Why did PBS FRONTLINE electronically alter the signature of one of the world's most distinguished Physicists in their report "Climate of Doubt'?

UPDATE: PBS admits to this as being a mistake, see below – Anthony

Tuesday night as I watched the program, one of the documents on display during the interview with Dr. Fred Singer (who reporter John Hockenberry treated quite poorly with some editing tricks) caught my eye, because I saw it had been altered by post production video techniques.

I recognized the document, because I’d seen it before, but I could not be sure until I was able to compare the video and the original document side by side. I made a note and promised myself I’d revisit it when/if the full video report became available to check.

Late yesterday “Climate of Doubt” was posted on YouTube, and I was able to review it. Turns out I was right; PBS had altered the document electronically to make the name of one of the world’s most distinguished physicists illegible during their broadcast. Here is what I found.

First, here is the YouTube Video of the “Climate of Doubt” report: 

I direct your attention to the 19:30 mark where Hockenberry segues from the NAS report to an interview with Dr. Singer.

At 20:12 there’s an abrupt audio edit, with the camera on Hockenberry blurting out “Oregon Petition” which sure looks like Singers statement was cut off. That’s stock in trade of aggressive agenda driven editing to make the point of your video report, but what followed was far more egregious.

At 20:15 Hockenberry narrates with this in voice over:

The 14 year old petition is not exactly an exclusive club, a bachelor of science degree is all it takes to get you on the list. This document skeptics claim counters the scientific consensus on global warming.

While this graphic is displayed in slow zoom:

Note at 20:29 how the signature is electronically blurred, while other text and the writing “PHYSICS” is quite readable.

I’d seen that document before, and last night, I located it:

The signature is that of Dr. Edward Teller, from the signature card he turned in which can be seen on the very top of the Oregon Petition Project web page here. Clearly, Hockenberry was familiar with the project, citing it, and showing web pages linking to it. With that background at his disposal, there’s simply no way he could not have known that this was anybody but Dr. Teller on that card.

For those who don’t know, Dr. Edward Teller, often listed as the “father of the hydrogen bomb” was described in the PBS report “Race for the Superbomb” this way:

Of all the scientists who worked on the U.S. nuclear weapons program none have led more controversial a career than Edward Teller. Described by one Nobel Prize winner in physics as “one of the most thoughtful statesmen of science,” and by another as “a danger to all that’s important,” Teller was recognized by most of his colleagues as being one of the most imaginative and creative physicists alive.

He worked on the Manhattan project, was director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Among the honors he received were the Albert Einstein Award, the Enrico Fermi Award, the Corvin Chain and the National Medal of Science. He was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush less than two months before his death in 2003, and yes, he is a signatory of the Oregon Petition.

Hockenberry simply printed the graphic of the signature card above on a B&W laser printer, did a camera zoom over it, and used the electronic blur effect on the signature in post production.

The question is, why? Why would he need to obscure Dr. Teller’s signature?

Dr. Teller is deceased, so it can’t be to protect his identity or career. It is publicly well known and listed in Wikipedia that he is a signatory, and Dr. Teller has never disputed it as it was widely circulated when he signed on.

I think the key in understanding this is in Hockenberry’s voice over:

The 14 year old petition is not exactly an exclusive club, a bachelor of science degree is all it takes to get you on the list. This document skeptics claim counters the scientific consensus on global warming.

Quite clearly, he’s trying to diminish the impact of the Oregon Petition by making it seem just about anyone could sign on, not only with the way he was editing Dr. Singer’s response, but also with purposeful obfuscation of Dr. Teller’s signature to prevent recognition of it by viewers like you.

You might ask, “why did he use that signature card, and then go to the effort to obfuscate it?”. The answer there lies in finding other usable examples. You see, being in television and radio news myself for 25 years, I’ve seen many situations like this.

Reporters under a deadline need to get story elements “in the bag” and they often don’t have enough time. It sometimes limits their ability to dig deep, and sometimes makes them desperate when deadlines loom. Missing deadlines is a career ender, bending the truth when nobody notices, not so much. And, since there was this petition card document easily available on the front page of the petition website, the reporter could easily make a request to the post production editor to blur the signature and do no additional work himself. I’m betting that is what happened. It freed him to work on other things than additional research, plus when blurred it fit his narrative, which in my opinion was that “skeptics were bad people doing bad things“.

