Fox News’ Ed Barnes Tries to Re-Ignite Attacks on Climate Scientist Exonerated by Penn State

Tue, 2010-04-06 21:09Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Fox News’ Ed Barnes Tries to Re-Ignite Attacks on Climate Scientist Exonerated by Penn State

In his “exclusive” story, titled “Top Climate Scientist’s Exoneration Won’t Be the Last Word,” Fox News’ Ed Barnes suggests that the Penn State investigation that cleared Dr. Michael Mann of any wrong-doing was a “whitewash” designed to protect the “millions of dollars in grant money it gets by having Mann on the faculty.”

Barnes claims that Penn State’s decision to exonerate Mann generated “a storm of controversy” and “came under severe attack.”  Reading his inflammatory language, you might think that a whole lot of academics and scientists ridiculed the inquiry.  Who is this angry mob that generated such a “storm of controversy?” 

Actually, the Barnes storm is comprised of only three people - a mining executive, the wealthiest member of Congress, and a former FoxNews.com columnist.

The former FoxNews.com contributor, Steve “The Junkman” Milloy, is better known for his role as apologist and shill for the tobacco, chemical, mining and oil industries than for his expertise critiquing university review boards.  What are Milloy’s qualifications to serve as judge and jury in denouncing a highly-regarded university’s review process?  Milloy runs JunkScience.com, a website that defies all manner of scientific realities, arguing that everything from DDT to secondhand smoke to asbestos is perfectly healthy for you. 

The second is blogger Steve McIntyre, creator of ClimateAudit.org and 30-year veteran of the mining business.   Some may consider McIntyre qualified to attack Michael Mann, since he’s gone to great lengths along with Ross McKitrick to attack Dr. Mann.  Both of their Mann-eater papers were re-published and distributed by the ExxonMobil-funded George C. Marshall Institute. McIntyre says he’s more interested in mining these days than climate science, unless it’s about Michael Mann of course.

The third is the wealthiest member of Congress, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), whose net worth is north of $250 million thanks to his success as CEO of Directed Electronics and its “Viper” car alarm. (That’s actually Issa’s voice barking ”please step away from the car.”)  But how exactly is this successful former CEO, Army veteran and holder of a bachelor’s degree in business administration qualified to question the work of a highly-regarded climate scientist? 

Though certainly known for stormy behavior and severe attacks, do these three men really constitute a “storm of controversy?”

I suppose when you throw in a dash of the right-wing Commonwealth Foundation (which released a 12-page policy brief ripping Penn State for exonerating Mann), and a sprinkle of the right-wing-on-training-wheels Young Americans for Freedom (which launched a petition to re-investigate Mann), then in Ed Barnes’ world you can safely forecast a raging storm with a 100% chance of severe attacks.

Barnes even slapped an “Exclusive” tag on his new piece, hoping to catch new readers, even though the content is largely rehashed from his two-month-old article from February, featuring the same quote from Steve Milloy and same argument from Steve McIntyre.  That’s pretty exclusive, indeed.

Barnes and others at Fox News have played a central role in the “Climategate” echo chamber, providing a megaphone for skeptics trying to spin the stolen CRU emails into scandal every which way, and continuing the long smear campaign against Michael Mann.

Despite all their rants, the inquiries into Mann and the CRU scientists have found no evidence of the data tampering or interference with information requests that FOX and friends hoped would emerge from their “ClimateGate” dud.  They can’t tolerate the fact that Dr. Mann and Phil Jones and others have been largely vindicated.  So they resort back to spin. And when that doesn’t pan out, they spin again

It’s dizzying just trying to follow it, really.   

Previous Comments

I did some research into how much grant money Mann’s brought in for a piece I wrote at scholarsandrogues.com. It turns out that Mann’s brought in a total of about $1.8 million since he joined Penn State in 2006 until 2009. That compares to $2.8 billion worth of grants that PSU has earned over the same period. That means Mann is responsible for 0.06% of PSU’s grant money since 2006.

It’s simply not credible that Penn State would risk their excellent reputation as a top tier research university for any one reasearcher, even one so well known as Mann.

Here’s the link to the entire post at S&R: http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2010/02/15/psu-cover-up-extremely-unlikely/

Very interesting article. Here in the UK we don’t have the pleasure of watching Fox News, although Sky News has a similar trajectory and parentage. However, we do have legislation for notional balance on TV news.

Folk in these parts are saying David Cameron (leader of British Conservative Party)is extremly close to people at Sky/News International and will support the Foxification of UK TV and the lifting of laws on balance.

Our general election is next month…

Some points

Who did they interview?

What evidence was presented?

What were the credentials and bias of those who investigated (Ties, positions, connections)

The university that gets funding from Mann’s work and continued work. then investigated itself, is that right?

I think Desmogblog should nail the PR on both sides of this issue.

This thing smells of bias, so does Desmogblog.

Travis Curr

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This November marks the fifth anniversary of Climategate  when millions of emails were illegally hacked and spun as evidence that the world's leading global warming researchers were engaged in a dark conspiracy. Six inquiries exonerated the scientists. Over the coming weeks, DeSmog UK will be running a series of articles revisiting the faux scandal to explore the tragic and the farcical. 

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