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« More laughs from the Cabot Institute | Main | Great Evans above »
Monday
Sep282015

Wadhams fails

Peter Wadhams is something of a favourite at BH, his researches into the paranormal, his physics-free sea-ice predictions and his concerns about assassination having provided readers with much entertainment over the years. The last of these claims led to an official complaint to the Press Regulator, but it seems that Prof Wadhams' complaint has been no more successful than his doom-laden predictions about the Arctic (£).

A Cambridge professor who claimed that assassins may have murdered three British scientists investigating the impact of global warming has had a complaint against The Times dismissed by the press regulator.

Prof Wadhams is an advisor to Pope Francis.

 

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Reader Comments (54)

That last line says it all. Schnellberger, Wadhams and the kenyan president along with a very guy who believes in fairies.

Sep 28, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Thank you, Stephen. My comment was going to be "and it shows. Worse luck!"
As one of that billion that are supposed to pay attention to what Francis says I find his gullibility in this matter rather distressing though I suppose hardly surprising since brighter men than he have been gulled by the plausibility of the enviro-activist arguments.
But it's good to see that at least one official body is prepared to tell Wadhams where to get off.

Sep 28, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

In the days of the children's comic there was invariably a cartoon involving a mad or nutty professor. However, the nutty professor was always supposed to be a pure work of fiction, not a prophecy about a professor at Cambridge.

Sep 28, 2015 at 9:24 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Phillip Bratby, where do you think the idea that climate scientists are being thwarted by oil funded crooks comes from? It's straight out of a Disney movie. Anthony Watts even has a moustache and that's like a bad guy uniform.

Sep 28, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Whenever Wadhams' name is mentioned I hear a cuckoo clock sounding off the hour somewhere in the distance.

Sep 28, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

This does not prove that ALL climate scientists are lunatics. However, a reasonable estimates seems to be ~97%.

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Steve Jones

:-)

thanks

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:04 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Were I in a position to advice the Pope my advice would not include any suggestion that Wadhams was right.

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3
Sep 28, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

I don't have a subscription to that paper, but I like how it seems to be considered a complete non-issue that it's now been established Ben Webster told Peter Wadhams he wouldn't use anything from the interview without talking to Wadhams first then promptly proceeded to break that promise. That means we now have the IPSO's ruling which says:

The Committee had listened to a recording of the complainant’s interview with the journalist, provided by the newspaper, in which he made the statements attributed to him in the article. The article had accurately reported his position as he had explained it to the journalist.

To establish Wadhams views as he expressed them were accurately reported (at least to their satisifcation), but no actual content or information we didn't have before today on the issue. We don't have quotations, transcripts or recordings to go off of, so this story is really just, "The IPSO says X."

Save on the point that Ben Webster broke his promise. We now know Webster and the paper agree he did that. That's new information. It's also fairly troubling information, to me at least, because if Webster had contacted Wadhams to tell him about the story, Wadhams would have certainly complained prior to its publication.

It's really fortuitous Webster managed to break his promise in a way which let him run a smear piece.

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon - you seem to be wrong...

"The newspaper had not published material provided by the complainant during the “off the record” part of the conversation"

https://www.ipso.co.uk/IPSO/rulings/IPSOrulings-detail.html?id=225

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Thanks Spence_UK.

4. The complainant said he did not believe, as the article suggested, that the three scientists who had died in 2013 had been assassinated. Rather, he made clear to the reporter that any initial fears he may have had in this regard had been rapidly dispelled. The complainant said that he had believed that the purpose of the interview was to discuss the question of ice thickness and extent in the Arctic. He objected to the fact that the published article had not focused on this subject.

10. The Committee had listened to a recording of the complainant’s interview with the journalist, provided by the newspaper, in which he made the statements attributed to him in the article. The article had accurately reported his position as he had explained it to the journalist.


12. The Committee noted that, of the approximately 30-minute “on the record” interview, about 20 minutes focused on the complainant’s suspicions about the deaths of fellow scientists. During the discussion of these concerns, the journalist had clarified a number of specific points with the complainant, and had noted further details which he intended to check independently, signalling that the material under discussion was likely to form part of a published article. At one point in the interview, the complainant expressed concern that some views he wished to raise were potentially libellous, and requested that a part of the interview be conducted “off the record”. Nothing from this section was published. At the close of this section of the interview, the journalist signalled clearly that the conversation would be going back “on the record”.

13. At the end of the interview, as the journalist was saying goodbye, the complainant expressed doubt for the first time about the publication of material relating to the deaths of the other scientists. The journalist said that he would not publish this information without speaking to the complainant again.

