the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Big Journalism III

Posted by Jeff Id on January 12, 2010

The exciting conclusion to Patrick Courrielche’s writeup of climate gate.

Peer-to-Peer Review (Part III): How ‘Climategate’ Marks the Maturing of a New Science Movement

Suffice it to say the Mosh might want to move to another, more friendly country, perhaps North Korea.  I enjoyed Patricks story, he did a good job being accurate, tAV didn’t get noticed as the blog which has discussed the emails as much as any other and he keeps pointing out how tiny it is.  It doesn’t really matter, climategate is public knowledge to some degree.

One issue I thought Big Journalism might have covered (due to the name) was the initial complete lack of coverage by MSM, followed by the very poor and biased coverage shortly after.  I mean, recal the rant on that goofy article with 5 Associated Press reporters ‘exhaustively’ examining the emails and then repeating the party line.  What a joke it was.   I’ve been reading the papers for a long time now, and still wouldn’t have made the stupid claim to have figured all of the emails out. There were a number of instances which Christy, McIntyre and Zorita other scientists point out which are best understood only by the people who’s papers were victims of the scam.  For a group that didn’t break any initial stories on the subject,  to finally after weeks claim exaustive review and nothing to see here.  You know darn well, they started the ‘review’ already knowing the conclusion.

The reason it’s worth mentioning again, is that the public is still largely unaware of climategate and almost fully unaware of its consequences.  This lack of understanding came about due entirely to the huge liberal bias in the media outlets which didn’t want to report a big story simply because it damaged their darling ‘climate change’ issue.  So again, in what is probably the millionth example, the dying, dishonest, corrupt, free media,  suppressed a story, gave up more credibility and profit, all for the sake of an unspoken political position.  Instead of honest reporting, all we get is regurgitation of Michael Mann’s, Phil Jones and Schmidt’s sophist defenses.

25 Responses to “Big Journalism III”

  1. onlyme said

    Thanks Mosher, Lucia, McIntyre, McKitterick, Jeff Id, Lord Monckton, Roger Pielke Sr. and Jr, and all the others who have done so much to help save the planet from the clutches of the AGW Hysterics and who have injected so much needed scepticism and anti-alarmism into the public view.

  2. P Gosselin said

    Unfortunately I have to go and can’t read it right now.
    Skimming it I see a photo of polar bears. So They leaked it!

  3. Garry said

    goofy article with 5 Associated Press reporters ‘exhaustively’ examining the emails and then repeating the party line… For a group that didn’t break any initial stories on the subject, to finally after weeks claim exhaustive review and nothing to see here.

    In another life I worked in publishing for 10+ years and daily with large numbers of journos, and though most of them are nice and sincere people I did find that there’s a tendency toward having massive blind spots and holding the (preposterous) inner assurance that having a “mile wide, inch deep” understanding of a topic is the same as understanding that topic in depth, which of course it is not.

    Also the journo’s bias is always toward people – and not toward messy and complex ideas and concepts – so you will find that the emphasis is almost always on “the players” and what they are saying, versus the ideas and what they mean.

    QED, if they understood the scientific ideas within the Climategate emails (and documents) they wouldn’t be journos, they’d be scientists, yes?

    And though I am not a scientist (but a mere computer guy), I can certainly understand how and why journos so consistently get the ideas wrong (or simply dismiss their importance) and simultaneously believe – truly and sincerely believe – that they’ve been “exhaustive.” It’s the non-scientist’s *interpretation* of what they believe science is, combined with those massive and persistent blank spots that most journos don’t even believe they have.

  4. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Jeff ID, I think the intent of the 3 part series can be summed up with this comment:

    The Times’ Thomas Friedman recently stated, “The internet is an open sore of untreated, unfiltered information.” There is much truth in his statement. But when taken in context, it is spoken like a true gatekeeper. The quote came in response to how the undermedia exposed controversial information on former green jobs czar Van Jones.

    Many in MSM know that their days of glory and gatekeeping are numbered. I would not linger for very long on what the MSM does or why they do it, but rather concentrate on what peer-to-peer review can accomplish and what is needed to improve it. And by improve, I do not mean the conventional approach of regulation or hard and fast rules, but rather by forwarding thinking peoples examples and successes.

