You may not appreciated the necessity for uniformity , gentlemen, unless you make use of your imagination. A single document may well be accepted, but you must think of a series. After receiving, let us say, six genuine documents, someone receives one spurious one. The recipient naturally lays them together in the course of the routine of his office. If one is markedly different from all the others –even if one is different in only a small degree–attention is clamorously called to it. Hine illac lachrymae. And if that document has a content somewhat unusual–even though in other circumstances it might have passed-then the fact is in the fire and Bow Street is called in. Et Ego in arcadia vixi, gentlemen.
C. S. Forester Hornblower during the Crisis 1967
As I’ve said many times, media bias is expressed more in the stories that are not covered or promoted than those that are.
The “climate gate” e-mail story was completely ignored by the MSM and our fiends in the left but through facebook and videos like “hide the decline” the story got out.
The left that was so upset about the “hacking” of the climategate e-mails has been orgasmic over a set of e-mails purported to be from the Heartland Institute and one particular memo on Strategy.
However (via Glenn) it seems more and more likely that the primary document in question is fake. As Stacy noted the Heartland institute has been pushing back, the Atlantic and the PJ Tatler have both written on the subject and it doesn’t look good for Peter Gleick as a NY Times online blog is questioning him.
One of the blogs that has so trumpeted said documents is DeSmogBlog and now that evidence is mounting that a key document may not be genuine they are making the defense:
The DeSmogBlog has no evidence supporting Heartland’s claim that the Strategic document is fake.
Really? You publish a set of documents from a 2nd or 3rd party source claiming to be from an organization and it is THEIR job to prove that they are false? As you did not obtain the documents yourself would it not be logical that the burden of proof is on you?
Megan McArdle at the Atlantic is disappointed and not just in the misrepresentation of her own views:
Mr. Littlemore contends that this is a distraction from larger issues, but I cannot agree. The foundation of journalism is accurate sources. Anyone who considers themselves to be in the business of informing the public about the truth should care very deeply when faked documents make it into the public record. They should especially care if their own work has been the vehicle.
Dismissing the possibility of fakery–and the obvious questions about who might have perpetrated it–does not help us focus on the “real issues”. I’m afraid “Fake but accurate” just won’t do. Nor will trying to shift the burden of proof to the people who are pointing out solid reasons for concern. Instead, the stubborn willingness to ignore obvious problems becomes the story–something that Dan Rather learned to his dismay in 2004.
Now if this was purely a question of journalistic ethics Ms. McArdle’s objection might carry some weight, but she seems to miss the point here. The battle our friends on the left are fighting right now is not journalistic, it’s political. The Goal is to keep this from breaking into the MSM in a negative manor or to make sure that the narrative reported is their narrative.
Mr Gleick’s post a Huffington is to that end to put his narrative to the MSM first so that anything that follows up is a response rather than the news.
Update 3: Stacy McCain weighs in
“It’s not my fault!” The end justify the means: The alleged evil of their opponents excuses any shoddy smear Gleick and his allies may perpetrate against them. And despite their admitted amorality, they wonder why we doubt their claims to “science”?
He also gives some leftist history worth remembering
Update 4: Irony overload at Quark Soup:
Wow, this is bad — Peter Gleick chairs an AGU Task Force on Scientific Ethics: