WashPost: Freedom of Information Act not for skeptics’ use
In a bizarre Memorial Day editorial, the Washington Post criticized climate skeptics for using the Freedom of Information Act to pry documents concerning Climategater Michael Mann from the University of Virginia.
The Post labeled the skeptics’ FOIA efforts as “harrassing” and “nuisance tactics.”
The Post, however, has been entirely silent on Greenpeace’s efforts to FOIA documents from the University of Virginia concerning Pat Michaels, University of Delaware concerning David Legates and from Harvard University concerning Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas — efforts that are truly “harrassing” and “nuisance” in nature as Greenpeace acted entirely in retaliation to the FOIA request concerning Mann.
The editorial is especially gross coming on the day when America commemorates those who died to preserve everyone’s freedoms — not just those of the politically correct.
And I’ll add the post has been entirely silent on the fact the George Mason University, when asked by USA Today reporter Dan Vergano to produce documents related to the whole vindictive DeepClimate (Dave Clarke) and John Mashey assault on Wegman and Said at GMU. Vergano asked for “expedited service” and requests that “fees be waived”.
Not only did GMU comply, they did so quickly, without complaint, waived fees, and provided everything on a USB flash drive they sent to USA Today’s Vergano.
That is the starkest contrast to the whining , wailing, and gnashing of teeth surrounding the FOIA requests for other universities like UEA and UVA . It vividly illustrates the elitism and bigotry of the organizations and the people who believe themselves to be above the law as well as the organizations who fan the flames by coming to their defense citing “academic freedom”. Bottom line – use of public money makes the process and results open to public scrutiny to all who request the information, no matter who they are. Don’t like the scrutiny? Then don’t take the public money.
Steve McIntyre writes:
The difference in how academic institutions have responded to the seemingly similar requests in respect to Wegman and Mann is quite startling. George Mason gave expedited service to a request for Wegman’s emails; the U of Virginia has done the opposite. George Mason turned over Wegman’s correspondence with an academic journal without litigation; the University of Virginia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation. Multiple academic lobby groups protested the production of Mann’s emails as a matter of principle; the same organizations were and remain silent in respect to Wegman.
What is doubly bizarre is that apparently this FOIA request has led to the discovery that Dr. Ray Bradley, Mann co-author with the hockey stick paper “MBH98″, apparently committed academic misconduct in his zeal to smear Wegman.
From Climate Audit:
…the README included by George Mason stated the “documents may not be forwarded to a third party”. It also included the GMU policy on academic misconduct, stating Bradley had violated the confidentiality terms – a point not reported by USA Today:
The materials in this USB are being provided in compliance with the Virginia FOIA. Many of the documents are published research papers that are copyrighted by their respective publishers. All other documents are copyrighted by Edward J. Wegman and Yasmin H. Said or by their respective authors. All rights are reserved. These documents may not be forwarded to a third party. Also included in this USB is the George Mason University policy document 4007 on academic misconduct. This policy requires confidentiality for all parties including complainants, in this case Professor Raymond Bradley. This confidentiality requirement was violated by Professor Bradley.
Also, last week, I sent an email to WaPo’s ombudsman, requesting space to rebut Bill McKibben’s senseless bloviation about tornadoes and climate change. No response.
In light of their non-acknowledgement of a similar process by Greenpeace using FOIA laws to get records on climate skeptics Michaels, Legates, Soon, and Baliunas, plus their non-acknowledgement of my request, WaPo’s editorial gist comes across like this:
One rule of use for AGW proponents, another for skeptics.
To me, it smacks of this sort of ugly thinking.