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« More Megan | Main | Science Media Centre and the BBC guidelines »
Friday
Feb172012

RP Jr on Fakegate

Roger Pielke Jr has posted reflections the continuing rumpus over the Heartland emails. As ever, his thoughts are well worth a read:

If the faked document happened to be produced by a climate activist or scientist (as some are already suggesting), then the leaked Heartland documents will go down in history as one of the more spectacular own goals in the history of the climate debate (with the consequences proportional to the stature of the faker). The faking is likely to overshadow whatever legitimate questions may have been raised by the release of the documents. Imagine what would have happened if the UEA hacker/leaker had made up a few emails to spice up the dossier.

This also struck me as wise:

This sort of thing feeds into the worst imaginings of skeptics and blinds them to the fact that there are real issues here despite the frequent over-egging of the pudding.

Meanwhile, Roger has also asked Gleick direct if he was the faker:

I emailed to ask if he faked the Heartland document, no reply yet. I offered to publish his confirmation or denial on my blog.

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Reader Comments (64)

I asked him what the real issues are, but he deflected the question.

Feb 17, 2012 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/02/reality-is-not-good-enough.html

For the link

Feb 17, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered Commentercirby

I tweeted Peter as well earlier, merely to make him aware of it..
As I tried to explain to Leo Hickmsn.. it is very hard to defend yourself if you have to prove a negative.

Ie Leo thinks onus on heartland to prove fake is a fake, but would not say what evidence or how to satisfy this request..

Feb 17, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

@Barry
Sugest to Hickman that the burden of proof is on him to "prove" he did not create the fake HI strategy doc.

While we're at it demand that Hickman "prove" he did not commit any of a long list of fakes and crimes.

Feb 17, 2012 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

OT, but check out a couple of new items on BBc News:

Canadian goverment accussed of 'muzzling' its scientists: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16861468

Fracking contamination downplayed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17073435

Feb 17, 2012 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSalopian

In heartlands statement they say "Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered."

is there any evidence, or half decent conjecture, the non fake docs had been altered?

I thought I'd read about sums being altered on one doc, but I had so many tabs open following the various output my PC crashed and I can't remember where it was!

Feb 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

One comment on the obviously fake "strategy" doc: it is so brief and inadequate as any possible annual "strategy" statement for any genuine organization that it's true purpose is unwittingly revealed.

It was created by a faker aka CAGWarmist to convey some juicy propaganda quotations into gullible media accounts.

The fact that people like Richard Black pretend that this content was all "duplicated" in the real docs shows that Black and his ilk are unfit to be doing journalism.

Feb 17, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

o/t but could anyone with BBC I player look at my comment at 5.32 p.m. on unthreaded and try to get a transcript of the conversation with a scientist talking about bird flu. In this the scientist says that...openness for scientists is what it is all about. This is just after the same scientist says that all their data has been made available so that others can check up/verify what they have done.

Pls advise Andrew if you can do this and send him a transcript. I don't have the connections for I player

Rgds

Peter

Feb 17, 2012 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

o/t but could anyone with BBC I player look at my comment at 5.32 p.m. on unthreaded and try to get a transcript of the conversation with a scientist talking about bird flu. In this the scientist says that...openness for scientists is what it is all about. This is just after the same scientist says that all their data has been made available so that others can check up/verify what they have done.

Pls advise Andrew if you can do this and send him a transcript. I don't have the connections for I player

Rgds

Peter

Feb 17, 2012 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Roger has plenty of chutzpah, for sure. But I do love the direct approach.

Feb 17, 2012 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie

" feeds into the worst imaginings of skeptics"

Doesn't he mean "confirms the worst imaginings of skeptics."?

Or more realistically, "confirms the worst imaginings of skeptics again."?

Feb 17, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Does anyone else here think that there may be papers in the Murdoch stable who are all too ready to pick up on a story showing bad journalistic practices by the Guardian & BBC, particularly after the kicking they've had from the same through the phone-hacking and leveson inquiry?

Just a thought ...

Feb 17, 2012 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

From Richard Black on the previous thread:

"I have given them an opportunity to deny explicitly that some of
the contents are real, and they have not done so - ergo, they are real."

By this logic, RP Jr. has given Gleick an opportunity to deny explicitly that he faked the Heartland documents, and he has not done so - ergo, he faked the Heartland documents.

With Blackian logic, we can use a negative to prove anything.

Feb 17, 2012 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

Perhaps Roger should try the Richard Black (BBC - impartiality is in our genes) approach to Gleick:-

I have given him an opportunity to deny explicitly that he wrote it, and he has not done so - ergo, he wrote it

Feb 17, 2012 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Phil R

Snap!

