230 comments later, PBS still can't bring themselves to approve my comment and fix a transcription error

The amount of hate directed at me today due to my appearance on PBS yesterday has been, in climate parlance, “unprecedented”. Most of the objections were not with what I said, but rather that I was allowed to speak at all. Apparently my mere presence in the broadcast has caused such a firestorm of complaints to PBS that they had to put up an apology piece. It is truly bizarre behavior on display. Even more bizarre is the fact that after 230 comments, my comment requesting a couple of simple spelling corrections still has not been approved nor acted upon. This is what my browser shows me today, note the yellow highlight:

Admittedly, I misspelled typographical in my haste to notify them of problems in their own article, but I never expected them to flat out ignore it. Here’s my screencap from yesterday; shortly after the article went up when there were only two comments besides mine:

My request was for them to fix errors that likely resulted in transcription, either by a human transcriptionist unfamiliar with the science, or speech to text software that made the wrong word choice.

My requested corrections were:

heat sync ===> should be ===> heat sink


sighting issues ===> should be ===> siting issues

another that I didn’t mention that should be fixed is:

solar insulation ===> should be ===> solar insolation

But I guess they were too busy responding to threats to cancel donations, angry and sometimes hateful comments, and writing appeasement articles to sooth the fan base to worry about such trivialities.

For the record, here is what I sent to PBS Correspondent Spencer Michels today:

From: Anthony

Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:48 AM

To: smichels@xxxxxx.xxx

Subject: Thank you

Hello Spencer,

Overall I’m pleased with the results of your work yesterday, and while some people have emotions ranging from quibbles to outrage about it, I’m appreciative, as are many, that you fought to have me included.

Most of the complaints I’ve seen haven’t much to do with the content of what I said but mostly over the fact that I was allowed to speak at all.

When my new paper is published, I’ll include you on the release list. After going through our second round of review, I’m confident that our results will hold up, and that there is a bias in the surface temperature record, creating an increased temperature trend due to station siting issues.

Thank you again for your fair representation.

Best Regards,

Anthony Watts

I’ll have more to say on this episode later. Right now I’m just reeling from the hate sent my way for daring to express an opinion at the invitation of PBS.

Here’s an example from the “Forecast the Facts” paid political organization who bullies TV weathercasters into saying what they want:

“On September 17, 2012, PBS Newshour provided an unchecked platform for Anthony Watts, a virulent climate change denier funded by the Heartland Institute. This is the kind of reporting we expect from Fox News, not PBS. Please join us in calling on the PBS ombudsman to immediately investigate how this segment came to be aired and recommend corrective action to make sure a journalistic abomination like this never happens again.

The Petition – Below is the petition we’ll send to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler: “Immediately investigate the NewsHour segment featuring climate change denier and conspiracy theorist Anthony Watts for violations of PBS standards on accuracy, integrity, and transparency, and recommend corrective action to ensure that such reporting never again occurs on PBS.”

“…featuring climate change denier and conspiracy theorist Anthony Watts”

Gosh, I suppose they didn’t read this part of the interview:

SPENCER MICHELS: His conclusion though is that basically global warming exists and that the scientists, no matter what the problems were, were pretty much right on.

ANTHONY WATTS: I agree with him that global warming exists. However, the ability to attribute the percentage of global warming to CO2 versus other man-made influences is still an open question.

or this:

ANTHONY WATTS: I’m saying that the data might be biased by these influences to a percentage. Yes, we have some global warming, it’s clear the temperature has gone up in the last 100 years. But what percentage of that is from carbon dioxide? And what percentage of that is from changes in the local and measurement environment?

What am I denying?


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It really is easy to disturb the collective, isn’t it?

M Courtney

230 comments? Your volunteer organisation handles more than that on several different articles on most days.
Perhaps you should offer them technical assistance as well as help with spelling?

Rob Schneider

on behalf of the world, “sorry”.
(sad, isn’t it?)


Anthony – please know that there is a huge amount of people that are very proud of what you have done, not only by presenting a logical and intelligent opinion on this show piece, but what you have stood for since the beginning of WUWT, and continue to do so. You Sir, are a true champion and leader, and sometime in the not too distant future, your website, and your continued efforts to rebalance the argument, will be appreciated for their true worth. Congratulations on your continued efforts – stay the course, and try as best you can to ignore the sad whimpering of the vocal minority.

