Reader poll – should I sue the pants off Greg Laden?

UPDATES have been added below.

I spent yesterday conferring with lawyers about the smear that Greg Laden made against me (see here) that was compounded by it being reprinted and Tweeted at Climate progress by Joe Romm. I think Romm now realizes that he made a mistake by not checking out Laden’s claims before he printed it. He’s now added an update walking back from his position a bit, adding a link to WUWT and a note for his readers to see how Laden purposely twisted the story. He also needs to make a note about this walkback on Twitter, since his story went out to thousands that way. CP is equally culpable in this by not checking Laden’s claims before publishing.

After review yesterday, it seems that Laden’s actions in his original and follow up story meet the legal tests for “False Light“. 

Generally speaking, a false light claim requires the following:

  1. The defendant published the information widely (i.e., not to just a single person, as in defamation);
  2. the publication identifies the plaintiff;
  3. it places the plaintiff in a “false light” that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person; and
  4. the defendant was at fault in publishing the information.

While False Light is not recognized in Minnesota (where Laden resides) it IS recognized in Washington DC, where National Geographic is headquartered, and according to our research, Nat Geo has assumed editorial control of where Mr. Laden placed his essay.

The District of Columbia recognizes the tort of “false light.” Plaintiffs can sue for false light when a false and offensive statement is made about them to the public and causes them distress. The specific things a plaintiff must prove are listed below under “Elements of a False Light Claim.”

Note how NatGeo’s yellow box logo is placed prominently in two places on the SB header:


So, with all of Laden’s written false claims saved, with clear and indisputable examples of Laden’s purposeful malice, plus other examples of malice in context, and an establishment of the location editorial control of the blog he published the false claims on, it seems there is enough to move forward.

The question is, should I make an example of him for all us who have suffered non factual smears such as he practices? Just like I did with the original story that Mr. Laden smeared me about, I’m going to put the question up for discussion by the readers.

UPDATE: I’ve been asked privately why I have chosen to elevate this case, where I did not in a far worse case of smear by Climate Progress regular, Mike Roddy, who along with his co-author, when I requested a factual correction to a smear piece, he put in not one, but two suggestions (plus a comment at CP) that I have sex with farm animals.

It stems from this piece Roddy wrote about me, see the “corrections” at the end, which he apparently agrees with:

Scroll all the way to the bottom to see the update.

I discussed this case with counsel yesterday, and we came to the conclusion that while most ‘reasonable people’ would likely not conclude that I’m a practitioner of bestiality due to the context of the story, in the case of Laden’s story, most reasonable people would conclude that Laden’s story as written was accurate, since he went to great lengths to conceal anything in his story that showed the caveats I placed. That’s the actionable distinction with a difference. – Anthony

UPDATE1:  Wow, just wow.

UPDATE2: Hilarious logic fail, from a comment at Laden’s blog:

‘Kudos to Greg for demonstrating the openness of this blog by allowing the WUWT attack dogs to post their vitriolic bilge. No censorship here, wish the same could be said of Mr Watts and his cronies.

The denialists are committing crimes against humanity, surely it’s time for legislation to close these sites down’.

UPDATE 3: 8AM PST 1/21/13 – Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful input, and for responding to the poll. Using these, I’ve made my decision. Comments are now closed as well as the poll. – Anthony

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January 18, 2013 7:17 am

Yes, sue. As Instapundit says “hit back twice as hard”. Its the only thing a bully truly understands.

January 18, 2013 7:17 am

Yup… and I will contribute to you legal fund to do it.

January 18, 2013 7:18 am

Normally I would say take the high road, but “they” won’t, don’t and wouldn’t; therefore I say Sue the pants off him until he’s reduced to wearing napkins!

January 18, 2013 7:20 am

And that decision should be influenced, if not made, by those responding to poll questions . . . why, exactly?

Scott Basinger
January 18, 2013 7:20 am

No. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig likes it.

January 18, 2013 7:21 am

Your already winning this battle Anthony. Skip the huge headaches associated with a lawsuit. Most of the people Greg Laden’s posts might influence will not be pursuaded regardless. Joe Romm, on the other hand, needs to print an outright apology.

January 18, 2013 7:21 am

I voted for legal action. You have a water tight position and when NG comes to make a deal tell them you want a public apology and enough cash to finish your NOAA data project.

January 18, 2013 7:22 am

We need to start bringing guns to gunfights.

Ian L. McQueen
January 18, 2013 7:24 am

If you are suing him personally check if he has enough assets to make it worth your while.

January 18, 2013 7:24 am

Sue yes, but leave his pants on.

A C Osborn
January 18, 2013 7:26 am

I voted for Legal Action, but only if you can afford it.

Latimer Alder
January 18, 2013 7:26 am

Sue the arse off the creep. And when you win ensure that he has to do a lot of public grovelling as well.

January 18, 2013 7:27 am

If you choose to take legal action (not necessarily promoting this), I’ll gladly donate to the “cause”.

January 18, 2013 7:27 am

I’m pro- freedom of speech. I realise that this is different, as it’s a smear, but you should fight him with words, not by legal means. Your blog already does that, and it’s true to say that it’s far more widely read than his.
In general I think the litigation culture is a very bad thing and I don’t think it should be encouraged.

January 18, 2013 7:27 am

The poll is neat but I’m sure you will make your decision without the results. I’m confident that it will be the right one.

January 18, 2013 7:27 am

IF you have the time, energy and $$$, the odious hobgoblin should be smitten.

January 18, 2013 7:28 am

He really messed up. Its a smear no doubt about it. I don’t know, it seems like a pretty low profile website. Maybe an apology from Laden would be ok, but then his followers would call him a ‘denier apologist’ or something. Lol!

January 18, 2013 7:28 am

No. Don’t dirty your hands.

January 18, 2013 7:29 am

I had considered suing the pants off him, but then thought that the probable recovery wouldn’t begin to be worthwhile to any but the lawyers. I ended up voting for seeking an apology, but won’t hold my breath.
A-holes like this clown need to be slapped down; I just don’t know how to do it without ending up with a Pyrrhic victory.

January 18, 2013 7:30 am

Your call Dr. Watts. It will require a lot of time, effort, and other resources from you to pursue a tort. I leave it to you to make the decision about what you do with those.
January 18, 2013 7:30 am

I sued a school district once. Whupped ’em, too. They had to pay court costs and our attorney’s fees–well over $80K. But I don’t kinow as I’d do it again. It took a lot of time, and time is our most valuable natural resource.

John V. Wright
January 18, 2013 7:31 am

I voted for you to take legal action because of the reputation WUWT has for scientific accuracy, fairmindedness and plain dealing, with supporters and critics alike. Laden has not only deliberately tried to mislead people in order to sully your reputation, he has also attempted to bring into disrepute this fine blog – twice winner of the Best Science Blog Award and the 2912 Bloggies Lifetime Achievement Award. It is offensive to you, to the good name of this blog and to the many fans of the blog around the globe.
Also, it appears – as far as anyone can tell – that Heartland is not going to sue Gleick so it would do everyone’s heart good to see a bit of legal redress going the way of the good guys for once.

January 18, 2013 7:31 am

Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs titled his first book “Fourth and One”, the situation where he must decide to punt of to go for a first down.
He says the crowd always wants to go for it. And that is usually not the best decision.
Using his philosophy, I was able to accurately predict the poll results from the crowd.
Coach Gibbs has 3 Super Bowl rings.

O Olson
January 18, 2013 7:33 am

I voted for a legal action too. Also, regarding the NG, why not demand a full page explanation of what happened with a retraction and apology in the National Geographic magazine itself?

January 18, 2013 7:33 am

That would be too much honour, don´t take the “Harvard”-boy serious, he´s like a dog barking at the moon.

james griffin
January 18, 2013 7:34 am

Anthony, Any chance to get in a court and take apart an ignorant AGW believer should be taken. Let a court hear you defend this wonderful website and let this moron choke.
Go for it if you can afford it.

January 18, 2013 7:34 am

Its about time legal action was taken against these cr##ins. It the only thing that will MAKE them change..

January 18, 2013 7:35 am

I voted for “Take legal action to set an example.” Though I would have preferred “Demand an apology & if he fails then take legal action.”

January 18, 2013 7:35 am

File suit, I don’t think National Geographic will pay much attention unless you do, but be very willing to settle.
In civil action, you won’t get 0%, you won’t get 100%, and the longer it strings out the more everyone loses. Most of what you can get you can get by settling early.

January 18, 2013 7:35 am

I’m pretty sure that if the positions were reversed he’d sue you.
So yes, go for it

Mike Fowle
January 18, 2013 7:35 am

I make my living as a legal costs consultant in the UK. (Different rules, I know) But generally I don’t think it is a good idea to go to law.

January 18, 2013 7:37 am

I think going for money is fruitless. I think going for a public apology from National Geographic prominently posted on their Web site for several weeks and their dropping Laden as an author would be sufficient.

January 18, 2013 7:38 am

Perhaps you need to get Romm to put the update at the top of the article. And then heave Romm at that
Greg, seems unaware of his own actions, so maybe a chat with Science blogs. Might perdusfe them to show Greg the error of his ways. And an apology

Jaye Bass
January 18, 2013 7:38 am
That’s the strategy. Sue, settle then get an apology and a settlement.

January 18, 2013 7:39 am

I agree with Robinson and Jasper.
Don’t sue, Anthony. That would associate your behavior too much with Michael Mann and others. You need to keep your hands clean. Pursue apologies or retractions, such as contact National Geographic about this directly, but don’t go to court by your own initiation. We don’t need any of that.
What we do need, is you continuing to stand tall and taking the moral superior ground over these guys, to show them for what they are.

January 18, 2013 7:41 am

I’d say you’re already winning, by reducing personal and professional frauds such as Greg Laden to being a, well, a personal and professional fraud.
Says a lot about his low information readership, also. Especially the ones who thinks WUWT is the go to place on Creationism.

January 18, 2013 7:42 am

By the way Greg Liar Laden has made sure that many of my responses to Warmists on his blog failed to make it past moderation. Funny thing the effect of peer reviewed papers has on these chaps.

January 18, 2013 7:42 am

Please do not.
It is a class issue.
It elevates his position.
Rise above.

January 18, 2013 7:42 am

Antony It seems that nearly 99% of comments on his site (Greg Laden), concerning this matter are favorable to you and highly critical of him. Maybe he is covering himself against defamation action by allowing all the negative comments about his handling of this affair.

January 18, 2013 7:44 am

I guess you won already, without going to law / court. Depending on your temper you may go further, entering a suit is easy, being in it time-consuming, boring. Highlighting the facts as they are surely was enough to make an idiot out of him – enough it should be.
Regards from Germany

Mark Bofill
January 18, 2013 7:44 am

In evaluating a means to an end, important to understand exactly what ‘end’ or objective is being pursued:
“The question is, should I make an example of him for all us who have suffered non factual smears such as he practices?”
An example to who? I don’t think your critics aren’t going to care. Those who fall for the AGW/CAGW story are generally either uninterested in doing more than cursory research or are on the bandwagon for other reasons. I doubt most of Laden’s small time blogger brothers out there will pay much attention. I’m not sure many of them have the brains to figure out where the legal line is anyway.
I don’t think your regular readers are easily mislead in the first place, so there’s no real issue there.
If you want to swat this particular bug for personal satisfaction, go for it. I’m skeptical that it would accomplish much else, much as I’d LOVE to think otherwise.
Best regards,

January 18, 2013 7:47 am

I think a suit is a mistake. Such suits are, rightly, very difficult to win in the US. It will be an expensive hassle and before it is over, you will feel more punished than he. By the time an apology comes out, if you get one, everyone will have forgotten what the dispute was even about. Your readers are all rooting you on, but they just want to enjoy the show. They don’t actually have to go through the process. It is a waste of your valuable time that I would rather see spent working climate science rather than the legal process.
Further, it strikes me that he can potentially portray you as a public figure given your blog’s leading position in a political debate and the fact you have done numerous interviews. This will only make it harder for you. Whatever you do, make sure you are consulting a first amendment lawyer and not just any lawyer who really understands how this stuff works. Ken at Popehat writes a lot about this kind of thing and gets involved a lot with bloggers, though usually on the defense side. But that is a good idea – talk to someone who defends these things for an opinion on your chances.
The last, last, last thing we need in a debate that is already politicized to the tenth degree is to start having lawsuits back and forth over minor claims. And while it may well have ticked you off, this is really a minor, minor issue. It is in fact trivial compared to the slings and arrows you often suffer from alarmists. 99% of the time, the best solution to speech that is wrong is more speech, not lawsuits.
Finally — you simply are not going to make him or his allies feel guilty. I know, I have this feeling all the time. I have been wronged, and I want the other side to admit it and feel bad about it. Well they won’t. Even if you win.

