Thursday, April 22, 2010

Climategate coverage: unfair and unbalanced


Around November 19, 2009, stolen emails and computer code from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were uploaded to a publicly accessible Russian Web server.  Very soon afterward, the stolen emails were announced to the world by the anti-science blogosphere.  The controversy went viral and was dubbed Climategate.  Climategate was an obvious attempt to subvert the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen a few weeks later and I blogged on the CRU Hack on November 24 to show why these stolen emails did not undermine the integrity of climate science.

The main targets of the anti-science crowd were Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the CRU, and Dr. Michael Mann of The Pennsylvania State University.  These highly respected scientists were accused of hiding data, fudging data, avoiding requests for information, and purposefully blocking peer-reviewed journals from IPCC reviewers.  Furthermore, the “big guns” of the climate change denialosphere such as Marc Morano of Climate Depot, Anthony Watts of WattsUpWithThat, and conservative “think tanks” such as Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Competitive Enterprise Institute, among others, attempted to spin these emails as somehow proving that there was a massive international conspiracy to promote global warming.

There have been several investigations into the allegations of misconduct by Drs. Jones and Mann and every one has shown that the allegations were baseless.  Dr. Michael Mann was exonerated on February 3, 2010 after an exhaustive investigation.  Dr. Jones has been exonerated by the UK Parliament (March 31, 2010) and also exonerated by The University of East Anglia (April 14, 2010).

Did these exonerations receive the same coverage as the groundless accusations?


Not even close.

Web Coverage:

I used Google to search the Web for the following phrases:

“phil jones” climatic research unit

“michael mann” climatic research unit

For each search I used two filters.  1)  Web hits in the first two weeks after the Climategate story broke (11/19/09 – 12/03/09) and 2) Web hits in the first two weeks after Dr. Jones’ exoneration (03/31/2010 to 04/14/2010) and the first two weeks after Dr. Mann’s exoneration (02/03/2010 to 02/17/2010).  It should be noted that using the term climate research unit instead of climatic research unit (a common mistake) did not alter the results significantly.  The results appear above …

Climategate Coverage: Unfair & Unbalanced

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