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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Abandoning all journalistic standards, CBS libels Michael Mann based on a YouTube video — while reporting his exoneration!

Abandoning all journalistic standards, CBS libels Michael Mann based on a YouTube video — while reporting his exoneration!

Once-great network airs charges it knew to be false

by Joseph Romm, Climate Progress, February 7, 2010
“You know you’re in trouble when you’re being spoofed on YouTube.”
So begins one of the most shockingly unprofessional “news stories” you are ever likely to see from a major network that isn’t Fox.

The news organization that gave us Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite now bases its reporting on YouTube videos.  Thursday, CBS libeled climatologist Michael Mann on the basis of nothing more than a jingle someone uploaded to the Web:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Memo to CBS:  Pretty much everybody is spoofed on a YouTube video — including the CBS evening news.  Does that mean that we are all in trouble?  I guess some questions answer themselves.

Yes, CBS actually shows Mann singing:
Makin’ up data the old hard way
Fudgin the numbers day by day
Truly unbelievable.

I generally do not use the word “libel” for media miscoverage of climate science.  But CBS reports in the same story, almost as a throwaway, that an academic panel had just cleared Mann of the exact same “charge” leveled at it by the fact-free video.  Thus, the false charge meets the tough legal standard for determining whether a major media outlet has defamed a public figure — that the publisher had “knowledge that the information was false” or that the information was published “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

As CBS knows, the Penn State inquiry found no evidence for allegations against Michael Mann.  He was cleared — once again — on any charges that he had directly or indirectly falsified data in his research.  And remember, unlike  the vast majority of published scientific analyses, which merely go through the scrutiny of peer review, the Hockey Stick graph was essentially vindicated in a thorough examination by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences (see NAS Report and here).

And while some published climate analyses which do not stand up under subsequent scrutiny in the scientific literature — mostly the stuff by the anti-science crowd that wasn’t reviewed by people who actually understood climate science — the Hockey Stick has not only withstood scrutiny but seen its conclusions expanded (see Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years and Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, ’seminal’ study finds [figure below]).

We have blown past the temperatures of the past two millenia.  That’s why climatologist and one-time darling of the contrarians Ken Caldeira said last year, “To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous.”

Bottom line, CBS’s broadcast charges against Mann it knew to be false.  It is recklessly bad and defamatory reporting.

I guess the major media outlets feel they have no choice to hold on to their dwindling audience by going tabloid like the Washington Post has.   Eli Rabett is hopping mad over this, too, and has translated a post from the German that ends:
Meanwhile, something is happening, which is typical for the media: the law of the series. If a bug in the IPCC reports shows up, then the reader will be fascinated by a series of mistakes. Therefore, bad journalists (the rule) are always happy to report the Himalayan glaciers error as the second breakdown in climate science, (IPCC is just too boring to write, better throw it all in one bag) after covering the stolen emails from the Climate Research Unit, although the two events have nothing to do with each other. Strange when stealing from someone is described as a scandal of those stolen from and curiously, journalists cannot distinguish CRU, IPCC and climate research from each other -- such a lack of selectivity might be forgiven for Betty Blueyes and Johann Six-Pack, but not in the media. And so, after Emailgate and Himalayagate (in the sense of Watergate, that is somewhat like comparing a tax increase to the 3rd Reich), now we have Hurricangate and Amazonasgate.
One simply can’t keep up with all of the trash allegations being thrown at climate scientists these days in the hope that someone in the traditional media will be suckered into rerunning them.  But I’ll deal with the debunking of Amazongate this week.

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1 comment:

Snapple said...


I am new to posting about AGW, but I know a smear campaign when I see one.

Hope you like my posts, too.