Slimed by Bagpuss the Cat Reporter

As many CA readers know, I was slimed today in the Independent by reporter Paul Bignell, best known for his hard-hitting expose of Bagpuss the cat. Bignell reported:

The children’s television producer Coolabi has bought the rights to produce Bagpuss for television, but Mr Postgate’s son, Daniel, has scotched plans to bring the series back. Talking from his home in Kent this weekend, Daniel Postgate, a children’s author and illustrator, said he hadn’t liked the new proposals at all.

In a statement, Andrew Lloyd Weaver said that Bagpuss is a known henchman of Moriarty the Cat, the Napoleon of crime, who, Weaver believes, coordinated a simultaneous cyber-attack on the University of East Anglia and the theft of a laptop computer from the University of Victoria.

Paul Dennis at Bishophill says:

I am growing tired of the lazy, careless and vacuous journalism that seeks to smear by insinuation. This newspaper asserts that 2 prominent climate bloggers (who spoke at the Heartland Institute) who associate with Paul Dennis a 54 year old climate researcher at the University of East Anglia. I don’t know what the Independent is trying to insinuate but to me associate in this context strikes of conspiracy, subterfuge etc.
….

For an alternative view of the blogs, see Matt Ridley here.

109 Comments

  1. Dave G
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    It doesn’t seem to slime you on my reading of the article. What exactly is said about you that is untrue?

    • RomanM
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: Dave G (Feb 7 10:38),

      Innuendo. What is the first thing you see when you look at the page? The headline:

      Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers

      ExxonMobil cash supported concerted campaign to undermine case for man-made warming

      The second thing? The only picture in the article where Steve is identified as (bold mine):

      Stephen McIntyre, who runs climateaudit.org, part of a network of climate change sceptics

      A network??? Really? … and all funded by big oil? The creation of an association by the juxtaposition of these two elements is yellow journalism at its finest. You don’t see this as underhanded sliming?

      • Dave G
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

        Sorry, I just don’t get it. The article doesn’t say anything at all like you’re trying to make it say. It talks about think tanks being funded, not blogs. Quite a different thing.

        • Raven
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

          Only a small percentage of readers will actually read the entire article. Most will skim. The picture, the headline will leave the impression in the minds of the readers that Steve is associated with Exxon.

          The text of the article is more careful because outright lies would get them sued. It is slimy and typical of alarmists.

        • Dave G
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

          OK, maybe. But for Steve to claim he’s been “slimed” based on the way some people MIGHT read an article really is a bit desperate. It seems to me like he’s looking for what he wants to see, rather than looking at what’s actually there. I’m not impressed and had expected better of him.

          Steve: Where did I use the words “how some people MIGHT read an article”.

        • Bernie
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

          Please explain why Steve’s picture is prominently displayed.

        • Raven
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

          He his being slimed based on the way people WILL read the article. As I said, most people do not read an article to the end.

          Think about yourself. How many times do you skim articles instead of reading them? I know I do it all of the time as a quick filter because I don’t have time to read everything out there. If something catches my attention I will read it through. If not I leave with whatever impression the headline a first few lines gave me.

        • bstewart
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

          Re: Dave G (Feb 7 11:56), Roman’s analysis is spot on, and delineates precisely the reader reaction that was intended by these “journalists.”
          Next topic.

        • Dave G
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

          Steve – I’m going to call you on this one. Despite what you say, you haven’t actually been “slimed” at all, you’ve merely been mentioned in passing as a blogger in a newspaper article about the funding of think tanks. Not the same thing at all. No need to proclaim martyrdom when no one is trying to martyr you – at least not in this article!

          Steve – I was referring to Raven’s argument that you have, nevertheless, been slimed because people will not read to the end of the article.

        • curious
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

          Just bought the paper copy – DaveG have you seen it?

        • Andy
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

          Neuro-linguistic programming

        • RomanM
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

          Re: Dave G (Feb 7 11:21),

          Look at their choice of language. Read the headline again (bolded this time):

          Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers

          “Climate deniers” NOT “Think tanks”! They teach this sort of thing in propaganda school. The choice of words determines the emotional content of the piece. Spurious connections (which are not based on any factual information) made to individual bloggers extend the supposed conspiracy to the “global warming skeptics”. Read the quote from Ward:

          “A lot of the climate sceptic arguments are being made by people with demonstrable right-wing ideology which is based on opposition to any environmental regulation of the market, and they are clearly being given money that allows them to disseminate their views more widely than would be the case if they didn’t have oil company funding.”

          Does this sound positive to you? Is it supposed to apply to Steve (and the rest of us ‘extremists”? Is it even based on fact? This is sleaze stuff!

        • kuhnkat
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

          DaveG,

          You left out the part where he states that the Think Tanks fund organisation of sceptics information distribution.

          Wonder who they fund?? Hmm, there is a BIG PICTURE OF A SCEPTIC BLOGGER!!!

          Caption from the picture:

          “Stephen McIntyre, who runs climateaudit.org, part of a network of climate change sceptics”

          See that “part of a network of climate change sceptics” statement? Funny there is no information supporting this bald ststement of fact.

          Now, in the paragraph next to the photo it talks about Big Oil giving money to the think tanks who then fund a couple of think tanks who then:

          ” Both organisations have funded international seminars pulling together climate change deniers from across the globe. ”

          Further down he writes:

          “Climate sceptic bloggers broadcast stories last week casting doubts on scientific data predicting dramatic loss of the Amazon rainforest.”