Watch the video from 20:30 to 20:50 and you’ll see what I mean. Here’s the voice over after the next hatchet job on Dr. Singer’s responses:

It a time-honored tactic by the skeptics, authentic looking documents and reports that don’t stand up to independent scrutiny.

I call bullshit on that, especially when the PBS report purposely alters the documents to prevent most viewers unfamiliar with the issue of figuring out they’ve been lied to by the reporter. It’s PBS journalistic ethics that don’t stand up to scrutiny here.

It makes you wonder what else Hockenberry may have purposely altered in post production.

It is clear to me that Hockenberry simply didn’t want viewers to know that such a prominent and world-renowned physicist had signed on saying he had “doubt” about global warming. That would dilute Hockenberry’s message.

This is beyond slimy jounalistic tactics akin to the sort of thing like NBC News rigging gas tanks on pickups trucks with model rocket engines so they will catch fire, viewers couldn’t tell, but experts did, and NBC paid the price.

Mr. Hockenberry should be reprimanded for his purposeful obfuscation and biased journalism tactics and I encourage readers to complain to PBS about this issue to ask it be investigated.

One final note, if you do a Google image search for “Oregon Petition signature card” you find Dr. Teller’s signature card and one other:

Yes, that’s Freeman J. Dyson, theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering.

Hockenberry likely couldn’t use that one either without blurring it.

Heartland’s Jim Lakely discusses many other issues with the quality of the reporting in “Climate of Doubt”.

UPDATE: Dr. Roy Spencer has similar complaints about how he was portrayed via editing:

From 0:18 to 0:21 in this trailer for the show “A Climate of Doubt”, I am seen talking about the U.S. government funding only research which supports global warming alarmism:…yet, the viewer of the entire show will come away with the mistaken impression that I was instead talking about skeptics of manmade global warming being funded by shady organizations.

UPDATE: Here are two messages placed side by side from the live chat (today at PBS website) showing that PBS has reacted to my point about Dr. Edward Teller’s signature. Catherine Upin is a co-writer of the program:

No mention as to the rationale of the “late stage production decision” only that it was a mistake.

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Where else could you get such a CSI-level examination of the PBS Frontline program but here? I thought I had most things covered, but missed those easy-to-miss (by design), vital, and insidious details. As Anthony was kind enough to note, I also broke down the “Climate of Doubt” program … but in different, bullet-pointed ways:
http://blog.heartland.org/2012/10/thoughts-on-pbs-frontlines-climate-of-doubt-program/
Jim Lakely
Director of Communications
The Heartland Institute

Graham Jarvis

Excellent analysis. Whenever people start deliberately falsifying evidence, it’s a sure sign of desperation. While not absolutely relevant to the issue at hand is the rather charming fact that one of the most original and brilliant thinkers of the 20th century has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics! One doesn’t have to be an expert to have an opinion – what one has to have is an open mind that can rationally review all evidence in order to reach a valid conclusion.

It’s probably policy to distort any signature shown on air to avoid identity theft.
Try finding the signature of any our chiefs of police in the UK on the web. Letters from the chief constable to the public are usually signed by a minion.
REPLY: Yes, but when citing a signed document in a news report, it is also usually a policy to name the signer if it is blurred. PBS failed to do this and left the viewer to wonder who signed it, while at the same time speaking of “documents that don’t stand up to scrutiny”. -Anthony

Brian H

The entire program is tendentious and propagandistic. I don’t know if it’s a new low, but it’s down there with the bottom-dwellers.

Though I agree with your analysis of the programs bias, I think the obfuscation of the signature has a much less sinister cause.
The person doing the editing probably had no idea who the signatory was. To not overstep privacy boundaries signatures gets blurred.
HLx
REPLY: That’s a possibility, but clearly the reporter had significant knowledge of the petition, and set up Fred Singer with the question about entertainers, etc. One of the supposed “fake” signers “Michael J. Fox” isn’t the actor, but a degreed professional. http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/196/10221/
Either Hockenberry knew this and exploited it for effect anyway, or didn’t do his research. Either way, its pretty sloppy – Anthony

Adam Gallon

Probably mentioned elsewhere, but Dr Spencer notes that his contribution has been editted to appear to be what it wasn’t!
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/10/climate-of-doubt-about-pbss-objectivity/
Mind you, just for balance, Dr Mann’s bit was left entirely upon the cutting room floor.
“@MichaelEMann
@timmytimj82 Spent half a day w/ them. Talked about #climatechange #denial campaign. It all ended up on cutting room floor “

Good catch Anthony,
Sort of O/T but related, I got a call from a BBC radio 4 presenter the other day, wanting some off the record chat about the police investigation into climategate. The program will go out at 9pm on halloween…
I got the distinct impression that the underlying message was,
“We’re going to talk about you, not to you.”