Bloke down the pub
January 18, 2013 7:47 am

I vote for taking the high ground, on the condition that it doesn’t stop me from calling Greg Laden a wanker.

January 18, 2013 7:48 am

Anthony, what high road?
A collective “they” ignore every high road and just keep on keeping on……..
WUWT is a business, just like their business……from a business stand point, a business would sue…..

January 18, 2013 7:48 am

I guess that Anthony has no real desire to sue but wants (with some justification) to make Laden worried and spoil his weekend. Hence the poll and this discussion.

January 18, 2013 7:49 am

No! The only winners will be the lawyers. Unless there is something tangible to gain in the overall fight we are in, it’s not worth it.

January 18, 2013 7:50 am

Why not ask National Geo to remove Mr. Laden from having anything further to do with the blog and explain the reason. You could mention the “false light” issue in your explanation.
His removal would be enough for all I would think.

January 18, 2013 7:51 am

Their tactics are intentional. Yes sue them. They will not stop as long as they can keep doing it without fear of repurcussions.

January 18, 2013 7:51 am

Require a full retraction of his slurs, with a complete, abject and public apology, within a certain time-frame. If he fails so to do, then sue him. In other words, give him a chance to make it right, which will place your behaviour on the higher moral ground.

January 18, 2013 7:52 am

Kerry says January 18, 2013 at 7:21 am
Your already winning …

Please, it is “you are’ or “you’re” and never “your” in the context used … please, I’m begging …
“Lose the grammar, lose the language” and that.

January 18, 2013 7:53 am

Anthony, the only people who will make money for certain are the lawyers. Ask Nat Geo to post your rebuttal on Greg Laden’s blog. That would frost Laden.

January 18, 2013 7:53 am

I think i can hear a faint squeaking sound in the distance,
that of a clenching sphincter.
Mr Laden must be reading this post.
I voted for the grovelling apology..lawyers are rich enough already.

D Böehm Stealey
January 18, 2013 7:54 am

Warren Meyer makes some very good points.

Frank K.
January 18, 2013 7:55 am

In my opinion, if you take no action, then that will encourage sleazy people like Laden to fabricate even more smears. You must do something…

January 18, 2013 7:56 am

Words (simplified greatly, admittedly) to live by:
“Trust but verify” and
“File but settle”.

January 18, 2013 7:57 am

1 You own one-to-one request for a full apology – wait and see.
2 A lawyer’s letter demanding same by time limit .
3 Discuss with lawyer if unresolved
4 Ponder on it.
5 Decide.

January 18, 2013 7:57 am

National Geographic has been hi-jacked by enviro-nutbars for years. They kept the original mission statement and added some crap about the environment. All their stories are slanted to pontificate against man. Years ago they did a story on gold with wonderful photos of glittering gold and the people who mine it, work it, and buy it, and I loved it. Not too long ago they did another story on gold, this time with dreary dirty photos of the worst of the worse gold mines in the worst places on the planet, pontificating on how man is destroying the planet. To say they’ve abandoned their original purpose is putting it mildly. I say sue them. I’ve had enough of their propaganda.

January 18, 2013 7:58 am

Although I am for proceeding with some sort of legal action, It’s not my nickel. Laden seems to be a bad tempered snarky type and his “blog” basically a piece o’crap so any mud that can be cast in his direction I am all for. But as I said earlier, it’s not my nickel.
My 4 cts (inflation)

January 18, 2013 7:58 am

If you sue the pants off him and win, so you’ll have a pair of pants. They are liar pants, so ff course they will be on fire. What are you going to do with a pair of burning pants?

Alan the Brit
January 18, 2013 7:59 am

Sue? Sue? The very least Anthony you should be demanding staisfaction at dawn from 20 paces away a’la The Big Country! I of course place you firmly in the Gregory Peck role! Is this guy any relation to the “other” Laden”, recently departed this Earth at the hands of AMerican experts! 😉

January 18, 2013 8:00 am

The real questions are: What will you gain if you win? What will you have to sacrifice to win? What will you lose if you don’t win? Does the reward outweigh the risks?
I say you shouldn’t sue, just complain loudly to force an apology. If you sue, Greg Laden can claim to be a martyr and claim that he must have hit a nerve to provoke such a reaction. However if you complain loudly then Greg Laden’s reputation is the one that will take a hit. Talk to anyone who listen and enlist the legion here on WUWT to flood NatGeo with complaints daily. If they get thousands of emails every day, they cannot ignore it forever.

January 18, 2013 8:01 am

Greg Laden didn’t just make a one-time blunder. He habitually slanders. Sue if you
think you have a good chance of winning.

January 18, 2013 8:01 am

I have not voted because I am not a lawyer and not an American so I am not competent to assess the issue of whether you should sue Laden in a US Court.
However, more than a decade ago I first attempted to see if I could sue a blogger who had defamed me. He was an Australian not resident in the UK as I am, and the legal advice was to not sue. The case would cost a fortune so be a Pyrrhic victory at best. Later I considered a case against a blogger who uses a false name for his blog and the legal advice was to not sue although that was different from here where the identity of the blogger cannot be disputed.
The legal advice in those cases cost me money and gained me nothing except the knowledge that it is usually best to ignore defamations on blogs.
So, I will not vote. But if it turns out that you need a legal fund then I will contribute.

David Longinotti
January 18, 2013 8:02 am

Before you make a decision, I suggest you contact Natioanl Geographic and ask if they stand behind Laden’s claims – and, if so, on what basis.

Mike H
January 18, 2013 8:02 am

The reason they slander you is you are right; you are winning. You’ll only be doing it for the cause and I doubt the angst will be worth the reward. Agree with Warren Meyer.

John West
January 18, 2013 8:02 am

None of the above.
Have your Lawyers write a letter to NatGeo outlining the violations and appealing to NatGeo’s desire to avoid a scandal to persuade some action on their part that furthers the debate to a wider market. Basically, an apology from him on merely his blog isn’t good enough the apology must be more widely distributed and backed by the full NatGeo collection of media outlets. Yes, a full page apology in NatGeo magazine outlining the facts (approved by you of course) and a few 30 second commercials at various air times (etc.) should do the trick.

January 18, 2013 8:02 am

If you ignore vicious attacks on your reputation, they just get worse. And suing someone is something they can never deny happened, while a printed apology can get lost over time.

January 18, 2013 8:02 am

(From the other side of the pond, where it’s snowing hard). No, Anthony, I think you should not sue.
This is about moral high ground, no? And if the “false light” doctrine had the moral high ground, it would be law in all states, no?
Besides, do you really want to try to use a law which doesn’t apply where the defendant lives? How would you feel about being sued under (for example) North Korean law?
Please ignore the bloodhounds, and carry on doing what you do best – skewering our enemies with facts.

Joe Public
January 18, 2013 8:03 am

Why waste time & effort on a proven liar?
Just preserve your “threat” to sue; it prolongs his anxiety.

January 18, 2013 8:08 am

Why does this remind me of:
First they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.
Do the right thing.

Scott Finegan
January 18, 2013 8:08 am

First make an official request for retraction and apology by; certified, return receipt requested US mail from all parties. If it isn’t forth coming, make the decision based on: How many years this could take in the chosen jurisdiction (ask the lawyers).

January 18, 2013 8:08 am

I cannot make a decision with respect to legal action without asking a few questions first Anthony.
Did you suffer any anxiety as a result of the falsehoods that were conveyed?
Do you feel that the false information conveyed impacted you and or your business negatively?
Did the assault on your credibility create undo apprehension on your part?
(list truncated for brevity)
If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, legal action is justified up to and including punative damages as part there of.

January 18, 2013 8:09 am

Let it slide. You might lose, and it could prove expensive.

January 18, 2013 8:10 am

Anthony, I think this is really something for you to answer/decide personally – though I totally agree with the idea of asking for others opinion. I don’t doubt that resources could be raised to fund a lawsuit but I am with some of the other commentors – along the lines of ‘ask for full written and an equally disemminated/exposed apology’ and if he refuses, then sue.
I’m not a fan of ‘turn the other cheek’ – but I am a fan of giving a wrongdoer the chance to admit the error of their ways BEFORE giving them the big smackdown! To me, that is the most decent and fairest way forward. IMHO

January 18, 2013 8:10 am

No, it would be an overreaction to a rather silly discussion and will simply provide him the attention he seeks, albeit a little more than he expected – probably attention seeking was the reason he commented twice on the issue in the first place. And it will become a side show not related to the whole CAGW issue, probably with lots of discussion about creationism and UFOs.
It would in fact be a bad move in my humble opinion.
I’d save time and energy for bigger battles.

January 18, 2013 8:10 am

Do you really want Greg Laden’s pants?

Mike Rossander
January 18, 2013 8:11 am

I would get more specific guidance from your lawyer about how the false light tort applies to a public figure. You have done great work but the result of that work is that you pretty clearly meet the criteria of a public figure (at least in the arena of the climate debates) and no longer have all the privacy protections that a less renowned citizen might enjoy. If ‘public figure’ is a factor in the false light analysis as it is in other defamation claims, it would significantly raise the level of “offensiveness” that would need to be demonstrated before it would make a difference. My guess is that even if you proved all the facts, the court would award no penalties under the public figure doctrine.

January 18, 2013 8:12 am

Legal action would likely cost a lot of your time and money with no real satisfaction in the end. (The usual outcome with lawyers and courts) Keep hammering the point here and save yourself a lot of grief.

cui bono
January 18, 2013 8:12 am

Not a fan of lawyers. Threaten him with a lawsuit and demand the most grovelling apology and retraction. A real grovelling apology, not the pathetic self-justifying retraction he barely managed to construct after l’affair Tallbloke. If he refuses, poll again.

O Olson
January 18, 2013 8:12 am

Actually, on second thought I think I’m for more of a middle of the road direction too. Use a lawyer to demand a full page explanation and retraction from National Geographic in the magazine and on their website, including on Laden’s blog, while threatening to sue. If you don’t get redress this way, then go for it. As a farmer who has had to deal with a little stupidity and obstinacy on the part of a power company and an oil company, I now the power a mere law firm’s letter head can have. All the best to you.

Rud Istvan
January 18, 2013 8:13 am

The case is open and shut. I suspect the mere possibility of such a clear action against a palpably wrong posting would get Nat Geo to take appropriate action. One you might consider requesting is having Laden’s blog permanently removed from Science blogs. You have a lot of leverage with such a clear case. Use it to maximum effect.

January 18, 2013 8:13 am

Anthony I voted sue and not just because of Laden but mostly as a warning to the rest of the alarmists to keep the stories accurate and avoid smear pieces. In other words keep it about the science.
I too would contribute to a legal fund if needed.

January 18, 2013 8:14 am

Have voted for legal action but like Bob Tisdale’s position better.

O Olson
January 18, 2013 8:14 am

I “know”, not “now”.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 18, 2013 8:15 am

Short answer: no
Longer answer: your time is much more valuable spent on other things.

Leo Smith
January 18, 2013 8:15 am

Sue with maximum publicity.
The habit of casual lying by the green/renewable/climate change movement has to be halted.
Ask for donations. I’ll tip some in. For a share of the costs and damages.

January 18, 2013 8:16 am

I am not at all sure about this one, Anthony. I rather think we need to see what happens re: mann’s fraudsuits, errr, lawsuits. That, and methinks one like laden would happily run with this as an example of ‘scientists being harrassed and threatened.’ A win for you, does not neccesarily add up to a positive in the eyes of the badly-mislead public.
January 18, 2013 8:17 am

Yes please!

January 18, 2013 8:17 am

Some bimbo owes me $30k (court ordered). I doubt I will ever see a penny of it. So go for the apology, but you set the venue it is to be made.

Argiris Diamantis
January 18, 2013 8:20 am

The main reason you should sue him is that if you don’t. this Laden guy and his likes will continue with these smears against you. Once they are hurt financially, they will be more cautious. Another reason is that if you did this to him, he would certainly sue you. If you don’t sue, these people will think you are a softie, and they will go on and on and on.

Jeff L
January 18, 2013 8:20 am

As much as he deserves it, take the high road. Lead by example. Admonish & move on.
Although you might win in court, I have seen the toll these sorts of things have taken on people – even if they “win”, they still lose , as the process takes a huge toll on them mentally & emotionally. Would hate to see you be in that condition.

January 18, 2013 8:22 am

You know the answer already – don’t “take the high road”, simply stay on it.
Ayone reading on his blog will already think (used in the loosest possible sense) as he does anyway, so no real harm has been done – your reputation amongst the fools that follow him can hardly be made worse, can it?
All that suing will achieve is to draw attention to his typically idiotic post. So ignore it and deny him the oxygen of publicity.

January 18, 2013 8:22 am

If you can get Pro Bono legal representation, I would send the “We intend to sue” letter, offer them–and here I mean National Geographic AND Laden–the opportunity to avoid a full suit in court by publishing and widely distributing — both web and Twitter or whatever — a full apology and withdrawl of false claims — and paying punitive damages of $1.00 each.
This combines High Road with Firmness — or as we say in the religious world, marries Mercy to Justice.

January 18, 2013 8:22 am

No. You are already stretched to thin. Stick to the science. It’s what you do best. Types like Laden are losing their minds because they are losing the argument. Don’t turn him into a martyr.

Eyal Porat
January 18, 2013 8:23 am

Anthony, The heart says “Sue the pants off the *$#&$”.
But, I believe the proper way is to demand a full and and public apology of him in his site and on all sites this was mentioned.
If he refuses, then you can threat with a suit. Again, the penalty should be apology and admitting he has done wrong. (And to cover the law suit naturally).

January 18, 2013 8:24 am

Insist on a public apology as a condition for settlement. Make it explicit in the settlement terms that you are the sole judge of the adequacy of any apology.

January 18, 2013 8:24 am

Legal action is costly, risky and time consuming. Why waste your efforts when it will not change the mind of anyone. Go for an aplology and ask that he makes a large donation to “Save the Polar bears charity” or some such.

Stephen Richards
January 18, 2013 8:25 am

Log it for next time. He really has nothing to lose and although I would love to NG sued to death it won’t happen. Treat him with the contempt he deserves.

John F. Hultquist
January 18, 2013 8:25 am

Who is Greg Laden?
Seriously, this man is almost completely unknown. I looked at his site about a year ago when some other dumb** thing he wrote was mentioned here on WUWT. I did not bother, even this week, to look again.
One of Garth Brook’s friends, Dan Roberts, explained to Garth: “Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve and mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.” Mercy is preferred for this man.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
**dumb, being the family-friendly term. I do think he needs counseling or therapy.

January 18, 2013 8:26 am

I vote for Don’t Sue. Laden is a distraction: a badly-trained puppy irritating your ankles while you are out slaying dragons.

January 18, 2013 8:26 am

I echo the comments that you need to officially contact Nat Geo and see what they will do about their rogue blogger. You might also point out that in his second blog entry, he still selectively leaves out the most important quote in your piece — you know, the one highlighted in red — and so has actually has dug a deeper hole. If they don’t stop him, a lawsuit will eventually compel them to stop him.

Russ R.
January 18, 2013 8:28 am

Greg Laden is nothing more than an annoyance and a distraction.
There are many more worthwhile battles to be fought.

Joe Crawford
January 18, 2013 8:29 am

Just have your lawyer write a rather threatening letter to National Geo for: 1) permitting Landen, who is at least indirectly representing them, to post such trash, 2) not policing their “Science Blogs” to insure that proper science is represented, and 3) suggesting any further similar posts by Landen will lead to a lawsuit against both of them. Be sure to copy Landen.

James H
January 18, 2013 8:29 am

If it were me, I’d probably only do that if he refused to issue a retraction/apology. Also, the “reasonable person” standard will depend on who is making the determination of reasonable. If they’re predisposed to accept that climate change is an overwhelmingly big problem caused by humans, you may have a problem as they would likely feel that the ends justify the means.

Andy Wehrle
January 18, 2013 8:30 am

Recommend you refrain from your thrist for vengeance, no matter how justified it may appear. It’s a simple cost/benefit choice. Will the amount of time and money invested in a retalitory suit produce suitable benefits of equal or greater value. Given Laden’s low profile, the payoff for the investment doesn’t make sense to me. Hang in there. Demand a public apology and move on.

Richard Wakefield
January 18, 2013 8:30 am

These types of lies and smear have been going on long enough — sue!

S. Meyer
January 18, 2013 8:30 am

My vote is no. You would just make yourself look petty AND give this person more publicity.

January 18, 2013 8:31 am

This is a waste of time – you have got bigger fish to fry. Your reputation cannot be seriously impugned by someone like Laden. Nobody who looks at your blog and your work with an open mind will question your intelligence and your integrity.

George Bernard Shaw
January 18, 2013 8:31 am

“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

January 18, 2013 8:38 am

Personally, I find myself wondering what the point would be in suing him.
1. In PR terms, a court case is probably going to be neutral at best. Independents will not I think see the case & think “gee, Mr Watts must be on to something here” or whatever. Pro-AGW and anti-AGW people will remain in their camps regardless.
2. It’s expensive, time-consuming and potentially a distraction from other things.
3. How many people might have been biased against WUWT by this? I honestly don’t know how many people read that blog, although I guess it’s a tiny fraction of the WUWT readership numbers.
Accordingly, my reaction is to ignore him, although if he has a substantial number of readers it may be worth making him print an apology (perhaps the site owners can be pressured?). My impression is that he’s small fry, and should be treated as such.

Rhys Jaggar
January 18, 2013 8:38 am

When you sue, do get your counsel to ask him; ‘how would you feel about being called an unscientific, caterwauling, two-faced, lying twat on national prime time TV, eh?’

Gary Pearse
January 18, 2013 8:40 am

I’ve seen some erosion in free speech over the decades – especially with the ushering in of ‘political correctness’ and I’m inclined to say let it go although you clearly have a case. Perhaps ask him to correct his snide falsehoods with a letter without predjudice, although it isn’t likely to budge a mean little man who likely was raised this way. Leave him in his miserable lair, otherwise, I think it will give him a much higher profile than he deserves and the useful fools will underwrite his defense as we have seen already. I’m sure he has many ardent friends of the same caliber. Interestingly, laden in German means “load” or burden and there is an idiom: ‘vor Gericht laden’ to summon before a court.

Mike Hebb
January 18, 2013 8:41 am

A law suit will give him more PR than he deserves. Wait for a really damaging event, then go for it.

January 18, 2013 8:41 am

I’d say make the apology required extra “sweet”. You have more than enough against his case, but lawsuits are so… not cricket. Just because one side does it doesn’t mean the other has to too.
I say rise above it, but savour the moment.

William Astley
January 18, 2013 8:42 am

It is clear the extreme AGW paradigm pushers do not have a response to there being no measurable planetary warming in 16 years.
There is no CO2 climate crisis to solve. Regardless, of whether there is or is not a climate crisis, the “green” scams such as the conversion of food to biofuel or the setting up a massive bureaucracies to monitor CO2 emission and to create CO2 trading schemes will increase Western countries unemployment rate and public debt and will have no appreciable reduction in Western carbon dioxide emissions or world CO2 emissions. A scam remains a scam regardless of the motive for pushing the scam. This is a very important issue. Trillions of dollars are being advocated for the irrational green scam schemes.
If there is no dangerous climate warming problem to solve, there is no argument that CO2 a gas that is essential for life on this planet is a poison, a pollutant.
When observations and logic does not support ones cause, the unscrupulous and desperate use general unsubstantiated Ad hominem. It is obvious that Greg Laden’s comments are simply Ad hominem, intended to smear rather than to advance a supportable position, an important scientific, or climate policy position.
I would suggest however that Greg Laden is a very small player and a legal case to address his Ad hominem comments might be a distraction from the principal issues and it appears there is no significant prize to win a case against his obvious Ad hominem.
“The problem for global warming supporters is they actually need for past warming from CO2 to be higher than 0.7C. If the IPCC is correct that based on their high-feedback models we should expect to see 3C of warming per doubling of CO2, looking backwards this means we should already have seen about 1.5C of CO2-driven warming based on past CO2 increases. But no matter how uncertain our measurements, it’s clear we have seen nothing like this kind of temperature rise. Past warming has in fact been more consistent with low or even negative feedback assumptions.”,1518,662092,00.html
“Even though the temperature standstill probably has no effect on the long-term warming trend, it does raise doubts about the predictive value of climate models, and it is also a political issue. For months, climate change skeptics have been gloating over the findings on their Internet forums. This has prompted many a climatologist to treat the temperature data in public with a sense of shame, thereby damaging their own credibility.
“It cannot be denied that this is one of the hottest issues in the scientific community,” says Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. “We don’t really know why this stagnation is taking place at this point.”
Just a few weeks ago, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research added more fuel to the fire with its latest calculations of global average temperatures. According to the Hadley figures, the world grew warmer by 0.07 degrees Celsius from 1999 to 2008 and not by the 0.2 degrees Celsius assumed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And, say the British experts, when their figure is adjusted for two naturally occurring climate phenomena, El Niño and La Niña, the resulting temperature trend is reduced to 0.0 degrees Celsius — in other words, a standstill.”
The extreme AGW supporters appear to live in a fantasy world. The solution they state is a new UN body with special powers that will “be capable of instilling a permanent crisis lasting decades, if not centuries.”
“Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries?”
A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science to acknowledge this point: “Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.”…. …Among the proposals: a call to replace the largely ineffective U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development with a council that reports to the U.N. General Assembly, at attempt to better handle emerging issues related to water, climate, energy and food security. The report advocates a similar revamping of other international environmental institutions….
…Unfortunately, far more is needed. To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete. In principle, species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors would be a sine qua non, but that kind of pronouncement also profoundly strains credibility in the chaos of the political sphere. Some of the things that would need to be contemplated: …. …..Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries? How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.? Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?

January 18, 2013 8:42 am

What Bob Tisdale said….go for it Anthony.

January 18, 2013 8:42 am

Mr. Watts, please do not sue Greg Laden. It will only lend legitimacy to actions.

January 18, 2013 8:42 am

Sue them. Accepting just an appolgy simply makes it easy for NatGeo et al to misbehave in the future…..”Oh, we’ll make some shit up and then if we get caught say sorry” shouldn’t be their default mode

January 18, 2013 8:43 am

I vote sue. Here’s a sample of National Geographic on YouTube: 6 Degrees Warmer: Mass Extinction?

January 18, 2013 8:43 am

No, don’t sue.
Your time is far more valuable spent maintaining this blog, and this blog is is more effective at knocking down hard core alarmists’ positions than a lawsuit would be. The focus of the lawsuit would quickly shift from questions of climate to questions of slander and reparations. Even with legal support, the suit will cost you a huge amount of time that will never be recovered.
Do keep good records, do keep up the pressure on Laden, Romm, NatGeo, etc. Do complain to NatGeo that they have a loose cannon on deck who could cost them far more than he’s worth, if not from you, then from someone else who has a more vulnerable reputation than you.