14. (...)
While it was regrettable that no further conversation had taken place as the journalist had suggested, the agreement to speak further did not represent an undertaking by the journalist not to publish material without the complainant’s consent. The complainant’s expression of doubt at the close of the interview did not render him a confidential source. There was no breach of Clause 14.

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Lets just post the whole thing:

IPSO rulings

Summary of complaint

Decision of the Complaints Committee
04762-15 Wadhams v The Times

1. Professor Peter Wadhams complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Times breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) and Clause 14 (Confidential sources) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Climate scientist fears murder by hitman”, published in print and online on 25 July 2015.

2. The article was based on an interview with the complainant, a professor of ocean physics, in which he expressed concern that several scientists researching the impact of global warming on Arctic ice may have been assassinated. It noted that the complainant had said that there were only four people in Britain, including himself, who were “really leaders” on ice thickness in the Arctic, and that three of these individuals had died in 2013. The article included the complainant’s position that “it seems to me to be too bizarre to be accidental but each individual incident looks accidental, which may mean it’s been made to look accidental”. The complainant had also suggested that he may have been targeted, as he had been involved in an incident during the same period, in which another driver had attempted to force his car off a motorway.

3. The complainant said that the article misrepresented comments he had made to the journalist, and that in any case his conversation with the reporter had not been intended for publication.

4. The complainant said he did not believe, as the article suggested, that the three scientists who had died in 2013 had been assassinated. Rather, he made clear to the reporter that any initial fears he may have had in this regard had been rapidly dispelled. The complainant said that he had believed that the purpose of the interview was to discuss the question of ice thickness and extent in the Arctic. He objected to the fact that the published article had not focused on this subject. The complainant said that the journalist had indicated that he would contact the complainant further prior to publication, and considered his failure to do so to be a breach of Clause 2.

5. The complainant said that his conversation with the journalist had been “off the record”, and that to publish the details raised a breach of Clause 14.

6. The newspaper did not accept a breach of the Code. It provided a recording of the journalist’s conversation with the complainant, in which the complainant made all the statements attributed to him in the article.

7. The newspaper denied that there had any confidentiality agreement in place in relation to the interview. It said that the complainant was practiced at dealing with the media and had spoken freely and at length to the reporter, and that the complainant had introduced to the conversation his concern that fellow scientists may have been assassinated. It noted that at one point the complainant had requested that the conversation go “off the record”, making clear that he was aware the conversation prior to that point had been “on the record” and intended for publication. The newspaper had not published material provided by the complainant during the “off the record” part of the conversation. At the end of this section, the journalist had told the complainant that he was “switching back to ‘on the record’”. The newspaper regretted that the journalist had not telephoned the complainant again prior to publication, as he had indicated he would do. Nonetheless, the newspaper did not have a policy of offering pre-publication copy approval to interviewees. Any such phone call would have been no more than a courtesy call, or a request for the complainant’s response to further questions in light of any new information that might have come to light from other sources. The agreement to call the complainant again did not constitute a promise of confidentiality.

8. The complainant said that he had not heard the reporter say that the conversation was going back “on the record”.

Relevant Code Provisions

9. Clause 1 (Accuracy)

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply)

A fair opportunity for reply to inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for.

Clause 14 (Confidential sources)

Journalists have a moral obligation to protect confidential sources of information.

Findings of the Committee

10. The Committee had listened to a recording of the complainant’s interview with the journalist, provided by the newspaper, in which he made the statements attributed to him in the article. The article had accurately reported his position as he had explained it to the journalist. There was no breach of Clause 1.

11. The complainant objected to the fact that he had not received further contact from the journalist prior to publication. Clause 2 does not include a requirement to seek pre-publication comment; rather, it provides an opportunity to reply to inaccuracies. The Committee had not established the existence of any inaccuracies. There was therefore no breach of Clause 2.

12. The Committee noted that, of the approximately 30-minute “on the record” interview, about 20 minutes focused on the complainant’s suspicions about the deaths of fellow scientists. During the discussion of these concerns, the journalist had clarified a number of specific points with the complainant, and had noted further details which he intended to check independently, signalling that the material under discussion was likely to form part of a published article. At one point in the interview, the complainant expressed concern that some views he wished to raise were potentially libellous, and requested that a part of the interview be conducted “off the record”. Nothing from this section was published. At the close of this section of the interview, the journalist signalled clearly that the conversation would be going back “on the record”.

13. At the end of the interview, as the journalist was saying goodbye, the complainant expressed doubt for the first time about the publication of material relating to the deaths of the other scientists. The journalist said that he would not publish this information without speaking to the complainant again.

