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« David Colquhoun on the data debate | Main | Pump up the volume »

Fox picks up the Climategate baton

Fox News has run a Climategate story, suggesting there's still quite a lot of mileage in the new disclosures. The emails of interest are the ones in which Phil Jones suggests that the US Department of Energy has told him that it is acceptable to withhold climate data:

“Work on the land station data has been funded by the U.S. Dept of Energy, and I have their agreement that the data needn’t be passed on. I got this [agreement] in 2007,” Jones wrote in a May 13, 2009, email to British officials, before listing reasons he did not want them to release data.

Two months later, Jones reiterated that sentiment to colleagues, saying that the data "has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (32)

Hickman and Kloor have already lamented Fox is not "fair and balanced" on the topic. Leo still unable to understand that comment is not free on the Guardian website either.

Dec 16, 2011 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

The news item is on the Front Page of Fox's website. Finally, Climategate 2 is in the MSM. An article about Tallbloke might follow. Everyone should read it especially for Horner's announcement that December 29 is the cutoff date for the US DOE to respond to his FOIA request about emails between Jones and the DOE.

This could become something big. If some member of Congress is willing to spend some political capital on this matter it could become huge.

Dec 16, 2011 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Deep in in darkest East Anglia. Scheming and conniving, hiding and obfuscating, obviously scared of exposure and surrounded by a mess of sloppy computer code, heaps of raw data, and people needing grants while swirling in layers of plotting and politicking and dealing with similar people in the States. That's no life for anyone. Wot about his 'uman rights?

Dec 16, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Wow, I wish I'd known about this before the Index on Censorship debate on open science last week. We could have blamed the Americans (in the form of the Department of Energy) - a ploy that often seems to work well with many of the types represented there!

Fox has written a very good article here, with admirable, to-the-point quotes from Watts, McIntyre and Horner. If Hickman and Kloor are struggling with it, as Maurizio says, that suggests that propaganda is blinding them. This is what balanced is going to look like in future. Worth bearing in mind as you pen your next piece and consider what history is going to make of you.

Dec 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

The MSM view CG2 as 'more of the same' and therefore old news. However, the Devil is in the detail and if Fox get anywhere the rest will have to take note. Collusion by a U.S. government department is a somewhat different matter than the predictable petty pieties of the BBC.

Dec 16, 2011 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

I always hear the 'not fair and balanced' accusation made against Fox. But neither are any of the news outlets. Somehow, if it is left leaning news its fair and balanced, but if it is right leaning it is not.

Dec 16, 2011 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterklem

This is now the headline story on the GWPF homepage.

Dec 16, 2011 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

So,your grace,are you going to challenge Fox's juxtaposition of the two snippets of email in your excerpt? Or are you going to explain why it's valid handling?

Dec 16, 2011 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick

Bit abstruse for a Friday night, Nick.
What - precisely - is your point?

Dec 16, 2011 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

in their own biased way Hickman and Kloor are as bad as any of those they criticise.

Dec 16, 2011 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterP barclay

Fox has 1239 comments on this article in about three hours. Pretty popular it seems.

Dec 16, 2011 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Can the data be FOI'd in the US?

Dec 16, 2011 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick

I had not hear of Kloor before his disgraceful attack on David Whitehouse. He is the US equivalent of Damian Carrington. If this is environmental 'journalism' god help us all.

Dec 16, 2011 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterB Mitchell

Is it just FOI or does EIR apply too?

Dec 16, 2011 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Drake

Slightly O/T, but this morning's edition (Dec 17) of the Sydney Morning Herald carries an article, "Tainted evidence: science in the dock". It covers allegations that forensic evidence submitted to various courts, is not relable, and on this basis, several cases have been reopened.

My first reaction was that if any area of science needs forensic attention, it is "Climate Science".

Perhaps Lord Monckton's initiatives in this regard will bear some delectable fruit!

Dec 17, 2011 at 1:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAllen Ford

Fox is overtly right-wing. It isn't fair and it isn't balanced. No, none of the others are either, but as much as the others are repugnant to some here, so Fox is repugnant to the ears of many of those who need to hear and pay attention to the truth about climate science, its barely-concealed malfeasance, fake consensus and suppressed uncertainties.

Fox will pursue Climategate for the purpose of point scoring against the current White House administration, and only for this purpose. This is not helpful to the process of exposing problems in the science of climatology, and will instead only further polarise the debate in the US along political rather than scientific lines. This is the inevitable result of a media group like Fox taking up "the cause", because the subjective, ideological cause for them is different from the objective cause of observational evidence based science which drives us.

