Mann versus the Provincial Parrots

Roman M and TomRude have observed an interesting letter writing campaign in which Michael Mann contests adverse opinion in provincial newspapers, accusing the letter writers of being “parrots”.

Today (July 31, 2010), Mann sent the following letter to the Saint John (New Brunswick) Telegraph Journal objecting to a letter published July 30. Similar letters were sent on July 22 to the Fredericton (New Brunswick) Daily Gleaner and on July 29 to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Mann’s July 31 letter to the Saint John Telegraph Journal replied to a July 30 letter to the editor as follows:

A letter published July 30 did a grave disservice to your readers by making false and defamatory statements about me and other climate scientists. It repeats false allegations (based on illegally hacked emails) of supposed scientific misconduct (e.g. the supposed destruction of data) that have now been rejected as false by three separate investigations in the U.K.

A similar investigation by my university has exonerated me of any of the wrongdoing alleged by climate change deniers. Unfortunately, these exonerations cannot stop individuals from repeating the false allegations.

The writer parrots the false claim that I have advised colleagues “to isolate and ignore scientific journals that publish the views of the global-warming skeptics.” This claim is based on a thorough misrepresentation of a single example: a deeply flawed paper in 2003 published by the journal “Climate Research” by Willie Soon & Sallie Baliunas claiming that recent warming is not unusual.

I did in fact have concerns about the paper and the process that led to its publication. The journal’s editor-in-chief Hans Von Storch found that the paper “was flawed” and “shouldn’t have been published” and half the editorial board quit in protest of its publication.

Climate change deniers object to the term, using instead “skeptic” to describe those who deny the overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change. “Skepticism” is a good thing in science. But when it is applied in only one direction it is not “skepticism” at all, but indeed, denial.

It is ironic that scientists (including myself) are accused of dishonesty. It is those who spread false information about science and scientists – whether knowingly, or parroting the disinformation of others – who do the greatest harm to the public discourse on vital issues such as climate change.

MICHAEL E. MANN

Professor, Dept. of Meteorology, Penn State University Director, Penn State Earth System Science Center

ON July 22, 2010, Mann wrote the Fredericton Daily Gleaner (in New Brunswick, Canada):

Re: Science and truth

In a piece published in your paper July 20, you allowed Thaddee Renault to do a grave disservice to your readers by making false statements about me and other climate scientists.

Mr. Renault repeats allegations (based on illegally hacked emails) of supposed scientific misconduct by scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia that have now been rejected as false by three separate investigations in the U.K. A similar investigation by my university has exonerated me of any of the wrongdoing alleged by climate-change deniers.

Unfortunately, these exonerations can’t stop individuals such as Mr. Renault from repeating the false allegations.

Mr. Renault parrots the false claim that I have advised colleagues “to isolate and ignore scientific journals that publish the views of the global-warming skeptics.” His claim is based on a misrepresentation of a single example: a flawed paper in 2003 published by the journal Climate Research by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas claiming that recent warming isn’t unusual.

I did have concerns about the paper and the process that led to its publication. As the Wall Street Journal reported, this study, funded by the fossil-fuel industry, was heavily criticized by a large number of other scientists. The journal’s editor-in-chief Hans Von Storch found that the paper “was flawed” and “shouldn’t have been published.”

Mr. Renault objects to the term “climate-change denier” to describe him and his fellow travellers, favouring instead to be called a skeptic. Skepticism is a good thing in science, but when it’s applied in only one direction (i.e. to question all scientific evidence of the reality of climate change), it’s not skepticism at all, but denial.

Readers interested in the truth behind the science, rather than the falsehoods and smears perpetuated by people such as Mr. Renault, should consult the scientist-run website http://www.realclimate.org or scientifically based books on the topic such as my Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming.

It’s ironic that Mr. Renault accuses scientists of wrongdoing. It’s those such as Mr. Renault who spread false information about science and scientists – whether knowingly or by simply parrotting the disinformation of others – who do the greatest harm to the public discourse on vital issues such as climate change.

Michael Mann, director
Penn State Earth System Science Center
University Park, Penn.

