Journalistic Failure: Revkin on Watts/Peterson

Guest Opinion by Kip Hansen

clip_image002Foreword:

It pains me to write this opinion piece. As long-term readers here know, I have often defended Andy Revkin, ex-NY Times Environmental Journalist turned NY Times Opinion Section Environmental Columnist, here at WUWT, opening myself to attacks ranging from childish to vicious, and occasionally childishly vicious. Of course, when I comment at Revkin’s NY Times’ Opinion section blog, Dot Earth, whether supporting him or criticizing him, I am similarly attacked by soldiers on one side or the other of the Climate Wars.

Revkin recently committed what I consider a public journalistic offense, on his Dot Earth blog, which I had hoped to help him see in a different, more complete and fairer light, through private emails and by an advanced copy of this opinion essay sent to him yesterday (13 June). That effort failed and, in replies to my emails (in which he neither granted nor denied permission to publish, though explicitly asked), he has informed me of his reasoning and justifications (see the Postscript if that’s all you care to read). Truthfully, what Revkin says only makes his offense worse, in my opinion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NB: This opinion piece is about journalism, lack of, not climate science or the other issues involved in the Watts/Peterson affair.

Andy Revkin, NY Times opinion section columnist, the author and host of the NY Times environment opinion blog Dot Earth, covered the Watts/McKibben meet recently in this in his piece:

A Climate Campaigner (Bill McKibben) and Climate Change Critic (Anthony Watts) Meet in a Bar….

to which I left the following comment:

“….Kudos to Andy for this — and for today’s title identifying McKibben as a “Climate Campaigner” and Anthony Watts as a “Climate Change Critic”.
….
The most interesting thing is that these two men are thought of as exemplars of the furthest reaches of opposing views on the climate change — yet in reality are clear thinking, reasonable men who simply disagree about a subject fraught with scientific uncertainty.
My thanks to Andy for highlighting this little get together, which should, in a rational world, be an everyday occurrence as colleagues in a shared scientific field meet and chat about their personal views.”

I still hold that opinion.

Revkin then disappoints, adding the following update at the top of the column:

“Update, June, 9, 8:51 p.m. | Having been on the run overseas since the weekend, I’m only now catching up with Anthony Watts’s attack on Tom Peterson, one of the authors of a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate paper. The exchange, in which Watts accuses Peterson of prostituting himself and hints at fraud, occurred just before* he’d posted on his friendly meeting with climate campaigner Bill McKibben, described below.

Here’s my reaction:

Any notion that Watts is interested in fostering an atmosphere of civility and constructive discourse evaporates pretty quickly in considering how he handled his questions about that paper. Alternating between happy talk about rooftop solar and slanderous accusations is not constructive or civil.”

Challenged by readers, including myself, in comments, the only reply Revkin gives, to another commenter, is:

Andrew Revkin

Dot Earth blogger 12 hours ago

”I felt it was important to convey the “full Anthony Watts.””

In my opinion, Revkin has utterly failed in his duty as a journalist – the duty to find the facts and the context and report them without injecting personal or political bias.

He failed to discover the obvious fact that Watts had not attacked Peterson – Watts had sent a personal email to Peterson at his official government email address, stating a change in his [Watts’] personal opinion about Peterson’s scientific ethics. It was a harsh personal opinion, but it was personal, man-to-man, between men who should be colleagues and who have been communicating with one another on a one-to-one basis for years.

It is Peterson, a government employee, a government official, listed at climate.gov as “Principal Scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.”, who turns this exchange of official government email into a public matter. How? By sending a copy of his government email to a tabloid-like slander-slinging climate-wars website in Australia – a site with known and repeated antagonism to Watts and bending-over-backwards loving-kindness for all things and persons in agreement with the IPCC Climate Consensus. [This is my personal opinion of the website in question, based on repeated reading of content there. WUWT is not responsible for my opinion in this matter.]

What Watts did not do: He did not publish his personal opinion publicly – despite being the editor and owner of the world’s most viewed website on climate (by orders of magnitude). He did not write a joe-romm-ish 1,500 word screed and send it to the tabloid press. That action would have been a public attack. He did not do that. There was no public attack.

The Questions that would have been asked by a True Journalist:

What? Answer: A personal communication between a citizen and a government official at NOAA, in which the citizen expresses a harsh personal opinion about his loss of trust in the public official’s work product and/or personal professional ethics, that has morphed in the blogosphere into an “attack on Peterson by Watts”.

Who? Answer: Anthony Watts, proprietor of the world’s most viewed website in climate matters and Thomas Peterson, as “Principal Scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.”.

When? Answer: The original email exchange took place approx. 5 June. Thomas Peterson copied the email exchange with Watts from his official NOAA NCDC email account to a tabloid-like climate website in Australia on June 6, 2015 at 6:04 PM.

Why? Answer: Peterson’s real purpose in doing so is known only to him. But in his comment accompanying the copied email exchange he states “Dear Sou et al., I thought you might find an email exchange I had yesterday with Anthony Watts interesting.”

Does it bleed? Answer: [This flip question is ‘sorta’ what journalists ask themselves to see if there will be relevant public interest in the event.] Yes. US Government Official copies work-related email exchange to foreign web-based tabloid press, suspected of doing so for personal/political advantage in the Climate Wars.

Do we see these answers in Revkin’s journalistic effort? No, nothing in his published work product on this affair reflects that he even considered the context or the facts – other than the one-sided spin in the web-tabloid. Nothing in his response to criticism on his blog (where he gives only the one reply above) indicates that he even noticed that it was Peterson himself that turned a private communication into a “public attack” (although he knows Peterson made the email public) or that Peterson’s copying work-related government email to the foreign web-based tabloid press might be a violation of NOAA regulations or an government employee ethics offense. Or that it is extremely unprofessional at the very least.

In fact, it appears that Revkin’s only involvement with the issue has been to band-wagon on the politically-motivated Climate Wars blogosphere outcry – without reviewing the facts at all.

As of 11;25 AM today, I have had no response from Revkin to my comments on Dot Earth or to personal email to him requesting that he take another look at the affair.

I know that Revkin is over-committed time wise – holding what for most people would be at least two full-time jobs. Maybe he has been too busy to look more closely at the issue. If so, he should not have said anything until he took the time to review the affair properly in its entirety.

I invite him to do this review now and respond here at WUWT. (Or, if he wishes, he knows my email address and can comment fully to me off-the-record, with portions marked “OK for publication”, which he knows I will honor.)

I look forward to seeing a revision of his Dot Earth comments here or at Dot Earth.

# # # # #

Postscript:

I have received two replies from Mr. Revkin, which I do not have explicit permission to publish. Thus, rather than simply inserting them here, I will pull three fair-use quotes from them, which contain the essence of his reasoning and justification.

The first two quotes are from Mr. Revkin’s emailed response to an advance-of-publication copy of the above essay. In that response, the quotes are presented already as quotes, probably from his response to Anthony:

“What was notable was the contrast between your [Watts’] approach to Bill and to Peterson. I couldn’t justify the tone in what I wrote about your Chico meeting without an addendum reflecting what transpired here.”

“Suggestions of scientific fraud or prostitution, even in a personal email, are different (particularly given your policy about considering such missives ‘fair game for publishing,’ one presumes you figured this might end up public).”

My response to the above, though a great deal longer, can be summarized in this one extracted sentence: “Your reasoning is specious at best, even for a private citizen — as a journalist, they cut no ice at all.   There is no journalism in that.”

The second is more damning, and came as a reply from Revkin to my response just above:

“Don’t take this wrong, but I really do have more important things to do than dig in further on this.”

What happened to the World Class Journalist Andrew Revkin? Has he hung up journalist spurs? placed his shiny Journalist Star in a shadow box and hung it on the wall? permanently shelved his pocket-copy of the Journalists’ Code of Ethics? Can it really be that he is simply too busy to do a proper journalist’s job?

Or has he traded all that in for the more-or-less anything goes rules of the Opinion Columnist?

Or has become just another echo-chamber partisan gunslinger on the Climate Team’s side of the Climate Wars, taking quick-draw cheap shots at those who others point out to him as opponents? unconcerned if he shoots down the wrong guy in any given shoot-out, too busy to check his aim.

Maybe this is what has become of the majority of science journalists …. They are all simply too busy to do their real jobs. What a sad sad day.

# # # # #

Note from Anthony:

Kip Hansen wrote this essay unsolicited. While I admit I used harsh words, probably the harshest I’ve ever used, I too was surprised that Dr. Tom Peterson chose to immediately send the email to the slimiest of outlets Sou aka “hotwhopper”, run by a person dedicated to denigration, who has not the integrity to use her own name: Miriam Obrien. While I regret that I didn’t choose my words better, I have no change in my opinion [after the NYT incident] on NCDC after what they did with Karl et al. 2015.  And apparently, according to insiders, there was an internal fight at NCDC over the publication of Karl et al. 2015. I offered this backstory to Revkin, but he was uninterested.

Sadly, it speaks to the integrity of both Dr. Peterson and Andy Revkin that they consider this form of “journalism” acceptable.

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330 thoughts on “Journalistic Failure: Revkin on Watts/Peterson

  1. I’ve long defended Andy Revkin’s curiosity and intellectual integrity, if for no other reason than him allowing me a forum @ DotEarth during 2008. There are other reasons, though.

    Now, I’ll read your article and comment again soon.
    ===================

    • Many of us here have enjoyed Andy Revkin’s articles ad op-eds, in which he at least seemed to make an attempt to be fair. It’s sad to see him make such a basic, freshman Journalism 101 blunder. If it was done by mistake, shame on him; he knows better. If it was intentional, then shame on him even more! He’s morphed into a jellyfish – with no spine and no cojones.

      Andy: if the New York Slimes is putting pressure on you, grow a spine and a pair. Resign from that propaganda rag / poor excuse for toilet paper. You’re good; you could easily get a job as a real journalist. Do it while you still have some integrity.

      • He likely knows what is politically at stake. Balls in, so to speak, you get to see the man’s true colours.

      • His bosses go to secret meetings where they discuss world affairs with other very rich and powerful people and then they tell their staff what to think. The latest meeting of this sort happened this weekend.

        The Paris meeting about controlling the world’s energy markets has to be based on ‘global warming is going to kill us all’ in order to operate properly as a tool.

        No one working for these people will tell the truth about any science issues.

      • His reaction when the issue was pointed out to him, demonstrate that it was unlikely to be an error on his part.

      • Reply to Louis Hooffstetter, Scott Basinger, emsnews ==> Anyone familiar with Revkin’s writing and speaking over the years recognizes that he is much too self-confident — almost to the point of hubris — in his own opinions and insight, often referring to his own past columns as if they were confirming expert opinion, to be influenced by his “employers” [Revkin is not strictly an employee of the NY Times — he is a “contracted opinion section columnist” and accountable only to the NY Times Style Guide police — not to the Editorial Board or a news desk editor.]

  2. Heh, ask Andy if he’d like to convey ‘the full Sou’. Ah, balance.
    ======================

  3. Journalism, so-called, was long ago corrupted. More worrisome is the corruption of NOAA and NASA, many but not all of whose organs are now less trustworthy even than government economic “statistics”.

    • Absolutely, It will be difficult for science ever to recover from this outrageous scam after it has collapsed. That is not to say that it’s collapse is close.

  4. Wow. I’ve always figured that Andy Revkin an intelligent and thoughtful person who sometimes comes up with the right conclusion and sometimes comes up with the wrong one, but having a reasonable sense of fairness.

    To see him passing Anthony’s Email to Miriam Obrien says that I really, really misunderstood Revkin. Oh well, his influence has been dropping with every year the climate doesn’t keep up with the models.

    • Nope, Peterson sent it to Sou. Now, I’m paying this guy. Can I fire him for associating in this manner with the likes of Sou?
      ==================

    • Reply to Ric W ==> Your comment made me re-read my essay to see if somehow I had scrambled some sentences, but I can’t see how you got the idea that it was Revkin that forwarded the emails to the tabloid.

      Kim is right, of course — it was Tom Peterson who forwarded his government work email to a foreign web-based tabloid.

      • Yeah, sorry, you were quite clear, I guess I read things too quickly and started jumbling all the implausible twists in the narrative. Clearly I need to spend more time watching reality TV.

        Anthony’s note “there was an internal fight at NCDC over the publication of Karl et al. 2015” actually makes more sense than anything else I’ve read involving Karl et al.