          And further down:

          “Atlas has supported more than 30 other foreign think-tanks that espouse climate change scepticism, and co-sponsored a meeting of the world’s leading climate sceptics in New York last March.”

          I don’t think there is any doubt that many who read this article, unless they are familiar with Steve Mc’s ClimateAudit blog, will conflate these purposely incorrect and/or sloppy statements into Steve Mc’ being organised by think tanks who receive funding from Big Oil!!!!

    • Mike Blackadder
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

      The article says that Steve is a ‘denier’ whose work is part of an orchestrated effort to spread falsehoods about climate change. What alternative explanation do you offer from your reading of the article?

      • Dave G
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

        We must be reading different articles. The one I can see says,

        “Stephen McIntyre, who runs climateaudit.org – a site that was one of the first to receive an anonymous link to the original leaked data from UEA.

        … emailed Mr McIntyre …

        The UEA researcher also has connections with another prominent sceptic, Anthony Watts, with whom he has posted and who spoke beside Mr McIntyre.”

        So by inference we have Steve as a prominent skeptic, which sounds about right to me. The caption to the photograph also refers to him as a skeptic. I can’t see any reference to him as a “denier” in the article.

        • c1ue
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

          to Dave G.

          If you read the entire article carefully, libel laws are avoided.

          However, if I were to post an article that said: Here’s a list of child molesting perverts, and posted your picture, then talked about some related subject involving you, do you think perhaps you’ve been attacked in some way?

          This is – as noted previously – a standard yellow journalist hit.

          It was so pathetic though that I had to put up a comment that this tactic is SO 2009…

        • theduke
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: Dave G (Feb 7 12:08),

          Here is the headline, sub-headline, byline, the date and the opening paragraph:

          Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers

          ExxonMobil cash supported concerted campaign to undermine case for man-made warming

          By Jonathan Owen and Paul Bignell

          Sunday, 7 February 2010

          An orchestrated campaign is being waged against climate change science to undermine public acceptance of man-made global warming, environment experts claimed last night.

          Right next to the opening paragraph is a photo of Steve. You either have to be willfully blind or impenetrably stupid to not see the implication and the intent.

    • John M
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

      David G.

      If you’re still confident that there’s no there there, you might want to go straighten these guys out too.

      http://www.desmogblog.com/mcintyre-and-mckitrick-unmasked

      • Jimchip
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

        Re: John M (Feb 7 11:51),

        I really like the phrase “economist-for-hire Ross McKitrick”. I can picture Ross with a big calculator on his belt, strapped to his leg, bicycling into town…maybe a little, whistley, Sergio Leone music in the background.

        • John M
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

          Jimchip,

          Obviously, once you’ve determined that it’s OK to have your opinions shaped by prejudice and you’re OK with putting your brain on auto-pilot, it’s easy to see how they make that claim.

          After all, according to the meme, there is a conspiracy driven by a small cadre of well-funded opponents. After a while, they all start to “look alike” to the other tribe.

          So, you see, Matt Briggs used to head his blog with “All manner of statistical analyses cheerfully undertaken.” To the memers, Matt Briggs=Steve McIntyre=Ross McKitrick. “All manner of statistical analyses cheerfully undertaken”=”economist for hire”. “They all look alike”. Get it?

          (Of course, Briggs appears to have gone Hollywood. His new credo is “Statistician to the Stars!”. Before you know it, the desmoblob will start saying “Steve McIntyre, self-proclaimed ‘Auditor to the Stars'”.)

  2. curious
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Check out the editorial too where they are singing the praises of sceptics:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-sceptics-have-their-uses-1891390.html

    …”Details also matter because rigour and transparency are important.”…

    I wonder if this novel approach might also be of relevance in the field of journalism?

    • Bernie
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

      As I said on the previous thread, this has all the makings of a PR counter-offensive from the vested interests of the green industry. Deepclimate and deSmogBlog are running hard with this story.
      Steve’s use of the word “slimed” is correct. The misuse of his picture at the head of a story claiming that skeptics are funded by ExxonMobil is the essence of a slime.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    THe picture in the article was from a copyrighted article in Macleans magazine.
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/12/13/centre-of-the-storm/ where the photographers name was in the right corner. The Independent truncated the photographer’s name and incorrectly attributed the photo to AP.

    • Dave G
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

      But that hardly counts as you being “slimed”, does it? That’s just annoying for the photographer.

      Steve: that was not in response to your question. It was cross-posted. Roman answered your question.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

      Deliberate photographic misappropriation is illegal. I thought we all knew that. Why else would we have copyright law?

      Read from a distance, the article contributes nothing to the advancement of truth.

      Have a look at CRU email 973374325.txt If you accept it as correct and genuine, it infers that Big Oil is massively funding AGW research.

      Not auditors.

  4. Fred
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    The article drips with the desperation of the believers as their nice tidy world of AGW tumbles down around them.

    When the facts don’t line up in your favor a conspiracy against you is the obvious conclusion of an end-of-the-line logic train.

    If the “reporter” is so inclined to look at $funding backed groups trying to influence science, he should google up the annual reports for the WWF & Greenpeace . . . they have raised $billions off pictures of “drowning” polar bears and climate induced catastrophes.