On July 29, Mann wrote the Minneapolis Star Tribune in response to a letter here:

In “Warming alarmists can’t stand the heat” (July 26), the Star Tribune allowed Peter J. Havanac to do a grave disservice to its readers by making false statements about me and other climate scientists.

Havanac repeated false allegations (based on illegally hacked e-mails) of supposed scientific misconduct by scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (for example, the supposed destruction of e-mails) that have now been rejected as false by three separate investigations in the U.K. A similar investigation by my university has exonerated me of any of the wrongdoing alleged by climate-change deniers like Havanac. Unfortunately, these exonerations cannot stop individuals like Havanac from repeating the false allegations. Only the possession of decency can do that.

Havanac parroted the false claim that I sought to “undermine” a journal that “contradicted views held by … global-warming alarmists.” His claim was based on a thorough misrepresentation of a single example: a deeply flawed paper published in 2003 by the journal Climate Research. That paper, by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, claimed that recent warming is not unusual.

I did in fact have concerns about the paper and the process that led to its publication. As the Wall Street Journal reported (“Global warming skeptics are facing storm clouds,” July 31, 2003), this fossil-fuel-industry-funded study was heavily criticized by a large number of other scientists. The editor-in-chief of Climate Research, Hans Von Storch, found that the paper “was flawed” and “shouldn’t have been published.”

Other editors at Climate Research (see “Storm brews over global warming,” Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 5, 2003) felt that the editor who had handled the Soon and Baliunas paper had been gaming the system to allow through substandard papers simply because they expressed a contrarian viewpoint regarding climate change. Ultimately, both Von Storch and half of the editorial board quit in protest over the apparent corruption of the peer review process at the journal.

Havanac objects to the term “climate-change denier” to describe him and his fellow travelers. Perhaps he prefers to think of himself as a “skeptic” instead? Well, skepticism is a good thing in science. But when it is applied in only one direction (that is, to reject all evidence of climate change while uncritically accepting transparently flawed arguments against it), it is not skepticism at all, but indeed, denial.

Readers interested in the truth behind the science, rather than the falsehoods and smears perpetuated by people like Havanac, should consult the scientist-run website realclimate.org or scientifically based books on the topic like my “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming.”

If it ironic that Havanac accuses climate scientists of dishonesty. It is those who spread false information about science and scientists — whether knowingly, or by simply uncritically parroting the disinformation of others — who do the greatest harm to the public discourse on vital issues such as climate change.


60 Comments

  1. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I note that Mann confuses not guilty with not proven. And of course doesn’t mention that none of the panels saw fit to interview any of Mann’s accusers. So who is doing the worst disservice to the readers of these papers?

    • Mikael Lönnroth
      Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 2:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s quite a normal and accepted conception in many of our societies that people are innocent (=not guilty) unless proven guilty. :)

      • Mikael Lönnroth
        Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 2:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Erm: conception = convention

      • Szerb fan
        Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 6:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Where there any verdicts on Mann from the UK “inquiries”? I thought that they had jurisdiction over the CRU only, e.g. they called Jones to testify before parliament but not Mann. If Mann was not found guilty by them, could that have been simply because he wasn’t on trial?

      • D. Patterson
        Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 8:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

        It’s also quite a normal convention for the plaintiff to be permitted the opportunity to present the plaintiff’s complaint, evidence, and witness testimony before the trier/s of fact ignore it all and dismiss the complaint against the defendant. Consequently, it should be no surprise to find the witnesses to a proceeding in which the plaintiffs are shut out of the hearing altogether may assume the defendant is more likely to be guilty when the corrupt proceeding declares otherwise without benefit of the plaintiffs’ evidence.

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 8:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Re: Mikael Lönnroth (Aug 1 02:34),

        It’s quite a normal and accepted conception in many of our societies that people are innocent (=not guilty) unless proven guilty.

        Ahh, but note how Mann twists the situation. He claims that because he was not found guilty that those who accused him are therefore guilty of whatever. In addition to what D. Patterson points out, such jujitsu destroys Mann’s own defense. If there actually had been an investigation of the claims Mann might have had a point, but since none of the investigations actually looked at the charges or the science, he should just keep his mouth shut.