  5. Hoi Polloi said

    Kind of disappointing end of the Climategate Trilogy. Nothing new, unless this:

    “Having felt that it was highly unlikely that it was a hoax, Mosher went one step further. “Prior to [the emails] being public, I got confirmation from sources inside CRU that the files I held were real.””

    So Moshgate got the CD (from whom yet to be disclosed yet) before the actual revelation and has inside links in the CRU (yet to be disclosed) who confirmed the emails were real.

    I cannot imagine Mosher has not been contacted by the Extreme Squad, as apparently he has the direct link to the leak.

  6. Steve Fitzpatrick said


    I was a bit disappointed in the article. A lot of what he says is of course correct (how the emails reveal corruption of the peer review process, etc.), but I think he understates what the emails reveal about some leading climate scientists; the grotesque (almost cartoon-like) arrogance, the terrible bias against anyone not on the Team, constant preoccupation with how data and publications could be “misused” by critics and the general public, and a complete unwillingness to critically evaluate their own work or that of other team members. These scientists lack the kind of utter scientific honesty that Richard Feynman talked about in his famous address at Caltech. They portray themselves quite accurately in their emails: scientific midgets.

  7. Harold Vance said

    If you are a reporter and if you publish lots of stories that question the consensus, how many interviews do you think that you are going to obtain from the consensus leaders, the so-called top scientists in the field, once they figure out who you are? How do you stay in the game? How do you stay relevant? My guess is that you are going to get fired when your bosses eventually figure out that the climate scientists won’t give you any access.

    I’m not excusing anyone’s behavior. I see this issue as a function of human nature. Forming tribes and defending them seems like it is a built-in function or a tendency. The question is how do you create a system of reporting that won’t come to a grinding halt when most of the participants decide to become part of one tribe? How do you enforce accountability?

  8. Hoi Polloi said

    I wonder whether it all started here:

  9. hunter said

    Friedman is a sock puppet. His opinion is not worth, as we say in Texas, a bucket of warm spit.
    That the AP could not find real reporters, and instead found five faux reporters who rubber stamped the lie that there is nothing in climategate, is not surprising at all.
    Mosher and the others who had the guts to publish the climategate release are the heroes.
    The question is: Will there be more leaks?

  10. BDAABAT said

    The articles were a nice summary of the events, but it seems like there’s still soooooooo much more there to be mined! And, yes, the MSM hasn’t gotten it correct, yet. It’s totally understandable… if you need to turn around a story quickly, who do you go to? The official, recognized “experts” in the area. In this case, the MSM went to the experts, Gavin, Jones, Mann, et al and got answers from them. Their answers were, “nothing to see here… move along.” With increasingly short news cycles, there isn’t time to really dig into the story to see if it actually checks out. And besides, there’s all that MATH involved. How many reporters are actually comfortable with MATH and science???

    So, yes, the MSM hasn’t gotten the message. Even Big Journalism hasn’t really nailed it. It’s not likely some grand conspiracy to suppress the findings (well, aside from the behavior of Gavin, Jones, Mann, et al)… more easily explained by usual human behavior and the reality of current news gathering (won’t use the term reporting, that implies something more…. ummmm… involved).


  11. Jeff Id said

    #9, Not of the same stuff I think, but there are plenty of rumors.

  12. Fred said

    “The internet is an open sore of untreated, unfiltered information.”


    “The New York Times is an open sore of treated, filtered misinformation.”

  13. Phillip Bratby said

    Fred: Did you mean “The New York Times is an open sewer of treated, filtered misinformation.”?

  14. Ed said

    Quite a few of you have now become pretty famous, at least in the “undernews”. Please don’t become part of a new “Team”.

  15. Jeff Id said

    #14, The great thing about skeptics, is they all have their own opinions.

  16. Viv Evans said

    Agree, JeffId – the MSM have not looked into this whole debacle at all, with a few exceptions like the collaboration of a blogger (R.North/EUReferendum) and Christopher Booker, who are ready to publish an even more devastating investigation into Pachauri. But that is economics, not climate science.

