Breaking Story: Climategate Redux? (Nah, Broken Story, Except for the Theft, the Smear Campaign, and the Upcoming Press Coverage)

Here we go again. Wat are the headlines going to look like? “More Damaging E-Mails Shed Doubt on Climate Science” or “Discredited Attempt to Cast Doubt About Climate Change Recycled by Thieves in New Smear Campaign”

In a concerted effort to confuse the public about firmly established science and discredit the highly reputable and honest scientists who collectively wrote it, e-mails have been hacked, snippets of perfectly ordinary backchat have been taken out of context and posted online. They are no doubt very busy preparing the story at Faux News and the Murdoch outlets. Wondering how the mainstream media will react this time.  Scant attention was paid to the fact that last time, in 2009, the stolen e-mails and accusations turned up no evidence whatsoever that challenged the scientific findings. Jon Stewart and Comedy Central appear to have been one of the few “news shows” to have noticed this:

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CLICK HERE FOR SOME BITING SATIRE OF HOW THE MEDIA COVERED THE FACT THAT THIS TURNED OUT TO BE BOGUS LAST TIME THEY TRIED IT

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This comes just on heels of the recent IPCC report about the connection between climate change and extreme weather, which played it awfully safe in making its claims.  And just before the talks in South Africa.

As the story is developing today, it turns out  that much of the material surfacing on the internet is recycled from 2009.  The Union of Concerned Scientists has just issued a statement which includes this (click here for the full statement):

HACKERS RELEASE MORE EMAILS STOLEN FROM SCIENTISTS
SCIENCE GROUP CALLS ON BRITISH AUTHORITIES TO IDENTIFY HACKERS
WASHINGTON (Nov. 22, 2011)—In an apparent effort to discredit climate science, hackers again posted stolen emails from leading climate scientists online today, just days ahead of a United Nations climate meeting. According to the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, the emails released today are part of the same batch that was stolen from the university years ago. Only some of those emails were released in November 2009. Since then, multiple investigations exonerated scientists who had their emails stolen of misconduct.

“These leftover emails should be met with a collective yawn,” said Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) Scientific Integrity Program. “It’s time to condemn the real perpetrators in this story: the hackers who stole and released university property. The hackers and their allies are resorting to desperate measures to distract the public when our focus should be on how to respond to climate change.”

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Check back tomorrow for more.  In the meanwhile, see these posts from:

Jocelyn Fong at MediaMatters here

Brad Johnson’ at ThinkProgress Green here

Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones here

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About Scott Brophy
Scott Brophy is a philosophy professor whose work is focused on the intersection of philosophy and public policy, especially on environmental issues, law, and education. He has also taught philosophy of science, logic, and the history of philosophy. He has served as a consultant for educational programs and schools throughout the U.S. and abroad, and as an adviser to several philanthropic foundations.

One Response to Breaking Story: Climategate Redux? (Nah, Broken Story, Except for the Theft, the Smear Campaign, and the Upcoming Press Coverage)

  1. Pingback: Recycled Chum aka Denier Bait | The Policy Lass

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