Simon Lewis

Tue, 2010-06-29 10:56Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Lies Concocted By Climate Deniers Likely To Stick Around Despite Corrections

It takes less than a minute to tell a lie that can spread around the world, yet it can take days, months, or years to correct it.  Sometimes the truth never catches up to the lie.

As Newsweek’s Sharon Begley wrote this past weekend, nowhere is this challenge demonstrated more clearly than in the wake of the ‘Climategate’ stolen emails controversy and the recent retraction by the Sunday Times of London surrounding its bogus ‘Amazongate’ reporting. 

Begley details how, despite multiple investigations concluding that climate science remains on solid ground and exonerating the main climate scientists targeted in the University of East Anglia attacks, the “highly orchestrated, manufactured scandal” still manages to fool a large portion of the public into thinking that climate change warnings are overblown.

Begley writes:
A lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on, as Mark Twain said (or “before the truth gets a chance to put its pants on,” in Winston Churchill’s version), and nowhere has that been more true than in “climategate.” In that highly orchestrated, manufactured scandal, e-mails hacked from computers at the University of East Anglia’s climate-research group  were spread around the Web by activists who deny that human activity is altering the world’s climate in a dangerous way, and spun so as to suggest that the scientists had been lying, cheating, and generally cooking the books.

    But not only did British investigators clear the East Anglia scientist at the center of it all, Phil Jones, of scientific impropriety and dishonesty in April, an investigation at Penn State cleared PSU climatologist Michael Mann of “falsifying or suppressing data, intending to delete or conceal e-mails and information, and misusing privileged or confidential information” in February.

Thu, 2010-06-24 17:50Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

George Monbiot Rips UK Sunday Times For 'Amazongate' Lies And Stonewalling

Intrepid British journalist George Monbiot has a piece in The Guardian today that absolutely smashes the London Sunday Times’ handling of its botched ‘Amazongate’ story.  The Times was forced to retract essentially its entire January article,  which badly mischaracterized the work and words of rainforest expert Dr. Simon Lewis, to whom the paper sheepishly apologized earlier this week.

Monbiot took some time to try to figure out how the Times could have possibly allowed the sham story to run in the first place, but his efforts were met with aggressive stonewalling by Times’ editors, who trampled transparency in order to cover their own behinds. 

Exactly who at the Times was responsible for re-writing the story after a totally different version was read back to Dr. Lewis over the phone by the reporter Jonathan Leake, remains a mystery.

Mon, 2010-06-21 17:37Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

UK Sunday Times Retracts Bogus ‘Amazongate’ Story, Apologizes to Simon Lewis

Ending a dispute that has dragged on for months, London newspaper The Sunday Times has finally retracted and apologized for an article filled with blatant misinformation and smears against the IPCC and climate researchers that it ran in January, creating a nontroversy which deniers tried to label “Amazongate.” 

RealClimate.org more accurately dubbed the episode “Leakegate” after the Times’ reporter Jonathan Leake, who wrote the article in question.

The Times published a lengthy correction to the bogus article and disappeared the original from its website.

Since the bogus article ran in January, scientists and researchers who study the Amazon have tried to correct the misinformation it spread.  Chief among them was Dr. Simon Lewis, an expert on rain forests at the University of Leeds, who filed a 30-page complaint against The Sunday Times with the UK Press Complaints Commission in March. Lewis alleged that the paper had mangled his quotes, which ended up far from the remarks he actually made in interviews with the reporter, and that the paper had published “inaccurate, misleading or distorted information” about climate change in the article.

Thu, 2010-03-25 17:02Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Forest Scientist Simon Lewis Files Formal Complaint Against UK Sunday Times Over Dishonest Reporting On “Amazongate”

Simon Lewis, an expert on tropical forests at the University of Leeds in the UK, says the Sunday Times’ “inaccurate, misleading and distorted” story by Jonathan Leake in January left readers under the wrong impression that the 2007 IPCC AR4 report made a false claim by stating that reduced rainfall could wipe out up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest.  Lewis filed a formal complaint this week with the UK Press Complaints Commission.

Leake’s story helped to launch the “Amazongate” scandal that had the denialosphere all aflutter, and even made the rounds of many mainstream outlets.  Leake got his story idea and research from climate change denier Richard North, a blogger who has denied the link between secondhand smoke and cancer, among other ridiculous positions. The premise of “Amazongate” was ginned up by North, who alleged that the IPCC erred in its 2007 report by citing a World Wildlife Fund report that stated the impact of reduced rainfall on forest health.

Subscribe to Simon Lewis