Mark and two Cats

Any truth to the warmunist claim that the Oregon Petition cover letter was intentionally made to look as though it was an official National Academy of Sciences document in order to lend the petition legitimacy?
note: I did not/will not watch the PBS show.

Glenn

I have one word for PBS. Defunded.

SandyInLimousin

Bottom of Barrel meet Scraper.

Dan

Anthony, you are doing a fantastic job! Thanks!

Jim Turner

Adam Gallon says:
October 25, 2012 at 12:52 am
“…Mind you, just for balance, Dr Mann’s bit was left entirely upon the cutting room floor.
“@MichaelEMann
@timmytimj82 Spent half a day w/ them. Talked about #climatechange #denial campaign. It all ended up on cutting room floor “
It would be interesting to see this footage, my guess would be that he came over so badly that he would have done more harm than good to the message. This is the same Michael Mann that has recently launched an Oscar Wilde style suicidal civil law suit.

The US has PBS we have, and are forced by law to pay for, the BBC. Both are biased and lie through omission of all the facts. See the last report of Arctic ice cover on the BBC. No mention of the Antarctic sea ice record. Certainly the BBC will not mention the now record regrowth of Arctic sea ice.

Stefan

As usual what they leave out is far more telling than what they put in.

Berényi Péter

I used to live the first several decades of my life in a country which could not exactly be characterized as an “open society”. Tricks like this were regular occurrences in Communist media, they simply could not help but bend the truth all the time.
However, we made a sport of spotting tricks and we became quite good at it. By the end this game got rather amusing, I must admit.
But these guys never learn, for there was a sour side effect of all this fooling around with purported “facts”. Even in cases when we were unable to identify the trick, we came to default on it anyway. It was simple folk wisdom to suppose they were lying all the time and dismiss every single word as pure propaganda unless proven otherwise by hard facts from independent sources.
In the current world however, especially in the U. S. of A. it is not supposed to go that way, is it? Clearly identifiable thoughtcrimes against a free society should never be allowed to go unpunished. Have PBS fire the guys ASAP or you do not deserve the freedom inherited conveniently from your great grand fathers.
For the difference between freedom and slavery is that it is you who should supervise Big Brother all the time, never the other way around.

Silver Ralph

Conversely, over in the UK, the media tide may be turning. The Daily Mail (right-wing but very popular** middle rung newspaper) has been getting more and more sceptic. But this recent arcticle was their most strident yet.
The REALLY inconvenient truths about global warming. Last week we explosively revealed a 16-year ‘pause’ in rising temperatures – triggering a bitter debate. You decide what the real facts are…
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220722/Global-warming-The-Mail-Sunday-answers-world-warming-not.html#ixzz2AIlGRxyu
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220722/Global-warming-The-Mail-Sunday-answers-world-warming-not.html
Don’t you just love the headlines on these stories. Does this mean that WUWT is ‘explosive’ every other day??
** 2 million copy daily circulation.
.

Dr. John M. Ware

To Graham Jarvis and others: A better construction would be: A Ph.D. doesn’t automatically make one an expert; nor does a lesser degree make one a non-expert. The Ph.D. (earned in my case, incidentally) speaks to such factors as persistence and luck, but hardly to expert status, as I learned repeatedly through a 40+-year career in academics. True expertise comes from knowledge, experience, and wisdom in a given field or fields, not in credential letters after one’s name. So Freeman Dyson, by his own document, had only a B.A. in his field–does that disprove his expertise? Hardly; it merely shows, along with myriad other examples, that degrees and expertise do not equate on a one-to-one basis.

izen

It does not take a PBS program to inform anyone who examines the issue that the Oregon petition is a load of nonsense with zero relevence to the science of climate.
Which does not prevent some partisan comentators still wheeling it out as a piece discredited propoganda.
REPLY: Prove it is “A load of nonsense” just saying it does not make it so – Anthony

Jimmy Haigh

It says it all that the warmists refuse to debate with us live and they have to change what we do say in live interviews in order to present their side of the story.