  2. Hector M.
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Letters done by cut and paste, mostly.

  3. Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Since I have been on a letter writing campaign on a completely different subject I see no issue with either the campaign, or on the reuse of content in this type of situation. (Unfortunately in my case each response has had to be tailored which is a lot more work.)

    • RomanM
      Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Re: Nicolas Nierenberg (Jul 31 12:02),

      The letters written by Prof. Mann are misleading because they are intended to look like responses to the issues raised by the person named in the letter. Except for some editing to shorten the Telegraph Journal version, the response is a “form letter” in which the only changes are to replace the name(s) used. Clearly, Prof. Mann cannot possibly be responding to any real issues in this way.

      Instead, he is “defending” his prior actions with regard to an invented topic: “the false claim that I have advised colleagues ‘to isolate and ignore scientific journals that publish the views of the global-warming skeptics.’” Furthermore, the letter is full of ad hominems aimed directly at the writer so the actual “response” is to victimize the skeptical individual with name-calling (deniers, fellow travellers) and accusations of wrongdoing (spreading falsehoods and smears).

      This is a reprehensible thing to do. However, do you honestly think that Mann has nothing better to do than go looking at all the newspapers across the continent to quell outbreaks of skepticism? Or is it more likely that this is part of an organized campaign being carried out by a wider group of people?

      I sincerely hope that your letter writing campaign is not of the same ilk.

      • oneuniverse
        Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

        To be fair to Prof. Mann, he’s replying to a real claim, or rather two nearly identical claims. His first two letters are responses to two identical letters from Renault, containing this mention of Mann:

        Ditto for Michael Mann, the father of broken hockey sticks and Mann-made global warming. As director of Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center, Mr. Mann emailed global warmists, advising them to isolate and ignore scientific journals publishing the views of global warming skeptics and specifically urged the encouragement of his “colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in the Climate Research journal.”

        Mann’s third letter is a response to an article by Peter Havanac, which, while mainly concerned with CRU and the non-independent and inadequate nature of the Muir Russell review, mention this single reference to Mann, querying much the same allegation as Renault:

        In the United States, Penn State University didn’t even bother to pretend it was conducting an independent review of the alleged activities of Prof. Michael Mann regarding a plan with his East Anglia comrades to undermine a scientific journal that dared to publish three papers contradicting views held by Mann and other global-warming alarmists. Instead, Penn State performed an entirely in-house review that, not surprisingly, exonerated Mann.

        In all three letters, Mann is essentially replying to the same claim. So I’d have to say that this post , Steve, may be mistaken- the parroting was legitimate, guv.

        Whether Mann’s repeated reply has enduring merit is another matter. For example, in response to Havanac’s article, he writes :

        [T]he editor who had handled the Soon and Baliunas paper had been gaming the system to allow through substandard papers simply because they expressed a contrarian viewpoint regarding climate change. Ultimately, both Von Storch and half of the editorial board quit in protest over the apparent corruption of the peer review process at the journal.

        Yet the Soon and Baliunas paper was passed by all four reviewers in correct manner. As Claire Goodess, Senior Researcher Research and Administration Manager at CRU, wrote :

        [..] Hans von Storch (another Climate Research editor) and myself had been receiving numerous unsolicited complaints and critiques of the paper from many leading members of the international palaeo and historical climatology community. At the beginning of May 2003, these had reached such a level that we raised the concerns with the editor who had processed the Soon and Baliunas paper (Chris de Freitas) and the publisher (Otto Kinne of Inter-Research). In response, de Freitas accused us of ‘a mix of a witch-hunt and the Spanish Inquisition’. The publisher eventually asked to see the documentation associated with the review of the paper – which had apparently gone to four reviewers none of whom had recommended rejection. Otto Kinne concluded that the review process had been properly conducted.

        A reply, On Past Temperatures and Anomalous late-20th Century Warmth, with an author list that bears a passing resemblance to a roster of the ‘Team’ – Mann, Ammann, Bradley, Briffa, Crowley, Hughes, Jones, Oppenheimer, Osborn, Overpeck, Rutherford, Trenberth and Wigley. A reply by Soon, Baliunas and Legates followed.