January 18, 2013 8:44 am

I vote sue. Here’s a sample of National Geographic on YouTube: 6 Degrees Warmer: Mass Extinction?

January 18, 2013 8:48 am

Ask for an apology, with a hint of legal action. If none is forthcoming, mull it over for awhile. You have one year to file, I think. No need to make a decision in haste. Time gives valuable perspective.

jeff 5778
January 18, 2013 8:48 am

It always work out that these types don’t have to pay. It’s just not right.

Steve R W
January 18, 2013 8:49 am

Anthony. Remember Parncutt?
Take the Monckton approach on this subject matter and don’t waste personal energy.

January 18, 2013 8:50 am

Insist on a full and proper well-publicised apology.
GBS @ 8:31 am: I think that is an insult to pigs…they are cleaner than most people realise!

January 18, 2013 8:51 am

NatGeo deserves to be sued – for being a boneheaded alarmist mess.

January 18, 2013 8:51 am

Don’t even think that you can force them to apologize without suing them.

January 18, 2013 8:51 am

Go through at least the first stage of making a demand letter on both Ladin and Nat Geo. Hopefully Nat Geo will recognize their liability and exert at least minimal editorial control over the blog.
Don’t waste your time and effort in a full blown lawsuit.

January 18, 2013 8:52 am

No. The focus of reality-based, science-based efforts to expose the manmade global warming scam need to be advanced by the science. Niki Minaj versus Maria Carey is petty.
If you win the lawsuit, what do you win? A ‘false light’ lawsuit. You win a decreased likelihood that other warming-cultists will falsely represent info.
Give them enough rope. They are exposing themselves as anti-science cultists as time goes by. The best is – if any lawsuits are going to be thrown – to let them threaten, and throw, the lawsuit. Having the truth on your side is not always a guaranteed win, but is the most comfortable place to be in a lawsuit.
You could win money. To what end? If you have a great idea concerning the global warming scam that would require $100,000, go figure how to raise 100K / don’t use a possible lawsuit win to finance some project. If the project is worthy, do it.
This blog is widely read. Simply exposing this stuff is good enough.

January 18, 2013 8:52 am

Even demanding an apology can (and will) be spun by odioous little creeps like Laden. If you use outright threats of legal action to force that apology, the game becomes “how far can I push before he has to follow through?” At that point you’re effectively committed to taking action on his terms.
By all means contact Nat Geo politely to advise them of the issue, and that you reserve the right to include this slur in any future action that might become necessary if his behaviour continues. But leave it to them to decide how to deal with it – they (should) be well aware that if they fail to do anything substansive they’re liable to be more culpable in any future action.

January 18, 2013 8:52 am

Buddy, some of us are paying taxes because of the AGW scam. While not happy at it, can we really do anything?
If you can get a bit back for all of us, PLEASE do so!!
I hope we get to the point that the government will reimburse us on these hoax taxes…. yeah, right!

January 18, 2013 8:52 am

I did vote to sue but i’d add some caveats.
Firstly this will bring a whole heap of unwanted attention from the usual suspects, but then I think you are broad shouldered enough to deal with that.
Also it will take up a considerable part of your time, these things are never quick, although i believe you have some sort of formal get together first to see if parties can be convinced to settle. that would be the best outcome.
It would likely be expensive should you lose and I’m sure the WUWT faithful will help out considerably you have to ask yourself if you are prepared for such a loss.
It will likely be stressful. Do you need it?
if your lawyer feels strongly in favour of a suit then go ahead otherwise I’d advise ignoring Laden and having your lawyers draft a demand for clear and unequivocal apology in various mediums to be sent to whoever has editorial control of science blogs and also to as high up a person you can contact in Nat Geo. Now i know Nat Geo are full of the green tinted glasses, carrying a story just today saying that America is having earlier spring blooms as a direct result of global warming ( their words ) and probably consider you in the same light that many others do from their position.
I don’t doubt that Nat Geo, if pushed would fight a suit but then I also know executives and they hate to be dragged into anything like this. Contact a higher up, have the lawyer make the demands ( with the obligatory threat to file if the demands are not met ) and see what occurs.
I went for the option to sue simply because it’s always a shame to miss an opportunity like this, especially when Mann feels free to file suit at the drop of a hat and over things quite frivolous at times. Also there is the matter of Laden himself. He just does this far too often and I think sooner or later somebody has to bite the bullet and take him to task or hell just embolden himself.
Whatever you decide I wish you well. make sure you have copies of all tweets and pages. Put the site on so you can keep track of the slightest change in wording of his posts or comments as that’s a clear sign he understands he’s done wrong.
But the fact that he’s chosen not to post 5 of my comments which were not directed at him, contained no ad hom but merely referenced the facts behind the 16 years thing has my dander up so from a purely personal viewpoint, take his shirt.

January 18, 2013 8:54 am

Laden is a badly behaved imbecile. Better to ignore than give him free publicity – this is what he wants. He will claim martyrdom if he can. Also remember how he went in to meltdown over Tallbloke ranting about kicking limey butt – enough said – the man is a big mouthed, bigoted, attention seeking idiot.

January 18, 2013 8:55 am

i just noticed he has already posted about this and is mocking you, daring you in fact. As I said, cut him out and go above his head, have the lawyers do the work.

michael hart
January 18, 2013 8:55 am

He’s not worth your time, Anthony, and would probably be glad of the publicity right now. Just give him a bit more rope.

Silver Ralph
January 18, 2013 8:56 am

The last time I sued a corporation, they did not go for the ball, they went for the man. Their defence was nothing about the case: instead it was about the mistakes I had made when I has started my company; a mistake in a tax return three years previously; a mistake in my headed paper (it had to show the company number); a question over whether my residence was registered to run a company. etc: etc:
In short, they dredged for dirt, and found a few spots. They then racked up a huge bill of some £350,000 in a couple of months and threatened that that was what I would have to pay them if I lost the case. And I could either settle now, or the bill was rising by £70,000 a week. It was calculated pressure, to end the case.
I was only saved by my solicitor discovering that in certain cases, this might be a civil case, and I could therefore involve the police. Finally, they backed off and settled out of court.

January 18, 2013 8:58 am

Sue and I will contribute to you legal fund to do it.

January 18, 2013 9:01 am

In the field of science, TRUTH is TRUTH, and eventually wins out. In our present court system, a verdict is often decided by many other things than TRUTH.
I liked the comment:
Scott Basinger says:
January 18, 2013 at 7:20 am
No. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig likes it.

Leo Morgan
January 18, 2013 9:01 am

In the movie “Primal Fear” the character Martin Vail says: “If you want justice, go to a whorehouse. If you wanna get fucked, go to court.”

Gail Combs
January 18, 2013 9:01 am

The smear campaign has been getting more and more serious, culminating with Lewandowsky publishing a peer-reviewed paper Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, C. E. (in press). NASA faked the moon landing – therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science. and another University professor, Parncutt’s calls for death penalty for “deniers”
So when do we say enough is enough and get serious about stopping the smears and false statements? Do we wait until they get bold enough to make the Crime Against Humanity charge stick?
Heck they are ALREADY trying our mock trials!

Test trial convicts fossil fuel bosses of ‘ecocide’
Top lawyers put fossil fuel bosses on trial in the UK’s supreme court in a mock case to explore if ecocide – environmental destruction – could join genocide as a global crime.

January 18, 2013 9:02 am

I’ve got 200 bucks to contribute to your legal fund should you choose to move forward. I’m voting to demand an apology though. There’s always a danger in looking Michael Mannish by taking legal action, and I don’t think you’re really suffering all that much due to the false charge. It’s making him look like the idiot, not you. I would vote for suing him if there were some sort of discovery process that might shed light on the alarmists in a damaging way. But I don’t see that here.

January 18, 2013 9:04 am

Just realise that it will be a long drawn out process.
That said the support you will get from 98.3% of the people here should make you realise that you will have the full support whatever your decision.

January 18, 2013 9:04 am

Just to add re the update, Roddy is despicable. it would be wonderful to bring that guy to his knees legally speaking, though I understand the problem

Leo Morgan
January 18, 2013 9:06 am

I’d like to point out that I’d never heard of Greg Laden until youmentioned him.

January 18, 2013 9:08 am

I am a patent attorney and I live in Minnesota.
If I were you, I would not sue.
Yes you have a claim, and you could certainly sue.
I have no idea if you would win or not, but your claim sounds plausible (not my kind of law).
However, litigation is a huge pain in the ass, it is expensive and it will probably not give you the satisfaction you hope to receive.
Unless you have a lot of experience with litigation (and maybe you do), you cannot imagine how onerous the discovery process would be for you, your blog, all the documents (electronic or paper) you would have to gather, what a pain it is to be deposed, and how complicated and expensive litigation really is.
It is not as if the Court will find that Laden is a liar (which is what most people want – a judicial statement justifying their outrage).
The court/jury may find that he was expressing an opinion, or that he was mistaken or that you haven’t proven by a preponderence of evidence that you have proven “false light”.
This is not about money.
So take the high road and just use your free speech rights to defend your name and reputation (which you have already successfully done imo).

January 18, 2013 9:09 am

Ok so while i know your probably trying to keep this simple as a sue/not sue poll… I do think attacking this on muti-fronts is best option.
First ignore laden directly.
Second keep talking to lawyers and as suggested above try to find someone pro-bono. Maybe talk to Dr Ball about if his pro-bono group knows someone who will take your case pro-bono.
After playing with the lawyers a bit I would suggest going after nat geo. Write them a letter explaining your going to sue the pants off them unless (insert massive list of demands) are completed.
You should list at least the following.
Nat geo must post an apology… which YOU(make sure to clearly state this repeatedly) will write FOR THEM on every single nat geo site.
This apology will be displayed/linked/bannered on the front page for X amount of time(i suggest a month) and be detailed in saying it must be seen when entering the main sites and must be X big not some minor footnote. Be insanely detailed in this as you don’t want to give them some flopping room because they will try every trick in the book to get out of it. Hell have someone make a demo of it for them to post. Add flashing lights… go crazy. Try to have the banner clearly but short and simply say they were wrong/etc so that people will click it to look at the full text of your long(very long) written apology that they will post. Maybe josh or someone from comments/next poll/contest can help with creating an eye catching banner/etc to draw people in.
Next demand that included be space for a complete rebuttal of global warming and that this must be displayed as well. As they say… go big or go home. Include all the fraud and everything over these last few years into this post which they will now be forced to display on their sites.
Just getting those 2 things done could very well put a great many nails in the religion of global warming. You will basically for the course of a month force every pro-doomsday cult nat geo site to become host to the evil denier propaganda… what better way to cause problems for the cultists? hehe
I would include maybe going after some other minor misdeeds, b*tch slapping some of their other retarded eco-terrorist blogs and forcing them to make corrections to past lies posted. I’m sure some other stuff can be included as well as you probably know more about nat geos misdeeds then most and other bloggers being retarded.
Most likely they will probably refuse since they are religion nutbags. However its worth a shot.
As to the lawsuit… If you can find someone pro-bono go wild. If not I would really be careful in the approach. Even the most slam dunk case will get tossed by corrupt judges at the lower levels. So you can expect you will have to fight in appeals at least once. Its a large sum of money to push these things forward since they will do everything possible to run you out of money through delays. Also don’t forget your dealing with eco-terrorists here… they are violent extremists… they also have very good lawyers to protecting them.
Only after playing with nat geo should you deal with laden… let the POS sweat a good bit. If you can break nat geo’s back even with just the apology and such you will “encourage” him to settle quickly.
Just remember the rule of law is the US has recently been heavily compromised… facts, logic, justice, laws are all second to politics.