  5. It’s also telling that Science went ahead and published Karl et al., presumably after rigorous (ahem) review. Shame on the editors. It’s Potemkin villages all the way down.

  6. Kip Hansen, have you not read the climategate emails? Sorry, but your own ignorance is showing. Revkin has been partisan cheerleader and a player behind the scenes for years. He is an activist, who happens to have a job in journalism.

    • Yes, Climategate! The blog founded on the publication private correspondence of the Climate Research Unit, more than 1000 emails, complains about the publication of one email.

      It complains about an email send to a public official that is regularly send FOIA requests for his emails, which could also contain the email Mr Watts send.

      It complains shortly after Roger Pielke Sr. publishing private emails of Gavin Schmidt here on WUWT.

      In this complaint it publishes parts of the email of Revkin without asking for permission.

      • Victor Venema

        The blog founded on the publication private correspondence of the Climate Research Unit, more than 1000 emails, complains about the publication of one email.

        Founded on the publication of the official government-paid emails segregated and subsequently released by an insider who selected only those emails from an English laboratory to prevent their discovery by Freedom of Information requests? Nope. This website was not founded by those emails, nor was ever predicated on the discovery of those emails by others. You have been fed lies in the past, and are repeating lies and exaggerations now.

      • Better yet, Victor, answer the questions Pielke Pere asked of Schmidt in that posting. The questions are vital, and unanswered. They are not going away, so take your time.
        ===========================

      • If you’ve ever worked for the government, you’ll know that emails sent on work computers are not private. Every key stroke is recorded.

        Had Hadley Centre complied with valid FOI requests, the “leak” wouldn’t have been needed.

        Instead, anti-scientist Jones did not want any real scientists finding things wrong with his “data”.

      • This web site had been around for years prior to the release of the climategate e-mails.
        This web site had nothing to do with the release of the climategate e-mails. It just covered the release as did thousands of others.

        The idea that this web site was founded on the release of the climategate e-mails is the kind of sloppy hate mongering that we have come to expect from the climate catastrophist crowd.

      • Victor Venema, I believe WUWT was founded 3 years before climategate and had already won Best Science Blog on the internet a year before climategate. Shame on you for being an apologist for such egregious behavior on the part of climatologists who deliberately have blackballed editors and had others dismissed for publishing scientific papers that don’t support the cooked science of the world government campaigners and other fraudulent activities like erasing the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period to get rid of natural variability.

        Anthony Watts is the kind of guy who should get a Nobel Prize for his work. He is like the biologists trying to save the Nile crocodile who have to cope with nearly getting their heads bitten off by beneficiaries like you who don’t know what’s at risk in this game.

      • The Climategate emails were all sent from publicly funded email servers and domains — tax payer funded institutions. They were not private, which was why they were subject to FOIA requests, which also why they conspired to delete them.

      • Climategate emails were taken without permission…. that means stolen. The fact they were government agencies makes not the slightest bit of difference.

      • I always get a laugh out of this “logic”…
        “Climategate emails were ‘stolen’, thus nothing revealed by them counts”.
        Reality isn’t a court of law with stupid rules about evidence gathering.

      • It is incorrect that WUWT was founded on the release of the FOIAed emails from the CRU, but it does once again reinforce the concept that you should always assume anything you write will be published. Choose your words carefully, so that what you say is really what you mean.

      • If people are sending emails over public institution or private entity accounts, then they are not private, regardless of the content. In either instance they are the property of the owner of the network. In the first instance that owner is ultimately the taxpayer.

    • Indeed you may be right. Kip said this..”I have often defended Andy Revkin, ex-NY Times Environmental Journalist turned NY Times Opinion Section Environmental Columnist, here at WUWT, opening myself to attacks ranging from childish to vicious, and occasionally childishly vicious.”

      Kip, is it possible that some of the comments were also educational, and would have given you a perhaps more balanced view of possible Revkin biases, manifesting in is behavior in this episode?

      • David, let’s be frank. Some commenters do actually fall into both the childish and vicious categories. We have a good fraction of calm, reasoned responses, but this is the internet.

  7. I have long given up on the New York Times. Just yesterday, they published another ad nauseum story about the Pope’s efforts on climate change and how his efforts will help the poor. I posted a comment suggesting His Holiness foster the development of cheap energy for the poor citing Huber & Mills, 2005 book, “The bottomless Well:, NYC, Basic Books, which demonstrated that GDP and overall well-being improves with availability of cheap energy. Did the NY Times post my comment. NO.

    That, folks, is censorship and that’s what the MSM practices.

    • Francis is tragically wrong in this matter. Oh, well, he’s got to face up to it someday.
      ========

      • He fails to see the greatest evil extant in the land, and it’s right before his eyes. If there is a God in Heaven……
        ================

      • As I’ve said before – IF Pope Francis endorses AGW then it becomes a matter of religion not science. But we knew this already.

      • “Francis is tragically wrong in this matter. Oh, well, he’s got to face up to it someday …”
        ==================================
        Is the Pope catoptric?

    • Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it, and apparently the Catholic Church has forgotten the most famous time they backed the wrong scientific theory. A bit of ‘settled science’ as well, if I remember it right.

    • Greenery, like all religions, is never happier than when its followers are at their most miserable.

      • Reply to Jimmy Haigh ==> My religion is happiest when people are happiest — possibly you’ve been looking in the wrong places?

    • Reply to Dr. Klein ==> The NY Times’ comment moderation is mostly automatic — there is seldom actually a moderator there that posts your comments (or fails to post them). Their commenting code is iffy at best — I have been round and round with some of their tech people over the last couple of years — and it appears intractable. WordPress does a much better job, but does fewer things.

      Save a local copy of your comment before hitting the “Post” button — if it fails to appear after a reasonable amount to time, check your comment to make sure that you haven’t accidentally used any forbidden words, then try to post it again. (This applies only to the usual comment sections — not the Editorial or Opinion pages.)

      • And the list of ‘forbidden words’ is long indeed and grows longer as time passes. This filter reminds me of the Soviet Union and how it processed information for the public.

      • Reply to emsnews ==> Do you have a link to the NY Times “forbidden words” list?

        I would be interested in the details — we all know the obvious suspects: all the various formation of the F-word, the sh–word, the usual profanities, suggestions that persons perform unlikely sexual acts, etc.

  8. I don’t know Andy Revkin, nor his work, but I do know from the Clmategate emails that he was regarded by the climate scientists, Mann in particular, as a glove puppet for them to feed their views through. He may be a journalist of the highest integrity but Mann, a scientist who will undoubtedly go down in history, assumed he was their “bitch”. (I think the “glove puppet” is much nicer than “bitch” but use both to overcome any US/UK cultural differences).

    • I thought for sure the threat to ‘cut him off’ would insult his integrity enough to get him to reconsider. I haven’t much read him for years, but I do think he’s a little more skeptical of the ‘revealed truth’ from climate scientists than he was before.

      He trusts too many of the manipulative, disinformative sources. I don’t know how to fix that.
      ================

    • Reply to geronimo ==> Actually the Climategaters were upset with Revkin and threatened amongst themselves to cut Revkin off [refuse to give him access to interviews, refuse to share their insight as experts, refuse to send him advanced copies of papers] because Revkin didn’t always toe the party-
      line, actually fact-checked things — ClimateGaters called him “unreliable”. He was a journalist on the NY Times’ Environment Desk — shifted to the Opinion Section in 2010, with the Dot Earth blog.

      • Revkin was never “cut off”. He always put the party line before the truth.

        People like Revkin and Harrabin know they are liars. In this case, he knows that the private words of our host were leaked by Petersen and yet pretends that they were published by our host.

        He knows he is lying. He does it a lot. He has never been an honest journalist.
        And his epitaph will read, “Revkin, propagandist and deceiver”.

      • Reply to M Courtney and dbstealey ==> It is correct that the Climate Team did not, in the end, “cut Revkin off” — they couldn’t, he occupied a bully pulpit too high and visible and useful to them.

        The rest of your opinions I see as naive, unjustified vilification of an ideological opponent — one of the sick aspects of the Climate Wars.

      • Hansen: only a corrupt person would refuse to tell his readers that Anthony’s criticism was in a personal email, and Peterson made it public. The possibility that it was originally a journalistic oversight is no longer a consideration since he chose not to correct the record.

        I have often advise others that everyone makes mistakes; it’s what you do afterward that shows your character. Not fully explaining the email was a mistake. Now you are seeing his character, and it’s not pretty nor worthy of respect.

      • Kip Hansen, it is one thing to be wrong. It can make you a liar but no-one holds a grudge for that. Accidents happen.

        But Revkin, like Harrabin, is a knowing liar. He seeks to corrupt people with his deceits. He is an enemy of truth because he doesn’t care about the truth. He would rather a thousand people are in error if just one more supports his beliefs and his agenda. Propagandists throughout the ages have acted like him in order to preserve the power of their party. And they always eventually corrupt their own party too.

        Revkin will be remembered, if at all, as an example of corruption.

    • “This is another journalistic breach of ethics on activist Revkin’s part, but no surprise given the many Climategate emails displaying the same:”

      Climategate emails? An odd thing to invoke in deploring disrespect of the privacy of communications to a climate scientist.

      • Reply to dbstealey ==> While Revkin has over the last few years taken on the mantle of a True Believer — possibly blindered by the glorious Noble Cause — I do not believe he is himself corrupt (other than with Noble Cause Corruption).

      • Maybe I’m viewing this from an odd angle but to me the important matter isn’t whether Peterson had a right to post the e-mail or not. Once you’ve sent something like that to another person it becomes their prerogative what to do with it. (Unless you and they have a previously established confidentiality agreement) what make this one crazy is that THEY published it, then try to claim it’s a public attack.

        It’s like if I went to a manager at a movie theater and told him I thought his popcorn machine was burning the popcorn, who then went into the crowded theater and yelled ‘SCHITZREE SAYS FIRE’ and then tries to blame me for the panic.

      • Nick Stokes, I’ve searched high and low for comments from you denouncing Peter Gleick’s behavior in the unauthorized distribution of documents from The Heartland Institute but have come up dry. I’ve only been able to find comments from you defending Gleick. Be a dear and show me the many post you made deploring the disrespect of privacy in that instance.

      • You won’t get any satisfaction from Nick Stokes, MichaelS. Nick Stokes is an unrepentant partisan and hack. Fairness doesn’t exist in his world of damnable denial.

      • MichaelS and RockyRoad,

        I’m in agreement with what both of you wrote. Yes, Nick Stokes is a partisan. But it would have been infinitely better if Peterson/Revkin has decided to send Anthony’s letter to Stokes instead. But they didn’t, because they knew the most damaging blog for Anthony was Hotwhopper.

        It was deliberate, underhanded, and calculated to cause the most damage. That makes Revking more of a propagandist than a journalist. As for Peterson, he’s very unhappy that the planet isn’t doing what he wants it to, so he’s taking it out on Anthony. Neither Revkin nor Peterson are stand-up guys, IMHO.

      • Reply to this thread ==> Let me clarify once again: Revkin had absolutely nothing to do with the sending of Watts’ communication with Peterson to the Australian web-based climate-wars tabloid. He was traveling. The affair probably came to his attention via an email alert to him (likely from a climate wars soldier upset with his “nice” column about McKibben/Watts) or through the Twitty feed.

        It appears (unconfirmed) that he quickly read the Australian tabloid account and fired off a quick extremely negative (and unjustified, unexamined) comment at the top of the McKibben/Watts column, basically accepting the tabloid spin as the “important truth” of the story. [Thus, after attempts to help him clarify have failed, this essay.]

      • Nick,

        Are you that naive or simply trying to deceive people? If climate scientists want to engage in private communication by email then they should get a private email account. Lots of people do this. Running this tired and untrue storyline about “private” emails when the emails in question were composed and sent over publicly funded, work place networks is unbecoming.

        You could argue that the act of obtaining the emails was illegal. Particularly if they were hacked. However that has never been proven.

      • @schitzree
        I’m not so sure that one is free to republish another’s e-mails to oneself. I would think they are “letters”, and as such remain the property of the sender. Were you and I faithful correspondents over the years, concerning topics of general public interest, neither one of us could edit those letters into a published volume without the other’s express consent. Probably in triplicate.

  9. What did I tell you a few months ago. The alarmist crowd want a open discussion then stab you in the back.
    Be prepared for more back stabbing as argument for Co2 induced global warming falls apart.