    I found the reports by Steve McIntyre, Christy, etc on how their work was suppressed – and that is the right expression,even if some papers were published later – even more disturbing than the fraudulent science.
    Therefore I find it more than despicable that the MSM are happy to overlook this.

    Finally – this whole series was written for readers who have not been involved in climategate from the beginning, and under the aspect of how the internet has led to a totally different way of peer reviewing scientific information. That was important information for those who have only now come to learn about climate science and The Team.

  17. RB said

    If you thought publishing politics was restricted to climate science alone, you should check out this article .

    “Academic politics are vicious because the stakes are so low.” – Kissinger

  18. P Gosselin said

    It’s a great exposé and summary of one of the greatest science follies of all time.
    Any chance Mosher will disclose the source of the CD?
    Sure would love to know more about the intrigue behind the disclosure.
    Ps: I love that rat Friedmann’s “open sore” comment – shows the internet has done the public a big service.

  19. stan said

    OT, Warwick Hughes has a couple of worthwhile posts the last few days.

  20. JBean said

    Jeff —

    Breitbart’s audience is conservative, so they already know that the media lies and hides the truth. I think what Patrick did, he did well — explaining in simple terms what Climategate is all about, without exaggeration, for the non-scientific. And how the truth can leak out, under the media radar, for those who have ears to hear or eyes to see.

    It took a long time for us to get to the low point of media degradation we’re at today. Climbing out of it will take longer, with a lot of effort by folks such as yourself, as frustrating as that may be.

  21. stan said

    I think people need to read the article with an understanding of the perspective of the writer. He’s writing about the failure of the MSM and the “Army of Davids” which the internet has organized to take down establishment BS. This story isn’t intended to be an exhaustive account of what this episode means in terms of climate science. It’s about how it relates to the practice of journalism and the impact of the internet on the gatekeepers. He’s writing for an internet site intent on exposing the sclerotic, corrupt MSM gatekeepers.

    Climategate has a lot of parallels to Rathergate. And some parallels to what the SwiftVets did when they were completely stonewalled by the MSM after their initial press conference.

  22. boballab said

    Steven Mosher left a very interesting post over on Lucia’s and on Patricks piece at BigJornalism. Here is a part from Lucia’s:

    steven mosher (Comment#29867)
    January 12th, 2010 at 1:29 pm
    Hi guys,

    I’ll get to Boris and others, But for now I’ll copy here what I wrote over at patricks. Patrick was at a little disadvantage when it came to figuring this out, because I wouldnt give him much. I couldn’t I had not written anything when I talked to him. Did I download the files? No. How did you get them? On a CD. Who gave them to you?
    Cant say. Why did they give them to you? To see if they were a hoax. How did you do that. I called people mentioned in the mail, I read them mails. At that stage I’m very unsure if I even want to talk about what happened between Nov 13th and Nov 19th. Is the book gunna a be a who dunnit? a what happened? a why does it matter?

    With all that said.. here is what I wrote at his site:

    Another piece in the puzzle, a piece which has been in PLAIN VIEW, will come out over the next couple of days. The people who helped me have the chance to tell the story from their perspective. Hopefully, you’ll hear from one of the guys I talked to, and then the person who gave me the CD. That person commented long ago about getting the file. For people who like to do this investigative stuff, I’ll leave that out there, but it’ll come clear before the book goes out.

  23. […] The importance and necessity of coal fired power. Nature obfuscation criticised, magazine should be called denatured! Big journalism 3, […]

  24. I was hoping that through the mere publishing of the 3 part series, it would be a statement about the mainstream media’s treatment of stories like Climategate. The quote I used in closing was an attempt to convey that message.

  25. Jeff Id said

    #24, I think you’ve done a fine enough job of that, but it hasn’t removed the sour taste of the handling. People here have different opinions than I about how media is performing, I don’t really care about inner workings or self certainty. The coverage was leftist, biased and basically shit pathetic. They deserve to go out of business.

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