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2010/01/wwf-wtf.html

  5. chip
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    Exxon spends ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ on funding skeptic groups and this is evidence of a sinister campaign?

    Why are these newspapers still in business?

    • Dewi
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

      The Independent is barely in business, and sinking fast. It also isn’t a newspaper, as such. It’s occasionally been referred to as a “viewspaper” – which basically means that their business model is not to report news, but to confirm the prejudices of its readers. Thankfully, that’s a failing business model.

  6. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Call me stupid, but I still don’t see the idea behind badmouthing any science / scientist by alleged or proven association with Exxon (or the tobacco industry). Wasn’t “science” the thingie that deals with FACTS and REALITY that won’t budge whoever foots the bill, and that doesn’t need a “consensus” because it works just the same for those who don’t believe in it? Anything that doesn’t fit this definition isn’t science anyway but politics or religion (and thus shouldn’t have a place in a decent person’s mind).

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Who else is in this supposed “network”? Lucia? Jeff Id? Anthony? Richard North?

    For an alternative view of the blogs, take a look at the Spectator here

  8. redetin
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    Is being “slimed” something like:-

    “Like being savaged by a dead sheep”

    This was said by combative UK Labour politician Dennis Healey on being criticized by the mild mannered Tory minister Geoffrey Howe in the UK House of Commons in June 1978.

  9. P Gosselin
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    This Independent piece is a “vast-conspiracy” rant on steroids.

  10. theduke
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    If I didn’t know better, I would think this was a parody of McCarthyism.

    This is how they go the roundabout way to get to Steve: “Speakers at the event also included two prominent climate bloggers who associate with Paul Dennis, a 54-year-old climate researcher at the University of East Anglia who has been questioned by police investigating the theft of climate data.”

    Then they point out that Dennis had emailed Steve to tell him something was going on shortly after the emails and data were released.

    Like Roman said: “innuendo.” To which I will add, “guilt by association.” The implication is that Dennis is the “hacker” or “thief” or “leaker” depending on your point of view. And that he was conspiring with Steve.

    Tailgunner Joe would be proud.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Please also see comments on this thread http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/06/rose-on-fortress-met-office/#comment-220310 where a number of readers had an adverse take on this article before I wrote on it.

  12. justbeau
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    The essay by Matt Ridley is powerfully favorable publicity for critically minded people. His is an influential endorsement that may promote a stampede toward a new consensus.

    IIRC, it is acknowledged Pachauri’s own NGO has gotten funds from BP and other businesses. TERI may have many financial conflicts of interest and the IPCC has no conflict of interest policy. Thus dismissing thoughtful people as in the pocket of oil firms is not a sensible slime from Mr. Brignell.

  13. deadwood
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Well, you know, McIntyre did work in the evil mining industry and mining is just as evil as oil.

    I guess that makes me evil since I once worked in the mining industry too. Since I now work in the environmental field, I guess that makes me a mole, like Dennis. And here I thought I was doing my professional best to ensure people could live their lives, to breathe, eat and drink, without being poisoned.

    Oh yeah, mining and oil companies fund my work (through taxes and fees). I must therefore be evil.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

      Do try a though experiment on your personal state of enjoyment if there was no oil and minerals business.

      It can only be a thought experiment, because you would not have a computer to write about it.

      Heck, we minerals people make mistakes too, but we stand up and are accountable for them. We realise the actual cost of data fabrication and withholding of alternative hypotheses.

      Can the greenies as a group make a similar statement?

      Emphatically, no.

  14. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    Considering that carbon credits that some high powered investors paid $7.50 in 2008 are worth ten cents now a near miss sliming is not too much to expect.

    The uber rich who invested in the carbon trading scheme world wide are watching their wealth being eroded away from bad publicity and can be expected to blame someone else. Steve and his blogging friends may be seen as searchers for the truth by readers of this site, but they are villains to the people who put up billions to promote the illusion of danger from a warming world.

    Keep looking forward Steve, the readers of CA have your back.

  15. Jimchip
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I’ve seen this kind of ectoplasm before so I went outside of the network and called in some professionals:
    They’re legit academics, too.

    Oops, I might have made a mistake…they seem more like theCRUTeam…at least I tried, Cheers.

  16. Bernie
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    We should remember what happened to Bjorn Lomborg. IMHO, this is a coordinated attack meant to muddy the waters and dilute the story about the ineptitude and cooption of the IPCC by the same activists who are pushing this silly storyline. See the deSmogBlog and DeepClimate pieces. Look at their timing.

  17. Harry
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Interesting photograph. It looked somehow familiar. I immediately thought spy.
    Spy’s are always depicted as being ‘out in the cold’, the photo’s almost always have grainy backgrounds. Tolson is very good at capturing emotion in his photographic work, but in this photo there is none. Of course anyone outside in Toronto in the fall or window would look cold.

  18. IPhone
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    Steve

    The climate audit website has proven to be a credible source of information. I say credible because it is professional and generally attracts informed comments.

    Your contribution rally for ‘good’ science puts you in the lime light. Hence your comments will viewed by many.

    I worry about casual terminolgy like ‘slimed’ will detract from message.

    Your work on reviewing the science is too important to be dismissed due to the use of irreverent language.