  10. Warmists are pack/herd animals. They can only wander so far from the herd boaundary before panic sets in and they have to run back to the safety of the mob.

    Sadly it seems Andy Revkin was never more than one of the herd.

    • Most Warmists sport a Progressive ideology, which comes from their roots as Facists/Communists. And those people never considered it worthwhile to listen to their enemies–no, they’d rather have them killed instead. So goes the Climate War.

  11. Note to self:

    Choose your words carefully, ‘specially when spoken in anger, and near the point of burn-out.
    This is looking like its gonna be a marathon not a sprint.
    Save whatever energy you might have left, cus you’re gonna need it.
    Have some fun.

  12. Huh?

    When we “published” private mails in which Santer said he would like to beat skeptics up, no skeptic complained about journalists commenting on these mails. Mann privately attacked mcIntyre in mails
    they were made public.

    Peterson made Anthony’s private Attack a Public attack.
    Clmategate made Mann’s private attack a public one.

    Revkin did his job.

    If you wanna say something nasty.. do it in public because there is no privacy

    • Steven Mosher
      June 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      “Revkin did his job.”
      ============
      Which entails what, exactly ?

    • Revkin did his job.

      I guess Mosh means it’s Peterson’s/Revkin’s job to make sure the communication got to the slimiest blog in the climate world.

      • DB… and how do you know Hotwopper is so slimy? Don’t tell me you read it? For the record there is a whole lot of ranting hate stuff goes on here too DB. If you don’t believe me read your last post…..
        “This wouldn’t have been nearly so nasty on Revkin’s part, if M. O’Brien wasn’t involved. IMHO she is a mentally disturbed individual. Of all the blogs they could have gotten involved, hers is the one that should have been totally avoided. O’Brien is a real hater, and no doubt this was red meat to her.”

        And yes I go there too. Like I have said in the past, you need to read a range of stuff to make an informed opinion. And coz I know you will want to hear it….My opinion of HW is she is one very, very clever lady who sadly lets her desire to beat up AW get in the way a bit. Still, it’s entertaining and informative.

      • Simon,

        Yes, I’ve read Hotwhopper a couple of times. That’s how I know. Since you asked.

        There is zero comparison between WUWT and her slimy blog.

        There is NO comparison.

        And I get my range of opinions from other alarmist blogs. I don’t need Miz O’Brien’s brand of hatred. If you like that sort of thing it says a lot about you, doesn’t it?

        O’Brien should be sending Anthony Watts a bouquet of flowers, instead of hating on him every day. Before the ‘hotwhopper’ articles here, her blog was a thinly-trafficked backwater entirely populated by a small handful of malcontents. Now it’s a much bigger backwater populated mostly by malcontents. In my view you’re a loser if you like that sort of 24/7 hatred.

      • Simon, please don’t confuse slime/hate with truth. You seem to have an ideological misconception that the end (in the case of HotWhopper) justifies the means.

        Only in your warped sensibility is that the case, and of course you are wrong. Or do you still fall for the notion that mankind controls the earth’s climate?

        Earth is demonstrably not cooperating.

      • dbstealey and simon

        dbstealey wrote

        O’Brien should be sending Anthony Watts a bouquet of flowers, instead of hating on him every day. Before the ‘hotwhopper’ articles here, her blog was a thinly-trafficked backwater entirely populated by a small handful of malcontents. Now it’s a much bigger backwater populated mostly by malcontents. In my view you’re a loser if you like that sort of 24/7 hatred.

        to which simon replied

        DB….. you have this uncanny knack of proving my point.

        It is good to see the two of you agreeing something so obviously true.

        Richard

      • Simon,

        There are plenty of places to get a wide range of the climate debate spectrum. HW is not one of them. Unless your particular passion is swiming in muck.

    • Rather, Peterson transformed Anthony’s private critical opinion into a manufactured public attack. Rather a different transformation, that; from personal to propaganda.

      The difference between revealing Anthony’s private email and revealing the Climategate emails is the difference between publicly gossiping about a domestic quarrel, and publicizing hidden criminal activity, respectively.

      • Pat Frank,

        The same thing happened to me last year. A neighbor whom I had never met got on our Yahoogroups round-robin email system and tried to stir up trouble for a restaurant that she had bought a house next to. The restaurant’s owners were sincerely trying to help the neighbor resolve her complaints. They spent a lot of money painting, putting in video cameras, adding help to clean up twice a day, etc.

        The neighbor lady posted a letter to everyone, saying she would never be satisfied with them. So I sent her a private email, and asked her to keep it between the two of us. It was part trying to be the peacemaker, and part reminding her the restaurant had been there for many years before she bought here house there. It was about like the tone in Anthony’s letter.

        She promptly posted it on Yahoogroups for everyone to read, and she added lots of highly critical comments. (It backfired on her because she left the part in where I asked her to keep it between the two of us.) But I know how Anthony must feel. I think “backstabbed” is the proper term.

        No matter what Revkin and Peterson say now, they can’t fix what they did. They deliberately stuck it to Anthony, and in the worst possible way. They didn’t send it to realclimate, or to Nick Stokes blog. Instead, they sent it to Hotwhopper. That was low down and dirty.

      • dbstealy, my sympathies. :-) We never know it’s a mine field until we step into it, do we. I’ve had similar experiences. The eccentricities of the human condition, and all that.

        On topic, we can’t know Peterson’s intent, or Revkin’s, but we do know that Hotwopper was a most peculiar choice and Revkin’s decision to make the exchange much more widely public was deliberate. Attempted defamation is a defensible inference, even if not provable.

      • Well, Andy called Anthony’s accusations slanderous, and I’ll bet they’re not. If not, then that would make Andy the slanderer. He should know better than to spout off like that without ‘digging into it’ a little more.
        =================

      • DB & Pat, it would be good if you re-read the article by Kip, or maybe actually read the comments. Then you may notice that Revkin had NOTHING to do with sending the email to hotwhopper. You comment a lot but lose respect from the rest of us here when you display your lack of comprehension of the facts.

      • Ray Boorman says:

        … you may notice that Revkin had NOTHING to do with sending the email to hotwhopper.

        I respectfully disagree. Revkin is a journalist, and he knows Peterson pretty well. Is there any doubt in your mind that they got their heads together, and came up with an action plan? Is there any doubt that Revkin understood what Peterson was planning to do with Anthony’s letter? Journalists ask questions. It’s what they do.

        I think Revkin wass in on the whole thing from the beginning, and he knew what Peterson was planning. As Pat Frank points out, Peterson transformed Anthony’s private critical opinion into a manufactured public attack. It was deliberate. And of all the blogs to send it to, they decided on Hotwhopper. Miriam O’Brien is a real hater, and she’s fixated on Anthony and WUWT. From their perspective they could not have chosen a more damaging venue. And the Peterson/Revkin team did it without notifying Anthony. Is that OK with you?

      • Reply to dbstealey ==> Your insistence that globe-trotting Revkin somehow conspires with Tom Peterson of the NCDC about Peterson’s ill-conceived act of sending an email government-email exchange to Obrien in Australia is patently ridiculous.

        The Watts/Peterson email exchange took place 5 June — Peterson posted copies to Obrien on June 6, 2015 at 6:04 PM stating himself that this was “16 hours” later. Revkin broadcasts his Watts/McKibben post at 3 PM on 7 June enroute to Seoul, Korea to attend the World Conference of Science Journalists which begins the next day. Sometime just prior to June, 9, 8:51 p.m. Revkin catches word (Twitty, email?) about the Australian web-tabloid posting from Peterson, and adds an Update to his Watts/McKibben column.

        The time line does not support the posited conspiracy.

      • db,

        I think you are reading far too much into Revkin’s action and role. Stick to the facts. Your belief he played a role in the choice of HW is speculation.

      • timg56:

        db,

        I think you are reading far too much into Revkin’s action and role. Stick to the facts. Your belief he played a role in the choice of HW is speculation.

        I’d say it’s paranoid speculation, at that. There is absolutely no evidence these people conspired on how to spin this. As Kip Hansen points out, the timeline doesn’t support the idea either.

        This is the sort of thing which makes it seem like Stephan Lewandowsky has a point.

      • Pat, you are right & I apologise for including you in my comment about dbstealey. Sorry.

    • I love the way the warmistas swarm on a false story in order to protect their own.
      Revkin claimed that Anthony made a public attack.
      As you acknowledge it was Peterson who made the e-mails public.
      Do you really believe that lying is part of a journalists job?

    • Reply to Mosher ==> You have this exactly backwards. A gentleman, when he has a beef with someone, goes to him first privately, states his case and tries to work it out man-to-man. He does not first go to the tabloids or deliver a scathing public rebuke.

      Pretending that the whole world should operate on the rules used by schoolyard bullies — tit-for-tat, “Jimmy said something awful about Sally so we all ganged up and called him names” — is simple childishness, not proper or ethical behavior.

      • Grow up. You are dealing with charlatans, whose livelihoods depend on fraud and deception. It’s beyond naive to expect anything else from those people.

      • Steven Mosher June 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm

        Revkin did his job/

        You think it’s Revkin’s job to lie and claim that a private attack was a public attack? You think it’s Revkin’s job to claim that a private attack was somehow slanderous? Private communications, by definition, can’t be slanderous (and, btw, written defamation is libel – not slander).

        Or are you saying that you think it’s Revkin’s job to lie?

    • -1000 Mosh. Sometimes you have great comments and I even enjoy your drive-bys. But clearly one of your teams must be losing …. Hockey, basketball, horses, climate ??????

    • Actually, Steven Mosher, the onus is on Mr. Peterson as a federal government employee. He is governed by the Privacy Act of 1974. Mr. Watts is a private US citizen. Mr. Peterson, on the other hand is subject to The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, and held to a different standard. From EPIC.org:

      The Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579, was created in response to concerns about how the creation and use of computerized databases might impact individuals’ privacy rights. It safeguards privacy through creating four procedural and substantive rights in personal data. First, it requires government agencies to show an individual any records kept on him or her. Second, it requires agencies to follow certain principles, called “fair information practices,” when gathering and handling personal data. Third, it places restrictions on how agencies can share an individual’s data with other people and agencies. Fourth and finally, it lets individuals sue the government for violating its provisions.
      […]

      But the kicker is NOAA’s own privacy page:

      Office of the Chief Information Officer & High Performance Computing and Communications
      NOAA Privacy Web page

      Federal agencies are required by law to protect information about individuals (members of the public, Federal employees and contractors) which they may collect, disseminate and/or store.

      Mr. Peterson was required by law, and by his agency, to get Mr. Watts’ permission before engaging in revenge porn, no matter how slighted he felt or how overly harsh he felt Mr. Watts was.

      Mr. Revkin should know this. They teach it in the first few days of J School along with a quickie libel course, or they used to.

      • Oh, and another thing: The Privacy Act of 1974 guarantees that a citizen or legal resident’s private communications with a government official or agency will remain private. Private citizens have an automatic right to assume it provided that there is nothing illegal or life-threatening in the missive. The duty and legal responsibility is on the side of government to comply with the Act, not the other way around.

        Would Mr. Peterson have printed Mr. Watts email in The Washington Post? Doubtful. It would not only have jeopardized his job, but mocked his judgment and dinged his reputation. Did he really think sending it to a blog in another country got around his responsibility?

      • Reply to MRW ==> Thank you for giving us some insight into the actual government regulations. It will be interesting to see if NOAA management acts on Peterson’s violation. Perhaps Anthony will file an official complaint — he certainly has grounds.

    • Revkin is a tool. Peterson made a choice it wasn’t an unwilling release to the public. And I’m now all too familiar with the public nature of communications involving gov’t officials.


      David Springer
      City Council Member
      Volente, TX

      Please note any correspondence regarding Village of Volente city business may
      become a public record and subject to public/media review.

    • Mosher bloviates,
      “Huh?
      When WE “published” private mails in which Santer said he would like to beat skeptics up, no skeptic complained abt journalists commenting on these mails. Mann privately attacked mcIntyre in mails
      they were made public.

      Peterson made Anthony’s private Attack a Public attack.
      Clmategate made Mann’s private attack a public one.

      Revkin did his job.