14. Clause 14 imposes a moral obligation on journalists to protect the identity of sources who have provided information on a confidential basis. In this instance, the complainant had not requested during the interview that he be treated as a confidential source, nor had he made reference to any such request in the course of his complaint. Rather, his concern related to the question of whether information he had provided in the course of an interview with a journalist was intended for publication. The complainant had requested that one section of his interview, from which no details were published, take place “off the record”. This demonstrated his awareness that the rest of the conversation had taken place “on the record”, and that any comments he had made might be published. While it was regrettable that no further conversation had taken place as the journalist had suggested, the agreement to speak further did not represent an undertaking by the journalist not to publish material without the complainant’s consent. The complainant’s expression of doubt at the close of the interview did not render him a confidential source. There was no breach of Clause 14.

Conclusions

15. The complaint was not upheld.

Remedial Action Required

N/A

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry Woods:

Brandon - you seem to be wrong...

"The newspaper had not published material provided by the complainant during the “off the record” part of the conversation"

https://www.ipso.co.uk/IPSO/rulings/IPSOrulings-detail.html?id=225

In what way, exactly, does that make it seem I am wrong? I didn't say a word about the issue of off the record communication, and the very ruling you link to acknowledges the very broken promise I refer to.

Sep 28, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Rule number one when talking to the press – it’s never ‘off the record’. Wadhams would not have minded if the reporter had written a piece about the sinister co-incidence of three top ice experts being killed and a fourth almost run off the motorway. ‘Undisclosed source alerting the paper to a worrying pattern’ would have pleased Wadhams no end. He was more worried about libel than appearing bonkers. Sure we all toy with conspiratorial ideas from time to time (for about two minutes I wondered if Charles had had Diana bumped off) but who’d share those ideas with a journalist if we wanted to be taken seriously?

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

There was no breach of Clause 14.
Brandon.
If you want to drivel on to me for 20 minutes about something that is per se newsworthy and expect me to confine my story to the other 10 minutes which is on a subject that is more likely to make my readers' eyes glaze over then it is time you joined the real world.
In simply English, if you don't want a reporter to publish something, don't say it.
Anyone would think this is the first time Wadhams had ever spoken to the press. Or perhaps like a lot of his ilk he only ever talks to the adoring acolytes (the names of Lean and Monbiot and Gray come to mind) who can be relied on to regurgitate his conceited view of himself and the world around him.
In which case he has just learnt a salutary lesson, and not before time.

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:22 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Brandoon - u said:

"....but no actual content or information we didn't have before today on the issue. We don't have quotations, transcripts or recordings to go off of, so this story is really just, "The IPSO says X."

oh for goodness sake, are you suggesting that IPSO - haven't listened to the audio or ruled correctly, and it is just hearsay. They are very clear in the ruling.. And that you will only be satisfied only when you have seen a copy of a transcript, or heard audio for yourself.

much as I'd like to hear Wadham making a fool of himself, and it would be great material for Lewandowsky's -climate concerned conspiracy paper (if he ever wrote one) can we accept that IPSO are likely to be professional on this?

not least because Wadham would sue the pants off them, if they got it wrong

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

The GWPF reposted some part of this story, meaning I could read it. I'm not sure how much their excerpt covers, but I noticed it included this:

After listening to the tape, the committee said that during the approximately 30-minute interview about 20 minutes focused on Professor Wadhams’s suspicions about the deaths of his fellow scientists, a subject introduced into the conversation by the professor himself.

Things like this bug me. It's a sign of lazy reading/reporting. What most likely happened is the journalist read this paragraph from the ruling:

12. The Committee noted that, of the approximately 30-minute “on the record” interview, about 20 minutes focused on the complainant’s suspicions about the deaths of fellow scientists. During the discussion of these concerns, the journalist had clarified a number of specific points with the complainant, and had noted further details which he intended to check independently, signalling that the material under discussion was likely to form part of a published article. At one point in the interview, the complainant expressed concern that some views he wished to raise were potentially libellous, and requested that a part of the interview be conducted “off the record”. Nothing from this section was published. At the close of this section of the interview, the journalist signalled clearly that the conversation would be going back “on the record”.

And thought it said the interview was 30 minutes long. It doesn't. What it says is there was a 30-minute "on the record" interview, of which 20 minutes focused on one topic. There was also an "off the record" portion. This "section of the interview" doesn't have its duration given. That means we don't have a way to know the total duration of the interview (on and off the record combined).

