreme commemnts in it's forums.. As if the extreme /left eco type groups, don't have some nutters, in their forums as well..

And I being too sensitive, about the BBC? I expect better from them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/07/i_didnt_know_stephen_schneider.html#comments

Jul 22, 2010 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Agree with mbabbit - the Journolist shows unprecedented (at least not generally known to the public) coordination amongst opinion MSM folks. The list of members include most of the Western countries. There likely are discussions not uncovered about climate alarmist and how to beat down all others. Regardless, the parties and gatherings still go on along with the mass "press releases" of the NGOs. It's so obvious even the casual skeptics are noticing.

Jul 22, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Barry

Richard Black seems to have got much more extreme in his bias in favour of CAGW and in his attempts to denigrate anyone who is slightly sceptical. Roger Harrabin seems to have become more moderate. I expect Richard Black didn't go to the Grauniad debate because he wouldn't like his prejudices to be exposed to a bit of balance and reality.

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

the bbc moderators will let anyone comment, follow the house rules and be polite.
(not like the guardain)So why not tell the bbc, if you think it is unacceptable, public chjarter, impartiality and all that.

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Same thing happening down under. Australia's government funded broadcaster the ABC (Our Equiv. of the BBC) has been accused of "Groupthink" on climate change by its own Chairman Maurice Newman.

See 'Climate balance urged at ABC"
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/climate-balance-urged-at-abc/story-e6frg996-1225839329115

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarcH

Excuse the lead in but you may see the relevance as to the huge bed that all these warmists lie in be they government, media or industry.

We have recently been looking to set up a pension scheme at work for our employees, as you will no doubt already know it will be a legal necessity in the next couple of years. The options available are to source and fund the set up of an independent scheme, utilise the individual employee's exisisting private pension if they have one or rely on the Governments recommended scheme, NEST, managed by a private company.

Now to my surprise after the debacle with the Corus steel plant closure I find out that the company who is administrating this scheme is TATA. I would of thought that for a substantially lucrative government contract then this would be the last company on the list.

Not according to Angela Eagle, Labour, who appointed them and made this statement recorded in Hansard

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many bidders other than Tata Consultancy Services there were for the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority contract for scheme administration services; and how much her Department will pay to Tata Consultancy Services under the contract. [320942]

Angela Eagle: Following publication of the contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union in
8 Mar 2010 : Column 78W
January 2009, the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) received 56 expressions of interest.

Following receipt of pre-qualification questionnaires, four organisations were invited to participate in competitive dialogue. As the competitive dialogue progressed, three of these bidders decided to withdraw. This left Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., which had progressively demonstrated during the competition that it was a strong bidder. This was confirmed by its final bid, which after a rigorous evaluation was found to fully meet PADA's delivery requirements at a good price for NEST's future members.

Now I would be sceptical to speculate why and far be it for me to suggest that this is a warmist love in, but Miss or is it Mrs, with a civil partnership I lose track, Eagles is certainly green through and through and champions carbon trading as seen here:
http://videolectures.net/ccog07_eagle_wcc/

Now I would of thought that there would of been an uproar in the press about a foreign company that put Brittish workers on the dole now gets to play with Brittish pensions, but no not a peep, not a whiff of scandal, it seems they are all too busy cuddling up together playing burn the denialist. Not even an outraged ConDem party member is to be seen, so it surprises me not that they all wake up together in the morning chanting the same mantra.

For information some of the financial details are predicted here. http://nestpensionguide.co.uk/

Jul 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

The BBC is a textbook example of group-think. They have a house opinion on every subject - from plastic bags to organic food to Sarah Palin.

It's interesting when something brand new comes along. There is a brief period when it's examined from all angles before the beebers get in a line and see it from the unified house angle. Usually less than a week.

Jul 22, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Richard Black Is a high-priest of the religion of CAGW. I gave up commenting as he does not engage with lowly BBC licence-fee payers who are sceptical of his religious beliefs. I commend your persistence Barry.

Jul 22, 2010 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"...and the psychological barriers to engaging in pro-environmental behaviours”

Probably the same ones people find when they try to sell snake oil, and relying on standard PR tricks and simple appeals to authority isn't working when people are becoming better informed, and losing trust in 'experts' in general.

We've had dubious science/advocacy with BSE, MMR, flu, WMD and the 'war on terror' raising people's scepticism and distrust of experts and authority. So it shouldn't be any suprise that people are also sceptical about all the rent-seeking policies conected to global warming. We must give windmill owners billions to fight CO2, yet climate change predicts more severe weather, which windmills are vulnerable to and hardended reactors aren't. Go figure.

As for the media blitz, I think this was telegraphed months ago with groupthink sessions between NGO PR people and others to plan marketing campaigns to counter rising scepticism. What I am curious about is whether it's becoming easier to plant marcomms in the MSM due to their budget problems, consolidation and the lack of resource or knowledge to investigate these kinds of stories properly. One of the recent debates had a comment that an AP review vindicated Climategate, which was run by the unbiased Mr Borenstein. In the UK, we have this cosy group-

http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/smc_board.htm

providing science PR to the MSM that doesn't have it's own reporters. So to me, it's no suprise themes emerge in AGW reporting and the same stories appear in many different outlets.

The Guardian debates were interesting though for the number of journalists present, and whether that's a sign that more are taking an interest in the murky goings on behind Climategate, and general AGW marketing. If that's the case, we may see more criticial/less biased reporting in the MSM, and that's where the story needs to run, not on the blogs.

For people like Dr. Corner, I think the solution's quite simple. AGW scientists need to engage better with sceptics and stop trying to brush us off with anti-science, denier or flat earther lables. Many people have said they've become sceptical having seen the standard of debate on the 'official' PR site, RC and the degree of transparency shown by climate scientists. Explain it better, become more open and transparent and scepticism may reduce, or sceptics may even become advocates. It's an uphill battle though because the closer people look, the more problems with climate science we tend to find, not to mention AGW belief requiring a call to action rather than inaction.

(And as for pensions, TATA got it by default being the only remaining bidder. Private Eye's been running a few stories on this, including the far more generous pensions Nest gives itself compared to it's customers. A simpler reform IMHO would have been to make companies pay into individual's existing pension schemes allowing those to be more portable, but the pension industry hated that idea.)

Jul 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

You will probably wait forever for a response from Spelman, Phillip. She is too busy policing the Bin Police at the moment.

I, too, gave up on Richard Black some time ago...in fact I gave up completely on the BBC. After over three-and-a-half years', banging my head against the proverbial brick wall, it was beginning to give me considerable head-aches.

Jul 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

What I wonder is how anyone could believe the mainstream media "coordinates" its coverage:

http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/07/22/pack-journalism/

Jul 22, 2010 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterkkloor

Other people READ Richard Black, so it IS worth commenting

Jul 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

That Times article looks like it came from the hand of Bob Ward. See here his inimitable style and his horrid methods, second only to Stoat Connolley IMO.

Isn't TATA a Pachauri outfit?

Jul 23, 2010 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterLucy Skywalker

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