      If you wanna say something nasty.. do it in public because there is no privacy
      =======================================================================
      Mosher, your lack of logic is astounding.
      A. Climategate was government business which should be open to the public.
      B. Climatgate revealed the corruption of public funded so called science.
      C. Climategate was never represented as published statements, but was represented as private communication, and likely inside whistle blower protected action.
      D. Apparently you think a journalist job is to lie and distort the truth, as you think Revkin “did his job”.

      Finally, who is “WE” as IMV, you are not a rational skeptic.

  13. There is hardly a journalist today who does not inject personal agenda into their work. Some are blatant about their biases, some are better at hiding them. When it comes to offering the public information it needs to make informed decisions, the latter type of journalist is the most dangerous, as she/he will lead you down the wrong path without your knowing it.

  14. Well, I thought Anthony’s note to Peterson, though not understated, was certainly true as written. No hyperbole at all.

    I was disappointed to have click on whopper to read it though. Hate to give sites like that traffic.

  15. Your message was correct and probably overdue. Because it has been going on so long and so consistently people seem to have become used to the current level of scientific and ethical corruption going on in the world of government funded science.
    I see no reason to regret anything except perhaps our overstretched patience. Time to double down.

  16. I don’t really see how Revkin did Watts wrongly. Would someone please clarify this for me?
    Kip wrote about there being no public attack by Watts, but I can’t find the explicit statement by Revkin claiming that Watts did?
    I’ve enjoyed Revkins writing quite a bit,I don’t like seeing someone being hung out over nothing.

    • Reply to ohflow ==> Revkin placed this at the head of his current column at the NY Times blog Dot Earth:

      “Update, June, 9, 8:51 p.m. | Having been on the run overseas since the weekend, I’m only now catching up with Anthony Watts’s attack on Tom Peterson, one of the authors of a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate paper. The exchange, in which Watts accuses Peterson of prostituting himself and hints at fraud, occurred just before* he’d posted on his friendly meeting with climate campaigner Bill McKibben, described below.

      Here’s my reaction:

      Any notion that Watts is interested in fostering an atmosphere of civility and constructive discourse evaporates pretty quickly in considering how he handled his questions about that paper. Alternating between happy talk about rooftop solar and slanderous accusations is not constructive or civil.”

      Read my whole essay to find out why this is wrong for a celebrated journalist.

      • Revkin stopped being a journalist long ago. That was made official when he shifted to the opinion section of the paper.

      • Heh, I doubt the accusations were slanderous. But it may be slanderous to call them so. Andy blew that one, bigtime.
        =================

      • It is legally impossible to slander someone in a private communication to that person. It must be said or written to a third person(s) in such a way as to cause damage to one’s reputation. “He hurt my feelings,” in a private correspondence is not recognized in court as a recoverable damage (thank goodness). Now Andy’s very public accusations against Anthony were false, written with no effort to determine its truthfulness, and especially his refusal to correct what he wrote is very much an actionable offense. Andy is lucky that Anthony has more character than he or MR. Mann.

  17. If Whitehouse gets his way we’ll see lots of folks get a twisted ‘kick’ out of betrayal. A “special commendation” for exposing a government detractor!

  18. This is a little hypocritical of Andy.

    If I remember correctly, he refused to publish any of the Climategate emails back in 2009, even after they were verified to be authentic. I don’t recall the reason given.

    He also removed a comment I posted there in response to a promotional post he made on November 30, 2011 titled “Other Voices: Life on Planet 3.0”, which blatantly advertised a new blogsite by the ever vuvuzelan Michael Tobis. My comment included a number of unsavory quotes from Tobis, but apparently these were not up to the standards of the NYT Dot Earth comment section. How lovely.

  19. Seems that private discussions did not persuade either Revkin or McKibben.
    Too bad, but no use squawking about it. It merely means that neither is very receptive to argument. That should be the end of that story.
    It is pointless to get upset, after all, WUWT is not damaged in any way because opponents have not renounced their opposition.
    Having a cordial chat with people is useful. It is counterproductive to then make non agreement into a further source of discord.

    • “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.”

      Anthony’s weakness (and strength) is his optimism that people are essentially good. Revkin and Mckibbens overtures were basically just attempts to turn Anthony and everyone else’s (as were Anthony’s), the difference was the motivation. Their attempts failed and they don’t care to keep up the pretense anymore.

      What is becoming increasingly clear though is that Climate Science is just Eugenics under a new meme. The difference this time is that they will be remembered, unlike the supporters of Eugenics who were able to slither back into the slime unremarked, maybe some good will come out of it after all.

  20. “I have received two replies from Mr. Revkin, which I do not have explicit permission to publish. Thus, rather than simply inserting them here, I will pull three fair-use quotes ”

    If someone send you an email, it belongs to you to publish or not as you wish. They have given that email to you, just as if someone send you a letter, it is yours to publish if you wish. It has been given to you. You do not need their permission to publish an email or a letter sent to you. People turn over to media (and even police) emails or letters they have received (see the latest example in California where a political operative fabricated emails from a Republican candidate and then turned those emails over to police and media).

    You do not need Revkin’s permission to reproduce emails. Those emails are yours to do with as you please.

    • Reply to crosspatch ==> That may be the rule for Joe Private Citizen but it is not the rule for anyone who considers themselves a Journalist — even a part-time nobody hack like me.

      It should not be the rule for Revkin — though I have not known him to violate it personally — he condones Peterson’s sharing US government-agency official business email with a web-based tabloid in Australia, for personal advantage.

      • Except Obama said the war on warm weather is the most important issue…ever. Ditto, the Pope. And a bunch of other people who want to control the global energy systems.

        So striking back at climate reporters or scientists who tell everyone that global warming isn’t happening is quite OK. Far from being angry about all this, the guys backing the global warming stuff are delighted and breaking laws, smear campaigns, lies and deception are all OK too because they are at war with warm weather.

        This reminds me of Caligula’s war with Neptune.

  21. I don’t have a problem with Anthony’s email to Peterson, he earned the criticism, but I think it was a waste of time. It’s not going to change any minds over there.
    I don’t think one should expect privacy from emails either. Once it was in Peterson’s possession he can do with it what he pleases.
    I also don’t think anyone should expect journalism from the New York Times that is professional and unbiased, that ship sailed long ago. Have you read any of Paul Krugman’s columns? He’s a very well educated and intelligent man whose bias always trumps science.
    Revkin’s response is typical from someone who won’t admit mistakes.

  22. opening myself to attacks ranging from childish to vicious, and occasionally childishly vicious

    Ah, but what about viciously childish? ^¿^

      • That is a rather narrow range Kip. What bout informative criticisms that could have led you to expect such actions from Revkin?

  23. Does this mean Peterson is going to release all of his gov’t work-related emails? I am sure they’d make a much more fruitful read and are far more relevant to taxpayer $$$, climate research, etc, than his exchange with Anthony.

    • A foreign government might have better luck getting them. It appears that Peterson will conspire with anyone to complete his agenda. Just sayin….

  24. I’m a teacher in the public school system. Let’s say a parent was upset at me, sent an email to me at my workplace that outlined his/her opinion of me, and then I forwarded that email to a private entity in hopes this disgruntled parent’s email got some public exposure. If I had the temerity to do that, I would most likely be charged with professional misconduct, was told to resign or get fired, and good luck getting a recommendation. This Peterson guy may very well find himself in the principal’s office. Let’s remember the hunt for climatedeepthroat who sent work-place emails to an outside private entity in hopes they would get some public exposure, and see if Mr. Peterson gets placed on the hotseat for OPENLY doing it.

    • Reply to Pamela Gray ==> Quite right — in the real world.

      Had I shared internal email from my IBM work account with any outsider — for whatever reason — I would have been assigned two security personnel to watch me clean out my desk then I would have been escorted out of IBM headquarters in Armonk, NY, never to return.

      • Indeed. When I started working for IBM in 1983 in my contract it stated that anything I do or say while working for IBM was IBM property in perpetuity (Or words to that effect). I am not sure how IBM is going to get minute fragments of a 3745 out of my eye, but that’s a nother story.

    • Pamela

      Well, maybe that works for teachers, but none of the (very public) principles in this food fight are school marms.

      Frankly, while understanding Anthony’s email was not handled using “Marques of Queensbury” rules, I’m having a hard time getting excited about it. This seems like a lot of noise about process.

    • Pamela – Indeed. And to intentionally try to make this into a public fight while simultaneously trying to blame Anthony for MAKING it a public fight is outrageous.

    • Ah, Pamela Gray, you have not imagined the worst of it. The spouse, also a teacher, had a “dispute” with a parent (a delusional nut-case, in my very considered opinion).

      Parent had a wide-open Facebook – on which there were posted some very explicit threats of violence against both my wife and her principal. (Note, apparently none of them were by the parent – but they were also not contradicted in any way by her.)

      Wife (before she was transferred to another school FOR HER OWN PHYSICAL SAFETY), received a visit from the district HR honcho. If she ever breathes a word about those threats, she is gone that very same day. If they could have, I’m sure they would have banned her from mentioning it to her own family, as well.

      Yes, I slept with a loaded magazine next to the Glock for several weeks.

  25. It appears that Anthony’s email struck a nerve. If it was off the mark it would have been ignored.

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”

  26. Well, well! I think the big story here is Peterson’s go-to blog! A foaming at the mouth, nasty, ‘Sou’ with zero credentials except she hates her father (I’ve known backgrounds of such unhappy, unfulfilled types). This should tell you all you need to know about Peterson and how unlikely it is that he can be influenced by reason.

  27. Does Anthony really care that the e-mails were published? or is it how it was made public and Revkin calling it slander? If the private e-mail had been sent to someone else it might well have been slander but……?

    • Reply to Alf ==> Good questions — I don’t know. Anthony does say in his addendum: “While I regret that I didn’t choose my words better, I have no change in my opinion on NCDC after what they did with Karl et al. 2015.”

      My beef with Revkin is that he used his “bully pulpit” at the NY Times to slam Watts based on a hit-piece in a web-based tabloid, apparently accepting their slimy spin wholecloth, without doing a journalist’s job — and when pressed, Revkin admits that he “ha[[s] more important things to do than dig in further on this.” — he is just too too busy to do a proper journalist’s job, but not to busy for a vicious snap shot aimed at the wrong actor in a scandal.

  28. I subscribed to the NY Times for years, but recently canceled my subscription. It was once a great paper, but has become the liberal Fox News. No integrity, just a mouthpiece for one political faction. I do miss the old NY Times, but not what it has become. Revkin isn’t a reporter, he’s a propagandist like the others at that once great organization.

    • Fox News is marginally right of center. How is that the equivalent of the NYT?
      Do you have any evidence that Fox News has no integrity, other than the fact that they cover stories many people would prefer remain uncovered?
      Mouthpiece for the Republicans? Would this be the same network that regularly gives air time to Al Sharpton?

  29. Revkin:“Update, June, 9, 8:51 p.m. | Having been on the run overseas since the weekend”

    “on the run” or “in Karaoke-ville” according to Revkin himself, who has all the time in the world to tweet, tweet, tweet?
    check all the 9 to 12 June tweets from the World Conference of Science Journalists 2015 in Seoul. Revkin tweets plenty (& seemingly gleefully) about the “assassinated” scientist/Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt, whose career was destroyed by a tweet from a Connie St. Louis, from the Conference. then check all the MSM reports, most of which reference the Connie St. Louis tweet and find a single one which mentions her deep BBC connections.
    of course, it was BBC who got this witchHUNT going & gaining momentum, yet they did not see fit to mention her BBC connections either, even when interviewing her. btw St. Louis still works for BBC as a Freelancer:

    City University London: Connie St Louis
    Senior Lecturer in Journalism
    Connie St Louis, Director of City’s Science Journalism MA, is an award-winning freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist. She presents and produces a range programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service.
    She is a recipient of the prestigious Joseph Rowntree Journalist Fellowship to write a book based on her acclaimed two-part Radio 4 documentary series Raising Ham.
    Her most recent programme on BBC Radio 4 investigated the use of designer drugs by pharmaceutical companies. She writes for numerous outlets including the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, BBC On Air magazine and BBC Online.
    She worked for the BBC for sixteen years. Her production highlights during that time include securing Bill Gates’ first British interview and being invited to produce the 1997 Reith Lectures written by Professor Patricia J Williams
    http://www.city.ac.uk/people/academics/connie-st-louis

    after multiple attack articles in The Guardian, incl:

    “Tim Hunt, where’s the science in your prejudice against women?” by Anne Perkins
    and
    “Why sack ageing sexists? Send them to rehab instead” by Gaby Hinsliff

    a fairer view:

    14 June: Guardian: Shamed Nobel laureate Tim Hunt ‘ruined by rush to judgment after stupid remarks’
    Sir Tim Hunt reveals he was forced to resign from University College London without being given the chance to explain himself
    by Rob McKie, Science Editor
    The beleaguered British biologist Sir Tim Hunt has revealed that he was forced to resign from his post at University College London (UCL) without being given a chance to explain his controversial remarks about women in science. “I have been hung out to dry,” he told the Observer in an exclusive interview. “I have been stripped of all the things I was doing in science. I have no further influence.”…
    “At no point did they ask me for an explanation for what I said or to put it in context,” he told the Observer. “They just said I had to go. There has been an enormous rush to judgment in dealing with me.”
    This point was supported by Hunt’s wife, Mary Collins, who also has a post at UCL, as a professor of immunology. “Tim was still on the plane from Seoul when a senior manager at UCL phoned me and said Tim had to resign his honorary position. They had not even spoken to Tim at that point. He just said Tim had to resign or we fire him. It was very upsetting. We are both extremely angry.”
    Hunt was then sacked from his post on the European Research Council’s science committee and has since resigned from other posts, including membership of a Royal Society committee. “I have become toxic,” he told the Observer. “I am finished.”…
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-forced-to-resign

    also check out Brendan O’Neill’s “The Illiberal Persecution of Tim Hunt” at Reason.