It's a trivial detail, but lazy reporting gets on my nerves. Especially since it made me look at the article again while being more skeptical, causing me to notice it says:

During the interview, Professor Wadhams said that the deaths in early 2013 of the other three scientists in Britain “who were really leaders on ice thickness in the Arctic” were “too bizarre to be accidental but each individual incident looks accidental, which may mean it’s been made to look accidental”.

But Wadhams was actually quoted as saying:

“It seems to me to be too bizarre to be accidental but each individual incident looks accidental, which may mean it’s been made to look accidental.”

I'd say there's a meaningful difference between claiming things were too bizarre to be accidental and saying it seems they were too bizarre to be accidental. That's especially true since to come up with his version, this reporter had to truncate the quote from Wadhams. That seems weird to me.

And no, I don't think that's the same as me saying it is weird.

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Indeed, MJ. The whole affair is really just more evidence, if it were needed, of the conceited arrogance of so many global-warmers. They don't just expect the rest of us to bow down in front of their great intellects and do exactly what they want, they even expect The Press to do the same thing.

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

It's a measure of how silly the situation has got that Wadhams clearly thought there was a possibility someone had killed three totally unknown scientists and tried to kill a fourth that only sad gits like us have heard of. It's the result of how the proponents bounce big oil conspiracies about. Oil companies don't bother with murder when a nice Bolly fuelled lunch with an old school mate will achieve so much more.

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2:

Rule number one when talking to the press – it’s never ‘off the record’.

Aye. I think in the unlikely event I'm ever interviewed by the media, I'll only do so if a full recording is made and I'm provided a copy of it. That way if there's any doubt as to what was said or the context of it, it can be verified. (This practice will probably make the unlikely event of me being interviewed even more unlikely).

Mike Jackson:

Brandon.
If you want to drivel on to me for 20 minutes about something that is per se newsworthy and expect me to confine my story to the other 10 minutes which is on a subject that is more likely to make my readers' eyes glaze over then it is time you joined the real world.
In simply English, if you don't want a reporter to publish something, don't say it.

Um... I don't know why you quoted the ruling's remark on Clause 14 at me. I didn't say a word about that. I didn't say Ben Webster was bound by confidentiality because of off the record communication or anything like that.

I mean, I agree with you. I think Wadhams was a fool. I suspect the IPSO ruled correctly. I suspect Wadhams probably did give Webster the impression Webster conveyed to his readers. I suspect to some extent it was inadvertent, caused by Webster knowing how to ask the right questions.

My impression is Wadhams doesn't truly believe all the conspiratorial nonsense like has been claimed but some part of him still wonders. Webster is pretty good at his job and knew how to get Wadhams to say/admit more than he should have. Webster then played that up in his article, intentionally making his piece as inflammatory as he could with the material he had. He then conveniently "forgot" to contact Wadhams about the article prior to publication in order to avoid the risk Wadhams would do anything to mess it up by trying to walk back from his previous statements.

I have no way to know that's actually what happened, but the scenario plays. There's nobody outright lying or fabricating anything. People are just "shading the truth" and things like that. Wadhams probably knows he screwed up and got played, Webster probably knows his actions were shady, but nobody did anything that crossed any lines or was truly remarkable.

And ultimately, Wadhams got screwed because he messed up and let himself get played.

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

The complainant said that he had believed that the purpose of the interview was to discuss the question of ice thickness and extent in the Arctic.
Well that makes no sense.
It's proven that he has no understanding of Arctic Sea Ice. His predictions are all wrong. And he's laughed at by other "experts".

Why would he expect that to be the man topic of the reporting?
Even if he did know something about that subject his speculation still wouldn't be as exciting as secret, multiple murders.

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:57 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

The interview was about arctic ice - but when Wadham introduced his theories that scientist were being killed.. what journalist in the world would not ask a few questions about that..!

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Wadham now seems to have been wrong - ie he did make staments in quotation marks: (IPSO finding 10)


From Desmog blog-(extract)

http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/07/29/climate-professor-peter-wadhams-says-he-does-not-think-colleagues-were-murdered


".......But in his complaint to IPSO, which Wadhams shared with DeSmog, he states that he had told Webster that “for a short time” he had thought the three may have been killed, but that it was “very clear” that after all three were investigated they were indeed accidents.

In the complaint, Wadhams says that he had requested to Webster that the conversation about the deaths be “completely off the record” because he “did not want to be made out to be a crazy person”. He says he “did not make any of the statements enclosed in quotation marks by the reporter”.

Wadhams also told DeSmog that he believed the story in The Times was “part of a concerted campaign against climate change awareness” by the Murdoch press.