        Is there any evidence that Chris de Freitas gamed the system, as alleged by the unnamed ‘other editors’ mentioned in Mann’s reply to Havanac?

        Steve: one of the most sensible comments on this episode was by David Rutledge in an online lecture, expressing dismay that the Team should have spent so much energy on taking revenge on the journal for one paper.

        • RomanM
          Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

          Good piece of analysis!

          I had read the original Gleaner letter from Mr. Renault when it was originally published. The main topic of discussion in the letter was a response to a posting by David Suzuki (weekly columnist here). There was, as you point out, out a relatively brief reference to Prof. Mann about the attempt to control journal publications which they didn’t like – information which came to light through the climategate emails.

          The Mann letter seemed a trifle heavy-handed . However, I did not refer back to the original Renault letter to notice that the line “to isolate and ignore scientific journals that publish the views of the global-warming skeptics.” is indeed a direct quote from it. So yes, this could have been written in response to the oblique reference to Prof. Mann.

          It was only when the Minnesota letter came to light on CA that I noticed that the two letters were basically identical including the direct quote from the Gleaner letter. The fact that these two responses should have been made to two independent submissions a thousand miles apart was startling and I formed the hypothesis that the letter may very well be a form letter as part of a new offensive which seemed to begin with the multiple interviews being given by the various participants of climategate along with the PNAS article on the lack of qualifications of “skeptical” climate scientists.

          Since I don’t read the Telegraph, I did not expect that Mr. Renault may have submitted a second (identical) letter to that newspaper nor did I go looking to see what the purpose of Mann’s letter appearing there was (I should have!). Having read what you wrote and rethought the situation, I am tempted to agree that my initial conclusions may not have been correct. However, I do not back off from the observation that the letter is full of unnecessary and dishonorable abusive ad hominems intended to seriously denigrate the writers of the original letters and anyone else who may disagree with any feature of the catastrophic global warming structure. As well, the defense offered by Prof. Mann of his documented behaviour bears little weight given the “exoneration” that he supposedly underwent.

          This does raise new questions:

          How did he hear about these two letters in the first place … and did he submit these responses himself?

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

          The Telegraph and the Gleaner share the same letters page eg. the links are the letters page for 20th July. If he reads either paper regularly, he may have seen both of Renault’s letter.

          Alternatively, perhaps he’s using a service like Google Alerts to track his name and/or his topics of interest or concern.

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Aug 3, 2010 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

          Thanks for the compliment, Roman , very kind.

      • Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 6:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I hadn’t seen the original letters. My assumption was that his letter was responsive, if not, then I agree. As I said in my case I had to tailor each response for those very reasons.

  4. Garry
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is Dr. Mann outsourcing this news monitoring + cut-n-paste quick response effort to a commercial outfit overseas, or to a couple of his grad students. Are they compensated?

    I read somewhere that Dr. Mann has done more than 300 interviews since November 2009. Not likely that he’s been making those scheduling arrangements on his own.

    What’s behind the Dr. Mann PR machine? Who’s financing it? Does Dr. Mann have time to do anything else? Such as research or teaching?

  5. Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I was also amused when I first encountered these rural outlets where Mr Mann parrots himself – and probably others who were the original source of the parrot tune. His lack of creativity and fresh reasoning is almost stunning. He’s clearly not able to produce a single new idea even when he’s writing the same thing for the 3rd time.

    It’s fun to observe this provincial guy whose flawed work has actually become the top symbol of a whole movement of the United Nations how he repeats his futile fight for a good name in the Springfield Quimby Times and a few more places of the same importance. A good name that he has never had and he can never acquire in the future, either.

    He must be lacking in the sense of reality.

    These stories also show how crazily all the criteria of importance were distorted in the context of the AGW movement. Under normal circumstances, Mr Mann would be exactly how we see him through these newspaper e-mails – as a countryside-caliber kibitzer, a quasi-scientist of a village importance who likes to argue with comparable kibitzers in the provincial outlets.