For the sake of getting at the truth and exposing the transgressions of the US DoE, it's great that Fox has taken up the story. But don't expect it to make a scrap of difference, because while Fox preaches to the choir, the congregation that needs to hear their sermon attends the service at the church of CNN.

Dec 17, 2011 at 4:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Simon Hopkinson writes:

"Fox will pursue Climategate for the purpose of point scoring against the current White House administration, and only for this purpose. This is not helpful to the process of exposing problems in the science of climatology, and will instead only further polarise the debate in the US along political rather than scientific lines."

You wrote a fine post, Mr. Hopkinson, and I do not take issue with it. I do want to add that I do not believe that the debate in the US could become more polarized. It seems to me that everyone who continues to support "global warming/.../climate whatever" is on the Left or expects to gain financially from laws mandating carbon trading. If you could point out someone I have overlooked I would be grateful.

I hope that Fox's story will cause the rest of the MSM to run stories on similar matters and maybe on Tallbloke. MSM attention to such matters just might yield action by some Congressional committee or might loosen UVA's grip on Mann's emails. If a Congressional committee confirms that Jones' data was a mess, that DOE never had Jones' data, that Jones' asked DOE not to release his data, or something along those lines, we might get a better picture of the quality of the data. As for the data that Jones' put online a couple of years ago, I have no reason to believe that it is the data in question. And we must remember that McIntyre has been requesting the methods too.

Dec 17, 2011 at 5:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Simon Hopkinson writes: "Fox is overtly right-wing. It isn't fair and it isn't balanced." Rubbish.

Fox is the only msm channel that always has a spokesman from both sides when discussing any issue. If it's politics, they have a Democrat and a Republican; if it's the environment, they have big-oil versus big-green. On CNN, MSNBC, ABC, XYBDZ, or any other so-called news outlet, you rarely see a Republican or a representative of big oil, pharma, farmer (or any other a), unless they are there to be publicly pilloried. And don't be so dismissive about Fox "preaching to the choir." They have a massive audience, and that audience has a big influence on politicians (right & left) who are even now jockeying for position in the lead-up to next year's US elections.

Dec 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterEl Sabio

Not only does Fox allow both sides to have a say, they allow both sides to have an UNINTERRUPTED say...unlike the fabulously impatial BBC who only ever asked labour and what ever other leftist goon to speak without interruption.

In fact I'd go so far as to say that should the BBC ever actually do an honest appraisal of how it reports it's opinion as news that they would look to Fox News as an example of impartiality in news broadcasting.

In fact, what we need here in the UK is a Fox News version. Sky is close but is only a shadow of what they could be. And we need that to keep the BBC honest.

I could bang on for hours about this but the simple numbers don't lie. Fox News IS Americas most trusted media outlet, with sunlight coming second.

But the left hates them because they bring you the stories the other alphabet mfm outlets refuse to show. And in the target rich environment of the Presidency of a man who has never worked an honest day in his entire life it must be horrible for lefties to be confronted by the "truth" from an outlet they can control or silence.


Dec 17, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Can't control btw!

Dec 17, 2011 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

El Sabio, you write:

if it's the environment, they have big-oil versus big-green.

Indeed, instead of scientist versus scientist, which is where the climate debate is. If one wanted to convince someone that there is a coordinated Big Oil funded anti-GW machine, Fox News is far more convincing than Oreskes.

Dec 17, 2011 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

If you needed to demonstrate what an oxymoron is how would you do it?
Honest Phil

Dec 17, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey


In fact, what we need here in the UK is a Fox News version. Sky is close but is only a shadow of what they could be. And we need that to keep the BBC honest.

Sky is indeed close. But I would rather choose to strengthen the UK's regulations on media impartiality than abandon them. That would mean making the BBC honest (which we know it isn't) rather than counter-balancing its disingenuity with an opposing politically loaded media service. Fast-tracking political polarisation in the media in the UK doesn't appeal to me.

Dec 17, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

In case any reader does not know of it, the site provides daily revelations of bias in the BBC, and has dossiers for some topics, including climate change (

I too would very much welcome some antidote to the 'institutional bias' of the BBC while it is funded by a de facto tax. Abolition of this would allow a hugely bloated corporation to settle to its rightful level of income and influence, one that would befit an Electromagnetic Guardian or Independent.