The Times has defended the story, telling The Guardian that it stands by the story and that it has a recording of Wadhams making the published statements.

Wadhams told DeSmog that if such a recording exists, it would illustrate that “Webster said that confidentiality would be respected, that this was off the record, and that he would contact me if he wanted to do anything with it.”

Another major UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, quickly followed up the story, apparently with new quotes from Wadhams.

Wadhams has told DeSmog that he did take a call from The Daily Telegraph, but “I didn’t tell them anything”.

After seeking clarification, Wadhams told DeSmog that the Daily Telegraph story was “innacurate and quoted me wrongly” but did not provide details, saying he was “weary of the continuing harassment from which I have been suffering” and no longer wanted to communicate “with any kind of journalist.........”.

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:55 AM Brandon Shollenberger

I agree with everything you've written there. I even feel sorry for Wadhams but frankly it's nice for the shoe to be on the other foot for a change. Sceptics are not monsters. The vast majority of people in business (even oil companies) are not monsters. Dr Lew, Naomi Oreskes and their ilk have been embraced by the consensus side despite pushing offensive, paranoid drivel. Forgive us for a few moments of schadenfreude at the exposure of one who clearly believes the worst of those he’s never met just because they provide something ugly we all need.

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Polar bears can walk all over Wadham's claims of vanished ice, but the Inuit can not paddle a kayak through them.

Global warmists prefer to publicise Wadham, as he produces better headlines.

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Barry Woods:

Brandoon - u said:

"....but no actual content or information we didn't have before today on the issue. We don't have quotations, transcripts or recordings to go off of, so this story is really just, "The IPSO says X."

oh for goodness sake, are you suggesting that IPSO - haven't listened to the audio or ruled correctly, and it is just hearsay. They are very clear in the ruling.. And that you will only be satisfied only when you have seen a copy of a transcript, or heard audio for yourself.

Um... why would that be remarkable? What about the IPSO ruling something makes is true? What about any panel, body or organization ruling anything makes it true? Or even if not true, what about any ruling obliges me to believe it? You say:

much as I'd like to hear Wadham making a fool of himself, and it would be great material for Lewandowsky's -climate concerned conspiracy paper (if he ever wrote one) can we accept that IPSO are likely to be professional on this?

But... why? What has the IPSO ever done to make me obligated to believe it would be so trustworthy I should just assume it will give a fair, impartial and accurate ruling? The body has existed for what, one year now? That's not a lot of time to establish a track record, much less a proven track record.

And of the track record the IPSO has, there are a not insignificant number of complaints saying it has been biased in favor of the newspapers, the same newspapers who got to help create and fund it. That might not be very surprising given the only reason it exists is its predecessor was so bad it had to be scrapped. That certainly doesn't inspire confidence. You say:

not least because Wadham would sue the pants off them, if they got it wrong

But I don't even know that that's possible. It's certainly never been done before. I don't know of any reason to believe it would be done here. Even if it could be done, do you realize how bad it is that that would be the only option? The IPSO doesn't allow appeals. It doesn't allow independent reviews of its complaint process.

This is a climate blog where we've repeatedly seen "independent investigations" which were neither independent nor investigations. We've seen people "cleared" of charges they were clearly guilty of due to malfeasance of the greatest order. We've seen organizations protect even the least important of people when they do wrong simply out of a "us" versus "them" mentality.

After all that, is anyone really surprised I don't automatically accept the ruling of an organization created, funded and staffed at all levels by the very newspapers it is supposed to regulate? Sure, it has "independent" members as well, but even those "independent" members often have to be vetted by the newspaper representative staffs to be approved!

The IPSO is an organization not remotely independent of the groups it regulates yet has the word "Independent" in its name. I'd say I have reason to be skeptical of anything it says.

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:21 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

"Webster then played that up in his article, intentionally making his piece as inflammatory as he could with the material he had. "

"People are just "shading the truth" and things like that. Wadhams probably knows he screwed up and got played, Webster probably knows his actions were shady."

Of course this never happens when journalists are reporting interviews with the Green Blob does it?

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

I feel genuine pity for Professor Wadhams, who clearly has "issues"

I also feel pity for those gullible enough to take his fantasies seriously.

The press should leave him alone.

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&twisted

Spectator:

"Webster then played that up in his article, intentionally making his piece as inflammatory as he could with the material he had. "

"People are just "shading the truth" and things like that. Wadhams probably knows he screwed up and got played, Webster probably knows his actions were shady."

Of course this never happens when journalists are reporting interviews with the Green Blob does it?