    But when he produces an unspectacular and flawed work whose conclusions are convenient for certain people who have gotten to the top of the U.S. and international institutions, this C-minus-class pseudo-thinker becomes a symbol, something that he is clearly unready to be.

    • Metro Gnome
      Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 8:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Yow! Do you give lessons?

    • inversesquare
      Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 3:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Nicely put:)

    • Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

      “Springfield Quimby Times” Hahaha, Luboš, you kill me.

      • Pete Hayes
        Posted Aug 8, 2010 at 5:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Lubos, Now I know why the Guardian moderates you out ;-)

  6. Ed Waage
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It appears that Mann and/or Penn State are conducting a full court press to counter the negative publicity over ClimateGate. According to Penn State’s Admin Policies,
    http://guru.psu.edu/policies/AD61.html
    where it states:
    “All external communications activities of the University will be coordinated through, and approved by, the Office of University Relations.”

    So it would appear that the University itself is involved.

    Will this effort become “ParrotGate”?

    • Bernie
      Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Waage by name, wag by nature?

  7. Chris S
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A good correlation coefficient for once;)

  8. Stirling English
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps he is a dead parrot

  9. artwest
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If it was anyone else, this would be just sad. If it was anyone else one would be asking if he has really nothing better to do with his time.

  10. Latimer Alder
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    For one who doesn’t have a clear idea, what are the rough circulation figures for these publications? They don’t sound to be papers of great national or international significance.

    • RomanM
      Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      What did we do before Google? I was able to track some figures down for this:

      Average daily circulation for 2008 from this document:

      Telegraph Journal – 33536
      Daily Gleaner – 21809

      Average daily circulation period ending March 31, 2010

      Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune – 295,438

      The first two papers cover most of the province of New Brunswick and are reasonably influential on the provincial government. The Minnesota paper has a sizable following. I would be curious to know if there will be more cases of this showing up or if it may die off because it has attracted unwanted attention.

  11. David Mayhew
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 2:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is useful to be made aware of this process occurring. Presumably intended as damage limitation with or without the help of others, by being made public here it becomes a token puff of hot air. The emails I have seen contained enough information about how Mann operates for anyone interested to make up their own mind.

  12. Gilbert K. Arnold
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 2:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I have just finished reading HSI and I read the comments (re: M.Mann’s op ed piece) in the Star-Tribune comments section. It appears the good citizens of the Great State of Minnesota hold Mr. Mann in ill-repute for the most part. There were the expected ad-hominem attacks, from both sides, but for the most part the give and take was pretty civil. One would think that by now the “team” would have learned their lesson about openness and transparency. Alas, it appears they hasn’t. Perhaps it’s time they took up a new profession… say “underwater basket weaving?”

  13. Vorlath
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    WOW!!! He responded to my local paper and the one in Saint John? The Telegraph from Saint John is read province wide (the English speaking part at least). Still, we only have 750,000 people in all of New Brunswick of which over 35% is French speaking. The parrot thing is kind of funny considering the cut & paste. But what’s so important in New Brunswick that he felt the need to respond to a letter to the editor?

    > “Unfortunately, these exonerations cannot stop individuals from repeating the false allegations.”

    Those exonerations do not mean Mann is not guilty of wrongdoing. In this particular case, it just means that a set of people decided to look the other way. So they are not necessarily “false allegations”. They could very well be true though I haven’t read what the original letters, so I won’t say anything further on that.

    The link to the Daily Gleaner is nice though. There’s a letter to the editor a few entries down that talks about climate change and getting scientists who have studied it if they agree with a statement that the evidence is lacking in man made global warming. They say they’re at 131. It’s from the ICSC in Ottawa.

  14. gfg
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 3:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    White washing their dirty laundry?

  15. EdeF
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 3:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    …..if they have to chide St. John, the jig is up………

  16. Britannic no-see-um
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Repetitive autoplagiarisation reflex syndrome – no known cure.

  17. TomRude
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 4:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Talking about media, I wonder if anyone has heard anything new about the lawsuit another supernatural being Dr. Andrew Weaver levelled against National Post’s columnists?