January 18, 2013 9:11 am

They say if you’re going for revenge-dig two graves. Pressure on NG may be the most effective

January 18, 2013 9:12 am

Hi Anthony,
This all seems a bit of a storm in a tea cup and to sue would INHO be silly.
It’s not my impression that you are a silly person.
Great blog 🙂

Myron Mesecke
January 18, 2013 9:13 am

You have used and continue to use so much of your time and energy providing us with your blog. And we are grateful. You have worked hard to do this even when real life, health and family has needed your attention.
The choice is yours to make but I wonder if the added time and stress will be worth it.

January 18, 2013 9:13 am

I strongly counsel against taking the legal route … Warren Meyer and Bob Tisdale both make salient points
There’s an expression that you often hear in pubs (bars) the length and breadth of Britain around closing time which is relevant here, “Leave it, he’s not worth it!”
As Charles Dickens writes in “Bleak House” …
This is the Court of Chancery, … which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give – who does not often give – the warning, “Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!”

January 18, 2013 9:13 am

Steve R W says:
January 18, 2013 at 8:49 am
> Take the Monckton approach ….
Hey, how about asking Lord Monkton if he has time to get Laden a real dressing down?
No – much better – how about asking Lord Monkton to write several folks at NatGeo describing to them the sort of blogger they are supporting? Then NatGeo will talk to Laden about it, a setting that Laden can’t very easily blow off, then post Monkton’s complaint and NatGeo’s reply.

January 18, 2013 9:13 am

None of the above. Time will give you better perspective. I would work with my attorneys as necessary, but wait until just before the statutory limit on such suits to decide whether to file or not.

January 18, 2013 9:14 am

After seeing how well the “Watts Bots” (either his quote or one of his dedicated readers) and comments like from Joe Public
January 17, 2013
You deliberately underestimate the intelligence of WUWT’s readers.
And, seemingly overestimate the gullibility of your readers.
I take back my sue him vote. I think he and some of his rabid followers have drank too much kool aid. I don’t think it would be worth the emotional investment. And the best you’ll get out of him is a page identifying how he was mis-quoted and didn’t cherry pick anything. Oh wait, he already did that…

January 18, 2013 9:15 am

Okay, I change my vote after reading the post by Letsgoviking. Good points. Sue

Tim Walker
January 18, 2013 9:19 am

Unfortunately in our society suing has become one of the only ways to truly hold people and organizations accountable. Suing defends yourself from this kind of action today and suing defends you and others from this kind of action in the future.
The fact that the Nation g rag is involved means you should definitely hit hard. I used to love and respect the National g rag, but it has morphed, come under control of environmental liberals and publishes, in my opinion, very slanted stories intending to propagandize a political view point. Maybe if they get hit hard enough it will cause them to watch more carefully what they are responsible for.

January 18, 2013 9:19 am

Don’t let a lawsuit occupy your time. Iit will be far more effort and bring far less satisfaction than you hope for. You have more important work to do,
When has Steve McIntyre been most effective—-auditing research or auditing the Muir -Russel whitewash?

January 18, 2013 9:19 am

Why copy the example of Mann, go for the apology.

January 18, 2013 9:19 am

Wait a minute. I don’t want to see any diversion of time and energy from the best science blog out there and the last best hope for heading off another trillion dollar boondoggle in DC and the UN. It gets personal at that point. Let’s think this one through.

January 18, 2013 9:20 am

ZootCadillac says:
January 18, 2013 at 8:55 am
i just noticed he has already posted about this and is mocking you, daring you in fact. As I said, cut him out and go above his head, have the lawyers do the work.
Don’t suppose my coment on that post will see light of day 🙁
Joe Horner
January 18, 2013
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Doesn’t look like a threat to sue to me, looks like asking advice from people who may be affected by any decision he might make.
Incidentally, in comments you may see thay I called you an odious little creep. I stand by that and look forward to hearing from your solicitors 🙂

January 18, 2013 9:20 am

Sue. But only for so long as it takes to get an apology and prominent retraction from both Laden and NatGeo. Once they’ve done that, you can take the high ground and let by-gones be by-gones. But they must cry “Uncle!” first.

lowercase fred
January 18, 2013 9:20 am

Anthony, think carefully about the toll on you if you pursue this matter. You strike me as the kind of guy who would take it personally and follow it rather than leaving it to the lawyers and sleeping at night.
That is very hard on a man.

January 18, 2013 9:21 am

I write this in hope of assuaging your feelings.
Please note what has happened.
You put up this article and within 2 hours obtained ~150 replies each supportive of you.
This Laden freak is a lonely loser spitting his bile in jealousy of you. Please don’t let him get to you. Him and his trivial little blog are not worth the bother of you getting upset at them.

January 18, 2013 9:22 am

Sue the irksome little wannabe.

Stephen Wilde
January 18, 2013 9:23 am

I’d say don’t bother, having made your point here. It would be hard to prove any financial loss. It is true that you don’t have to prove any such loss to win but there would be little to gain in winning having lost little from his behaviour.
The position with Tallbloke was different because he was more of a private individual, a ‘civilian’, and so the incorrect statements about him looked very bad coming from a media figure like Laden.
Furhemore Laden’s statements about Tallbloke implied criminality which was way beyond the picture painted in this case.
Given those two points it was relatively easy to get a swift retraction and clarification for Tallbloke.
In this case the stakes are less high so it could well be worthwhile Laden and his Publishers just playing with you in the expectation that the value of the publicity would likely outweigh the potential cost of resisting your suit.
Still, it is open to you to make the same judgement and go for it.

Bob Kutz
January 18, 2013 9:24 am

Any possibility this is a lever with which to flip Nat. Geo?
That would be the better opportunity.
If Nat. Geo. looked into this mess and realized what is going on, perhaps they would look further and be persuaded to examine the notion that ‘the science is good, but doesn’t support the hype.’ Maybe even run a featured article on the matter.
If Nat. Geo. flips on this, the game is up for Laden et. al.
Just my $0.02

January 18, 2013 9:25 am

No, unless you really need the money.

David Kornguth
January 18, 2013 9:27 am

HI Anthony,
A suit would increase traffic on his web site and give him what he desperately wants. Your web site is a refreshing and honest place to discuss interesting questions. There will be countless others like him that try to ridicule you. Stay above the fray (easy for me to say). Scientific discovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Have a glass of red wine, think about how much many of us enjoy your web site and ideas, and laugh. When I read Laden’s comments it made me think of the old SNL skit with Christopher Walken, ” I have a fee-vah, and the only prescription is more cowbell.” He’s ridiculous…

January 18, 2013 9:31 am

Sorry just one more point, if you allow him to get away with this now can he keep doing this with the full knowledge that you should of stopped him when you had the chance.

January 18, 2013 9:35 am

So I guess your saying that was a diatom from earth in that photo.

Scottish Sceptic
January 18, 2013 9:35 am

Anthony … gut reaction sue the pants. But that’s not fair as I’m not spending the time & money and whilst “they” deserve a good kicking, to take action against an individual with a family has to be warranted.
So,it did not help when I read Watts … the “denialist” and “anti-science blog”. I’ve been warming people who use this for a while that it is false – and I’ve said “if I had the money I would take action … so if you have the means I should support you”.
But even so, does this pass the test of “he deserves it”. Was it just a mistake … did he get caught up in the moment? You’ve clearly given him a chance to recant as the change by Romm shows (and well done Romm – admitting a mistake is not easy for any of us).
.Did he intentionally falsely misrepresent your article? Did he make false claims about the nature of your moderation? I think the answer is yes.
Does the defence of “Watts is a public celebrite who should have a thick skin” work? Not if he’s been told he was wrong and asked to correct it.
Is he promoting public debate? No, he seems to be hiding views of others and undermining debate.
Sue him.

January 18, 2013 9:36 am

I’m voting … ignore. Many reasons but Bob has my top one. Even if you are certain to win there is the time, effort and money involved. I’m sure that you have more productive activities to be giving your time to.

Bob Tisdale says:
Anthony, the only people who will make money for certain are the lawyers. […]

Bloke down the pub says:
I vote for taking the high ground, on the condition that it doesn’t stop me from calling Greg Laden a wanker.

I second that. If we sued every Wanker we came across there would be no time in a day for anything else.

David Jay
January 18, 2013 9:36 am

Your lawyer needs to write a formal complaint to NatGeo asking for an apology and removing Greg from future writing on ScienceBlogs and making it clear that there is an imminent False Light suit.
Don’t ask for money, ask for your name back (see Ray Donovan).

January 18, 2013 9:37 am

Gail Combs says:
January 18, 2013 at 9:01 am
“Heck they are ALREADY trying our mock trials!
Test trial convicts fossil fuel bosses of ‘ecocide’
Top lawyers put fossil fuel bosses on trial in the UK’s supreme court in a mock case to explore if ecocide – environmental destruction – could join genocide as a global crime. ”
Well, it’s what Polly Higgins does. She has connections to the Club Of Rome Germany so she’s a tool for the progressive socialist billionaires. Why would they want eco cangaroo courts? To control energy makets and protect their own operations.

January 18, 2013 9:37 am

Choose your legal battles wisely.
I think from now the alarming AGW ideology will be increasingly threatened by science, so you can expect bigger fish than lowly Laden to smear you; their hatred for scientific critics like WUWT will escalate much more and thus will guarantee bigger targets for suing.
I recommend to not sue Laden. He is an insignificant nothing.
I suggest ‘Demand an apology and if he fails then take legal action.
Widely showing National Geograpgic is abetting what Laden is doing is enough.

Darkinbad the Brightdayler
January 18, 2013 9:37 am

Aquila non captit muscas

January 18, 2013 9:39 am

The best action would be one that causes NatGeo subscriptions and readership to fall off a cliff. Wide distribution of your story might be enough (and likely a lot cheaper for you).

January 18, 2013 9:40 am

Dont sue him. You can bump into some horrible people in courtrooms, I have heard rumours of one such being haunted by a little fat guy with a funny beard and armed with a hockey stick

lowercase fred
January 18, 2013 9:40 am

One other thing, anybody who says this or that is clear or obvious probably has not spent much time with lawyers or in court arguing technical matters.
It does not work that way.

January 18, 2013 9:41 am

In normal circumstances, I would say take the high-ground and ignore muppets like Laden. But these are abnormal times, as the shrill gets more desperate, more vitriolic – the only way to stop them appears to be something they understand – money
Cut the money supply, cut the rehetoric
QED – Sue the bastards

January 18, 2013 9:42 am

richardscourtney says:
January 18, 2013 at 9:21 am
lots of common sense
This ^^^
Laden is clearly inadequate in some way (intellectually, emotionally, or otherwise) that requires his comments pages to be full of “yes men” support for his, frankly bizarre, rantings. Such people WILL eventually fall by their own hand. Especially when, as in his case, they’re essentially inconsequential buffoons that the world gains nothing from protecting.
The immature boy Laden is a nobody, and his readers are nothing more than a playground clique who’s importance stretches just as far as their own empty heads – in High School movie terms, they’re nothing more than the cheerleaders.
Filing (or even threatening) suit will only reinforce their deluded sense of self-importance.

john robertson
January 18, 2013 9:42 am

Your call. I will donate what I can.
BUT this lonely gadfly of doom, at a magazine thats accelerating into obscurity, will be the only one to benefit.
Do you sue a dog for peeing on your leg?
Laden needs your attention, he labours in increasing obscurity and will be fired soon enough.
If you bother to grant these people you attention, there’s a likely-hood this will become the new norm for the hater blogs.National Geographic is desperate for any attention.
Anthony I think your very success and continued calm evenhandedness, will do more to further derange these folk, than any legal action.
Life is too short to take the ravings of losers personally

John West
January 18, 2013 9:44 am

It’s a blank billboard. What are you going to do with it?
1) Suing doesn’t necissarily raise awarness outside those already engaged in the issue.

