A “climate story” that won’t get “promoted”

by Datechguy | February 21st, 2012

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A "climate story" that won't get "promoted"

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.

That goal tran­scends mere “facts” to our Gaea wor­ship­ing friends on the left, and always will.

Update:
Alt­house piles on

Update 2:
Tim Blair con­tin­ues to be price­less with links and snark for all

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:

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.

That goal transcends mere “facts” to our Gaea worshiping friends on the left, and always will.

Update:
Althouse piles on

Update 2:
Tim Blair continues to be priceless with links and snark for all

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:

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