Tim Walker

How dare they allow a dissenter’s voice to be heard. Sarc.
If you can’t refute the opponents arguments, then try to drown them out by repeating the same line, while holding your fingers in your ears and hands over your eyes. If that is too difficult, then try to make sure they can’t share their arguments with you or others. Sarc.

jonny old boy

your participation was great but not the story it seems. In fact the interview was poor from their point of view, they missed many obvious questions. However, the reaction to your interview is priceless. Its what we in the UK call “shooting your self in the foot” ( and you folks may say that too )… basically they have put on display a collective ignorance and distain for basic scientific behaviour that is breathtaking. In their world freedom to speak should be banned because you are not a field scientist yet their 97% of all dogs like Winalot dog food type statement is somehow heralded as a defence for their bigotry. Its pathetic beyond words. You could have given an interview about women lingerie Anthony for all they care…. they did not listen and have not the pure scientific curiosity to do so….

Some say that, at this rate, Climate Change will become impossible to report for all but the most stupidly wide-eyed of journalists, sheepishly doing a copy-and-paste on anything Dear Kev and friends will pass.
Some say, it has already happened.

Jim G

As a frequent listener to National Propaganda Radio (one needs to keep up with what the enemy is saying) I am somewhat shocked that you were given any venue, whatsoever. You most certainly should not expect fair or accurate treatment. I do find it surprisingly refreshing that they allowed you any acknowlegement at all. NPR would be one of my first candidates for complete elimination from our national budget along with most of the EPA, all of the Dept of Energy and much of HEW.


When all of this massive scam finally comes crashing down- and it WILL – there will be silence from the vast majority of such people. They’ll spend the next 30 years hoping no one Ever asks them where they were, when the Ivory Towers fell.
And they will NEVER apologize.


Hi Anthony,
I thought your interview on PBS was reasonable, but not great. It appeared to the viewer (myself) that you were too carefully choosing a ‘tactful’ response to the questions. This may be your style but it looked a little contrived, which is not so good for the science.
That said, i placed two constructively worded responses on the PBS.org website – both yesterday and today and while other comments have been approved, mine have not.
Comment 1:
Basically, referred to the complete lack of knowledge exhibited by the electorate on CO2 and say flora. Most people do not know what trees are made from… Carbon fixation from CO2. There are a number of intereviews on the Internet about this topic. All are astounding in that the respondents exhibit a complete lack of minor environmental science. My point is, how can people make informed decisions when they do not understand the meager scientific basics. Relatedly, on the level of engagement – these same people do not understand how CO2 taxation would work. That is, who would collect the taxes and who would benefit? Second, who would ‘police’ the CO2 emission levels and to which governments would these individuals report? What are the implications for sovereign countries?
Comment 2:
No one, on the PBS.org – Comments Section is addressing the questions that you posed in the interview; namely, the suitability of the temperature data sets and Muller’s paper… not passsing peer review.
It would appear to me that PBS is failing the test of openness and balanced information exchange. This will hurt their brand.
Lastly, I am pleased that you took the time to do the interview.
jds in Toronto

There is no amount of science, logic or reality that will divest a True Believer of his True Beliefs and any attempt to do so will result in vitriolic, hateful responses. Welcome to the world and mind (a scary place) of the left wing.


Reminiscent of the hate response of the muslim world to the recent film trailer.
I guess that’s religious fanatics for you.

Nic L

What surprises me is the outrage that Mr Watts should be allowed to speak.
Not what he said but that his comments were actually actually solicited and broadcast.
He dared to suggest that the temperature record might lack accuracy because of heat from buildings or constructions and equipment that had been erected around the thermometer sites.
A note of caution that the quality of the data should be checked.
And it generates hysterical responses.

Heh. They have no idea. I sent a polite comment to Getler today, which will come across to him somewhat better than the terse instruction contained in the ‘petition’.
“Immediately investigate the NewsHour segment featuring climate change denier and conspiracy theorist Anthony Watts [ad hominem] for violations of PBS standards on accuracy, integrity, and transparency, and recommend corrective action to ensure that such reporting [of free speech] never again occurs on PBS.”
What a bunch of losers.
Sorry to hear about you becoming the subject of todays five minute hate Anthony.

Sounds like the ABC or SBS in Oz- the peace loving luvvies show their virulent hatred for anyone who dares to question their received wisdom. Well done Anthony.