January 18, 2013 9:45 am

I haven’t read all the comments above so I hope I am not just repeating what has already been said, but speaking as a practising attorney for 38 years my impression is that this whole climate science issue is not a legal one or even a scientific one, it is a contest for the hearts and minds of the public and their governments. You have the world’s most popular climate science blog as access to the court of public opinion. Continue to use it. Pound on National Geographic. Hold them accountable for their minion. This hapless nit has opened that door for you. What a gift. Don’t blow it by making him some sort of martyr for the “cause”. Do it with your blog and truthful refutations and expositions of their bias and misplaced advocacy. People will notice.
Litigation in general and defamation litigation in particular is a last resort for those who have money to burn and no other means to make their point or clear their names. The outcomes are capricious and almost always unsatisfactory. The process is slow, frustrating, energy consuming, and expensive beyond belief. The truth can be wonderfully and skilfully manipulated in legal proceedings because of rules of evidence and procedures that favor the appearance of fairness over any sensible search for what really happened. Only a fool would rush in if he had any other options. I hope that explains why Michael Mann stumbles into it and why you should stay out of it.

Tom Bakewell
January 18, 2013 9:46 am

I’m in agreement with Warren Meyer. But you should know I’ll support you whatever path you choose because I believe you are a sane and decent person who has chosen to clean out the stables.

John West
January 18, 2013 9:47 am

LOL, oops…..
It’s a blank billboard. What is the best thing to do with it?
1) Suing doesn’t necessarily raise awareness outside those already engaged in the issue.
2) An apology at the same level of circulation as the transgression doesn’t raise awareness outside those already engaged in the issue.
3) Letting it go definitely doesn’t raise awareness outside those already engaged in the issue.
Heartland chose to take the controversy to a wider audience with its blank billboard.
Look at what a few seconds of you on PBS did, head explosion watches were wide spread. How many people decided to look into “it” for themselves because of that? That IMHO is how our numbers grow and that in turn is how we avoid cap and trade or cap and bribe (dividend) or just plain old carbon tax, by having enough voters to make it political suicide to pass such irresponsible legislation. Of course the chances of getting to a wider audience through NatGeo are slim, but perhaps it’s at least worth a shot.

Lon Hocker
January 18, 2013 9:47 am

Skip the suit. Why pump money into lawyers? Instead encourage folks to contribute the money they would have given to support the suit to a campaign to place an advertisement you design wherever you feel would be most beneficial.

January 18, 2013 9:48 am

Rattle his cage like hell, frighten him, disgrace him in front of Nat Geo but don’t waste time and money on going to the courts. It will become an obsession, it will keep you awake at night and your life will be altogether better if you put it behind you after you have shown him you have teeth.

erik sloneker
January 18, 2013 9:48 am

Under the treat of a suit, I would demand a full apology, well publicized on both their web site and magazine.

January 18, 2013 9:49 am
January 18, 2013 9:49 am

Don’t do it. Life is too precious and short; you have more than enough on already; the only guarantee is that lawyers will profit and you will always still know that (until the parties to the climate debate finally reconcile, probably still many years hence) warmists will think and say the same as Laden in private, even if you frighten them off saying so in public.
Best to rise above the slings and arrows, have faith in your convictions, keep up all the good work – and save your money!

January 18, 2013 9:51 am

Anthony– I’ve been on both side of the aisle in lawsuits. Don’t do go that route.
They completely devour all your: time, focus, money and energy and seldom do you get justice or satisfaction.
Tell the guy to make a formal public apology and move on.
Pick your fights carefully. These idiots are getting desperate as their scam is falling apart; they’ll destroy themselves. The truth always wins in end.

January 18, 2013 9:52 am

I think a cartoon by Josh immortalizing Laden as a vapid yenta or some such theme would be money better spent than paying lawyers.

January 18, 2013 9:52 am

If it were me, I’d sue him, but you have to make that decision for yourself. Getting involved in the legal system is a hard and nasty road. Don’t do it hastily, and don’t do it unless it’s something you really believe is important.

January 18, 2013 9:53 am

I’m a former Nat Geo subscriber and support anything that might make them more responsible in their “climate change” hysteria reporting.

January 18, 2013 9:54 am

Another point is that I’m not in a position to help you financially with any suit and I can’t in good conscience advise you to pursue it unless I was willing to help cover the costs.

David Oliver Smith
January 18, 2013 9:54 am

As a retired lawyer, I recommend suing. I recently read that Robert Bork was advised to ignore the false accusations Ted Kennedy made against him during the hearings for his Supreme Court appointment confirmation because no one would believe them. He was not confirmed. Don’t be Borked or Swift Boated. Respond aggressively.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 18, 2013 9:54 am

Ric Werme says:
January 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

Hey, how about asking Lord Monkton if he has time to get Laden a real dressing down?
No – much better – how about asking Lord Monkton to write several folks at NatGeo describing to them the sort of blogger they are supporting? Then NatGeo will talk to Laden about it, a setting that Laden can’t very easily blow off, then post Monkton’s complaint and NatGeo’s reply.

You are making the rather optimistic assumption that Laden could understand anything Monkton wrote. He seems to have reading comprehension issues, perhaps related to the disability he has admitted with spelling.

January 18, 2013 9:55 am

Anthony, morally and intellectually you have already won. I would continue to drive the point blogally if I were in your shoes, but trying it legally, I’m afraid it may break you. As someone said it so succintly up here, do not wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty, but he loves it. Laden loves muck and that’s where he lives and we know it. Leave him at that but show the world that he loves muck.
Any way you chose, I’m with you.

January 18, 2013 9:55 am

I voted yes, and would contribute to a ‘fighting fund’ if one is set up for the simple reason that if it goes to court, the record will be public, and Mr Laden will have to reveal his reasons, his sources and expose his version of the science to cross-examination. It will also give you a platform on which to put all the counter arguments ‘on record’ and it should make folk like the NG take a more cautious approach to some of the tripe they publish as ‘truth’ in future.

January 18, 2013 9:56 am

Definitely not Anthony. I’m a scientist who was heavily involved in litigation as a corporate representative for over ten years. I know the terrain. I could drag on forever and you would get very, very frustrated and angry at the crap his no doubt equally sleazy defense attorneys would throw at you.
I think it’s god to publicize it though because this type of thing seems to be becoming their main argument for anthropogenic global whatever it is this week. Not a very strong scientific argument IMO.

Radical Rodent
January 18, 2013 9:57 am

Re your update: from

Most Egregious Lie: “Since we can’t control Mother Nature, let’s figure out how to get along with her changes.” — a company newsletter.

Since when has a simple statement of the bleeding obvious, and a rational response to it, been a lie? (Answer, it would appear, is when it is said by “Big Oil”.)
To repeat what I have said elsewhere: One question that I have posed to a few alarmists is: what are you doing to negate your effect upon CO2 emissions? The question has always been studiously avoided; few even dare ridicule it.
When the alarmists, activists, whatever you want to call them, stop driving; stop ALL travelling, if not by walking, cycling or horse; stop heating (or cooling) their homes and offices; stop buying any product that they know results in releasing CO2 during production (this includes electricity), then, and ONLY then, can they expect to be taken seriously.
The curious thing is, all the (in)activities listed above would quite drastically reduce fiscal outgoings, so potentially saving pot-loads of money, yet ALL the solutions proposed that seem to be accepted require vast expenditure, most often of other people’s (i.e. the tax-payers’) money. Does no-one notice this peculiar disparity?

Radical Rodent
January 18, 2013 9:59 am

Dang. What I would give for an edit button, now… Insert your own “/”.

January 18, 2013 9:59 am

Don’t sue. It very very rarely turns out the way you hoped it would, even if you win. Take the high road. This is sideshow, it shows they are rattled. They are going to be hard at work over the next few years fighting off the facts of lack of AGW, don’t give them anything that could give them a boost.

January 18, 2013 10:00 am

Fat finger typing – It could drag on; it’s good to publicize it

Colin Aldridge
January 18, 2013 10:02 am

Sueing is a dubious pleasure even if you win. Lots of time and worry and most imprtaantly cost. If someone will take your case pro bono AND indemnify against the other saides costs which I guess you would have to pay if you lost then jst maybe. Otherwise go for an apology

January 18, 2013 10:02 am

Never use the tools of the devil to fight the devil. It turns you into the devil. Whether ( I almost wrote weather) using the courts is a tool of the devil or not is a matter of opinion, but the devil does use the courts, which have been corrupted by the devil.
Use your enemies energy and attacks to defeat him. Going on the offensive leave one vulnerable to attack which is not a good idea when one is completely surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy.

January 18, 2013 10:02 am

The methods and tactics of these people need to be highlighted. So many people think that being a “scientist” or a “science journalist” means being a professional that they are unwilling to listen to anything else. The extremely unprofessional behaviour of these characters needs a harsh light. Mind you, I say that as someone whose contribution to any legal fund would necessarily comprise one church mouse and a crust of bread.

January 18, 2013 10:02 am

Short answer: no. Even though you have been wronged, every minute of your time and energy that you spend on that lying jackass, instead of bringing more science to the discussion of climate is a victory for Laden. They are losing the science argument, so they want the distraction of mudslinging, ad hom, personal smears, etc. There will be much, much more of this. A simple link to your rebuttal should satify anyone who mistakenly thinks that what Greg Laden says matters.

George M
January 18, 2013 10:04 am

I voted for sueing his pants off, but follow your lawyers advice. A well-publicised apology, approved by you, would probably be worth more than money. Surely don’t risk any significant amount of cash on suing.

Joseph Murphy
January 18, 2013 10:04 am

I voted no. I think these guys do more harm to themselves than to you. But, if you decide to, some spare change is waiting for you.

January 18, 2013 10:04 am

Whatever you do, don’t do it in anger.
Laden is his problem, not yours.
What is best for WUWT? I would think, some publicity from National Geographic. I would go for that.

January 18, 2013 10:04 am

Here is what you have to weigh. First and foremost, lawsuits take time, money, and mental effort that cannot be spent on positive activities. Sometimes this is required if the damage inflicted by the defamation is such as to impede your ability to either carry out your business or get on with your life.

David Jones
January 18, 2013 10:04 am

My initial gut feel was “Sue the bastard (and anybody else involved)”
However a more realistic approach is a “desist” letter to Laden, Science Blog and National Geographic, setting out your detailed complaint and requiring all apologies, no repetitions, settlement of your legal fees, sufficient exposure and publicity, all on the letterhead of a prominent, suitably qualified and experienced (in such cases) lawyer. The implied threat behind such a letter is that a writ will follow if this generous offer is not accepted promptly The letter is required to grab the attention of the owners/senior management of NG.
You don’t actually care about Laden. OK, you want him, publicly, hung out to dry by NG so he is seen to be irrelevant. That achieved, mission accomplished.
The threat of a lawsuit is often of more value than the suit itself and the risk is lower.
If you decide to sue I’ll throw in my 2 cents to your fund but it will take up so much of your time it may not be worth it.
I was sued personally, several years ago, in a business matter as a joint defendant. The defence costs ran to a quarter of a million pounds sterling (fortunately the principal defendant had given me an indemnity) and after a year we found some (unflattering) history about the plaintiff (the term ponzi would indicate the type of history). The plaintiff’s lawyers dropped him like a hot potato!! You may not be so lucky!!

Chuck L
January 18, 2013 10:06 am

My initial reaction was yes, sue his a$$; at some point a line must be drawn in the sand that people or organizations cannot impugn your, or any skeptic’s reputation without impunity. If you decide against legal action then demand a full public apology by him and NatGeo but should there be a repeat performance, pursue all available legal remedies.

mark ro
January 18, 2013 10:08 am

davidmhoffer says:
January 18, 2013 at 7:58 am
If you sue the pants off him and win, so you’ll have a pair of pants. They are liar pants, so ff course they will be on fire. What are you going to do with a pair of burning pants?