Whoa! Spectacular work Anthony.
Eagle-Eye Anthony Watts!

Phil Ford

It was obvious this programme was going to be yet another stitch-up job. I really don’t know why I bother ever giving broadcasters like PBS the benefit of my doubt; time and again, when it comes to CAGW, they display an alarming lack of balance, a troubling absence of unbiased reporting. They insult the intelligence of their audience and they throw dirt in the face of their so-called ‘journalistic principles’. It’s an utter disgrace that people like this should even be able to describe themselves as such, when in truth they are little more than useful, indoctrinaire idiots working for the CAGW msm propaganda machine.
I’m not suggesting PBS should have reported in favour of climate skeptics; far from it. But the fact they made virtually no effort at all to address any of the myriad issues skeptics have highlighted (time and again) in the ongoing CAGW scam simply beggars belief. This was little more than a pro-CAGW propaganda piece masquerading as a ‘documentary’. It was yet another sickening travesty.
How did journalistic standards manage to sink quite so far into the gutter?

D Böehm

izen says:
It does not take a PBS program to inform anyone who examines the issue that the Oregon petition is a load of nonsense with zero relevence to the science of climate. Which does not prevent some partisan comentators still wheeling it out as a piece discredited propoganda.
“Zero relevance”?? What planet do you live on, izen? Because you have no clue at all. And you are the “partisan commentator”.
The OISM Petition was all about climate science. It clearly shows that the true consensus is on the side of scientific skeptics, and not on the side of the alarmist cult.
The OISM Petition is co-signed by more than 31,000 professionals, with degrees exclusively in the hard sciences, including more than 9,000 PhD’s. They are stating unequivocally that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. But like all climate alarmists, you just can’t handle the truth.

Silver Ralph

Berényi Péter says: October 25, 2012 at 2:28 am
Tricks like this were regular occurrences in Communist media, they simply could not help but bend the truth all the time. … It was simple folk wisdom to suppose they were lying all the time and dismiss every single word as pure propaganda unless proven otherwise by hard facts from independent sources.
_________________________________
Sorry, are we talking about the USSR’s PRAVDA here, or the UK’s BBC? I think they must be run by the same management team.
.

MD

Having a higher degree of any sort certainly does not automatically confer the holder with any modicum of that rare commodity common sense. I am a microbiologist by training and whilst discussing some work I was doing for him was asked many years ago by a world leading authority on mamalian cell antibody expression systems. “how do the bacteria breathe in you screw the lids on the vials”. Truly mind bogling ignorance from someone with more letters after his name than I have letters in my name.
Anyone know anything about Excel at all I need a line drawn….?

pat

i see clear signatures on documents in the MSM all the time. as the document in question is public. there would be no need whatsoever to blur it.
because i don’t watch frontline – too spooky for my taste – i had no idea if michael mann was or wasn’t in it. however, i wanted to post yesterday about the “coincidental” timing of the mann lawsuit and the frontline attack on CAGW sceptics, which is what PBS declared it was up front. yes, a nice coincidence. more intrigue…and i’m on neither side in this race:
24 Oct: Bloomberg: David Mildenberg: Koch-Backed Texan Faces Sierra Club Fueled Bid for House
A global-warming skeptic backed by energy giant Koch Industries Inc. is squaring off against an opponent supported by the Sierra Club in a Texas congressional district where the largest U.S. oil discovery in decades drives the economy.
More than $5 million in spending by outside groups has made Canseco’s 23d Congressional District the most competitive House race for a Texas incumbent, according to analysts such as Jim Henson, who teaches politics at the University of Texas in Austin.. .
Canseco accepted more than $200,000 from “polluters,” backed cutting funds to create alternative-energy jobs and protected tax breaks for companies that send work overseas, according to a television ad from the league (of Conservation Voters) on YouTube.com…
Canseco’s campaign has gotten cash from individuals and political-action committees in the oil and gas industry totaling about $142,700, according to the Responsive Politics center. It said donors included PACs representing San Antonio-based NuStar Energy LP (NS) and refiner Valero Energy Corp. (VLO), as well as Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kansas. Federal records show NuStar Chairman William Greehey gave $5,000, as did Paul Foster, chief executive officer of Western Refining Co. (WNR) of El Paso…
“Canseco says there are credible individuals who question the veracity of man-made global climate change,” said Scott Yeldell, a spokesman…
Gallego has collected more than $70,000 from unions, including the National Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to the Responsive Politics center. It said lawyers, liquor distributors and unions were giving the most to him.
The conservation league’s money has been augmented by almost $200,000 from a Sierra Club PAC. The league’s board of directors includes John Podesta, an adviser to Obama and a White House aide to President Bill Clinton, as well as Carol Browner, a former EPA head under Clinton and energy policy chief for Obama, and is led by Scott Nathan, a partner and chief risk officer at Baupost Group LLC, a Boston-based hedge fund with more than $24 billion in assets…
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-24/koch-backed-texan-faces-sierra-club-fueled-bid-for-house.html