    [the is comment is not as harsh as it may sound... Email is like this. :))]

  19. JamesG
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    They don’t seem too “independent” to me. I see Deepclimate is digging himself into libel territory again. Some folk never learn. Do any of these big oil haters ever stop using the product? No didn’t think so.

  20. Rafa
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    However, if I were to post an article that said: Here’s a list of child molesting perverts, and posted your picture, then talked about some related subject involving you, do you think perhaps you’ve been attacked in some way?

    Maybe DaveG would like to write an article on the Yale Geology department in the mid-1990s and how it is related to Climategate participants.

  21. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    Paul Dennis at Bishophill says:

    I am growing tired of the lazy, careless and vacuous journalism that seeks to smear by insinuation. This newspaper asserts that 2 prominent climate bloggers (who spoke at the Heartland Institute) who associate with Paul Dennis a 54 year old climate researcher at the University of East Anglia. I don’t know what the Independent is trying to insinuate but to me associate in this context strikes of conspiracy, subterfuge etc.
    ….

  22. JamesG
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    They are now sliming Paul Dennis too.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/04/climate-change-email-hacking-leaks

    Actually it’s not so funny. British justice is so farcically bad that someone can be jailed on made-up hearsay and a vague accusation of terrorism. He was fingered because he didn’t sign a petition in support of Jones and he emailed you and called you Steve. That’s enough for the guardian – so depressing.

  23. Jeff C.
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    It’s small consolation to those slimed, but if the dreaded counter-offensive consists of rehashing the “big oil shills” charge, the AGW crowd is in real trouble. The charge didn’t stick when the public was far less informed of the skeptical arguments, what makes them think it will stick now? Smells like sheer desperation.

    I had long thought the gnashing of teeth was purely ideological, but I think now the real fear is that the gravy train is threatened. Billions are at stake, be they research grants, green energy subsidies, or carbon trading revenues. In the movie “Risky Business” Guido the pimp had a memorable line, “in times of economic uncertainty, never f*&% with another man’s livelihood”. At the risk of sounding paranoid, Steve and others whose names are public, please watch your back. I’m sure the opposition research machine is in overdrive looking for anything to start the smear campaign.

  24. David Bailey
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    I used to have a high opinion of The Independent, but this piece has rather changed that.

    The authors must know that there is considerable factual information out there regarding mistakes (or worse) made by climate scientists, yet they conveniently forgot to mention this in their piece.

    Most of the most damning evidence (such as the Hockey stick fiasco) is basically self checking because it uses data supplied by climate science itself! You could be financed by the Russian mafia, but if you point out mistakes like that, it makes no difference!

  25. John Slayton
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    Just curious. Would Brignell have written the headline himself? I’ve managed to get a couple of paid commentaries into major California papers (one on the McClatchy wire service), and in every case I’ve seen, the local papers wrote their own headlines. (Sometimes not to my pleasure) If the editor writes the headline after a rapid scan, that may be a good clue as to what a casual reader will think the article says.

    • curious
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

      John – are you in the UK? If so get a look at the front page of the paper copy.

      • John Slayton
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

        Well, today I am enjoying the blue skies and warm sun of Los Angeles. Does the paper copy differ from Steve’s link?

    • theduke
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

      Re: John Slayton (Feb 7 13:19),

      That’s a fair question. But if Bignell didn’t write it, it doesn’t absolve the Independent’s editors who were trying to write a bombshell headline even though the text doesn’t necessarily support the claims made in the headline. The writer quotes two activists to satisfy the claims made in his opening paragraph, but at least one of them uses terms like “it appears . . .” etc. The other makes serious accusations without providing evidence.

      Aside: both you and Steve have misspelled the writer’s name. If Steve doesn’t watch out he might become the subject of a “what’s my name” column with a link to a video of Beyonce. :)

      • theduke
        Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

        Re: theduke (Feb 7 14:19),

        Correction: that’s “Say my name.” I was distracted by the video.

        John Slayton: saw your Jackson quote after I posted the above. Good one. Andrew Jackson, correct?

        • John Slayton
          Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

          Yup, old Andy hisself.

  26. Harry Eagar
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Dave G, it’s a guilt-by-association story. It purports to be about oil money behind climate skeptics, then in brings in people, like McIntyre.

    You are expected to conclude that he gets oil money, too, even if it never explicitly says that. There is no reason for McIntyre to be in the story if he doesn’t get oil money.

    I am a newspaper reporter. It’s McCarthyite writing, although not very adroitly done.

    Unethical, disgraceful and semicompetent. Which does not mean it won’t also be fairly effective. I’ll bet you it will multiply through the comments at Real Climate, should Gavin ever come out of his hole. (OT, but no Gavin posts since Jan. 29. Is he playing Punxsatawney Phil? Will he come out in February? Did he already and see his shadow and go back in his hole?)

    • Grumpy Old Man
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

      Dear Harry. As a reporter, you will be aware that the Indy is losing money hand-over fist and is in imminent danger of closure. Articles like this do not draw paying customers.

  27. harold
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Uhmm, the ‘journalist’ is Bignell not Brignell and his first name is Paul not David.

    Steve: Fixed.

    • John Slayton
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

      “It’s a *** poor mind can think of but one way to spell a word.”
      –Jackson

  28. Alexej Buergin
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    Maybe it is just stupidity and incompetence of the media people. One writes a story, another one writes a headline (that often has not much to do with the story), and a third one chooses the usual picture of a polar bear.
    But sometimes a case of libel is judged exactely on what impression a fast reader might get, even if that is not really supported by the article.