Feb 17, 2012 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Woah! I didn't know about that communication from Black. That is extraordinary is he for real! I'm maybe missing his sense of humour there or his level of judgement has always been this bad, but more likely there is evidence we are seeing a major meltdown in his critical faculties. Possible he's feeling a bit jittery?

Feb 17, 2012 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

The Leopard In The Basement ,

What think we see from Black is the sign of a person who knows full well that there is no chance in hell that any sceptic complaint will ever be dealt seriously by the BBC, and who is just going through the motions.

... no it's more ... he is laughing at our inability to stop him.

And he is totally right. The BBC have manufactured their guidelines on global warming which says that no sceptic viewpoint is valid, that the science is settled and in effect we are all flat earthers who should be replied to but whose complaints will never be acted on.

Feb 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

I wonder if Peter Gleick's middle name is Zinoviev.

Feb 17, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Mike Haseler
I guess you are probably right about Blacks feelings of assurance in his status of vanquisher of sceptics. I remember that video of his potted history of climate for his colleagues. However I don't think anyone could maintain that level of puffed up posing forever, even at the BBC. Surely some of the real journalists must be laughing at these enviro clowns? Especially when you see the underlying ineptitude of their basic ability for fact checking.

Feb 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Mike Haseler
I guess you are probably right about Blacks feelings of assurance in his status of vanquisher of sceptics. I remember that video of his potted history of climate for his colleagues. However I don't think anyone could maintain that level of puffed up posing forever, even at the BBC. Surely some of the real journalists must be laughing at these enviro clowns? Especially when you see the underlying ineptitude of their basic ability for fact checking.

Feb 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

The genie is out of the bottle. It's going to be impossible to put him back in it.

Feb 17, 2012 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

The genie is out of the bottle. It's going to be impossible to put him back in it.

Feb 17, 2012 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

The warmists can always claim that the document is genuine; a genuine fake.

Feb 17, 2012 at 9:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

"If the faked document happened to be produced by a climate activist or scientist (as some are already suggesting)"

That's rather disingenuous. The Heartland Institute has categorically stated that the document is a fraud, and that all of the documents were obtained through identity theft.

Who does Roger Pielke Jr think might have created faked documents and engaged in criminal fraud and identity theft. A disinterested party? Someone who is not a "climate activist"? Someone's grandma, or perhaps a local policeman?

This is precisely the kind of rhetorical waffling and straddling that is endemic to the multi-billion dollar (GBP, EUR) global alarmist industry, even (especially!) when caught red-handed in a fraud and a lie.

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGarry

More from Suzanne Goldenberg in the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/17/heartland-institute-fresh-scrutiny-tax

The Team have written an open letter to Heartland:

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2012/02/17/heartland.pdf

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Black's piece on the BBC website states, "This entry is now closed for comments."

They should add, "This mind is now closed to doubts on global warming."

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

It could be that we are dealing with two sources. Those who stole the HI documents and those who created the fake.

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered Commentermac

Especially when you see the underlying ineptitude of their basic ability for fact checking.
Feb 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM The Leopard In The Basement

When I read something that gives an insight into the mental processes of climate hacks, like Black's response to Mike Hasler, I'm always surprised by the deficiencies in logical thought.

I've noticed the same thing with Hickman and Carrington at the Graun.

Generally speaking, journalists always strike me as a pretty sharp bunch, since they have to think on their feet, make tricky snap judgements and be held to account for their mistakes.

Why do the enviro crew always give the impression of double digit IQ's - is it because they're rejects from proper journalism?

I've tried to start a twitter hashtag for them - #hacktivists.

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I thank Roger Pielke Jr for asking Peter Gleick if he was the author of the faked Heartland document.

I think an interesting question of a broader nature is: Was the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, as a team, involved in the faked Heartland document?

John

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

A bit OT but there is new Suzanne Goldenberg article up on the HI issue. The weird thing is it so passive, I am no expert in US tax law and the status of non-profits but I would have thought that the Grauns US journalist on this subject could put together a story outlining it for my benefit - you know - show me something not tell me something. BUt no she is leverage the "fact" that the whistleblower is reporting the HI to the IRS!?

"The Guardian has learned of a whistleblower complaint to the Internal Revenue Service about Heartland's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status."

So they have "learned" of the complaint from the whistleblower but have no extra info or analysis themselves. Boy are they lame.

Oh, and Stop Press!

The article also has an "exclusive" open letter from a bunch of climate scientists (not including Gleick) to the HI which basically says nothing. Nothing at all. All it says is - paraphrase - now you know what its like to be hacked and you should belive our assessment of the climate. End of paraphrase. Wow! Great exclusive Guardian. Utter crap. Go and read it and weep.