H.R.

@izen says:
October 25, 2012 at 3:03 am
“It does not take a PBS program to inform anyone who examines the issue that the Oregon petition is a load of nonsense with zero relevence to the science of climate.
[…]”

The petition is useful for pointing out that the [climate] “science”isn’t settled.
BTW and not exactly OT re “settled science,” how’re those runaway temperatures caused by steadily rising CO2 going lately? I thought it was settled back in 1988 that we’d be frying by now, except for those parts of Manhatten that are under water. Color me skeptical.
P.S. No cookies for you, PBS.

John Silver

PBS, Peoples Bull S…
Come on Mitt, do your thing.

Peter in MD

A little off topic, but still a hoot! But it does strike the correct chord in the context of this blog.
http://demwits.com/2012/01/you-with-the-facts-take-them-and-leave-we-dont-want-them-we-dont-need-them-we-hate-them/

izen

@- D Böehm
“The OISM Petition was all about climate science. It clearly shows that the true consensus is on the side of scientific skeptics, and not on the side of the alarmist cult.”
The petition has zero scientific content, it is purely a PR type stunt, no physical , chemical or biological science is confirmed, refuted or contained in getting a small percentage of the people who received the request to sign the petition to sign it. As others have pointed out the open criteria for acceptable signatories means that it represents a very small minority of all the eligible US graduates. Someone calculated that the number of scientists named Michael vastly outnumbers the number of Oregon petition signatories.
@-“They are stating unequivocally that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. But like all climate alarmists, you just can’t handle the truth.”
Wrong.
The tiny fraction of scientists who signed the petition may be endorsing the claims made in the associated document, but that is neither an established scientific ‘Truth’ nor does it establish that rising CO2 either only beneficial or exclusively harmless.
Good science can establish a scientific theory, a body of knowledge so well supported by observational evidence and logical inference that it would be unreasonable to doubt it, but only religion and mathematics can claim to establish ‘Truth’. To claim otherwise reveals a deep absence of knowledge about the basic epistemology of science.
Scientific consensus is derived from the consilience of the peer reviewed research in the relevant subject, not the signatures of anyone who claims a hard science qualification.
Petitions are the tools of political spin, NOT scientific discovery.

Jason H

Can’t wait for Romney to pull the rug out from under Big Bird.

Steve from Rockwood

D Böehm says:
October 25, 2012 at 3:28 am
The OISM Petition is co-signed by more than 31,000 professionals, with degrees exclusively in the hard sciences, including more than 9,000 PhD’s. They are stating unequivocally that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. But like all climate alarmists, you just can’t handle the truth.
—————————————————————
I noticed on Freeman Dyson’s petition card he had scratched Ph.D, M.S., B.S. and wrote “BA Mathematics”. I had no idea you could earn a BA in math and I’m stunned Dyson had no graduate degree.
Nice detective work Anthony. I’m with Romney when it comes to PBS. Stop their government funding.