  29. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    The hook for the article were statements by Watson and Ward.

    Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and former chairman of the IPCC, said yesterday that the backlash is the result of a campaign: “It does appear that there’s a concerted effort by a number of sceptics to undermine the credibility of the evidence behind human-induced climate change.” He added: “I am sure there are some sceptics who may well be funded by the private sector to try to cast uncertainty.”

    Bob Ward, the policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “A lot of the climate sceptic arguments are being made by people with demonstrable right-wing ideology which is based on opposition to any environmental regulation of the market, and they are clearly being given money that allows them to disseminate their views more widely than would be the case if they didn’t have oil company funding.”

    I wonder what evidence Watson and/or Ward had for the statements that they made to the reporter. Maybe they got it from an NGO pamphlet while they were doing research for WG2.

  30. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    Rather than wondering too long about what evidence Watson had for his statements to the Independent, I sent an FOI to DEFRA asking for the following:

    The identity of any sceptic websites or blogs that Robert Watson, DEFRA chief scientific adviser believes to be “well funded by the private sector to try to cast uncertainty” (Independent, Feb 7, 2010) together with any documentary evidence supporting that allegation.

    • ianl8888
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

      :) :) :)

    • Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

      Great. Now I have to clean my soft drink off the keyboard and monitor.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

        Maybe we need a new acronym like “Coughed Coffee on Keyboard” or CCOK.

        These rare moments do that. They are the treasures of the month.

        • Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

          Done.

          ILICISCOMK – I Laughed, I Cried, I Spat/Spilt Coffee/Crumbs/Coke On My Keyboard

          …(1,000 sources here).

  31. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    I think it’s a clever piece. What most people don’t realize is that most of the mainstream media have switched sides in the last two months and are now doing their utmost to erode public confidence in AGW.

    Some are doing it the old-fashioned way by writing nice stories about bloggers or pointing out that the IPCC had a tiny bias towards possible bad consequences from climate change.

    And the rest are doing it by declaring loudly that everything is fine, the IPCC is absolutely wonderful and only made 1 spelling mistake in 1000s of pages of documents. And everyone who says otherwise is not just stupid and irresponsible but “evil” as well.

    It sends everyone over the edge. Any floating voters end up firmly in skeptic-land when they see that kind of rubbish.

    The new approach was first trialled by the Washington Post in December when they ran the uncritical story on Michael Mann. Outraged readers posted their comments for all to see. Anyone not firmly in one camp or another had only one place to land. (The comment tally finished up 1045 against Mann, 22 in favor). Later, an informal poll run by the paper confirmed that 72% of the previously “undecideds” described themselves as “much less confident that AGW existed”.

    Well, this will soon be old news, but I’m going for the long shot follow up story that Gavin Schmidt has been in the skeptics camp for a long. Nothing else could explain the effectiveness of RealClimate at convincing so many “swing voters” to become “skeptics”.

    • Brian H
      Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

      Ah-hah! So it’s all journalistic judo? Hudathunk?
      ;) :lol: :)

  32. Jason R
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Steve, how dare you slime Bagpuss by associating him with Paul Bignell.

  33. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    While I was thinking about it, I sent a similar FOI request to LSE in respect to Bob Ward.

    Robert Ward of the Grantham Institute made the following statement (Independent, Feb 7, 2010):

    “A lot of the climate sceptic arguments are being made by people with demonstrable right-wing ideology which is based on opposition to any environmental regulation of the market, and they are clearly being given money that allows them to disseminate their views more widely than would be the case if they didn’t have oil company funding.”

    Can you please provide the documents used by Ward to identify the people referred to in this statement and the documents that support the allegation that these people are being funded by oil companies.

    • JCM
      Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

      Decades ago I worked for two major oil companies. I have met with the CEO’s of 5 major oil companies and discussed certain aspects of large projects. I have also voted for the Green Party.
      Where do I fit in this ‘network’ and who will be sending me money ?(I expect a sum not less than the 25 sterling per hour )

  34. John A
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    I’m still waiting for my first Exxon Mobil cheque, countersigned by Beelzebub. I’m sure Steve is as well.

    As it is, desperate smearing by desperate hacks at the Independent to prove “guilt by association” is the only recompense Steve gets.

    And now I go back to sleep. When Bagpuss yawns then everyone else starts falling asleep…the mice in the mouse organ….zzzzz

  35. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    A nice phrase in the MAtt Ridley article here

    The main blog used by the Consensus, realclimate.org, exemplifies this problem, because it was set up by a PR company and is run by an employee of Nasa, who ties himself in knots trying to show that he does the blog in his spare time. It is also characterised by a tone of weary condescension and censoring of dissent that you do not find on most sceptic sites.

    Sigh…

  36. theduke
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

    You will find links to two letters written by Bob “Damn the Uncertainties, Full Speed Ahead” Ward on the right side of this page:

    http://www2.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/Home.aspx

    One to the Times and one to the Guardian.

  37. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

    I am unable to locate the hard-hitting piece of journalism from the Independant that exposes the funding behind the pro-AGW networks.

    • Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

      Steve, please check your inbox and its spam filter for an e-mail I just sent you on an off-topic issue.

      • Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

        Never mind. Roger L. Simon is already doing this on the Pajams Media blog (Climategate Part II: Help us follow the money), and a document published last July by SPPI called “Climate Money” (PDF) has further details. The “money quote”:

        If carbon is a minor player in the global climate as the lack of evidence suggests, the “Climate Change Science Program” (CCSP), “Climate Change Technology Program” (CCTP), and some of the green incentives and tax breaks would have less, little, or no reason to exist. While forecasting the weather and climate is critical, and there are other good reasons to develop alternative energy sources—no one can argue that the thousands of players who received these billions of dollars have any real incentive to “announce” the discovery of the insignificance of carbon’s role.

  38. Harry Eagar
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    I have a newspaper to get out today, so I cannot do it, but the editor of the Independent ought to be receiving letters demanding that he explain the points that Mr. McIntyre is submitting FOIs to the government about.

  39. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    I just posted this on the slime post at independent.co.uk

    From your article:
    Bob Ward, the policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “A lot of the climate sceptic arguments are being made by people with demonstrable right-wing ideology which is based on opposition to any environmental regulation of the market, and they are clearly being given money that allows them to disseminate their views more widely than would be the case if they didn’t have oil company funding.”

    Now, let’s see if you and Bob Ward will support his same attack turned around?
    “A lot of the AGW arguments are being made by people with demonstrable left-wing ideology which is based on promoting any environmental regulation of the market, and they are clearly being given money that allows them to disseminate their views more widely than would be the case if they didn’t have grant money and WWF funding.

    If Ward’s original remark is valid–that skeptics can be dismissed because of their ideology and funding sources–then so should the other side be suspected for their ideology and funding sources. Or is it the case that only the left-wing should be allowed to speak in public, and the right-wing locked in mental health prisons like in the old Soviet Union?

    For the most part, the scientists who network via the skeptic blogs, are NOT funded by anyone. I’m certainly not, but I’d love some of the funding, if it is as easy to get as you claim it is.

    BTW, this American is an independent voter who thinks both the Demlicans and the Republocrats are idiots.

    Newt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
    Aerospace Technical Fellow: Modeling, Simulation & Analysis

  40. Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    About taking money…
    I grew up in California, when Governor Ronald Reagan couldn’t get anything done unless “Big Daddy” Jesse Unruh (CA Speaker of the House) allowed it.

    Big Daddy’s most famous quote “Money is the mother’s milk of politics” is not his best.

    “If you can’t take their money, eat their food, drink their liquor, sleep with their women, and then go to work the next day and vote against them, you don’t deserve to be in this business!”

    I’m not saying that anyone took oil company or tobacco company money; I’m just saying, so what if somebody did? If the science is solid, and confirmed by everyone, even the opposition, then it’s science! If it can’t be confirmed, then it’s not science, no matter who paid for it.

    Personally, I want some of that money, since the Independent seems to think it’s getting handed out by the bagfull. I’m a scientist, but I have a home mortgage and mouths to feed, and want a vacation now and then. ;-)

    Newt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
    Aerospace Technical Fellow: Modeling, Simulation & AnalysisNewt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
    Aerospace Technical Fellow: Modeling, Simulation & Analysis

  41. Anthony Watts
    Posted Feb 7, 2010 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    A “network” of bloggers? How funny. A loose knit collection of individuals that share a common interest that found each other via the web. That’s a network now?

    Well at least none of the ones named by Steve in comments above have an official “network logo”, like our buds over at RC:

    RC The network of ....

    “Part of the Guardian Environmental Network”

    • Jason Smith
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

      Anthony,

      I would like to nominate that you, Steve, “Jeff”, Lucia, etc. adopt for your “network” a logo of a Chicken NOT running around and WITHOUT its head cut off. Because I think that best describes you all. Skeptic? Denier? All lacking something. Non-Alarmist. I think that fits.

    • Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

      Anthony may be on to something. At the end of a straw-man piece (How to Answer the Dumb Things Climate Deniers Say) posted today on AlterNet, it says:

      (Thanks to RealClimate.org for background resources.)

      • PhilJourdan
        Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

        Strawmen arguments all. I was especially amused about the MWP. SO who should I believe, Stanford (and the rest of the academia) or some clown monitoring a web site during government time?

    • MrPete
      Posted Feb 22, 2010 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

      Re: Anthony Watts (Feb 7 21:32),
      I like the relaxed-wildlife idea…

      I hereby nominate Thornton.

  42. sascha
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

    Yes, the Independent story is sleazy journalism, but what about the much more direct attacs against you recently published at http://deepclimate.org/ – Steve, is there going to be an official answer to that?

    • jim edwards
      Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

      The Deep Climate story reminds me of the fantastic documentary, “King of Kong”, which goes into the lives of a bunch of pathetic losers whose lives are centered around generating world records for 1980s-era, vintage video games. It’s available on “Instant Play” on Netflix – watch it ! [This film has been much parodied in popular culture. ...we've got a Donkey Kong kill screen coming up...]