Stephen Singer

They’re no dummies, nor are they stupid they knew what kind of blow back they would get. They were looking to get a bounce about the show even if negative.


You did a good job. You presented facts clearly and calmly. Hence, alarmists want to ban you and to defame you.
I am very surprised that this is a new experience for you but – since you imply it is – I say
Welcome to the club.

Nice non-Gandhi quote: And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. (N. Klein, 1918)


It is precisely this kind of assault that made me look into the issue of CAGW in the first place. If they are so right, why do they need to be so “virulently” hostile? I discovered warmists are vicious towards any critique of the consensus, and sceptics politely point to facts and data (or lack of them). Thank you so much Anthony for giving us information. It is infinitely preferable to being called names for asking questions.

Dr. James Norton

Looks like the Climate Response Team was called in for that one.
Hate Level 5. Hate Level 5. Hate Level 5. Hate Level 5. Hate Level 5. Hate Level 5. Hate Level 5.

James Ard

The invective from the Forcast the Facts blurb is as over the top crazyness as I’ve seen yet. You know you have them on the run when they come out with stuff like this. Keep up the good work!

The very fact that you were given a platform is progress.
For every squealing green there was probably a hundred normal people nodding in quiet agreement.
Good on ya!

pauline emmerson

Pearls before swine! You are appreciated Anthony, this site has taught me so much and I enjoy it, (even the bits I do not truly understand).

This is exactly what I mean about the dangers of IDEOLOGY, which has no place whatsoever in Science.
It is anathema to the very idea of the scientific method, which is proof positive why Anthony Watt’s mere appearance on the News Hour on PBS has caused such a firestorm among the AGW carbon climate change scam industry.
That ideology ignores all the laws of physics. Since 1988, when the ‘global warming’ ideology really got going in Colorado when I covered climate/weather for Knight-Ridder as a journalist and dealt with NCAR and their climate scientists on a regular basis; many of them were quite uncertain about even the existence of global warming.
Of course, we all know that millions in federal funding since the 1990s led to the ideological war on science in general and on climate science in particular with the lie that humanity is the cause of global warming.
In my expertise as a astrometeorologist in forecasting climate and weather I know all too well that it is the SUN that is the cause of global warming and all climate change.
All of our climate change comes from outer space, for that is where our planet lives and it is where the Sun, the driver and life-giver to our planet, also lives.
The facts of the laws of physics cannot be altered by opinion, outright lies, or ideology.
As Aldous Huxley once said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”


The Stalinists are outraged.
I guess they really mean it when they say the debates over. Now they are saying to PBS, “The debates over OR ELSE!!”
Anthony: the hysteria you see and hear is directly related to the calm effectiveness and professional excellence of your presentation. You were very good and they are frightened by it.

Comment submited to the ‘apology post’ at PBS
It looks like the new Anthony Watts et al paper will pass peer review, so I suggest everyone calms down and awaits the outcome. There are some important findings in it, and if verified by the peer reviewers, there will be important issues to discuss regarding the extent of the warming indicated by the temperature record as it is currently adjusted.
You don’t need to be a scientist to be able to conduct statistical studies and make logical deductions from the results. What is important is the correct treatment of input data.
I thank PBS for their continued commitment to the fair and balanced reportage of issues of importance in the public interest.

John from CA

unbelievable nonsense and intimidation!!!

The Left can live with dissent in “permitted” areas. Fox News, talk radio, the blogs. But they have worked REAL hard to keep it out of the “respectable” domain. That’s the key for them. That’s what’s required to protect the narrative, to quarantine opposing ideas. PBS violated the quarantine and there’s hell to pay.


Well as a donor/supporter of PBS, I am outraged that they are apologizing for letting you have your say in this debate. If it helps, I will be one voice in on their site saying BRAVO for having the spherical fortitude (balls) to have you on their (overly liberally biased) program. And always, thank YOU for the work you do…it is so very greatly appreciated.


Not a denier, but a heretic. Well done Anthony. The true believers need to hear from more heretics so that they come to recognize our existence. The vehemence of their response is simply proportional to the level of threat to their belief system. When the linch pin argument of the AGW caused by CO2 crowd is “we can’t find (think of) anything else that would explain it”, any alternative explanation is an immediate threat. Thanks for suffering the slings and arrows.