January 18, 2013 10:08 am

Ask Nat Geo if they back Laden. If they say they don’t, ask them to disavow him and his work publicly. If they won’t do that, get your lawyer to write them a letter that is just shy of committing you to sue them, but that forces them to book this as a potential claim against which they need to take a reserve. Clutter up their bureaucracy and balance sheet, force them to spend management time and lawyer money, while minimizing your cost and exposure. Maybe a string of letters to them or their advertisers and subscribers –but fashioned to avoid counterattack as a business tort. Why do I recommend this? Because, as noted, diving into litigation is expensive and risky and your objective here is to apply maximum leverage (your cost: your benefit) to the main objective, which is not to squeeze them for money, or punish them, but to get them to change their behavior. I would think that if Nat Geo publicly dumps Laden, the word will spread far and wide. These people aren’t stupid, they’ve just been allowed to inbreed until they’re vicious.

January 18, 2013 10:08 am

This post: 201 comments (and counting) showing all possible viewpoints.
Laden’s reply (in a similar timeframe): 7 comments (including a double post), all from sycophantic idiots who need to “have a voice” and know that nobody will listen to their innane drivel anywhere else.
And you really need to ask if this is worth bothering with? Run the statistics, man!!!

January 18, 2013 10:10 am

Questions to ask:
Do you think he deserves the time you will loose?
Do you cause more damage to him and his cause doing what you do today or by suing him ?

January 18, 2013 10:11 am

A tricky one Anthony. If the legal opinion says you’re on solid ground, sue his ass off. It’s not as if he hasn’t some previous form doing this sort of thing, remembering his labelling Tallbloke a criminal. At the end of the day, your call and if you go for it, I’ll certainly contribute to any fund.
It’s always easy to encourage litigation when you’re not footing the bill but I do think stamping on him will set down a marker that the times have – the days of hate diatribe against skeptics are over.
As for the beastality slur, that’s the shape of things to come. They’re on the predicted path …
“Simplistically, it’s just name calling and they need to do it for reasons of catharsis. Psychologically, it’s a form of self-indulgent displacement activity. Giving us what they think is a bloody good kicking, makes up for their feeling of helplessness in the face of the grim reality of their situation. We’re their hate objects, the ones they totally blame for the collapse of their cult. They’re in the second stage of the death of their belief system; anger. Calling us bad names is a release of that anger and it’s going to get worse, considerably worse.”
ps. Standby for the emergency troll mobilisation.

January 18, 2013 10:12 am

I voted Sue, make an example of… But posts like Warren Meyer’s have changed my mind. Laden’s a twonk not worthy of your time or the aggravation involved.

January 18, 2013 10:14 am

Jeez. Greg Laden is an egotistical, fatuous [snip]. Why even bother caring what he thinks? How many people read his blog anyway? Just ignore him. He might try to snipe at you from time to time, but so what? Really, it’s Greg Laden and nobody cares what he thinks. No, really.

January 18, 2013 10:16 am

There is a statute of limitations. Anthony probably has two years at least to think about his best course of action.
In the mean time, Laden and cronies had best watch what they post…

k scott denison
January 18, 2013 10:17 am

For those saying “rise above”, would that that would be of any value.
I would argue that Mitt Romney “rose above” and got pummeled.
The opposition is playing hard ball. There is no winning by “rising above”.
Sue, and demand the apology as part of the settlement. In BIG BOLD ALL CAPS 100 PT FOINT.
As with others, I will contribute to your costs. If there is anyway to contribute to lowering your time burden as well, I’m in.

January 18, 2013 10:18 am

I agree with Bob Tisdale when he suggested that you contact National Geographic to be allowed to make counterpost in the blog where Mr.Laden made his in.
That way you can acheive several things,one that Nat Geo is now aware of the problem and their reaction if any would be of legal value and that you can make a smackdown post in reply.

Scottish Sceptic
January 18, 2013 10:18 am

You are not doing them any favours holding back. Today they attack you … tomorrow they will attack someone who sues first and asks questions later with much bigger pockets. Better they learn their lesson with you!

January 18, 2013 10:19 am

Push for an apology and keep your eyes on the prize.
Suing this minnow is of little value in the endgame – and I really think things have turned a corner lately in terms of widespread recognition that something is very wrong with climate science.
A time may come when you really have no option but to sue to defend your reputation, but I don’t think this is it. This guy doesn’t even qualify as a pawn while some of the main pieces are looking very vulnerable right now. You don’t want to trade a potential checkmate for a stalemate.
Also, if you do go this path expect the warmists to claim the sources of the funds and motivation for the suit are big oil hounding a hounding little blogger – regardless of how untrue that is.

January 18, 2013 10:20 am

Normally I would say settle for an apology, but this is an environment where the gloves are off on the other side. So I say sue. I don’t have a lot but I’ll contribute to your legal fund as well.

January 18, 2013 10:20 am

Laden is a fool. Romm’s “correction” was pathetic — he showed no spine.
But suing someone is going to cost you way more emotional energy and time than it is worth.
Call him out. Move on.

See - owe to Rich
January 18, 2013 10:23 am

Dennis Wingo has said it all for me. I think/hope you have more useful things to do with your time and energy. There are too many lawsuits in the world, especially in the USA, where many are rich enough to be able to afford them.

January 18, 2013 10:24 am

“I’d like to point out that I’d never heard of Greg Laden until youmentioned him.”
I’d like to point out this is the most useless comment I’ve seen today. So, what are you saying? The absurd slur should go unaddressed? Anthony should just let people think he’s half a loon? If that’s not your point, then why bring it up? To look clever?

January 18, 2013 10:25 am

Anthony, Once you publicly threaten to sue someone – if you fail to do so without getting a public apology from the main parties that have libeled you, then those parties will forever claim that you were always in the wrong and will use your non-action as an excuse to hound and libel you further. If you have good legal council available to you then definitely sue. Not only that sue for a result that makes them promote your innocence and that highlights their guilt. Good luck – Joe.

January 18, 2013 10:25 am

Can we make this into a class action? 🙂
Go for it Anthony, he obviously didn’t learn from being forced to make a retraction in the past.
If you will, I will too.

January 18, 2013 10:25 am

I voted to sue but on reflection think you may end up regretting it. Do everything necessary to get Nat Geo to lose Laden in as high profile a manner as possible. Take away as many platforms (and potential ones) for Laden as possible.

January 18, 2013 10:25 am

I voted to sue…with a caveat…
I’d suggest following a documented course of giving him and those that post his lies the opportunity to correct the wrong. Failing that, then you let them know in no uncertain terms that a legal course of action is no other option for you.
Having spent years involved in a very costly legal battle, I understand the ramifications. In my case, it was a matter of principle, and yes, the lawyers all got richer. But the point was that it cost the other side dearly…. and if it was money I wasn’t going to get, I was going to make sure they didn’t get it. Yes, the lawyers got it… but they did not.
In the end, I feel I did the right thing. And yes, in the end, I don’t think they learned a thing. Still, I’d do it again.

Lonnie E. Schubert
January 18, 2013 10:26 am

I guess I would say, “what would I do?” I think I would try to take the high road. When a mule kicks you, it hardly does any good to kick back. You’ll likely do further damage to your own body. While it would be possible to eliminate the mule, the fact is, mules kick. As long as there are any, nothing can about the kicking.
The price of litigation is high, even for the winners. There are lots of life factors to consider. The alarmist will lose. Very few will ever apologize, and the incident will fade down the memory hole of history. Our children’s grandchildren may giggle when someone mentions Y2K, but they won’t even know what global warming means, except maybe in conjunctions with waste dumps of solar panels and windmills still pending final disposition.

David L.
January 18, 2013 10:29 am

In some respects, I’m getting tired of the abuse skeptics endure from the likes of his ilk. Far too many of these guys slip away unpunished, and Mann sues everyone at the drop of the hat.
On the other hand, lawsuits suck the life and money out of you. I watched a good friend fight his evil estranged wife in court for years and it really occupied all his time. It’s an emotional roller coaster as well since even though he was without-a-doubt innocent, we are talking about the subtle, shifty game of “the law”. One never knows the outcome. Whichever lawyer plays the best game wins (with some luck involved too).
I think I would threaten lawsuit and make a public spectacle out of him. Maintain the moral highground and get a public apology from his idiot and Nat Geo.

January 18, 2013 10:29 am

Some people need fixing. Laden is one of them, in my opinion.
But whether it is your job to fix him, is another issue which only you can answer. I’d seriously consider that one.
If you decide it might be, think on this: Suing him *successfully* could well fix him, but I’d want to sure of success before attempting it. IANAL but “false light” doesn’t seem like the strongest possible case. So are you sure this is the best opportunity to fix him?

Heather Brown (aka Dartmoor resident)
January 18, 2013 10:30 am

I voted for the middle road (force him to print an apology) mainly because I think it will take too much of your time and effort to go ahead and sue.. Like a previous commenter I would have liked an option for `force him to print an apology but if it is not good enough, then sue’. But if you do go ahead and sue, I’ll willingly chip in something for your costs.

Tom O
January 18, 2013 10:30 am

My gut feeling on this is this, Anthony. There is no sane person reading a blog like that to start with, thus he actually does you no siginificant harm. Bringing court action will bring the blog and its author more useful publicity than it will do him harm as, let’s face it, the main stream media is in their pocket, not ours, and they will play it as if you are harming him, regardless of what the court decides. Thus, no matter what, he wins, you lose, because the media will not let “climate scientists” beat AGW religionists. Your ignoring him will probably p–s him off more than your legal action. In other words, drive on, son, drive on.

James Ard
January 18, 2013 10:32 am

The problem with suing is Anthony would have to prove these jerks distress him more than amuse him. I don’t know if he could pull that off.

Jack Savage
January 18, 2013 10:33 am

If , and only if, you are 100% sure you will win, please sue the drongo. Not just for your sake, but for the rest of us. Where do I send my $10.00?

January 18, 2013 10:33 am

While bringing a gun to this particular gunfight via a lawsuit would be fun. Why not introduce tactical nukes by turning him into a laughing stock via ridicule. Go Alinsky on him and unleash humor and ridicule. Would be a lot cheaper, quicker and more effective. And he has no response to ridicule. Breitbart him. Cheers-

January 18, 2013 10:38 am

Let a sleeping dog lie (inference intended).
I believe this is an act of desperation and they hoped you’d sue; after a while and with repeated offenses by such ilk, you won’t have time to be effective with WUWT. It’s what drove Palin from the Governorship of Alaska–the opposition levied so many law suits against her she didn’t have time to run a state.
But certainly keep the exposure at top level–they believe lies and distortions are somehow effective in winning the science debate and sway popular opinion, but this isn’t a presidential election.

January 18, 2013 10:39 am

On third thought, the greater your efforts to pursue ‘justice’, the more you raise Laden’s profile/legend among his co-sewer-dwellers.
Remember Gleick.

January 18, 2013 10:39 am

I vote against a lawsuit as I think a lawsuit on name calling seems juvenile and would cheapen the brand you have worked so hard to build.
As a wise man once said: “The hawk doesn’t hunt flies.”

Man Bearpig
January 18, 2013 10:41 am

It shows how desperate these people are. Sue him to shut him up. If it were you writing about them, they would sue. Go get him!

Solomon Green
January 18, 2013 10:43 am

The name of Anthony Watts is well-known and the work which you have done on weather/temperature sites is generally accepted by all except the wilful blind to be both original and accurate. I have heard it said that you claim not to be a scientist but a meteorolgy is a science and, so far as I am concerned, has a better claim to be a science, since its results can be proved or disproved, than does “climate science”.
The name Gregg Laden meant nothing to me until I read it in your post. He does not appear to have any qualification or experience which might justify his claim to be a scientist. Why dignify him with any response other than to ask for an apology which he will not give? He is only in it for the publicity. He would love to be sued. It would prove that someone took him seriously.
Romm is better known and has a wide platform so should be invited to retract and apologise or, should he fail to do so, be sued if that is what your lawyers so advise.

Chris Christner
January 18, 2013 10:43 am

What needs to change is National Geographic’s reflexive alignment with extreme and dishonest opinions like Laden’s. Since there’s no downside for them unless they get hit in the pocketbook, I’d sue if the lawyers say you’ve got a strong case. The ensuing bad publicity can only tarnish NatGeo’s reputation.