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

BTW to be on topic I agree fully with RPJ here, he has hit the nail on the head. There does seem to be some strange avoidance from some on the sceptic side who seem to be more smarting at the Heartland Institutes loss of dignity and are almost ignoring the significance of the faking of the key doc and its subsequent leveraging by the BBC, Guardian NYT etc, etc, etc. The believer side obviously will turn into pretzel shapes to keep the subject away from the fakery and would prefer to get into bun fights about HI alleged influence too.

With climategate we know the investigation, for all its drawn out pottering around, has proven that FOIA has left no link to the sceptics interviewed or anyone else. We know the whole extent of FOIAs communication - a few lines, almost certainly FOIA is a smart cookie who has left no links because the stakes are too high even for a non-descript person to risk the "consensus" of the right thinking media villifying you.


It's not just Murdoch papers that have the power to destroy you.

Yet with this case, we have the breezy confidence of disdain and acceptance of a willing media, it has smug underlying assumptions written all over it. Desmog, Guardian (above "learned from"), and the email from the leaker to 15 people which apparently has been doing the rounds amongst a "bunch of folks" 15 people!?, and we are not privy to know about all this so far but the almost certainty that many people have a good idea how to find out who leaked this. If they stay wilfully passive on that score then sure, go ahead, treat your readers as sheep. I don't think they will like it though.

Feb 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Re The Leopard

I'm sure the IRS would be interested in any serious complaint, if the complaint had merit.

"I believe there was a massive abuse of 501c(3)," Mashey said. "My extensive study of these think anks"

Good old Grauniad. Did they miss the t or the h?

Feb 17, 2012 at 11:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

The gift that keeps on giving. Mashey's complaint

"Such as there was a whole lot of behaviour that sure looked like lobbying and sending money to foreign organisations that are not charities."

Didn't one "charity" that performs extensive lobbying recently get stripped of it's charitable status in NZ? Or the UK sending a fair chunk of change to TERI for Pachauri or the IPCC or something,

It would be a shame if the IRS and other national equivalents started looking more closely at the funding and charitable status of entities on all sides of the debate.

Feb 17, 2012 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

The gift that keeps on giving. Mashey's complaint

"Such as there was a whole lot of behaviour that sure looked like lobbying and sending money to foreign organisations that are not charities."

Didn't one "charity" that performs extensive lobbying recently get stripped of it's charitable status in NZ? Or the UK sending a fair chunk of change to TERI for Pachauri or the IPCC or something,

It would be a shame if the IRS and other national equivalents started looking more closely at the funding and charitable status of entities on all sides of the debate.

Feb 17, 2012 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

BH spam filter badly broken....it throws up lots of illegible garbage for us to copy, but if you can construe the legible bits, you then get another test etc.....after 12 tests, the test threw up a totally legible exam....do you plan to become RealClimate or Tamino?

Feb 18, 2012 at 12:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

The Leopard In The Basement ... the real outcome of this is going to be huge disappointment and then disillusion by the warmists.

The warmist have been egged on by this belief in a mythical "evil empire" at the Heartland institute. They were promised that "if only you could see what was happening there you would see the stained hand prints of Big oil all over the sceptic camp".

Instead, it's rather like the SAS have broken into Hitler's bunker to find the Berlin women's guild holding a bring and buy jam sale.

The reality just doesn't fit the rhetoric.

Putting the WI on war trial ... it doesn't make them look bad, it makes those putting on the show trial look bad ... even if they dress them up in SS uniforms and put swastikas on their jam jars it still looks ridiculous.

So what do they do?

Any attempt to compare spending ... they get their own figures on Heartland budgets flung back at them

Any attempts to suggest the BIG-OIL bogey man is behind sceptics ... they get their own figures flung back at them.

Any attempt to suggest illegality or impropriety ... they get the documents they claim to be genuine flung back at them to show that nothing untoward is going on.

What does that leave them? What do they do? Use the "it must be somewhere else" defence? If somewhere else where? I'm struggling to think of any other organisation they can pin anything on.

They promised their followers that if only they could see the inner working of Heartland that they would be astonished. There followers are astonished ... astonished that the people trusted completely failed to deliver. That they huffed and puffed and blue the house down ... and there was nothing there!

Say the evil sceptic empire is somewhere else? Do they stick with the

Feb 18, 2012 at 12:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

guys...if Gleick says "yes", then he is going to be indicted.

Feb 18, 2012 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Mike Haseler

The Leopard In The Basement ... the real outcome of this is going to be huge disappointment and then disillusion by the warmists.

