Posted on | August 23, 2012 | 21 Comments
For my money, the funniest thing in National Review editor Rich Lowry’s reply to global-warming guru Michael Mann is this:
Is it too much to ask that world-renowned climate scientists spend less time on Facebook?
Mann posted a number of enraged Facebook rants because his notorious “hockey stick” graph, projecting a sharp increase in global temperatures caused by CO2 emissions, was brutally mocked by Mark Steyn.
Mann is on the faculty of Penn State, which claimed to have conducted an “investigation” of scientific fraud in Mann’s climate-change studies. Is Mann therefore “the Jerry Sandusky of climate change”? It’s a fair question, said Steyn:
If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up?
Since the 2009 release of the ClimateGate e-mails — remember “hide the decline”? — it has become obvious to most lay observers that Mann and his colleagues valued their hypothesis more than they valued facts. Among other things, the ClimateGate e-mails showed that caretakers of the global-warming “consensus” conspired to delegitimize their critics and exclude skeptics from the peer-review process.
In response to Steyn’s post, Mann’s lawyer sent a letter to National Review demanding a retraction and an apology, and citing a number of investigations that had found no proof of deliberate fraud by Mann and his colleagues. Ah, but there’s the rub.
To skeptics, these investigations seemed very much like part of a cover-up, a whitewash intended to protect the climate-change industry, which has become a mammoth academic boondoggle funded almost exclusively through government grants. With hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants at stake, with major government agencies having staked their own prestige on the validity of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis, the inherent incentives to suppress the appearance of scandal were obvious enough: Follow the money.
Mann’s threat of a lawsuit is, Lowry recognizes, merely a threat — and an empty one, at that. “Discovery is a bitch,” as the lawyers say:
If Mann sues us, the materials we will need to mount a full defense will be extremely wide-ranging. So if he files a complaint, we will be doing more than fighting a nuisance lawsuit; we will be embarking on a journalistic project of great interest to us and our readers.
And this is where you come in. If Mann goes through with it, we’re probably going to call on you to help fund our legal fight and our investigation of Mann through discovery. If it gets that far, we may eventually even want to hire a dedicated reporter to comb through the materials and regularly post stories on Mann.
Exactly. Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel (or pixels by the terrabyte, as the case may be). Above and beyond handing Lowry the journalistic license to go rooting around in Mann’s life and career, a legal fight with Mann would provide National Review with a lucrative fundraising opportunity and a publicity bonanza. How many Drudge links, talk-radio segments and Fox News interviews would be inspired by such a lawsuit?
By God, I envy Lowry for having received this threat from Mann’s lawyer. If I’d only known that calling Mann “the Jerry Sandusky of climate change” was the Golden Ticket . . . Wait a minute.
Look, I’m not saying that Mann has done anything illegal, OK? But just because something is legal doesn’t mean it isn’t scandalous.
For example, it is apparently legal to have sex with a 17-year-old boy at an interstate rest stop, but a Minnesota Democrats has decided that it’s sufficiently scandalous that he shouldn’t seek re-election.
Michael Mann: The Kerry Gauthier of Climate Science!
Sue me. Please. I need the money.