The Need to Screencapture Global Warming Promoters’ Words (because what’s seen on the internet cannot be unseen)
Guest essay by Russell Cook
Just over two weeks ago, my blog piece here explained how Ross Gelbspan’s claim about industry intimidation of a top television editor seemed faulty. My 7th paragraph had a screencapture photo link showing a quote from Gelbspan’s web site media tirade, where he described the person more specifically as a CNN editor. As courtesy to anyone wanting to see the full context of his web page, I also provided a direct link to it. Sometime between November 18th and yesterday, his paragraph about the CNN editor disappeared from that page… along with other important material there.
It isn’t hard to spot what happened, click on each thumbnail below to enlarge them in a new window. To create these on my computer, I screencaptured two web page windows side-by-side, the left being what the last Internet Archive of Gelbspan’s page looked like on April 30th of this year, and the right window of his current page as it looked earlier today.
Right from the top, you see the current version is missing the older one’s first, third and fifth paragraphs. Those happened to be important bits supporting what I said in my August 16 blog piece about the 1995 Washington Post article Gelbspan co-authored with Paul Epstein, specifically the bit where I mentioned “the 3rd & 7th paragraphs at his web site’s reproduction of his May 5, 2010 talk“. Citations of his current page’s paragraphs about Epstein and the events resulting from a letter-writer backlash against the WashPo article become senseless when those paragraphs are missing and its formerly seventh one is now out-of-context in a new position.
Now you see it, now you don’t. Notice how the left side shows Gelbspan’s unmistakable labeling of the editor as one from CNN right after the highlighted words, while the right side shows how that paragraph is now missing, and the one that previously followed it has moved up, but now starts with the word “Finally”…. an odd alteration since another paragraph just two places down also started with “Finally”.
Things get really sloppy here. The first two highlighted words at the current page are now an incomplete sentence, while the paragraph below is stupidly pulled up and lacking its first line indentation. Above the big gap, the words “catastrophic future” used to be eight paragraphs further up the page. Notice how the right side window’s slider is so much taller than the left window’s slider. That’s an indication of how much is missing from the current page content.
At the bottom of both pages, it is again easy to see how much is now deleted. In another strange turn, the dates are now gone, as is the description of where this speech was presented.
For a page that has apparently existed since at least early May 2010, it seems odd that such big changes would be made in only the last two weeks. Rummage through the previous iterations of his page at the Internet Archive, and you’ll see the only prior changes were very minor ones to the dates at the top and bottom sometime between October 7, 2011 – January 5th 2012, and a change to the background images between September 12, 2011 – July 29, 2011. That’s all. Copy ‘n paste the paragraph text from the earliest and latest archive pages separately into a word count site and a word frequency site, and you’ll see the identical 3676 total word count and identical word frequency counts.
Simple questions to ask here: Would Gelbspan, a demonstratively good print editor, alter that page and tolerate the shoddy wording and other errors, or was an assistant told to chop out paragraphs, and that person did a bad job of it? Could some sympathizer have hacked into his site and altered that page? Were all those alterations just a random circumstance, or were they done because two blog pieces of mine referred to questionable material in his page? And most basic of all, if Gelbspan’s tirade against the media contained compelling details about a news outlet’s top TV news editor being threatened by a sinister industry group because they didn’t like the outlet’s global warming reports, why would there be any need for someone to remove that reference? You’d think the story would be expanded to include more damaging details.
We can ask a funny question, too. If whoever it was that deleted paragraphs from Gelbspan’s web site thinks this is a success, will this effort be considered a resounding Streisand Effect failure if all those copies of the paragraphs (including ones in the 11/14/13 Google cache copy) are still out there needing to be deleted? Won’t this strange disappearance of material from Gelbspan’s site cause more wavering supporters of man-caused global warming to wonder why this issue is so dependent on hiding details from public view?
Just askin’. The efforts to portray skeptic climate scientists as crooks don’t look the least bit solid. Visualize this whole mess as a huge building with heavy smoke billowing from every opening, where every new effort to hide faults only looks like yet more flare-ups of smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and I’m just a guy on the street pointing it out to open-minded journalists and other investigative ‘firefighters’ who can comprehend such smoke for what it is: a situation begging for them to warn everyone what’s burning down.
Ross Gelbspan is an American writer and activist. He has written two books relating to global warming– The Heat Is On (1997) and Boiling Point (2004).