I think it will be interesting to see if so. I think the HI have had the magnifying glass on them for so long by skilled obsessives like Mashey that I can't think what further interest to anyone normal outside the climate bun fight can be raised. Unless they can prove something really terrible. And that hasn't happened yet for all the eyes looking down on it. It has just been left wing crying foul against right wing so far. Most people know about pressure groups jostling for influence. Big deal.
As Atomic Hairdryer says it could end up meaning the IRS feel prompted to investigate It seems Mashey has been trying to prove some sort of IRS transgressions by the HI for a hell of a long time. I guess we will soon find out if the leaked stuff finally helps him get his goal. Either way if it can happen in NZ then why not anywhere? In any organisation? ;)

Feb 18, 2012 at 1:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Exactly. He would have to admit a crime. If he did it, and says no, it only gets worse. If he did not, saying so does nothing, at least it does not change any minds that have already decided on his guilt. It is reasonable to assume he will not answer as there is no benefit to doing so.

Mark

Feb 18, 2012 at 1:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

The evidence is pretty circumstantial but if I were an FBI man looking for a high profile indictable offence to case-manage to help boost my career, Peter Gleick be the first suspect on my radar.

Feb 18, 2012 at 2:26 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

guys...if Gleick says "yes", then he is going to be indicted.

Feb 18, 2012 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Ermm... what happens if he says "no" and then is found to be lying??

Feb 18, 2012 at 3:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

@Diogenes

Those spam filter texts are always easily legible to me..... are you sure you're not a spam-bot??

[just kidding, they are really annoying and difficult to decipher]

Feb 18, 2012 at 3:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

@Phil R

Well someone's denial via tweet or blog would not matter at all in a court of law since the person was not under legal oath.... it would matter in the "court of public opinion" except that someone who had done that would have much bigger problems to worry about if exposed then the mere fact of an initial denial .... note that I am intentionally using vague "person" and "someone" references since I have no idea who may have done this, except that it is sure to be some dedicated CAGWarmist to go to so much trouble.

Feb 18, 2012 at 3:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

IANAL & IANAA (I am not a lawyer & I am not an American) but... The IRS stuff looks pretty far fetched.

There appear to be two issues:

1. Complaining about campaigning.

Some of the more idiotic complaints by the more idiotic warmists is that heartland is campaigning on issues.

But my understanding is that a non-profit is allowed to campaign and educate on an issue, but not for or against a candidate. And if you have any experience of American elections and politics, you'll sure have encountered this type of campaign on issues by lobbying groups. So they're barking up the wrong tree.

Then there are warmist complaints that they are campaigning for or against a candidate. But there's no evidence of that... so the warmist complaint is really - some candidates don't agree with you on the issue, therefore you are sort of campaigning for a candidate. Well that might sort of be true, but again my understanding it's it's perfectly normal and acceptable for non-profits left and right to do that sort-of campaigning.

This is discussed in some detail in the comments at http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/02/heartland-memo-looking-faker-by-the-minute/253276/ - see comments by SQPR.


2. Complaining about the educational materials they are produced

The argument is that the science and educational materials they produced are wrong, therefore they shouldn't be a charity....

Apart from begging the question, I've never heard of charitable status being revoked for that reason.

And the most hilarious part of this complaint, is most of the science/educational materials they are complaining about - in the 2012 budget - haven't been produced yet. Which then leads to the argument "we know they are libertarian therefore what they product is bound to be wrong....and therefore they can;'t be a legit non-profit"

Feb 18, 2012 at 3:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterComments on IRS Stuff

Don't miss Megan Mcardle's follow-up column.... she has devoted some real effort to reviewing issues presented by the HI fake "strategy" document and she simply shreds the Smog Blog people and other pathetic apologists at this link:

Megan Mcardle shreds the Smog Blog and other warmist apologists for forgery

Feb 18, 2012 at 3:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

*Latest* Richard Black has just commented on ethics in environmental journalism -

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.

Er... no...sorry, my mistake, it wasn't him at all. It was Megan McArdle with a follow up piece to her original excellent article. Title, Heartland Memo Looking Faker By the Minute

Feb 18, 2012 at 4:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

What's with all of the double posting ?

Feb 18, 2012 at 6:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

Frosty: but I had so many tabs open following the various output my PC crashed and I can't remember where it was!

Try using Firefox, Frosty. It restores all open tabs lost following a crash. Or use your "History" facility. It's always still all there.

Feb 18, 2012 at 6:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

sHx

"The evidence is pretty circumstantial but if I were an FBI man looking for a high profile indictable offence to case-manage to help boost my career, Peter Gleick be the first suspect on my radar."

His performance in concocting a dodgy review of Donna Laframboise's book is compelling evidence that he is certainly stupid enough to try something like this.

Feb 18, 2012 at 7:10 AM | Registered CommenterMique

guys...if Gleick says "yes", then he is going to be indicted.

Feb 18, 2012 at 12:56 AM | diogenes
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey, maybe our local law enforcement folk can march in and confiscate his computers.

Feb 18, 2012 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

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