January 18, 2013 10:44 am

My 2 cents:
Don’t sue, this piece of mud under your shoe is not worth the grey hairs.
Demand a retraction and apology. You can always sue later.
I thought the law suit of Mann shows what a little man he is. You are bigger than this, this sh*t slides right of your big shoulders and onto Laden’s head…
Don’t turn him into a martyr…

January 18, 2013 10:45 am

Remember the Streisand effect – go for public apology. Unless, of course, you can sue National Geographic. For the most part, though, lawsuits only enrich lawyers. However, if you do sue, count me in for a $25.00 donation.

January 18, 2013 10:49 am

All cases like this are very hard to prove, but you force him to respond and spend money so if you can afford $30K for initial legal fees, do it!

January 18, 2013 10:50 am

Athony,I agree with Joe Crawford: “Anthony,
Just have your lawyer write a rather threatening letter to National Geo for: 1) permitting Landen, who is at least indirectly representing them, to post such trash, 2) not policing their “Science Blogs” to insure that proper science is represented, and 3) suggesting any further similar posts by Landen will lead to a lawsuit against both of them. Be sure to copy Landen.”
Don´t go wrestling with the pigs in the mud that´s called litigation. GL is too small for that, that´ll only give him his fifteen minutes. Better spend that time on your excellent work that you´re doing here at WUWT.

Reed Coray
January 18, 2013 10:52 am

Before you take any legal action, consult a good lawyer and follow his/her advice. Having said that, I recommend NOT suing. However, as others have pointed out, you might want to put NG on official notice that printing material by Greg Laden without checking Mr. Laden’s facts carries a risk to NG. If you decide to seek a legal opinion, I’d be happy to contribute.

January 18, 2013 10:55 am

If you really want to nail them, dispense with the legal wrangling and just nail them on their science. National Geo is the real target here, not their puffed up troll with his pants on fire. They currently have an article running on their web site on global warming. Let’s deconstruct it:
The planet keeps getting hotter, new data showed this week.
Really? All four major global temperature indices show no warming for the last 16 years or more. Is National Geo telling their readers the truth?
Especially in America, where 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded, by far.
Really? Was National Geo aware that the monthly data is reported incomplete or did they just decide to exclude some of the facts? Have they not read the draft report of Watts et al? Have they not considered the new reference network that provides very different results? Is their reported incapable of researching the facts or deliberately presenting them selectively? Not to mention that the US represents 2% of the earth and the temperature records for the earth show no warming for 16+ years so, as a science magazine such as National Geo ought to know, and probably does know, any records set in the United States in this time frame (even if they were true) are the consequence of natural variability.
Won’t more atmospheric carbon mean longer growing seasons? Not quite. Over the next several decades, the yield of virtually every crop in California’s fertile Central Valley, from corn to wheat to rice and cotton, will drop by up to 30 percent, researchers expect. (Read about “The Carbon Bathtub” in National Geographic magazine.)
Well that statement isn’t exactly true, is it? The question is will growing seasons be longer if it warms and the answer is…yes. But they don’t answer the question they asked, they answer an entirely different question which is in regard to crop yields if warming occurs. Their estimate of 30% reduction isn’t just wrong, it is wrong for multiple reasons. They are wrong because the earth had been warming for the last 400 years and agricultural production has increased, it is at its highest levels ever. Second, California’s growing season won’t change a whole lot because the bulk of the warming would come in the coldest parts of the planet, and last I checked, California isn’t in that coldest part of the planet. So either National Geo doesn’t understand physics or they don’t understand geography which would be pretty funny given the name of their rag. On top of that, they fail to consider that farmers aren’t dumb morons who plant the exact same crops no matter the conditions, that farmers are smart enough to change crop strains and types based on changing conditions. But hey, if National Geo wants to portray farmers as being stupid, they are free to do so let’s just ensure that farmers know the score because a lot of them are subscribers and might not be too happy about the characterization. Of course National Geo also left out of their answer that a lot of land that is currently unproductive would become productive if warming actually should appear. So, they haven’t answered the question they asked, and the answer they gave is wrong on multiple counts.
They are pretending this is science? Are they incompetent or deliberately misleading? If they don’t want to reign in their troll, I think it easier to just crowd source articles on their publications and deconstruct them on WUWT similar to what I just did.
Of course if they decide as a consequence to reign in their troll… I’d suggest keep going anyway. I couldn’t care less about the troll with his pants on fire, but National Geo deserves to be exposed for their poor performance on the science itself. Once they lose enough readership perhaps they’ll return to their roots and start publishing nudity again and pretending that it isn’t a strategy to boost circulation.

Luther Wu
January 18, 2013 11:01 am

MACHINATION, n. The method employed by one’s opponents in baffling one’s open and honorable efforts to do the right thing.
“The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology”.
-Red Auerbach
“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.” ~Buddha

Rud Istvan
January 18, 2013 11:01 am

Anthony, I would urge you again to follow up with Nat Geo in an effort to get this blog eliminated permanently.
You may already know that Laden was removed permanently from the Science blog spinoff Free thought Blog (FtB) on 7/1/12 for using violent threatening language against another blogger. You can easily get the language and screen capture it; unbelievably vile evidence of an unstable, mendacious mind. His grossly misrepresented attack on your clearly skeptical posting about a suspect published paper is more of the same, with less potty mouth but not potty mind.
Plus, today he is again posting about you as a ‘science denialist boob’ in a transparent effort to justify his actions and bait you into litigation. First rule of holes if you are in one and want to get out, stop digging. Time to take Laden’s shovel away. You now have the means to do so.

Mindert Eiting
January 18, 2013 11:03 am

This an Ad Hom, isn’t it? By suing him, your implicit message is that you take this type of argument seriously. Do not even ask for apologies. Let him go on.

January 18, 2013 11:03 am

mkelly says:
January 18, 2013 at 7:50 am
Why not ask National Geo to remove Mr. Laden from having anything further to do with the blog and explain the reason. You could mention the “false light” issue in your explanation.
His removal would be enough for all I would think.
I like Mkelly’s idea. That would be a win. We all want to see these jokers in court, but it is a lot of time and expense with no certain outcome.
Anthony, you have to follow your heart on whether or not to sue. If you’re not sure what you want to do, there’s a neat little trick my grandmother taught me to find out (bear with me, it is not what it first seems). You toss a coin. The point here is that you DON’T necessarily go with what you get, you go with what you FEEL at what you get. That means if you get heads and you’re disappointed, go with tails. If you’re relieved, stick with heads. Simple but it works. You will have support whichever way you decide to go.
If you feel it’s worth it and it will put some money in your pocket or shed some public light on the overall dishonesty in the field, then go for it. If you just want to smack him down (and don’t we all), putting in a call for Nat Geo to kick him out might be all you need. I’m sure you could raise quite a few voices/emails to Nat Geo to the same end – a couple of thousand emails all asking or demanding this guy gone has to have some influence, I should think.

January 18, 2013 11:07 am

Should I sue the pants off Greg Laden?

You want more?
Then, absolutely not.
I remember, a long time ago, being at a dinner party where one of the guests, a lawyer, said, “Whenever I hear a client say ‘it’s a matter of principle’ I know I can afford my next holiday”.
Litigation is for lawyers. For the litigants it is time, trouble, cost and stress. It is not something to be taken lightly. Even if you are fortunate enough to win ( and the law is a lottery) recognise that it will be a pyrrhic victory.
Only if the insult is something you really cannot live with should you even consider this course. This is not the case here – you have had a lot worse.

January 18, 2013 11:11 am

copner says:
January 18, 2013 at 10:29 am
Yeah, GL needs fixing, I agree – but IMHO, since he is all Fecked up, it would probably be a good idea for a few of us to dismantle him piece by piece – and then, said in the style/words of the Six Billion Dollar Man – ‘We can rebuild him’ . Hey, at least then we can move his brain from ar$e to it’s more normal place and remove both his feet fromhis extremely vile mouth! You’d think he might be grateful LOL

January 18, 2013 11:13 am

Dear Anthony:
IF you can win…
if the lawyer(s) are paid contingent on winning…
then yes – a head on a post, pour encourage les autres, will be the single most chilling event anybody could bring about to stop the global warming crisis.
real damage is being done.
when grants, funding and pleas for commodious rat holes are the only consequences, this expensive nonsense will continue and will expand the population of parasites whose only function is to eat out our substance.

Scott Brim
January 18, 2013 11:13 am

David Oliver Smith says: January 18, 2013 at 9:54 am “As a retired lawyer, I recommend suing. I recently read that Robert Bork was advised to ignore the false accusations Ted Kennedy made against him during the hearings for his Supreme Court appointment confirmation because no one would believe them. He was not confirmed. Don’t be Borked or Swift Boated. Respond aggressively.”
This is not that kind of fight. If Anthony didn’t have a thick skin, he wouldn’t be using this blog as his primary means of public communication in promoting his own contrarian viewpoints concerning the validity of current AGW science,
If the US public is ever impacted in a truly serious way by government imposed anti-carbon measures, the public’s perception of who is right and who is wrong about AGW science will depend mostly upon the credibility of the AGW science itself, not upon the public clashes of individuals in favoring one viewpoint over another, as these clashes and debates are now being pursued in the Internet blogosphere.
Every minute Anthony spends on a lawsuit will be a minute not spent educating the public as to what his views are concerning the credibility of the science.

January 18, 2013 11:22 am

The guy is not worth the time of the day.
Put no effort into this, it is a distraction.
If you can hand it all off to others to do all the work and pay the atty’s and court cost do what you can, but do not slow the important work of fact finding.
If you deal with this one 10 more will take his place. Soros has the $ , Gore has the $ and lots of gofers to run you ragged.

Gail Combs
January 18, 2013 11:26 am

I think he is just jealous because you didn’t send him a calendar, that is because he thinks it is a ‘Callendar’

math genius
January 18, 2013 11:26 am

Considering Ladens childish behaviour after you published his story, i’m sure any call for an apology is futile.
But National Geographic should be contacted and informed about what kind of people abuse their reputation. Laden doesn’t care if a “denailist” sues him, his leftwing buddies would fraternize with him even if he loses. But Nat Geo can’t allow itself losing a lawsuit because of false-light. If they abandon him or force him to apologize, that will be much more humiliating for him than any lawsuit that you could win – not to mention the $$$ and time this would save.

January 18, 2013 11:32 am

I believe I support Kip Hansen’s 8:22 suggestion most, but skip the “pro-bono” part… this is worth a few bucks because repaying your lawyers is one of the things National Geographic will end up doing in their required action.
To whit: Lawyer letter to Nat.G demanding:
– Full comprehensive apology/ explanation inked prominently on their major page(s) for at least a month.
– That apology must be easily found on their site for ten years,
– It MUST incorporate many search terms and other features to ensure high likelihood that common joes hunting through Google, Yahoo, etc., would put it within the first 20 search results. (ask your readership and other search experts for suggestions)
– That apology must be linked in perpetuity and reasonably prominently on Laden’s blog as condition of his continuing to blog there.
– Punitive damages of $1.00 each.
– Nat.G agrees to pay your reasonable attorney costs of drafting the letter and all other action that comes about.
I would not bother asking that Laden write an apology on his blog… just ask for the $1.00 damages and he admit wrongdoing.
That seems to about cover my thoughts.
Definitely would be wrong move to ignore their culpability in the legal realm, though.

Alan A.
January 18, 2013 11:34 am

National Geographic has a link with this guy (or the other way around)? Then I would sue.

January 18, 2013 11:36 am

One thing that should be remembered is that this whole thing is over a blog post. Blogs allow the blogger to express his or her real thoughts on any particular topic. Hyperbole and smears are going to unavoidably be part of this. When this happens on any significant blog, it will be immediately called out, as it has been in this case, and this Laden guy isn’t even that significant.
I think suing would be like using mountaintop removal to clear an anthill!

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