National Post's Corcoran Defends His "Friends of Science" - Libels Everyone Else

Corcoran claims Desmog is "al Jazeera of climate science"It’s tough dealing with facts as a journalist, but not that much of a problem if you can also lard your work with smears, innuendo, fabrications, distortions, errors, untruths and omissions gross and minor.
With that promise, the National Post's Terence Corcoran - Canada's premiere anti-climate change journalist - began a 3,000-word screed today, savaging the Globe and Mail and freelance reporter Charles Montgomery for a climate change story that ran last week.

No disappointment on the smears and innuendo. Corcoran calls Montgomery “a man obsessed with primitivism and dedicated to the usual leftist world views,” and says Montgomery is “from the school of economics that believes the war on poverty will only be won when everybody is poor.”

Corcoran calls Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, a “federal civil servant” (which ought not to be slanderous but, in this instance, was intended to be).

Corcoran calls Ian Rutherford, executive director of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, “a motor-mouth of putdowns.”

He calls our own James Hoggan “a self-appointed iman of anti-corporate fundamentalism.” (I think he was trying to say 'imam')

Corcorn writes that, “Mr. Hoggan, who also does work for the Suzuki Foundation, despite his role on its board, assigned two of his staff to research corporate involvement in climate issues. One of them, David Grandia, operates a hilariously warped Web site — a sort of al-Jazeera of climate theory dedicated to exposing climate skeptics as corporate/Tory thugs.”

(That was my favourite: the “al-Jazeera of climate theory,” with Jim as the “iman [m?] of anti-corporate fundamentalism.” Do you think he's trying to paint a negative and fundamentally anti-Islamic picture?)

(For the record, Jim Hoggan does a phenomenal amount of work for the David Suzuki Foundation precisely because he is on the board - and all of it is pro bono. And I presume Corcoran was referring to my colleague Kevin Grandia.)

In the category of “fabrications, distortions, errors, untruths and omissions gross and minor,” Corcoran also outdoes himself.

He writes that: “According to Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Hoggan is a public relations man who doesn’t believe people have any right to engage in public relations on behalf of views Mr. Hoggan disapproves of.” Now, I'll have to go back and reread the Globe and Mail piece, but I don't recall Montgomery saying any such thing.

Corcoran writes that Friends of Science spokester Dr. Tim Ball says “… he never said that water vapour is not accounted for in (climate change) models. (Here's a link. You can listen to Ball say it yourself. Twice.)

Corcoran writes that “Mr. Weaver dismissed the original hockey-stick research debunking the 1,000-year claim as 'simply pure and unadulterated rubbish'” - despite the fact that the National Post has already run a retraction on that error once before. (See the previous post, a copy of a Letter to the NP Editor from Prof. Weaver.)

Finally, Corcoran takes issue with Charles Montgomery for noting that Friends of Science Director “Albert Jacobs told me (Montgomery) that you (Corcoran) were their biggest supporter in the media.”

“Even in his notes Mr. Montgomery gets it wrong,” Corcoran says. “I have never previously talked to Albert Jacobs, never mentioned him or Friends of Science in a column, never published any of their work, have in fact never been in touch with the group.

Never talked to Albert Jacobs? Maybe not, but no one said you did. Never published any of their work? Not quite accurate there, Terry. Check the attached document for a quick list of FOS pieces that appeared in Corcoran's business section, the Financial Post, this year alone.

In fact, for years Corcoran has made space for corporate apologists-for-hire (and yes, we're especially thinking of Steve Milloy) or for anybody, from anywhere on the continent, who would posit any argument that took issue with climate change science.

Although he spent 3,000 words in the effort, Corcoran's most plaintive comment is this: “There isn’t enough space here to itemize the scores of false links and little errors that make up Mr. Montgomery’s fantastic tale of corporate and Tory conspiracy.

I sympathize with the nature of Corcoran's complaint: scores of false links and little errors can be irritating indeed. By all means, read both Corcoran's piece and Montgomery's. I'm sure you'll notice that one, in particular, is guilty as charged. And one looks, well, it looks like good journalism.


This site suggests you may have missed some entries for Mr. Ball (note you can sort by clicking on the column heads). Note: there are entries for “Financial Post” , “The Financial Post”, and “National Post”.  Interesting how this site has copies of unpublshed letters.  Doesn’t look like the site has been updated since Nov 2005

When James Hoggan & Associates’ corporate clients do something wrong, we always advise that THEY apologize - and they generally do, which prevents us from having to be apologists for anybody.

But perhaps you re trying to point out the weakness in the phrase itself: “corporate apologist.” It’s an inadequate description of someone who would, for example, take money from the tobacco industry and then produce pro-tobacco “science” papers - people like S. Fred Singer and Steve Milloy, people who now take money from big energy companies and, coincidentally, make public arguments challenging the science behind anthropogenic climate change. (And people whose views appear often in Terry Corcoran,s Financial Post.) If you can suggest a better shorthand for this kind of double dealing, we’d be delighted to hear it.

Just being a bit of a prig here. 

 I’ve seen this in other blog entries.  When you write about defamation - slander is for spoken, libel (the more serious as it can be widely disseminated and may remain permanently in the public domain) is for written.

Clearly Corcoran knows the gig is up with all his blathering and innuendo, very typical of a dying arguement. He’s a bit the Nero on the fiddle isn’t he…or was it a violin?