ScepticalTom

@ Anthony
Really? Is this really worth a blog post?
Quite clearly, he’s trying to diminish the impact of the Oregon Petition by making it seem just about anyone could sign on
I have an MSc. and am able to sign the Oregon Petition. I have absolutely no scientific expertise in climate science – therefore my expert opinion is completely invalid, yet I am able to sign the Oregon Petition.
Anyone with a BSc. could sign the Oregon petition, since the vast, vast majority have no expert basis to comment on climate science, I would say that qualifies as “just about anyone”, as someone with a BSc. in Sport’s Nutrition has as much clue as a bin-man.
REPLY: Since your “expert opinion is completely invalid”, there’s no further need to be commenting here. – Anthony

Izen says It does not take a PBS program to inform anyone who examines the issue that the Oregon petition is a load of nonsense with zero relevence to the science of climate.
Whereas on the other hand the Doran survey’s 97% figure is absolutely rock solid and 100% reliable, right?
Gosh, who to believe, Edward Teller, one of the greatest and most influential physiciats of the 20th century, or Izen?
On yer bike!

Fred from Canuckustan.

When you have a weak case, you have to cheat, lie and obfuscate.
PBS had a weak case.

philjourdan

I am sorry – but I can no longer stomach the deceit and lies of PBS. My time is valuable as it is limited. And I will not waste it with hack sites. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention and informing me of the gross incompetence of the organization.

Very, very good. I noticed the blurring, and thought at first they had just blurred Singer’s signature, which would have been sensible. Then I noticed it didn’t look like Singer, and thought of Teller, but didn’t pursue it further.
I like HLx’s suggestion that “The person doing the editing probably had no idea who the signatory was.” Ignorance over malice and all that. Another possibility is that PBS didn’t want a Web discussion being hijacked over people’s feelings about Teller and atomic bombs.
Hey, let’s get this settled down soon – I have a potentially historic to storm get excited about this weekend.

Anthony, thank you for making the propaganda tactics that PBS applied in their Frontline program “Climate of Doubt” so very clear.
Yesterday I posted a Facebook comment with these observations:

I watched a few portions of the program. I would not exactly call it a hatchet job, but it was a propaganda piece that presented the alarmist ideology as fact and presented the skeptical view point held by credible and reputable climate scientist as being heretical.
In other words, it was somewhat like watching the Church putting Galileo on trial, without Galileo being able to defend his view that the Earth is not the centre of the universe.
It was probably the last such program by PBS I will ever have watched. PBS has lost all credibility with me. If I want to watch propaganda like that, then there would be more entertainment value in watching re-runs of movies directed by Veit Harlan [director of ‘Jud Süß’ (1940), which was made for anti-Semitic propaganda purposes in Germany and Austria.]
Aside from that, the premise of the program, namely that there is scientific consensus amongst a large number of climate scientists on the theory that global warming is caused by humans is in error: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/23/pbs-frontline-climate-change-special-cites-bogus-consensus/

tallbloke says:
October 25, 2012 at 12:52 am
Sort of O/T but related, I got a call from a BBC radio 4 presenter the other day, wanting some off the record chat about the police investigation into climategate.
========
Reminds me of an radio interview Monckton did in Oz. He was perfectly happy to have them broadcast him live when he called in, but when they wanted to record him off air for a later broadcast he was “too busy”..
The reason seemed perfectly obvious. The interviewer was hostile. Monckton skewed him on the live broadcast, showing that the talk show host didn’t have the facts. However, with an off-air recording of Monckton the interviewer could have cut and paste to create any impression he wanted, even a false one.
The moral would appear to be to as a condition of granting the interview, to require the broadcaster to broadcast the interview unedited, or not at all.

Severian

I had the pleasure and great honor of meeting Dr. Teller twice back in the day when I was an undergrad. He was a true genius, a towering intellect and a forceful personality (who took the time to talk with and encourage budding physicists like us), and I can well imagine how he would react to this. He was a man who definitely meant what he said, and you can be sure that his signature on this meant he had studied the issue thoroughly and was confident in his opinion, and there is no way this was an accident IMO. They needed to find a way to trivialize this so the subterfuge. Repulsive.

Anthony, Could you ask PBS to comment on this piece of work you have done? I, and I am surf others, would be interested in any response they might make.

Steve Keohane

SOP for our media. Anyone who watched the 3rd prez debates was also amused by the portrayal of BOs head as larger than Romney’s. (7% by pixel count) No less than blatant propaganda.