  30. As to the “prostitution” charge. Using the less reliable data (engine intakes) to correct the more reliable data (ARGO buoys) is indeed prostitution. That one really stuck in my craw.

    Good for you AW.

    • Reply to M Simon ==> Anthony was not the first to imply that Karl et al (2015) is just-in-time, politically-motivated, command-performance science.

      Anthony is the only one, as far as we know, that properly made the accusation privately and directly to one of the co-author’s the Karl paper rather than in public web-based press.

      Note that despite the extraordinary and game-changing nature of the Karl et al findings — “there really hasn’t been a hiatus or pause in global warming after all” — there was not a peep, not a word, from Revkin at Dot Earth about it. why? I suspect that, like all intelligent educated people, Revkin felt the need to wash his hands and open a window after reading it — to wash off the taint of political interference in science and clear the air of the sickly sweet perfume of made-to-order science.

  31. The New York Times is, roughly, on the same level as TMZ, the only difference being that TMZ is fairly profitable. The other thing about TMZ, most all the people that work there have a genuine sense of humor instead of an inflated sense of self importance.

  32. Tom Peterson’s comment at Hotwopper provides a very revealing insight into modern climatological thinking.

    He wrote, “One of the new adjustments we are applying is extending the corrections to ship data, based on information derived from night marine air temperatures, up to the present (we had previously stopped in the 1940s). As we write in the article’s on-line supplement, “This correction cools the ship data a bit more in 1998-2000 than it does in the later years, which thereby adds to the warming trend. …”

    So, they used the night marine air temperatures (NMAT) to correct the engine intake SSTs. Now, engine intake SSTs typically have a global average systematic (i.e., deterministic, not random) measurement uncertainty of about ±0.7 C. The global average NMAT uncertainty is about ±0.36 C.* The latter is assumed to be random error, but that assumption is merely an unquestioned normative of the field (and typical in its tendentious convenience). It has no empirical or theoretical justification. It’s also a *very* subjective estimate. But useful to the illustration to come.

    To bend over backwards fair, let’s assume that half of the NMAT uncertainty, ±0.18 C, really is from random error. The remainder, ±0.18 C, is then global average systematic error, which does not decrement as 1/sqrt(N).

    Standard practice in the experimental physical sciences is that when correcting one data set using another, the total uncertainty in the corrected data set is root-sum-square (the Pythagorean sum) of the uncertainties in the two subsidiary data sets.

    Let’s do that with Karl’s and Peterson’s NMAT-corrected ship SSTs; systematic uncertainty only:

    Uncertainty in the NMAT-corrected ship SSTs = sqrt[(±0.7)^2 + (±0.18)^2] = ±0.72 C.

    There we have it. Karl’s and Peterson’s corrected ship SSTs should have a 1-sigma uncertainty of ±0.72 C. And that’s a lower-limit estimate. So Karl’s and Peterson’s actual correction: 0.12±0.72 C.

    Is everyone reassured, now, that our understanding has been improved?

    Did anyone see a ±0.72 C uncertainty propagated into their results?

    No? What?!? Such a shock! :-)

    Everyone can decide for themselves whether a ±0.72 C uncertainty impacts our knowledge of global surface air temperature, or our ability to choose which among rising, lowering, or static trends is actually happening.

    *E. C. Kent and D. I. Berry (2008) Assessment of the Marine Observing System (ASMOS): Final Report, Project Report Rep., National Oceanography Centre Southampton, Southampton, UK.

  33. M Simon
    June 14, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    As to the “prostitution” charge. Using the less reliable data (engine intakes) to correct the more reliable data (ARGO buoys) is indeed prostitution. That one really stuck in my craw.
    ============
    This is prostitution…..if you do it the other way around…..you still have the pause
    The trend would be the same…but .12 C less would give you the pause…and .12C more erases the pause

    The result was the ship data averaged .12 C warmer than the buoys….yet, adding more buoy data adds more cool bias……..because it’s getting colder you asswipes!
    ======

    “The second example I will pose as a question. We tested the difference between buoys and ships by comparing all the co-located ship and buoy data available in the entire world. The result was that buoy data averaged 0.12 degrees C colder than the ships. We also know that the number of buoys has dramatically increased over the last several decades. Adding more colder observations in recent years can’t help but add a cool bias to the raw data. What would you recommend we do about it? Leave a known bias in the data or correct the data for the bias? The resulting trend would be the same whether we added 0.12 C to all buoy data or subtracted 0.12 C from all ship data.”

    • When they say “the trend” do they mean short term or long term? And yes. I think it is getting cooler. So they warmed the good data with the less good data.

      In the longer run reality will intrude. I do not believe hey can keep up the charade much longer.

      It is my opinion that PLANT FOOD has no effect on climate.

    • Let me see if I get this right. I have data that shows 10.00 that is known to be accurate and at the same location and time I take another measurement known to be less accurate and it shows 10.12. So I correct all the readings of the more accurate readers by +.12.

      And conveniently this adjusted data erases the long decried pause.

  34. Revkin’s view of climate change skeptics at the time couldn’t be clearer: he thought they were uneducated morons, and took it as his mission to enlighten them with the facts as determined by himself and his fellow global warming advocates. Revkin speaks even more candidly about how he views his “job” in a 2007 email to NASA scientist Jim Hansen and others (emphasis added):

    [A] key take-home point, please, is that this story was written mainly for the benefit of the 10s of millions of disengaged or doubtful or simply under-educated Americans out there for whom it is NEWS that the only discourse now is among folks who believe human-forced climate change is a huge problem. (as Jim Hansen said in my story, exclamation point included!)

    the ‘hotter’ voices are doing their job well. i’m doing mine.

    Which may explain why the scientists seem to view Revkin as more of an ally than a reporter in some of the emails among themselves. “I’ll let all of you know if there are any other reasonable interview requests from folks we trust (e.g. Andy Revkin, etc.),” wrote climate scientist David Thompson to his colleague Phil Jones in one message.

    Some may argue that it’s unfair to criticize Revkin for his private comments, and point out that none of these emails on its own could be characterized as an egregious ethical lapse. Maybe. But combined, they point to a pattern. There’s also this: Revkin was the same Times reporter who refused to publish the first trove of ClimateGate emails in 2009, claiming they were off-limits because they were “private” conversations (a standard the paper evidently hasn’t applied to other leaked documents). He also dismissed the scandal as meritless.

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/11/28/leaked-emails-nyt-climategate/

  35. I read both emails. First AW’s and then the response from Peterson. I suggest people here do the same. You will then be fully informed.

  36. The thief is in grief — he’s robbed by a thief.
    Nobody but you, Mr. Hansen, is to blame that “childishly vicious” comments are all you deserve after trying to be “civil” with totalitarian propagandists.

    • Reply to Simon ==> anyone with a strong stomach can read the tabloid report, which contains Peterson’s emails (sent to [them] by himself) by clicking the link contained in the first pull-quote from Revkin — the one that starts with ““Update, June, 9, 8:51 p.m. | ….”

  37. So, Revkin was given a copy of a [letter] sent to Tom Peterson. My question is… did Revkin seek to contact Anthony Watts for comment prior to publishing his interpretation of events?

    I think it matters, a lot!

    • Reply to Mike Smith ==> You seem to have some of the details a bit confused. See the first few paragraphs in the body of the main essay, after the Forward.

      Revkin read the web-based Australian tabloid report of the so-called attack by Watts on Peterson, which included copies of the email exchange sent to it by Peterson himself, and based his (Revkin’s) comment at his bully-pulpit in the New York Times solely on that report.

      Revkin does not say [he] contacted Watts — Watts did send, post hoc, a backgrounder email to Revkin, to give him the full story. Revkin replied to Watts, as detailed in my essay, but did not change his comments on Dot Earth. I backgrounded Revkin in comments on his blog, and in personal email to him, including sending him a copy of my opinion essay above. Revkin was unrepentant, as you can see from his quoted replies.

      • Revkin was reporting on the Australian flap. That was the news story from his POV. That’s his news judgment, including his “I felt it was important to convey the ‘full Anthony Watts’,” since he has apparently added psychological profile to his reportorial skills.

        However, I am of another mind, and perhaps more cynical. A Principal Scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, an author of a recent controversial paper, gets his feelings hurt and enlists the help of an activist/cum marketer’s blog in another country to lick his wounds and rile the faithful? This is what US government scientists do?

        This smacks of that letter that a bunch of Congressmen wrote to the government of Iran to tell them not to deal with the US President because they (the 69 letter writers) were going to undo it, even though they have no congressional power to act as Head of State. As a smart observer noted at the time, how would the American people have reacted if a bunch of Congressmen during Reagan’s term wrote Andropov or Gorbachev and told him that Reagan didn’t really truly have the power to engage in nuclear talks, so ignore him?

        So, in my view, Revkin is missing the real story here. But he’s not an investigative reporter, nor even a reporter. He’s graduated to columnist and crafting his own opinion.

        The real story here is that our institutions are failing us, and serving hidden masters.

  38. For those interested, Stossle has a program on FOX news now that discussed Green Tyranny.

  39. I understood AW’s email pretty much how it’s described here: sent to a NOAA official in his capacity as a working NOAA official, direct to his address.

    Sure, it had some strong words. The words highlighted a loss of trust and sense of betrayal. Too many people forget the changes in the paper will now become part of the official global temperature record, starting June 18th. It is official US federal business – it has to be held to a higher standard. The fact that, the adjustments are based on such a flimsy standard of statistical significance, that the paper erroneously calculates linear trends over overlapping time periods, and that its fudging of a temporally sparser, ostensibly better data set in comparison to a longer series throws up enough red flags to suspect the reason for pursuing this route of analysis.

    If you read Jay Lawrimore’s (on of the paper’s authors) article promoting their paper on The Conversation , any lingering doubts about the motives of the scientists in publishing this paper would be erased.

    …[with the adjustments] NCEI scientists found that there has been no hiatus in the global rate of warming. This finding is consistent with the expected effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and with other observed evidence of a changing climate such as reductions in Arctic sea ice extent, melting permafrost, rising sea levels, and increases in heavy downpours and heat waves.

    The above means the pause was ‘inconsistent with the expected effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations’?

    Lawrimore’s very words bring to question his organization NOAA’s low standard-of-evidence in assessing trend in the adjusted data to see if they matched ‘the expected effect of increasing greenhuose gas concentrations’.

    Instead of focusing on the corruption of science at hand, we have observers like Brandon Shollenberger going off on Anthony Watts in a mini-orgy of political correctness.

    This poor paper destroys trust in the US official government temperature record. The fact that they would bend over backwards and pursue such a low standard sets off several alarms. It is as though they are pursuing a pre-determined conclusion. This implies all prior adjustments made by the same scientists must be subjected to a level of scrutiny that has, sadly owing to a combination of several factors, yet to take place. Such scrutiny should rigorously examine the rationalizations offered for the various adjustments, as clearly, it appears the scientists are capable of coming up with a near-never-ending stream of justifications and post-hoc reasoning to keep messing with the record.