      On a lark, a new guy [Steve Wiebe] decides to attempt to break the world record in Donkey Kong – held by the king of the 80s-nerds, the great manipulator – Billy Mitchell. [Mitchell = Mann; Steve M, on a lark, decided to look into the hockey stick]

      Billy Mitchell, and his friends, are the guys who are in charge of the score-validation system for world record attempts. [peer-review / IPCC]

      Mitchell, and his kowtowing cronies, do their best to freeze out Steve Wiebe. Wiebe’s great offense was that he received a package from a missile-command nut, who is upset that his record score wasn’t recognized and has vowed to take down Mitchell. [As in Deep Climate's piece, there's no specific allegation that Steve M. did anything wrong - just that he's associated with others who aren't progressive enough.]

      Steve Wiebe’s score isn’t recognized. [sorry, Steve M, your work doesn't meet our peer-review standards...]

      Steve Wiebe is fixated. He undertakes an extended quest to achieve justice, at the significant expense to his time, money, aggravation, and personal relationships. [sound familiar ?]

      I’ve given enough away; anybody who has been following CA for several years, and can see the allegorical connection between Donkey Kong and climate science, will love “King of Kong”.

      – Steve M. is the new Steve Wiebe.

  43. Craig Loehle
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

    I am trying to imagine Steve Mc being “orchestrated” by anyone. Pretty hilarious picture. And imagine how disorganized he would be if he wasn’t “organized” by the denial machine!!

  44. charles the moderator
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    Well…Bignell did precede the recent slew of revealing xGate stories with his expose about…

    Post…….gate.

  45. Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    Bob Ward reveals himself to Martin Durkin

  46. EdeF
    Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    Ok, its time to admit it. There is a giant vast skeptic conspiracy out there. All 100,000 of us meet at the Toronto Squash Club on Tuesdays where we each get one lb
    Sterling for our efforts.

  47. Roger Knights
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    Ward: “A lot of the climate sceptic arguments are being made by people with demonstrable right-wing ideology which is based on opposition to any environmental regulation of the market,

    “Any,” huh? Hah!

    “An orchestrated campaign …”

    If only it were! It’s as coordinated as a footlocker tumbling down a flight of stairs.

  48. Grumpy Old Man
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    It’s a nice photo though. As to the article, it’s the same debunked conspiracy theory repeated ad nauseum since the climategate emails were “released” for public view. The usual “progressive” fulmination against Big Oil joined with the deliberate confusing of climate change, a natural phenomenon which is clearly established, with ACW, a politically inspired gambit using cod science, which,if present recognised trends in natural climate change continue, will fall down under it’s own weight.
    I find the comparison of Prof Jones with Dr Kelly particularly sickening. Kelly’s unfortunate death coincided with his attempt to make public information which was critical to enable full understanding of the Blair government’s decision to invade Iraq. Prof Jones’ mental anguish is due to his decision to keep certain information critical to the understanding of ACW secret, in direct contravention of the accepted criteria for research science. Both the Blair government and the hockey team are part of the “progressive” movement, a self adopted umbrella term for left-wing idealists.

    One of Stalin’s favourite aphorisms was “The truth can be suffocated by a hundred small lies. All that matters is the end result”
    The resolute refusal of the hockey team to release critical information, possibly because it would be “inconvenient” or “misinterpreted” by ignorant people such as Patrick J Michaels, begs more questions than it answers.

  49. Roger Knights
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:42 AM | Permalink

    The Independent’s reporter wrote:

    “A complicated web of relationships revolves around a number of right-wing think-tanks around the world that dispute the threats of climate change. …”

    “the Heartland Institute … is another right-wing think-tank …”

    When writing for a European audience, the term “right-wing” should be avoided when referring to organizations that would be more accurately described as “libertarian,” “free-market,” “Classical-Liberal,” etc. Such organizations typically oppose “right-wing” policies like tariffs, immigration restrictions, more defense spending, censorship, creationism, etc., etc.

    It’s a sophisticated “smear.”

  50. Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    “have received grants totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds ”

    WOW !!

    That’s almost as much as the BILLIONS paid from governments for PRO climate change research !!!

  51. Dr Iain McQueen
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    This is an ill considered smear by association, but it comes in a newspaper that purports to cover all bases from a leftish stance. This may be why its circulation is almost defunct in UK. It is not sufficiently financed to collect its own news and has become something of a laughing stock as a ‘viewspaper’, with many second hand articles, after the event. It may mistakenly think that by catering to all tastes and viewpoints it will boost circulation, but this usually fails and it ends up with a sort of meally mouthed mixture of extremes. This is an example of almost communist propaganda sludge, hopelessly biased and inaccurate.
    It is probably also in considerable turmoil internally; there is a rumour that they have invited Rod Liddle to become the new editor. He, in contrast to the present clown in charge, is a writer of acute linguistic precision and perception of thought whose stance is to shout the cause of the individual’s view and position in a country increasingly confused by absurd political correctness. Liddle is a regular contributor to the ‘Spectator’ which recently printed a very sensible piece about the blogosphere putting the MSM to shame over this climate issue – specifically extolling Steve M’s contribution in exposing the tottering science employed by AGW team.(mentioned recently on these pages)
    I shouldn’t worry too much – could be read by over a hundred people!

    • Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

      There is no “hiding the decline” in The Independent’s circulation:

      Independent hit by 18% year-on-year decline
      Oliver Luft, The Guardian, 6 March 2009

      All quality daily national newspapers registered year-on-year falls in circulation in February, with the Independent hardest hit.

      Sales of the Independent News & Media title were down 18.41% year on year at a daily average of 205,964, according to figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations today.