Tamara

Yes, all it takes is a bachelor of science degree, and the brainpower to arrive at your own conclusions rather than accepting pronouncements on authority from fatih.
Would love to see Hockenberry’s face when confronted with the membership requirements for the Union of Concerned “Scientists”.

Joe Postma

I noticed that right away too. I figured they had to do it for some sort of legal reason or something.
I was surprised to find that most liberals don’t like Teller. I showed that document at a talk I gave at my university and the liberal audience guffawed that I would show a document signed “by one of the world’s most hated scientists” (actual quote) in order to make a point about “no consensus”.
I don’t know why they would blur it out.

polistra

Can’t really see why Teller and Dyson would be treated the same way.
Teller was solidly anti-Communist, even to the extent of ratting on the Soviet spies in the Manhattan Project. Teller was later associated with Reagan. Thus Comrade Hockenberry should have been FEROCIOUSLY EAGER to connect Teller loudly and firmly with the evil denialists.
But Dyson is generally friendly to leftist causes. It’s easy to see why Comrade Hockenberry would want to erase his name from the evil denialist petition.

For Silver Ralph, who wrote: “Sorry, are we talking about the USSR’s PRAVDA here, or the UK’s BBC? I think they must be run by the same management team.”
The biggest difference between Pravda and the BBC is that not even Pravda was low enough to knowingly allow a notorious child molester (and possibly an entire ring of child molesters) to operate from inside their own organization for 30 years.
And even when a handful of honest reporters had had enough of covering up for the rape of underage girls, BBC management *still* killed the report!!!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/world/europe/savile-inquiry-widens-to-others-at-bbc-reports-say.html?pagewanted=all
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jimmy-savile-scandal-tom-watson-1398159

Downdraft

Despite the protestations from PBS to the contrary, they are at the beck and call of the Federal Government, who provides about 20% of their total funding. Liberals provide much of the rest. Functionally, they perform the same purpose as Tass, Pravda, and the China People’s Daily. They have an agenda, and can’t afford to be unbiased lest they lose much of the funding.
It is dangerous to have PBS under the control of the party in power.

DickF

Romney is right about PBS. I’ll miss Big Bird, but I won’t miss this kind of “malarkey” (to borrow Joe Biden’s favorite epithet). I’m tired of paying for a government-funded propaganda channel, let alone borrowing 40 cents of every dollar used to create this garbage.

Some commentators are attempting to discredit the Oregon Petition by casting doubt on the credentials of the signatories. The argument is that since many/most of the signatories will not be active in climate science their views should carry little weight. This is missing the point. Someone who has a degree in a hard science has the skill set to read and evaluate scientific papers, even in fields with which they are not familiar. They can reach well reasoned judgements on the science without needing to be told what to think by somebody else. The fact that over 31,000 science graduates in the US alone (non-US citizens are not eligible to sign) have publicly declared their opposition to the CAGW paradigm is therefore significant.

Mr. Watts makes a very good point about Hockenberry’s blurring of Dyson’s name: if H is willing to diminish such a simple fact that (presumably) he sees as weakens his point, then what else is there that we do not see that he has done?
I’ve been in the technical industry for more than 30 years. I can assure everyone that it is almost impossible to technically verify something in a presentation (especially if it is done in PowerPoint); you need to independently think about and background/ground check afterward. That would seem to nullify the value of presentations other than explaining a position, and it is true in any initial dealings with individuals or groups. What you rely on after a while is an “earned credibility”. Once you have determined that the presenter – not so much the presentation – is credible, you follow along, limiting yourself to watching to make sure the presentation is internally consistent and consistent with other truths that you hold. (Of course you always, or always should, think about what was said before you make a committment: the walk back to the office is often more revealing than the time spent in the presentation boardroom.)
Credibility means you haven’t cheated (or at least been caught cheating). Hockenberry cheated in that he manipulated his audience. His statements are thereby not credible at initial viewing. He may be right, but you now know he may be fooling you.
Few of us have the time to backcheck, and nor should we. It is not just that additional work is required. A reputation follows you for good reason; a reformed sinner may be respected, but there is always a concern about backsliding. The game in life is all about confidence in what you experience accurately represents reality. That which you don’t expect is liable to bite your butt.
Tricks – like Mike’s “nature trick” – are the tool of the small and mean. Hockenberry is now on the list of the small and mean for me.

Thanks, Anthony!
Good article. PBS will have to change.