  18. clazy8
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 5:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Perhaps Mann did not even write the letter, but only approved it after it was composed by someone in the Office of University Relations. They probably have some kid on work/study doing Google and Nexis searches for skeptical, I mean denialist, letters to the editor, and this kid mails the letter, appropriately adapted.

  19. JCM
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 9:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anyone notice the irony of the Mann letter appearing in the Irving owned newspapers ?
    The Irving family built their empire of approx $8 billion on the oil refinery, fleet of tankers and thousands of gas stations.
    Obviously the Irving boys are not part of the alleged ‘Big Oil’ conspiracy against the AGW gand and the Canadian prophet David Suzuki.
    My guess is that a New Brunswick greenie or two notified Mann and/or Suzuki of the ‘denier’ letter.

  20. Tom Fuller
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 9:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s actually a good strategy to have separate statements defending himself in various tier 2 publications. It’s good search engine strategy–googlers will see his defense, especially if the articles get any links at all. It’s good for Mann to also be seen to be out there defending his good name. And it also contributes to the white noise that is intended to confuse people on the various permutations of his trials and travails.

    Since noone at Mann’s level has guranteed acess to tier 1 pubs, and tier 2 pubs are probably flattered at being noticed by a B list celeb, it’s a good solution.

    Whoever’s advising him is doing well.

  21. Third Party
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 10:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    All I can say is that uu@W takes the cake.

  22. geo
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 11:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Someone apparently is subscribing to a clipping service.

  23. ZT
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 12:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    What happened to the M4GW law suit?

    This video, of course, is where history (and google) will judge that Michael did his best work.

  24. son of mulder
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 2:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ah, the parrot and stick approach to climate science.

  25. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 2:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Frequent bloggers such as self can be compared in some ways to frequent letter writers. Under pseudonyms, I have had several hundred ‘Letter to the Editor” published here since the 1980s. Some have been fun word plays, but most were deadly serious about others playing fast and loose with the truth as perceived. So, this pst can hardly criticiseother who write lots of letters.

    Of course, stlyes vay from writer to writer in both blogs and letters. It has taken me a while to get used to the style of Oliver K Manuel. If I assume this is not a pseudonym and the position stated was actually held (and I have no reason to believe other), then there is some appeal to authority allowed and I read the posts of Oliver more carefully now.

    The letters of Micheal Mann also come from a relatively high position in the scheme of things, but nothoing as elevatted as Oliver’s. There is far less appeal to authority allowed here. It is rather strange to find a letter which tries to refute an almost verbatim prior statement, with no explanation as to reason for change of mind. The letter is about obstacles placed in the way of a publication by Soon & Baluinas 2007 because it was judged by The Team to be bad science.

    Here is Michael Mann discussing bad science (namely, the rigging of graphs) in the Climategate email 938108842.txt

    Mann writes to Briffa about reconstruction of past temperatures (the topic of the Soon and Baliunas paper) and this is part of the reply

    “So if Chris and Tom (?) are ok with this, I would be happy to add Keith’s
    series. That having been said, it does raise a conundrum: We demonstrate
    through comparining an exatropical averaging of our nothern hemisphere
    patterns with Phil’s more extratropical series) that the major
    discrepancies between Phil’s and our series can be explained in terms of
    spatial sampling/latitudinal emphasis (seasonality seems to be secondary
    here, but probably explains much of the residual differences). But that
    explanation certainly can’t rectify why Keith’s series, which has similar
    seasonality and* latitudinal emphasis to Phil’s series, differs in large part in
    exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the
    problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this
    was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably
    concensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al
    series. ”

    I do not think that this type of cherry picking qualifies Michael Mann to sit atop the integrity pyramid in the “Letters” pages.

  26. JohnB
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 8:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Saul Alinskyesqe. Pick the Target, Freeze it, Personalize it and Polarize it.

    Writers = Parrots.
    Studies = Fossil Fuel Funded.
    Critical Studies = Flawed or Deeply Flawed with no explanation.
    Skeptics = Science but people who disagree with what I say are in Denial.

