The mainstream media have finally realized that Climategate is a serious threat to one of their coziest shibboleths, and they have gone into defense mode. Thus Michael Mann (the “trickster” himself) and John Podesta of the Center for American Progress were given quite some time on The Diane Rehm Show this morning to do the radio equivalent of hand-waving. And on yesterday’s This Week, Paul Krugman was thrown some soft balls, which he failed to hit out of the park, instead relying on the pathetically untrue “deniers are sooo much better funded than alamists” line (Noel Sheppard has more at Newsbusters). All of the spin and hand-waving distracts from the three main elements of the Climategate scandal:
1. The data were manipulated to hide a decline in recent temperatures, meaning that we cannot be sure that the paleoclimatological record shows that the recent warming was in any way unusual. This is separate from the issue of whether or not it has been warming or cooling, which is a distraction from what Climategate tells us.
2. There was a concerted effort to subvert the peer-review process of journals that might publish “skeptical” articles (and thereby undermine the “consensus” argument).
3. There was an organized attempt to circumvent or obstruct the legal requirements of the UK’s Freedom of Information Act 2000, which appears on its face to rise to the level of criminality.
In addition, there have been attempts to muddy the waters with assertions that data were publicly available all along (ha!) and the insinuation that anyone using “stolen” emails is somehow more immoral than the perpetrators of the three frauds outlined above. I call this latter defense the Spycatcher Gambit, as those who use it seem to believe that if they can just suppress the emails as stolen, the problem will go away. Even Malcolm Turnbull will recognize that one won’t work.
As Mark has said repeatedly, Climategate is a great example of the blogosphere holding the mainstream media’s feet to the fire. By concentrating on these most important points and not getting distracted by the alarmists’ attempted Jedi mind tricks, the truth will continue to come out. For, as Milton said,
And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?