I wonder if people realize how whiny they sound when they make comments like this.

People on all sides of all issues engage in biased reporting. That's the reason I said there was nothing remarkable about what I suspect Ben Webster did. It's just more of the same. Today's example happened to a case from the "skeptic" side. Tomorrow's example might happen to be from the "green" side. And if I point that one out, I'm sure some greeny will come along and say:

Of course this never happens when journalists are reporting interviews with the skeptic crowd does it?

Because there's this segment of the population that doesn't seem to realize even if there is some bias against you or your group, constantly talking about it even when it's not remotely relevant will annoy people until they just don't care.

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:54 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

"will annoy people until they just don't care." Brandon Shollenberger.

I think we've hit that milestone.

It's a common mistake that both sides make in seeing the other side as fundametally different. It's the public who don't fit into either side. They just don't care. The real difference between us is that sceptics can work with "will annoy people until they just don't care." The consensus side can't. It may not sit well with you but the sceptic side has the lesser bar. We are just members of the disgruntled public. We can get away with stuff that the consensus can't because a) we're not being paid by an authority and b) we don't need the public to do anything they wouldn't want to. Given that, I think we play reasonably fair.

Sep 28, 2015 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

bitter&twisted + others, would it not be better if the relevant publications apologised and explained in print, the reason for the confusion.

If Wadham then decides to supplement that with his own assessment, the public can make up their own minds, rather than have them made up for them.

Alarmist science relies on alarmist quotes. Just like politics.

Sep 28, 2015 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Wadhams predicted 2015 Arctic Ice minimum would be 1M km2. The September average is coming in at 4.6M.

https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/arctic-ice-rebound/

Sep 28, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C

Prof Wadhams is an advisor to Pope Francis.


Which explains an awful lot

Sep 28, 2015 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterfretslider

TinyCO2:

"will annoy people until they just don't care." Brandon Shollenberger.

I think we've hit that milestone.

It's a common mistake that both sides make in seeing the other side as fundametally different. It's the public who don't fit into either side. They just don't care. The real difference between us is that sceptics can work with "will annoy people until they just don't care." The consensus side can't. It may not sit well with you but the sceptic side has the lesser bar. We are just members of the disgruntled public. We can get away with stuff that the consensus can't because a) we're not being paid by an authority and b) we don't need the public to do anything they wouldn't want to. Given that, I think we play reasonably fair.

I think you're making a huge mistake here. People may not care about the petty bickering of the "climate wars," but that doesn't necessarily translate into them not caring about global warming. People can be convinced to support environmentalist causes for any number of reasons, including the very simple, "Scientists say so." The consensus message is very powerful.

Getting people to tune the debate out won't stop the global warming movement. That's why warmists are actively trying to get people to tune the debate out. That's the entire point of the "inoculation" approach being pushed by John Cook and the Skeptical Science group. Their entire goal is to get people to not care about the debate. If skeptics do the same, they'll just help things along the same path. And that path is polarization.

Now, if you think your group is the larger, more powerful group, polarization might seem like a good thing as your group will be the one in control. If that's your goal, well... I think it's a bad goal just like I think the inoculation approach Cook et al are pushing is a bad idea. Polarization inevitably alienates large amounts of people, creating the opportunity for a group (even a third party one) to claim them and gain a lot of power.

But hey, maybe people's natural inclinations/apathy will line up with the "skeptic" goals. If so, increased polarization might work out rather well. It's likely enough on its own to prevent any major, world-changing actions from taking place. I wouldn't be so sure about smaller stuff. Given the n umber of self-interests global warming can be used to justify, I suspect it won't be that difficult to get people to support any number of actions to address it.

Sep 28, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon, having an independent recording of an interview would seems to be very prudent (at least for sceptics these days), and something Jo Nova always does (usually filmed, not just recorded). It means that the reporter then cannot twist what's said to mean what it doesn't. If he/she does, then there is ample comeback to 'demonstrate the error'.

On Wadhams, one wonders why the University still has him on their staff, allowing him to make them a laughing stock, and not quietly 'retired' him long ago. Perhaps he's tenured, making him undismissable. I see from his Cambridge Uni bio (@ http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/pw11/) that he hasn't done any field work since 2001.