  40. Well. I just read Anthony’s letter at HotWhopper (gad! what a name!). I thought it was pretty reasonable, temperate and accurate.

    I’m not sure how NODC folk think about themselves. Surely, they must “believe” in order to get out of bed in the morning, but Anthony is correct: the phony fudging of data to stuff into the Cinderella slipper of a generation of failed models should — on some level, in their minds — be wrong. ….if not evil.

    One can be civil with a clown or a fool — or a believer. The NOAA folk should have had more integrity to have done what they did: they do “know.” ….Lady in Red

  41. I’ve had some friendly, respectful exchanges with Andy Revkin over the years, thought it’s been a while and he might not recall. A couple of observations for what they’re worth. I find him pleasant and personable but he’s obviously playing for the other team, so forget any real effort to be objective.

    Kip, The bit he wrote about not having time to delve more deeply, is about as close to any sort of concession you’re going to get. Perhaps he really doesn’t have the time, but then of course if that’s the case, he ought not get involved.

    (aka pokerguy)

    • Reply to Pokerguy/aneipris ==> “I’ve had some friendly, respectful exchanges with Andy Revkin over the years” as have I al well — in fact, though it would be presumptuous a call him a friend, I would have referred to him as a pleasant colleague, or intellectual friend. At one time, when I was serving in the Caribbean, we tried to make a plan to met up when I was next in the Central Hudson Valley of New York.

      ” not having time to delve more deeply, …. but then of course if that’s the case, he ought not get involved ” — I would add, maybe in all caps, “…at all”.

      Do it right or leave it alone — especially given his incredibly influential bully pulpit at the NY Times, a position earned by being a top-flight, world-class journalist.

  42. You’ve caught a BULLY, you’ve called him out, and now he will ALWAYS try to destroy you. Give him no quarter. He does not deserve it. Oh MY HE’s controlling the debate. (“I’ve put enough time into this.) Oh he’s SO important. Reminds me of a certain political type, who cannot broach opposition or questioning. B.S. (Barbara Striesand). Time to take the gloves off. Bye Bye Revkin.

    • They’re of the Progressive brand–they only destroy opponents, especially when they’ve been discovered to be wrong.

    • Max H,

      Correct. Revkin is normally on the giving end — as in, he hands out the crap that people have to deal with. Now he’s on the receiving end, from someone with a quarter of a billion unique viewers. That’s more readers than the NYT.

      Yes, Revkin’s a bully. Anthony shouldn’t let up now.

    • Reply to Max H, RockyRoad, dbstealy ==> You have all fallen into the trap of vilifying a perceived opponent.

      Revkin has failed on this issue, has drifted (in my opinion) from environmental journalist through opinion columnist to celebrity environmentalist (a position from which he occasionally acts as gunslinger for the Climate Team Rapid Hit Squad).

      I do not approve of his politics in this regard, I honestly think that he has become so busy and self-absorbed that he no longer thinks things all the way through — possibly believing that re-thinking things is a waste of his [more] precious time.

      He will no more come after me than I will relentlessly go after him.

      I consider him [almost] a friend.

      • I consider him [almost] a friend.

        I don’t. So maybe you have some influence over him. Let’s see what comes of that. I predict nothing.

        Anyoner who did what Revkin and Peterson did to Anthony deserves vilifying. They’re villains, see?

      • Reply to dbstealey ==> It is correct to call out misbehavior and to counter opinions.

        Vilification, however, is an irrational emotional response and a social ill — an ethical failing, in my opinion, on the part of those who participate.

  43. Well, Revkin has most certainly conveyed the “full Andrew Revkin.”

    Has anyone ever established what “the big cutoff” Revkin was threatened with would have included? Was it denying him access to the latest warmunist memes and schemes? Or something more…physical?

    • Reply to jorgekafkazar ==> It is impossible to know the minds of others but in general, a journalist is only as good as his rolodex. He must be able to reach out and get expert opinions or background material from publicly respected or generally recognized experts in order to do a proper journalist job. He must fact check, and on opinions, must be able to get other opinions with which to make comparisons. If the journalist specializes (such as on Environment) then he must be privileged to receive advanced copies of new important papers (which are still under embargo by the journal) or advanced copies of press releases in the field. The threat implied was to cut him off from all of this, to refuse to cooperate with him in any way.

  44. I haven’t finished reading the comments, but Kip Hansen mentioned that Revkin was a friend and “jammer” with Pete Seeger… OMG!!! Pete Seeger is a deep committed Stalinist, CPUSA, documented, verified… That makes Andy a fellow traveler, or a sympathizer at least… Just wow. I am reading this late, and I am sure someone else has already mentioned this.

    • Reply to GlennDC ==> I too have met Pete on a couple of occasions, have shaken his hand and talked to him face to face — but would not even be called an acquaintance. Of course, Pete was a NY Commie-Pinko Folk Singer — had always been and had no intention of changing his worldview. I cried when he died — I eulogized him from the pulpit in my church the following Sunday. . I am not a “fellow-traveler” — I might be called the opposite of a commie-pinko.

      Is Revkin a commie-pinko? No, but he grew up in the same culture, ethnically, politically, and geographically. He holds all the correct progressive NY liberal views by birthright and education. He drives a Prius (and a mini-van, which he has publicly apologized for) and worries that chickens raised for meat are being mistreated.

      Let me remind you though, McCarthyism is a dead theology — hopefully never to rise again.

  45. Sorry Kip, I think you are starting to see the true Revkin.
    I have read his blog occasionally ever since the CRU emails brought him to my attention.
    I have seen no hint of balance in his rambling, he seems fully committed to selling his cause.
    As for the bureaucrat, publishing correspondence from a private citizen, is a violation of public trust.
    This is a firing offence in an ethical government, which probably means this minion will be promoted in the current US government.

  46. I really don’t understand: what does it matter that some socialist, politically corrupt journalist wrote or didn’t write in the New York Times? That bloody red rug is totally discredited among rationally thinking people.

    Why should we take seriously or discuss these propagandists, however sincere or insincere they might be? The only thing we can do about them is take away their financial base by never buying and totally ignoring the socialist-alarmist press.

    Fortunately, the New York Times has already lost much of its circulation and all of its prestige (if there ever was any). Why pay attention to venal buffoons?

    • Reply to Feht ==> The New York Times is one of three “newspaper of record” in the United States, and has been since 1851, and is one of a handful of the world’s most influential newspapers — whether one agrees with their editorial policy or not. Revkin is a contracted Opinion Section columnist there — which makes him one of the world’s most powerful/influential Environmental columnists. What he says literally becomes history.

      Thus, when he shoots from the hip without exercising his journalistic skills, and makes a blooper like this, it has effects far beyond what Revkin characterizes as less important.

  47. Anthony:
    Sorry to say this, old boy, but you brought this on yourself. Stop blaming Revkin etc. You’re a public figure and in many ways the most influential public spokesman for Climate Skeptics. That responsibility imposes some discipline and restraint on what you say and do. You say it, you own it.

    Politics ain’t bean bag. Whatever made you think that Peterson was bound by Marquess of Queensberry Rules, I’ll never know? Of course your words are going to be used against you !

    So here’s a note of advice going forward: Before you vent your spleen on an adversary– no matter how pernicious their behavior may be— ask yourself before you hit the SEND button on your e-mailer: “Am I sure I want the rest of the world to read this message?”

    If the answer is NO, then you need to curb your ire and redraft the message. Because you can bet there’s a good chance whatever you write will be circulated … Look you’re smart enough and old enough to make the most lacerating comments possible without resort to crude name calling. The issues are a lot bigger than your personal pique. The stakes are too high for a luminary such as your to lose your composure and sound something less than a commanding public figure.

      • DB…. Actually I disagree. I think Anthony’s letter was angry and disrespectful of the position Peterson holds and the organisation he works for. Anthony may well be factually right in the end (although we are a long way from knowing that), but the tone and aggression was beyond reasonable. Accusing someone of being fraudulent is getting very close to a line that requires you to be very sure you are right.
        But…. Peterson has crossed a line too. I think he has not served his position or organisation well by doing so. The professional thing would have been to ask permission to make the correspondence public. In the end he may pay for making what I think is a bad call.
        I realise many here will remain blindly loyal to Anthony and I will get caned for this, but I have thought about this one a lot and I really believe both men are entitled to an apology.

      • [Snip. URL removed. You cannot come into Anthony’s home on the internet and insult and attack him. Get rid of the URL or go away. — mod.]

    • Reply to sarastro92 ==> The only part of your comment I agree with is this:

      “ask yourself before you hit the SEND button on your e-mailer: “Am I sure I want the rest of the world to read this message?”

      That is an important lesson for all of us — everything said in email or posted on the Internet is foreve.

      In the same way, anything printed in the NY Times is forever a part of the official history of our civilization and no later correction or “take-back” or apology ever gets connected to the original. That is why Revkin’s unthinking, uncritical, un-journalistic hip-shot at Anthony is so important.

  48. “…Dr. Tom Peterson…”

    The same; Dr. Tom Peterson who used old ‘Surface Stations data’ without prior approval or proper attribution, without accurate representation of ‘Surface Stations’?

    Revkin is still the activist employed by major media mostly for propaganda supporting the CAGW alarm.

    Dr. Tom Peterson is allegedly a scientist in the employ of the United States government.
    As such, his conduct is subject to governmental restrictions.
    A) Public announcements or publishing, especially communications with any chance of reaching news sources are supposed to be vetted and approved within the NOAA bureaucracy; most likely their legal and publishing departments.
    B) Ethical responsibilities as outlined in their “2015 Summary of Ethics Rules” .

    An Ethics document that opens with:

    PUBLIC SERVICE IS A PUBLIC TRUST
    As an employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), you have been placed in a position of trust and are held to a high standard of ethical conduct. You not only have an obligation to perform your duties to the best of your abilities but also to familiarize yourself with Government ethics rules and policies and to comply with applicable restrictions, both when performing your Government duties and, in some cases, when engaging in personal activities when off duty and after leaving Federal service…”

    There are a number of NOAA Ethics areas where Dr. Peterson strays and should be called into question.

    Those transgressions when combined with Dr. Peterson’s disregard for NOAA Administrative regulations makes Dr. Peterson’s actions not only vile and reprehensible but irresponsible and subject to NOAA Administrative negative action.

    “Guidance For NOAA Employees
    Regarding Implementation and Interpretation of DAO 219-1

    Again, Dr. Peterson defies and acts contrary to several administrative media guidance regulations/requirements.

    The questions that remain are:
    Does Dr. Peterson’s willful and culpable actions cause harm to Anthony Watts and/or WUWT?
    Does Dr. Peterson’s actions cause NOAA to be responsible and perhaps financially liable?
    Is NOAA prepared to take necessary administrative steps to remonstrate and punish Dr. Peterson, especially for his prejudiced mendacious intent and actions?

    Dr. Peterson is wrong and should abjectly apologize.

    Revkin is still a fool and easily led by those he adores.

    • Reply to ATheoK and MRW ==> I appreciate your input on the federal and agency regulations involved in Peterson’s incredibly unprofessional behavior. I sincerely hope someone at NOAA or the Attorney General’s office takes the appropriate action.

  49. Didn’t Anthony ‘cc’ (carbon copy) his email to Peterson to a bunch of other people? So it was not a private email to begin with.

    • Doesn’t matter. Under The Privacy Act of 1974, a federal government official cannot publicly disclose a private communication from a private citizen, or group of citizens, by name without permission. Period.

      • Which helps outline the difference between this and “climategate”, which was public release of public officials using government emails planning illegal and unethical acts. (among many other revealing aspects of climategate)

    • Reply to LouMaytrees ==> Anthony weights in (far down the comments section) with:


      “Actually, the only other person copied was Peterson’s boss, Tom Karl of NCDC.”

  50. Apologies, went over to sow’s toilet to get the full scoop. What would this useless person be doing for entertainment without WUWT to fill her toxic waste site? Worse than deranged.

      • The difference is, as far as I know, Larry Wirth isn’t a moderator here while you are. I wouldn’t have the time to go around pointing out every example of poor standards in comments here, but if I see a moderator doing something bad enough to support a lawsuit, I figure I should speak up.