Ha! You must be doing something right to get the worked up. They must be having nightmares about green grants being removed, especially in this time of budget cuts…

Wow oh Wow, this is what happens when [you] don’t preach to the choir. It’s almost like the Huffington Post let you write an article (same people). This is what you (we) are up against. The vitriol – wow!


Religious fanaticism causes outrageous responses over trivial issues when offence is detected.
We regularly see outrageous claims from the true believers in the pro global warming crowd that suggest religious like zeal. Insults and threats when all that is being proposed is that maybe there is an error in the “consensus science” and we ought to look at it.
In Australia we saw a similar outpouring of hate over the “Innocence of Muslims” video – though what responsibility Australia has in any part of that other than accept political refugees from Muslim countries I do not know.
These people then showed their hatred of anything that challenges their orthodoxy by marching down our streets calling for beheadings of blasphemers.
Only slightly more extreme than the AGW cheer squad – some only wanted blasphemers tattoed while Singer titillated herself with the delicious prospect of blasphemers being gassed, not with CO2 mind you – that is too harmless – but with carbon monoxide which binds strongly to haemoglobin thus denying the brain, in fact your whole metabolism, oxygen – the prime reason why you should not smoke – perhaps she’s had a few too many non-fatal doses herself.
All of this fanaticism without being to actually demonstrate even the fundamentals of the theory.
I cannot believe CO2 can have a “powerful greenhouse gas backradiative effect” if it has a thermal conductivity about half of normal air without any phase change (thus latent heat) properties at ambient temperatures.
How do they get it to stop radiating while they conduct the thermal conductivity experiment – now that is a miracle of science.
If this belief is simply wrong – and it could be as I’m simply working on reason here with a few basic facts – please someone explain to me – I really want to know if I am wrong on this.


Re: outrage at PBS
Lewandowsky, for all his failings, does have a piece which expresses the sentiments of all these aggrieved Alarmists:
Lew says it is “utterly inconceivable” he could be wrong on climate science:
(h/t Hilary Ostov)
Ofc Lew is talking about what he thinks the “science” says about climate…. And we know how reliable Lew is as a reporter of facts and evidence.


One hundred percent of climate scientists agree that there has been no significant warming in the last 15 years as CO2 levels rise. (Ah, what’s the use? It is PBS, emphasis on the BS, after all.) I watched it live. The eye-rolling axioms planted into the narrative – the 97%, Muller ‘the former sceptic’ and the like – nearly cost me a television screen via a projectile. Thanks for standing up Anthony.


Anthony, well done. That small dose of simple truths and genuine science has caused a lot of childish grown up people to push their pretending to a point where the holes must be starting to show. It must be really difficult for them to type comments with clenched fists while simultaneously screaming “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!…!
It may seem a thankless and unending task, but you are doing a good job. Thank you and take care.

Robert of Ottawa

[snip – even though irony/satire, not appropriate here – mod]


And when PBS calls for their fundraiser, let them know how you really feel 🙂

Robert of Ottawa

corrective action perhaps in a warm gulag ?

Silence DoGood

the danger here is not the hysterical musings of the warming swarm necessarily, but more to the damage their utter disregard of science to aid in the attempts at truth in any future progression on the climate science concern. In perhaps more layman terminology, this abolition of any information indicating doubt on hard-earned religious zealotry does a dis-service to mankind by the simple act of fueling our skeptic nation to impulse any new evidence presented for discourse and research regarding the planets climate said temperature increase.

Peter Miller

Hate and hysteria are two of the cornerstones of alarmist philosophy, while data manipulation and grant addiction are the other two.
Calling the alarmists’ bluff in admitting to AGW – quite rightly commenting that no one knows its magnitude or its real cause (CO2 possibly, partly, or not at all) – but firmly denying CAGW, causes consternation among those who believe in bad science.
The fact that you have the usual rent-a-mob organisations up against you simply demonstrates that you have right on your side.
Well done, Anthony.