As for Fox News, if this report is at all typical of their output, they maintain high standards. The article is lucid, informative, and timely, and while the DoE seems underrepresented, the journalist has noted 'When contacted by, DoE spokesman Damien LaVera declined to comment.'.

Dec 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Simon Hopkinson writes: "Fox is overtly right-wing. It isn't fair and it isn't balanced."

OVERTLY? No more than the MSM is overtly left - but probably measurably less.

I give you UCLA professor of political science Timothy Groseclose.

Groseclose chose to tackle the problem 0f media bias and its scientific measurement in 1998 when he heard from a UC-Berkeley colleague that the introduction of Fox News via cable franchise into a congressional district had measurable consequences: the vote for the right-wing candidates substantially increased.

Groseclose decided to solve this social science measurement problem by using two non-ambiguous intermediate proxies to get a clear outcome. Too often, where contested politics is in play, there are too many dimensions. But this approach resulted in clearly cardinal measurements.

Prof. Glroseclose used the oldest ratings of politicians extant, the American's for Democratic Action (or ADA, a old-line Leftist outfit). Against these, he matched this to the political mentions of Washington, DC-area think-tanks in the Congressional Record -- a place where politicians place their speeches - according to number, kind and politician.

With these tow correlates, he and his associate -- Jeff Milyo, then professor of public policy at the University of Chicago -- measured the think-tank mentions by the media. The result? They:

"....found that most major American news outlets, including newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post, newsweeklies such as Time and Newsweek, network television shows such as CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, and Internet sites such as the Drudge Report, slanted their news reporting to reflect a distinct liberal bias. That was the outlets’ news reporting, by the way, not their editorials, columns, book reviews, or opinion pieces, where the writer’s ideological leanings are an expected part of the package.

In other words, what conservatives had been complaining about for decades—the prejudices of mainstream media—was actually true: The media not only skewed left in terms of the political leanings of their personnel, but they could not report about a controversial issue—whether the issue was George W. Bush’s tax cuts, global warming, partial-birth abortion, or the effects of affirmative action on college-campus demographics—without loading the piece in ideological ways that made it a completely different story from that which a conservative, or even a centrist, might tell. The Groseclose-Milyo study devastatingly undercut the prevailing wisdom, held dear by the press and its apologists, that yes, most reporters (actually, nearly all of them) may pull the Democratic lever in the voting booth, but they bend over backwards to frame their news stories in a nonpartisan and evenhanded fashion that disguises their personal ideological leanings.

As Groseclose and Milyo concluded, that doesn’t happen."


To cut to the chase, in professor Groseclose new book -- "Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind" -- he finds that the media's leftist bias skews electoral outcomes to the Left by about nine percent. That's not chicken feed.

From memory, let me add that he and Milyo's study finds that if you watch Fox News "Special Report" three time and PBS' "News Hour" for one, you will have an approximately balanced look at the news.

Over the last decade, Groseclose found himself recruited by the University of Chicago, as well as Harvard and Yale. He turned them down to stay at UCLA. But with a full professor's rank and an endowed chair.

The myth of media neutrality is an American myth - but one that's finally been exploded here.

Dec 17, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

It's been quipped that Murdoch found a niche audience for Fox, half of America. Yes, yes, I know, the United States, and the flyover states at that, not America. Oh, wait, can't they be received internationally now?

Dec 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Climategate Bombshell: Did U.S. Gov't Help Hide Climate Data?
By Maxim Lott
Published December 16, 2011

Showing 11 of 1986 comments

Some choir.

Dec 17, 2011 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterEl Sabio

Dec 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM | kim

Very, very clever. Rings true. Ruling elites are so predictable.

Dec 17, 2011 at 6:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin


OVERTLY? No more than the MSM is overtly left - but probably measurably less.

I already said
No, none of the others are either

political science

/covers eyes; /groans

The politics and the science of climate are distinct. There are problems with the observational science which need addressing and these problems need to be understood more broadly, so that everyone can understand that there is no ACTUAL evidence of any C in the future of AGW. This understanding is not helped and is instead hindered by the conflation of political interest/ideology and science, or more particularly the polarisation along irrelevant political lines that result.

I don't give much of a fart what any individual or group's political leanings are, we're all being shafted by their imposition, involvement and consequent corrupting influence on climate science.

Dec 18, 2011 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Sinon H:
I agree there is no evidence for the C, However all evidence points toward the A being overshadowed dramatically by the N that should proceed Climate Change. The A is a bit player, if that.

Dec 18, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Davis

Mike, I concur.

Dec 18, 2011 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

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