Sep 28, 2015 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterIlma

Brandon
Believe me, people on the "giving" end of an interview can be remarkably unaware of what they say. My best headline ever came from an off-the-cuff (but certainly not off-the-record remark by a council official: "we could sell it off for flats".
He denied he said it but (a) I had it on tape; and (b) the council's head PRO was present.
And there is absolutely no point in anyone, and certainly nobody in Wadhams' position, saying, "oh, and by the way, that was off the record". Too late, mate!
In Wadhams' case two-thirds of a 30-minute on-the-record interview which was supposed to be about Arctic sea ice (yawn) was actually about Wadhams' (what appeared to be) paranoiac fantasies (yes!). Both The Times and the reporter have their reputations to consider. Wadhams made himself look a fool twice over, first by passing up a perfect opportunity to keep his mouth shut and second by assuming that the reporter was a matey chap who would do what he was asked by Wadhams, a major misjudgement.

My advice to you (for what it's worth) involves three words. Hole. Digging. Stop.

Sep 28, 2015 at 4:48 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Brandon Shollenberger. Sceptics haven't the resources to act like an equal opposition to the consensus side. We haven't the money or the time. We don't get the media opportunities to get our best case across, so it's small wonder there is no sceptic consensus and it goes a bit weird at the edges. That's our excuse, what's the mainstream one? How is it possible for presidents, NGOs, actresses and even scientists to be unsure of the official facts? Sceptics first have to attract attention to the questions and the more voices the better, even if each person asks something different. The consensus side then has to admit that anyone has the right to ask before we start sorting out which of the questions have merit.

Sep 28, 2015 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

This comment from someone on Dellers's Breitbart article on Wadhams:.

I remember Wadhams from my time in the Antarctic twenty years ago. A pleasant enough chap, with a nice line in comic songs, but the fact that he and his device for measuring ice floe oscillations were collectively known as “Dr Wibble & his Wobbleometer” speaks volumes!

Sep 28, 2015 at 5:29 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Wadhams is a prat, get over it ffs.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Just like Wadhams, clutching at straws.

Now then, Arctic meanderings and fantastical interpretations Part I million and one:

The source of that deep heat is a layer of warm water that is saltier - and therefore denser - than water at the surface.

"There's a reservoir of heat in the Arctic Ocean, well beneath the surface, that historically - when there's been a lot of ice - has been fairly quiescent," Dr MacKinnon explained. "It's just been sitting as a warm, salty puddle beneath the surface."

Now that shrinking sea ice is exposing more water to the air, scientists are worried that this warm, salty puddle might get stirred upwards.

Hmm, it is a well known fact, that, the Atlantic conveyor aka "the thermohaline circulation" - has some influence on the Arctic basin. Yet again, this a fatuous attempt to link the chimera of "diminishing sea ice" with a natural phenomena and hence, to somehow prove a nebulous, a tenuous linkage to a supposition [mm CO2=warming]. Desperate, desperate stuff from a desperate organization inclusive of; MacKinnon and U Cal SD Scripps.

Q. Did Obarmy pay yers?

Sep 28, 2015 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

TinyCO2:

Brandon Shollenberger. Sceptics haven't the resources to act like an equal opposition to the consensus side. We haven't the money or the time. We don't get the media opportunities to get our best case across, so it's small wonder there is no sceptic consensus and it goes a bit weird at the edges.

One of the main reasons skeptics don't get the media opportunities to get their best case across is because skeptics are often perceived as loons because so many of them refuse to distance themselves from genuine loons. If skeptics could actually occupy the moral high ground, they'd get more airtime.

That's our excuse, what's the mainstream one? How is it possible for presidents, NGOs, actresses and even scientists to be unsure of the official facts? Sceptics first have to attract attention to the questions and the more voices the better, even if each person asks something different. The consensus side then has to admit that anyone has the right to ask before we start sorting out which of the questions have merit.

I have no idea why you think this. If people ask a bunch of stupid questions, then everybody is just going to assume all the questions are stupid. Nobody is going to sort through a hundred questions because five of them might be good, especially not if twenty of them are accusing people of being criminals. There are some topics I just don't talk about anymore because I know nobody will listen to me because "skeptics" have ruined any chance of being heard on them by saying stupid things.

One of the greatest struggles any serious movement undergoes is organizing its members to keep them on target so they don't become a disorganized mess that loses focus and becomes what you describe. The reason for that is if people just shout out a bunch of random stuff with no coherence or semblance of order or thought, it'll just come out as meaningless noise that gets tuned out.

To be honest, I have no idea what the "skeptic" cause is. I know the global warming debate better than at least 99.9% of the population, and I couldn't possibly lay out what its case is. I don't know what the group believes, stands for or hopes to achieve. I don't even know how to tell who's in it and who isn't. That's a terrible sign.