  51. I went to Hotwhopper to read Anthony’s e-mail. What’s all the fuss about? i WRITE WORSE THAN THAT TO PEOPLE i LIKE! I’VE WRITTEN WORSE TO MY MOTHER!

    Anthony said, “This will be NCDC”s Waterloo and will backfire on all of your terribly on the world stage. Take a lesson from Yamamoto”s own observation after he bombed Pearl Harbor.”

    WOW! Talk about HARSH! Referencing both Waterloo and Yamamoto! (Not to mention Pearl Harbor!) Anthony, you dirty dog! What if children read that?

    Anthony said, “In my last telephone conversation with you, I stated (paraphrasing) that I believe you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent but you are doing what you feel is correct science in what you believe is a correct way. After seeing the desperate tricks pulled in Karl 2015, I no longer hold that opinion.

    Anthony, Earnest Hemingway would not approve. Why be so mealymouthed? And what is this “you folks”?????? Why not say something like — You worthless cow pies, you and your work have always been shit!

    The trouble with you, Anthony, is you got no sense of style.

    “You needed it (the pause) to go away, so you prostituted yourselves, perhaps at the direction of higher ups.” Now I would have called them “pocket change whores” or something equally distinctive.

    I don’t know. It is late. I am severely disappointed in your Anthony. I really thought you had given us a good read but instead you are putting me to sleep.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  52. On the bright side, as it seems that Petersen has broken the law by disclosing private communications, both Revkin and Sou are in line for aiding and abetting.

    They’ll still be able to propagandise from in jail but they might have enough free time to learn about the scientific method.

    More seriously, has anyone considered that Revkin may have been told to shut up by the NYT’s legal department because he has committed a felony?

    • Nah. Peterson violated the Privacy Act. Sou and Revkin didn’t. But Revkin didn’t report the lay of the land as it applies to Americans so that Americans understood what happened, and why their antennae should be up. Revkin skated in his capacity as opinion maker; he’s blameless but not admirable.

      • I’m no lawyer but that seems like it must be a freedom of speech thing – like what Snowden gates away with.

        Information that is private is disseminated illegally.
        How can it be further published without abetting the crime?

    • Regarding Sou, you may be correct, but Revkin played no part in either the release or publishing of the e-mails. He defended the actions after the fact, but there are no legal consequences for defending.

    • Reply to M Courtney ==> Revkin’s action is a professional failure, it is appallingly irresponsible for a world-class journalist, especially given the bully pulpit that he occupies. He is, however, not legally culpable in what is Peterson’s ethical — possibly legal — lapse.

  53. One would hope it would just damage the scientific reputation of Tom Peterson to associate with the likes of “Sou”. However, Mann also actively promotes her lowly drivel, so in certain circles within Climate Science, keeping your credibility as an activist still seems to be more important than keeping your scientific standards high.

    • Espen says:

      …in certain circles within Climate Science, keeping your credibility as an activist still seems to be more important than keeping your scientific standards high.

      Your comment recalls all the unethical scientists who have taken sides, instead of letting the evidence, data, and measurements lead them to logical conclusions.

      Any scientist who labels other scientists as “deniers”, “contrarians”, “denialists”, and similar mindless pejoratives is being a self-serving cheerleader for those who control his next pay raise, grant, and/or promotion. They have sold out their integrity for money, travel, and fame.

      It is understandable that some scientists are ethics-challenged. As a group they are no different from any other group of people. But does anyone admire them? They have sold out their ethics for money and self-aggrandizement. Peterson did that by forwarding Anthony’s personal letter to the odious Hotwhopper blog. He knew it would result in the maximum personal attacks, and that many on Peterson’s side of the debate would pat him on the head and say, “Good boy!”

      Every time I see a scientist like Mann or Mears or Peterson label other scientists as “denialists” whose scientific opinions simply happen to be different than theirs, I think: ‘Well, there’s another rent seeking sellout.’

      The Petersons and Revkins of the world are presented with a choice every working day:

      Do I…

      a) Admit that I don’t have all the answers, and that different points of view might be more correct?

      Or do I:

      b) Sell my soul?

      In this case, we know the answer.

      The world if full of Petersons and Revkins. We may be stuck with them. But many of us have no respect for people who sell out for their own personal gain. Because the rest of us pay for it.

  54. Kip, Revkin’s (IMHO) very unprofessional “brush off” (my “assessment”, not yours!):

    “Don’t take this wrong, but I really do have more important things to do than dig in further on this.”

    rang a somewhat familiar bell … at least to my ears! Here’s a comment Revkin had made on my blog circa July 22, 2012:

    For the record, I highlighted your comment, as a way of drawing attention to the transcript, which I have not seen. (Do you have a link? That’d be helpful.) I’d love to probe more into this morass, but — as I think you know — Dot Earth is not a climate blog, but has a much wider scope. Just not possible to cover every angle. Glad you were able to weigh in.

    to which I had responded:

    […] In return, and speaking of that which would be “helpful” … Could you share with us the evidence presented to you circa Nov. 20/09 – and duly analyzed by those with appropriate expertise – which led you to conclude that the alleged “hack” for the purpose of an “upload” (an action which has never made any sense to me!) can reasonably be described as: “Real Climate … was clearly subjected to a computer hack …”

    Long (back)story short (but fully documented with links galore here and here) …

    In July 2012, on the heels of a Press Release issued by the Norkolk Constabulary, who had (at long last) concluded their “investigations” into Climategate, Revkin was very quick on the draw to change the title of – and add an update to – a post he’d written in July 2010 which he had entitled: “Was the East Anglia Incident a Crime?” His new, improved post title: “Was the East Anglia Incident a Crime? Yes.”

    To his credit, in response to my further observations, Revkin did acknowledge:

    Indeed, my statements about the “hack” of Real Climate rely entirely on the statements of Gavin Schmidt, and not any independent line of evidence. So you’re correct that there’s no independent evidence-based foundation for that level of definitiveness.

    However, notwithstanding the above – and the fact that I had provided Revkin with links to and quotes of additional material from Norfolk’s finest – to this day Revkin has not corrected the title of that post, i.e. back to its less …uh… definitive original.

    Pity, eh?!

    FWIW, one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that if a “climate scientist” (and/or ardent fan thereof) makes a claim, far more often than not Revkin will simply accept it without question.

    OTOH, if he’s writing about claims from those he probably perceives as being on the other side of the fence, as busy as he is, he always seems to find the time to run it by and publish the “response” from those whose views he’s sought.

    Amazing, eh?!

    • Hilary O,

      I agree with ATheoK. That was a great comment.

      Personally, I don’t see any difference between Revkin and your average liar. To publish something as if it’s fact when it is nothing but a highly partisan, baseless opinion is deceptive, no? I think the word is ‘propaganda’.

      • Thanks, guys – I’ll harvest these endorsements for my personal trove:-)

        Just one minor (well, perhaps not so minor!) point of disagreement, dbstealey.

        Admittedly this might be a function of personal preference and/or posting style and/or our different virtual experiences past.

        Nonetheless, I would be very, very hesitant to publicly attach the “liar label” to Revkin (or almost anyone for that matter) – just as I would be to attach the word “hoax” to my depiction of the words of others – regardless of how ill-informed they might have demonstrated themselves to be!

        In case you are wondering why a little old Bridgeplayer like me is so averse to, well, calling a spade a spade … It probably derives – in no small measure – from my belief in what I would call a continuum of conviction, along with the knowledge that one cannot know the myriad of factors that might be influencing the offending perpetrator in the process of moving his/her words from mind to keyboard.

        IMHO, it’s far too easy to slap on such a label. Not to mention that in so doing perhaps one is demonstrating one’s lack of faith in the intelligence and discernment of one’s key audience. I long ago gave up – for the most part – wasting my time rewarding and/or encouraging obvious trolls by giving their (typically thread-diverting) words any attention whatsoever.

        That being said, I will readily confess that, from time to time, I do like to amuse myself (and my readers!) by mocking such creatures with their very own words and/or variants thereof;-)

        Hilary (stepping down from soapbox!)

  55. it speaks to the integrity of both Dr. Peterson and Andy Revkin that they consider this form of “journalism” acceptable.

    I find it troubling that Anthony expects anything rational, measured, objective or journalistic from any of the usual sources. The NYT etc. have long since become a PR wing for the Left and Statists. They are not to be taken seriously. The usefulness of the NYT is primarily that the paper it is printed on can be recycled.

  56. Anthony

    To paraphrase ‘you knew they were snakes when you picked them up’ Efforts to keep things civil are appreciated and welcome. Even when they fall short. Fight on.

    • My first WUWT snip. You are correct Anthony,it was not necessary, but yet funny to by to note the likeness to pajama boy.

  57. Peterson’s original disclosure of Anthony’s email appears to violate 5 USC 552a:

    “No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains [subject to 12 exceptions].” 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b).

    Violation of this rule by an agency employee is not a “felony” as an overenthusiastic commenter above claimed, but a misdemeanor (and only by Peterson, not Revkin): https://epic.org/privacy/laws/privacy_act.html

    552a (i)(1) Criminal Penalties.–Any officer or employee of an agency, who by virtue of his employment or official position, has possession of, or access to, agency records which contain individually identifiable information the disclosure of which is prohibited by this section or by rules or regulations established thereunder, and who knowing that disclosure of the specific material is so prohibited, willfully discloses the material in any manner to any person or agency not entitled to receive it, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

    Revkin claimed that Anthony had made a “slanderous accusation” against Peterson: “Alternating between happy talk about rooftop solar and slanderous accusations is not constructive or civil.” To be “slanderous”, a statement has to be made to a third party. Anthony’s email was sent directly to Peterson and not to a third party, To that extent, it seems to me that Revkin was incorrect to say that Anthony’s email was “slanderous”. The point is more than semantic: as others have observed, Anthony had not made similar allegations in public at WUWT, a point that Revkin doesn’t seem to have appreciated in the first instance.

    • That will leave a mark….

      So, has Peterson’s boss been notified of his breach of policy?

      • Yes, and calling Anthony’s slanderous is slander, fully, outrageously, public. Andy might have known that had he chosen to ‘dig into it’. Who’s going to make the formal complaint?
        ======================

    • Reply to Steve McIntyre ==> Thank you for weighing in — with precise information on agency regulations involved — very helpful.

      Yes and yes — Revkin’s failure is that he simply does nothing journalistic — doesn’t ask any of the questions that should have been asked before he made any public comment. He simply echos Peterson’s and Obrien’s “outrage”. Revkin thus abuses his privileged position, his bully pulpit, at the NY Times.

    • Steve McIntyre:

      “No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains [subject to 12 exceptions].” 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b).

      Um, no. E-mails sent by people are not records under that law. Record is defined in that link:

      (4) the term “record” means any item, collection, or grouping
      of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency,
      including, but not limited to, his education, financial
      transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history
      and that contains his name, or the identifying number, symbol, or
      other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a
      finger or voice print or a photograph;

      The word record is clearly limited to information about individuals. E-mails sent by individuals are not information about them, so the law you cite is inapplicable.

      Revkin claimed that Anthony had made a “slanderous accusation” against Peterson: “Alternating between happy talk about rooftop solar and slanderous accusations is not constructive or civil.” To be “slanderous”, a statement has to be made to a third party. Anthony’s email was sent directly to Peterson and not to a third party, To that extent, it seems to me that Revkin was incorrect to say that Anthony’s email was “slanderous”. The point is more than semantic: as others have observed, Anthony had not made similar allegations in public at WUWT, a point that Revkin doesn’t seem to have appreciated in the first instance.

      Anthony Watts copied his e-mail to other recipients. Unless you know those recipients were all members of the group responsible for Karl 2015, you have no basis to say it was not sent to any third parties.

      • Reply to Brandon S ==> We’ll have to see if the authorities at NOAA or the Attorney General’s Office agree with your interpretation.

        The cc: to Karl, Peterson’s superior at the NCDC, just makes the email even more of a officially private citizen/government-employee matter. Watts was sending a complaint, of sorts, so correctly, in my opinion, sent a copy to the employee’s boss.

      • Anthony Watts:

        Actually, the only other person copied was Peterson’s boss, Tom Karl of NCDC.

        That’s good to know. I believe that resolves the issue of whether or not there was third-party communication as Tom Karl was also a subject of the accusations in the e-mail, meaning he part of the second-party, not a third.

      • Kip Hansen:

        Reply to Brandon S ==> We’ll have to see if the authorities at NOAA or the Attorney General’s Office agree with your interpretation.