      Sunday Times up as Independent on Sunday suffers
      Oliver Luft, The Guardian, 6 March 2009

      …Independent News & Media’s Independent on Sunday recorded a massive 21.28% year-on-year fall to average weekly sales of 179,487.

      The current year-on-year drop in daily Independent circulation is -12.69%, still declining faster than the other major U.K. daily papers. In Sunday circulation, The Observer is the only paper that has performed worse than the Independent over the past year (month-by-month circulation figures are here).

  52. fabius
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Looks like the guardian is dissing you now.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/series/climate-wars-hacked-emails

    • Grumpy Old Man
      Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

      I’ve just been over there. The Piece contains the usual warmist propaganda, a transparent attempt to diminish the effectiveness of the FoI Act, deliberate and misleading understatement of the qualifications and motives of anti-warmist science, and much fulmination of evil “Big Oil” money. For those unfamiliar with the Guardian, the paper depends greatly upon the money it receives for advertising public sector jobs, without which the paper will fold. Effectively, the Guardian is a job sheet subsidised by a “progressive” socialist government.
      If the wicked etc Tories win the election, they intend to relieve the Guardian of this onerous duty and use the net and local papers to advertise public sector recruitment. The gnashing and wailing in lovey-land will be terrible to behold.
      snip

  53. Eric Rasmusen
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    The Independent article is pretty funny. You can be proud of their pitiful insinuations, since while they will no doubt fool the average reader won’t fool anyone intelligent. Their bottom line seems to be that Big Oil has spent some thousands of dollars funding conferences. Not bribing journalists, or giving summer money to professors, or funding websites— just paying for people to get together and talk. And they don’t even get to go to Hawaii to do it. That’s pretty thin beer.

  54. philh
    Posted Feb 9, 2010 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Wonder if anyone has ever rooted out and posted up all the monies received by members of the Team over the last, say, ten years? I know Mann has received or is scheduled to receive somewhere around 3.5 million. Jones’ outfit many more millions. Reading Mosh’s book, it occurred to me that it would be interesting to compile such a dossier.

  55. UpNorthOutWest
    Posted Feb 10, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see where this is turning.

    As yet more revelations from this scandal unfold, as the monolith crumbles, the true believers will dismiss the substance of new revelations by impeaching the sources.

    They’ve been doing that for a while, but now co-conspirators or willing dupes in the media are giving them articles to wave in the air. It’s an attempt to provide a veneer of impartial third-party concurrence with their talking points.

    You’ve got to pay attention to all this and wade into the weeds to really get it. I worry that most consumers of this “journalism” won’t do that.

    Then again, even for the inattentive, the monolith is getting chipped away — the true believers couldn’t spin away the East Anglia emails and the IPCC report “-gates,” despite their best attempts.

  56. Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

    Paul Dennis has started his own blog under the name HarmonicOscillator here:

    http://harmonicoscillator.wordpress.com

    and it is a must read. This guy is taking a huge risk and deserves support.

  57. Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    I have to admit that I first read the title of this post as “Slimed by Bagpuss, the Cat Reporter,” instead of “Slimed by ‘Bagpuss the Cat’ Reporter.” :-)

    • PhilJourdan
      Posted Feb 11, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

      I like your first read better. ;)

  58. curious
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Lord Lawson responds to the IoS on behalf of the GWPF:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/nigel-lawson-a-climate-change-sceptic-bites-back-1898859.html

  59. curious
    Posted Feb 14, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    From the link above Lord Lawson states:

    “GWPF was “funded entirely by voluntary donations from a number of private individuals and charitable trusts. In order to make clear its complete independence, it does not accept gifts from either energy companies or anyone with a significant interest in an energy company”.”

    In case the GWPF read here I think the restrictions Lord Lawson mentions should be made clear at

    http://thegwpf.org/support.html

    where there does not appear to be any terms and conditions regarding interests or limits on donations:

    “Support the GWPF
    Thursday, 19 November 2009 20:30 Dr. Benny Peiser
    E-mail Print PDF

    The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity.

    Our main purpose is to bring reason, integrity and balance to a debate that has become seriously unbalanced, irrationally alarmist, and all too often depressingly intolerant.

    We are funded entirely by voluntary donations from our Members and Supporters. We cannot exist without your support.

    With your donation, you are helping us to provide policy makers, journalists, academics, and people around the world with accurate information, reliable news and rigorous analysis.

    All donors will receive a Gift Aid Declaration. If you’re a UK taxpayer, you can use Gift Aid to make your donations go further. If you do, The Global Warming Foundation will receive an additional 25p for every pound you give through tax relief and at no extra cost to you.

    Any information about members and donors shall not be disclosed without the express consent of the donor.”

    The “Donate” button goes straight to PayPal. Perhaps a check and balance kicks in if you try to donate more than a certain amount but I think explicit conditions would be a good thing.

  60. John From
    Posted Feb 19, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    at least it was a good picture of you. Made you look noble and thoughtful :)

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] of claims about climate skeptics with a post of Steve McIntyre adjoining (climate audit response here, more comment by Bishop Hill here) – even though Steve McIntyre wasn’t mentioned in the [...]

  2. [...] situation where Steve McIntyre wrote his rebuttal to a similar piece of amateur journalism entitled Slimed by Bagpuss the Cat Reporter. Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia [...]

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