    • EW
      Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 3:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      If only a sticker “racist” could be somehow slapped on those who do not entirely toe the line of the climatic “consensus”.Very powerful juju, this one…

  27. toby
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What’s all the faux-shock & fake horror.

    Any one is entitled to write letters to the newpapers or keep a blog.

    On a rare visit to this obsessive website.

    • RomanM
      Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Any one is entitled to write letters to the newpapers … and it must warm your heart to watch one of the climate science heroes trash a “skeptic” with pre-crafted cut-and-paste ad homs and insinuations. Sweet!

      Thanks for your insightful drive-by comment.

      • ianl8888
        Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 5:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Even more entertaining is to wonder how many newspaper editors have chosen not to publish these form letters :)

        No way of ever knowing, of course

  28. Ed Waage
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 3:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I was reading “Hockey Stick Illusion” by Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) and he quotes Mann as using the term “scurrilous parroting” (see page 177 of HSI). The epithet was used against University of California physicist Richard Muller for supporting McIntyre and McKitrick. Mann apparently did write the letters himself.

    I note that Mann’s use of “parroting” was also discussed here at CA in the context of both Muller and the Barton Report:
    http://climateaudit.org/2006/07/14/wegman-report-released/

    It appears that the word “parrot” is firmly entrenched in Mann’s lexicon so expect to see more of it.

    • Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 8:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      (Posted at Bishop Hill earlier)

      Mann uses these words very frequently, irrespective of interview/letter/speech/comment

      parroting
      spurious
      scurrilious
      fossil-fuel funded campaign
      denier
      false information
      misinformation
      disinformation
      falsehoods
      smear campaigns
      misrepresentation
      fossil-fuel industry funded
      blatant falsehood
      deeply flawed
      contrarian

  29. jaymam
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “parroting” is used by Mann in the leaked emails:

    1254259645.txt
    From: Michael Mann
    Tue, 29 Sep 2009

    The Telegraph were already on it this morning) are parroting the claims. And based on what? some guy w/ no credentials, dubious connections with the energy industry, and who hasn’t submitted his claims to the scrutiny of peer review.

  30. Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 9:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    He even wrote the (essentially) same letter in response to a letter to the editor in our minuscule (albeit daily) paper, the Lake County Record-Bee.

  31. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Aug 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,
    I have been referring to the so called “investigations” as exonerations. I am happy to see that Mann now admits that these were exonerations: As Mann said in his letters:

    “Unfortunately, these exonerations cannot stop individuals like …….. from repeating the false allegations.”

    Mann seems to be acknowledging that the purpose of these events were to exonerate, not investigate.

    Mann also claims in his letters that the emails were “illegally hacked” in spite of the fact that there is no evidence that the emails were hacked, or that anything illegal occured.

    He is nothing, if not consistent. Mann is an expert at using logical fallacies. These letters serve to reinforce his expertise.

  32. vigilantfish
    Posted Aug 2, 2010 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thaddee Renault was a neighbour when I lived in Fredericton and a man of impeccable honesty and respect for the truth. He also rejects the superficial media-driven understanding of societal issues. Mann’s heavy-handed response is insulting and arrogantly condescending to him.

  33. mojo
    Posted Aug 3, 2010 at 3:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Classic sign of self-googlitis

  34. Chris Wright
    Posted Aug 5, 2010 at 5:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s ironic that Mann repeatedly uses the term ‘climate change denier’ to denigrate people that he doesn’t agree with. In fact the whole point of the hockey stick is to deny that the MWP and LIA ever existed. If you think about it, the whole essence of the hockey stick handle is climate change denialism.

    It’s also ironic in another way. A major argument of ‘climate change deniers’ is that – ahem – the climate is always changing!
    Chris

  35. Tim Sorenson
    Posted Aug 6, 2010 at 12:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Are not some Mr. Mann’s comments blantantly false. In his letters.

    He states that 3 investigations exonerated them of
    “supposed destruction of data.” Did they not corrupt original data, and dispose of it. Or was that at CRU?

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    [...] Mann versus the Provincial Parrots Roman M and TomRude have observed an interesting letter writing campaign in which Michael Mann contests adverse opinion [...] [...]

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