Well !
You have to understand the desperation among the fanatic left who is the group using the vocabulary ala Cook Romm and Greenpeace activists. For them it was a game changer when they former only had their ideology mantras to try to get power and influence. Now with the IPCC a dream came [true] and they kidnapped “science” to fit with their ideas. Of course they try anything and goes as far they possibly can to shut people up who dont trust the science or prove the CAGW science to be wrong. Because to them that`s the same thing as to show their hole ideology wrong. You have to understand the stakes at play for them its do or die when they made the connection between their ideology and climate science! Their McArthyist behavior is in desperation but also very close and expected from people who dont appreciate or trust a free world with a free people and a their free market . They`ve put everything on the line with CAGW. They dont care about science at all¨they need it for is to get attention and to dress up and lend legitimacy to get power! without it their NOTHING …. again!
Thats all folks!

Ian H

PBS played fair by Anthony as far as I can see given that it is clear this was originally intended to be a story about Muller celebrating his supposed defection. As there seem to be some people at PBS who still believe in eithical journalism, perhaps the nature of the reaction to this story may be causing them to have a bit of a rethink.
From Anthony they get a reasonable, rational and quite sane interview. From the other side they get a mindless screaming howl of outrage that he was allowed to speak at all, bilious hate mail, and a demand to pull him from the air. Perhaps some of them might start to see the nature of the beast we are up against.

John West

Take heart Anthony, this really couldn’t be going any better. It’s like the 10:10 video. Normal people will happen upon the clip, see the calm rational interview and then see the comments. The normal people will quickly conclude the silence dissent nuts are nuts. Then if they’re at all interested in the issue they’ll start looking into it for themselves and most of the time another skeptic will be born. Between WUWT, JoNova, CA, HI, etc. etc. the information required to cast doubt (to put it lightly) on the whole CAGW meme is so much easier to find than it used to be. Really, this is a huge step in the right direction. I predict (project) that by the end of 2015 the CAGW nuts will be being publically laughed at like the 12/21/12 nuts are being laughed at now. Perhaps we should beat the rush and just start laughing at the poor misguided souls now.

We Told You So

What you’re denying is that you see criminal conspiracy, and that it’s being generated by government employees and other beneficiaries of fantasy warming apocalypse church,
of the unmitigated falsification of paperwork
to obtain government funding.

The reaction of the AGW alarmists is not surprising. Anyone who dares question the The Church of Global Warming theology will be excoriated and verbally burned at the stake. AGW skeptics and climate realists are viewed as apostates by the priesthood of climate change. How dare we, blasphemers all of us, question the Holy Scripture of CO2-induced global warming.
It’s obvious from the level of vitriol and hatred aimed at Anthony and others who question the prophesy of runaway global warming that we are not dealing with a rational group of people who are interested in dispassionate and deliberative scientific inquiry. There appear to be more than a few book burners among the keepers of the AGW faith.

Anthony is a potential job creator – that is, at the NewsHour anyway, where it appears the avalanche of comments has overwhelmed their comment moderators. Though they’ve approved a few of my jousts with other commenters at Hari Sreenivasan’s apology blog ( http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/09/keeping-climate-stories-in-context.html ), they’ve yet to approve the very FIRST comment I wrote at that one, which asked some really blunt questions about Hari’s assertion that “… PBS NewsHour has long covered the scientific research and analysis surrounding climate change” http://i48.tinypic.com/5ufmvm.jpg
Just wanted to point out that they’ve only covered half the issue, but apparently we will have to wait for the backlogged interns there to get around to that particular one and Anthony’s at the Michels transcript page, ….
Meanwhile, Dr Judith Curry gets faster service than Anthony does when it comes to correcting her remarks: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec12/climatechange_09-17.html#comment-654352735

Gunga Din

“Hate'” is out there, no matter what the subject. Human nature is not perfect. (Thank you, Adam.) All we can do is speak what’s true as we see it and be willing to accept genuine correction. Those who are offened by it will lash out. We might be surprised by it but it is to be expected. The larger the audience, the more adverse reactions we can expect. But how much value should we place in the opinion of willful idiots, even when those idiots come from unexpected quarters?
I once told a Hare Krishna about Jesus Christ. He sucker punched me. I didn’t expect that from someone who was preaching “peace”. His punch didn’t change the Truth of what I said.
I know those topics aren’t quite on the same level but, just stay honest and honorable. From what I’ve seen here, you’te good at that.

Judy W

If they are going to investigate, I would like to know why PBS runs so much British Programming and propaganda. What is up with that?
Thanks Anthony for your work.


Sadly, bet they are really frothing!
I so love their true colors shining
bright for all to see
what they really preach…
who they prove to be.