Sep 28, 2015 at 7:52 PM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Brandon, you've got to remember we were condemned before most of us were ever sceptics. The mainstream media loved the idea of global catastrophe and made its mind up about those who dared question it. The biggest purveyor of the idea climate change as a hoax is the consensus side. They make straw men all the time, but by mentioning repeatedly they make a lot of people think it's true. Ha, ha. Those who then naively repeat it are called deniers. Are they any less stupid than those who repeat stupid stuff from Al Gore or Emma Thompson?

My own first innocuous questions were kicked in the teeth by people who should have shown some common sense. You can't pretend that most of us were responsible for that behaviour. Trying to be resonable was too easy for warmists to ignore. Do the Joe Romms or Bob Wards stick to the truth? They know they get more impact if they sex the science up. Why don't they get condemned? (yes, I know some of you do your bit but it's not enough).

If we divided up into all the different versions of scepticism we'd all be very lonely but together, we make the arguement that things are wrong with climate science. And there is, if you were seriously listening you'd be able to list them.

I've stopped hoping the consensus side would start acting like they understood what they were demanding. When you ask for miracles you need to behave like saints. Even if you fail, you have to at least try. Climate science still acts like it's an academic subject and not a real world issue where things have to stand up to abuse. If it can't cope with that it needs to go back to school where ernest students will treat it with the respect it thinks it deserves.

Sep 28, 2015 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2544152

A discussion started on 'skeptic cause'.

Sep 28, 2015 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2,

How very patient your soul is.... and me? Well, I'd like to have a chat face to face with Mann or even Wadhams, see how long my patience could stretch listening to their BS analyses.
Suffering fools, a disappeared art, insofar as I am concerned.

Sep 29, 2015 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

TinyCO2
+1 I would have put +10, but that would have seemed like climate science exaggeration.

Sep 29, 2015 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Grin. Thanks Athelstan but I'm not sure that 'patient' is the right word. I think 'dogged' is closer.

Sep 29, 2015 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Thanks golf charlie too. Apart from mangling my words, I know that most sceptics feel broadly the same. It's quite hard to condense climate scepticism into a set of issues. It's like a divorce where one of the partners is asked to explain why they want to separate and can't think of any one major gripe but has a lifetime of little ones burning away inside. The person feels very strongly but can't explain it.

I think there's a fundamental difference in the way we think between sceptics and warmists.

Sep 29, 2015 at 1:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2:

My own first innocuous questions were kicked in the teeth by people who should have shown some common sense. You can't pretend that most of us were responsible for that behaviour.

Huh? I've never said anything about who's fault that is, much less blamed you or anyone else for it. The only thing I've blamed you for is for getting people to not want to listen to you by failing to have anything resembling a clear message. You can say things like:

If we divided up into all the different versions of scepticism we'd all be very lonely but together, we make the arguement that things are wrong with climate science. And there is, if you were seriously listening you'd be able to list them.

But that's just rude. I know plenty of things that are wrong with climate science, but I don't know what "skeptics" think are wrong with it. The simple reality is if I had to guess what "skeptics" believe, I'd have no way to tell. It's obviously not just that they think there are problems with climate science. Plenty of people think that but aren't "skeptics."

It's quite hard to condense climate scepticism into a set of issues. It's like a divorce where one of the partners is asked to explain why they want to separate and can't think of any one major gripe but has a lifetime of little ones burning away inside.

I hope the lifetime of little issues isn't the laundry list that gets posted at WUWT day in and day out. I recently decided to start paying attention to that site to try to get a better grasp of people's positions in the global warming debate, and that place genuinely disturbs me. There's an active segment there which doesn't even accept global warming is real, claiming the observed temperature rise is purely a figment of criminal adjustments to the data.

And it's welcomed. It's even encouraged, with a constant stream of posts that plays up how data is supposedly just made up or estimated, with no effort made to quantify the effect of any of the issues described to allow people to understand the effect of the issues being discussed. And it's a place where it's apparently okay to accuse people of being criminals for adjusting data because... that's just how "skeptics" behave, I guess?

I mean, there have literally been posts this year which deny the greenhouse effect is real, and this is said to be the biggest skeptic site there is. I don't know what to think.

Sep 29, 2015 at 5:39 AM | Registered CommenterBrandon Shollenberger

Peter Wadhams was the Review Editor for the Introduction of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group 1 (The Physical Science Basis) of Assessment Report 5 (out in 2014) which helps to explain his desperation.

Sep 29, 2015 at 7:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterAriane

One of the big differences between alarmist and sceptics is clear in this very thread. The alarmists seem to get paid by the word, the sceptics by the idea.

Sep 29, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterEternaloptimist

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