        Um, okay. But the law is pretty clear, and there are tons of places online where you can see government agencies distinguishing between e-mails in general and information covered by the Privacy Act. E-mails can contain information covered by the Privacy Act, but they are not, in and of themselves, covered by it.

        But good luck finding out otherwise. I am quite certain any complaint you may file over this will accomplish nothing useful. In fact, it will probably just be the source of derision and humor for people at the NOAA (and possibly elsewhere).

      • @Brandon Shollenberger,

        I don’t have time to search for the cites, but aspects of the Privacy Act of 1974 were updated in 2011 (I think that was the year) to expand the definition of record and personal identifier. The issue is personally identifying Mr. Watts and holding him up specifically for ridicule–as a private citizen entitled to complain–in Peterson’s revenge porn stunt.

        E-mails most certainly are considered records, depending on the agency, and again, according to the Act. NOAA chose to adopt the entire Privacy Act. It didn’t have to. It’s on their website with the expanded (2011?) definition of ‘personal identifier’. The IRS, for example, can’t reveal your communications with them unless it’s discovery for court, or the Justice Department requires it. An IRS official in Provo, Utah can’t run to The Deseret newspaper in Salt Lake and sneer in print that the Governor of Nevada wrote a simpy sniveling begging them not to reveal that he severely underpaid his taxes, and here’s a copy of it.

        Ditto the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Can you imagine a Principal Scientist at the NIH forwarding a private inquiry from Joe Romm about erectile dysfunction trials to JoNova just for s**ts and grins? You think that’s permissible?

        Government agencies and government emails have to warn the public ahead of time that their communication with the agency/officialcan become part of the public record. The FCC does it all the time when they ask for public comments. It’s in the fine print.

      • MRW:

        I don’t have time to search for the cites, but aspects of the Privacy Act of 1974 were updated in 2011 (I think that was the year) to expand the definition of record and personal identifier. The issue is personally identifying Mr. Watts and holding him up specifically for ridicule–as a private citizen entitled to complain–in Peterson’s revenge porn stunt.

        E-mails most certainly are considered records, depending on the agency, and again, according to the Act.

        You should probably read the follow-up to this exchange. My latest response to Steve McIntyre can be found here. It shows the text being quoted from the Privacy Act of 1974 is for system of records, which the same act requires be listed in the Federal Register. That means we can see a list of every system of record the government has. If people think Anthony Watts’s e-mail would be stored within such a system, and thus covered by the text being discussed, all they have to do is point to the item in the list which would cover his e-mail. I even provided a link in that comment to a page showing what all the NOAA’s system of records are.

        NOAA chose to adopt the entire Privacy Act. It didn’t have to.

        Um, what?! That’s not how laws work. Government agencies don’t get to pick and choose which laws apply to them. The NOAA didn’t have a choice in this matter. No other agency does either. I have no idea what you’re talking about here.

        Ditto the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Can you imagine a Principal Scientist at the NIH forwarding a private inquiry from Joe Romm about erectile dysfunction trials to JoNova just for s**ts and grins? You think that’s permissible?

        If Joe Romm e-mailed some guy at the NIH about a personal medical question, it wouldn’t be entered into a system of records any more than Anthony Watts’ e-mail was. The person contacted might still be prohibited from forwarding the e-mail to anyone, but if so, it wouldn’t be because of the (text of the) law being discussed. It would be because the Department of Health and Human Services is subject to additional laws focused on privacy of medical records.

        But to make your example applicable, it would absolutely be illegal for someone to access a NIH database and perform a search for records associated with Joe Romm and send them out. That is what the law being discussed covers. It covers the disclosure of information stored in a system of records maintained by a government agency. E-mail inboxes and servers are not those.

      • @Brandon Shollenberger

        I’m doing this on the limited time here. Easier to just print a portion of EPIC.org’s description of whom the ACT applies to, which should help to clarify what I meant about federal agencies, and how they can each individually define, or re-define, a “record” according to Act’s provisions.

        The Privacy Act’s Provisions
        To Whom the Act Applies

        The Privacy Act, unlike the Freedom of Information Act, only covers U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Thus, only a citizen or permanent resident can sue under the Privacy Act.

        In addition, the Act applies only to certain federal government agencies (except for Section 7 of the Act, which places limits on the Social Security Number that apply to federal, state, and local governments). Aside from Section 7, state and local governments are not covered by the Privacy Act, though individual states may have their own laws regarding record keeping on individuals. Executive departments, military departments, independent regulatory agencies, and government-controlled corporations are all covered by the Act. This means that government controlled companies like the U.S. Postal Service should be covered as well as the military and executive agencies like the Department of Education, the FDA, and FBI, to name just a few. Neither house of Congress is included in this definition, though the Office of the President is.

        The Act often refers to “systems of records.” A system of records is defined as any group of records where information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by an individual identifier. Databases and collections of records that do not allow retrieval of information on particular individuals are not included.

        Public Notice Requirements
        In order to prevent the existence of secret databases, agencies must publish the details of all their systems of records in the Federal Register. The publication must cover intended uses of the system, and allow for interested persons to submit written data, views, or arguments to the agency. Any time that an agency wishes to establish or significantly change a system of records, it must also notify in advance the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and the Office of Management and Budget. These bodies will then evaluate the probable or potential effect of the proposal on the rights of individuals.

      • MRW, I have no idea why you think that quote addresses anything I’ve said. Generally, when providing a quote, one explains why the quote is relevant and what point it is making. That’s done so people don’t have to guess what you’re thinking.

        Even if what you quoted did somehow agree with what you’ve said, that is in no way dispositive. That a website or group says something is true does not make it true. When providing a quote as proof of something, one needs to explain why the source should be relied upon. Given we have the actual law’s text, and websites showing agency’s handling of the law, I don’t see why we would need a third-party source to tell us how the law works.

      • “…The word record is clearly limited to information about individuals. E-mails sent by individuals are not information about them, so the law you cite is inapplicable…”

        Doh!

        According to Brandon, no-one needs to redact names and email addresses when releasing emails to the public.

        Terrible use of illogic Brandon.

        Dr. Peterson released Anthony’s name, email address, and more; that makes him liable for prosecution.

      • ATheoK:

        Doh!

        According to Brandon, no-one needs to redact names and email addresses when releasing emails to the public.

        Terrible use of illogic Brandon.

        I didn’t say anything of the sort. All I said is the law people have been citing does not apply in this case. Some other law might. Even if no law does, some rule or internal policy might. Even if none do, it might still just be wrong on principle.

        But the law people have been citing does not make what Tom Peterson did illegal. That’s all I’ve said, and it’s trivially easy to see I am right.

        Dr. Peterson released Anthony’s name, email address, and more; that makes him liable for prosecution.

        Not under the law people have been citing. If he is liable for prosecution, it must be under some other law.

    • Regarding “…violate 5 USC 552a:..”

      Someone will have to file a complaint to initiate action.

      Perhaps Heartland, CEI or other legal agency could help Anthony file the complaint?

      A complaint about other failures and infractions committed by Dr. Peterson should be sent to Dr. Petersons superior, with copies sent to Anthony’s Senator and Congressional representative. A copy to NOAA’s Inspector General, Ethics department and Human Resources is probably also in order.

      Regarding the claims of slander; Anthony sent a ‘private’ email to Dr. Peterson. Dr. Peterson’s decision to publish the contents does not elevate Anthony’s criticisms to slanderous or libelous possibilities. Dr. Peterson chose to publicize Anthony’s words for Dr. Peterson’s purposes and benefit; Dr. Peterson crying foul of any sort is just nonsense.

  58. Tom Peterson’s peer group has yet to weigh in. Clearly this makes them look equally bad to sit silently. Ok – I’m making a funny. Tom’s peer group is yet to respond to any number of similar ethics failures. For example, the still employed Peter Gleick’s tarnishing of that moribund group remains and their silence still echos in the halls, undiminished and ever-damning. This is what climate science’s finest hour looks like. It will always look like this because it isn’t science.

    • Reply to dp ==> If I were also an employee of a US federal agency, subject to the rules and regulations (for which several commenters have kindly supplied details), I would sit mum about the Watts/Peterson affair too. They all should realize that Peterson has put his foot in an ethical bear-trap….

  59. Why being so surprised at the ethics or lack of from people who manipulate science for the Cause?

  60. Despite all the public posturing and loud protests to the contrary, Revkin has never been an even-handed, honest broker of information. He has always had a dog in the AGW fight despite his efforts to conceal the fact.

    I have been astounded by Kip Hansen’s incredible patience and restraint over the last decade in his comments on DotEarth. I have been even more impressed by the knowledge, logic and eloquence displayed in his comments there.

  61. Anthony Watts says:

    While I regret that I didn’t choose my words better, I have no change in my opinion on NCDC after what they did with Karl et al. 2015.

    But his e-mail to Tom Peterson clearly said:

    In my last telephone conversation with you, I stated (paraphrasing) that “I believe you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent, but you are doing what you feel is correct science in what you believe is a correct way”.

    After seeing the desperate tricks pulled in Karl 2015 to erase “the pause” via data manipulation, I no longer hold that opinion. You needed it to go away, so you prostituted yourselves, perhaps at the direction of higher ups.

    If Watts’s opinion hasn’t changed, why did he say he used to hold one opinion but now “no longer hold[s] that opinion”? That’s pretty much the definition of a change in opinion.

    • Reply to Brandon ==> You are confusing two different instances of “opinions” held by Watts.

      One opinion, from the Watts email to Peterson, is “…you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent, but you are doing what you feel is correct science in what you believe is a correct way”. Watts reports in the same email “I no longer hold that opinion.” Referring to the opinion in the previous paragraph of the same email.

      In Anthony’s “Note from Anthony:” (at the end of my essay above), which he writes a week after the original email, and after the subsequent brouhaha, “While I regret that I didn’t choose my words better, I have no change in my opinion on NCDC after what they did with Karl et al. 2015.” This unchanged opinion is that Watts “no longer holds” the opinion that “…you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent, but you are doing what you feel is correct science in what you believe is a correct way”.

      I guess it can be confusing, I hope this clears it up for you.

      • I guess that makes sense. I took “after what they did” as referring to no change from before and after what they did. My interpretation was probably colored by Anthony Watts saying on Twitter that his e-mail did not accuse anyone of fraud because it said, “I believe you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent…” even though the context:

        In my last telephone conversation with you, I stated (paraphrasing) that “I believe you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent, but you are doing what you feel is correct science in what you believe is a correct way”.

        After seeing the desperate tricks pulled in Karl 2015 to erase “the pause” via data manipulation, I no longer hold that opinion. You needed it to go away, so you prostituted yourselves, perhaps at the direction of higher ups.

        Makes it clear that phrasing was used to explicitly state he no longer believed “you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent.” Given he used a quote from his e-mail in a way exactly opposite it was used in that e-mail, I’m kind of lost on just what opinion Watts holds that hasn’t changed. If as you say:

        This unchanged opinion is that Watts “no longer holds” the opinion that “…you folks aren’t doing anything fraudulent, but you are doing what you feel is correct science in what you believe is a correct way”.

        Then why did he tell me he didn’t accuse anyone of fraud? Or as he put it, that he didn’t use the word fraud in an “accusatory framing.”

      • Reply to Brandon ==> It is a good thing that in the United States, the observers at a trial don’t get to stand up and give their legal opinions.

        Anyone who wishes can read the original email exchange, it is in the public domain now, placed there by Peterson himself. The email exchange says what it says, there is no sense wresting it here.

        No one is trying to hide Anthony’s opinion on Karl et al (2015) or that fact that he obviously feels that the authors fiddled and adjusted the numbers until they came out they way they wanted them. Or that he feels that that is not right, or that he no longer trusts them to do “correct science in what you believe is a correct way”.

        What he doesn’t and didn’t do is accuse them jointly, or Peterson individually, of commuting the crime called “fraud”.

        Obviously Watts doesn’t think they are doing proper, bias-free, political-influence-free science, at least not in Karl et al. (2015). he certainly wasn’t shy about coming right out and saying it.

    • Brandon,

      Please reread your two quotes:

      “After what they did with Karl, et. al. 2015”
      “After seeing the desperate tricks pulled in Karl 2015”

      It seems abundantly clear that our host changed his opinion regarding NCDC’s intellectual honesty coincident with that publication, and holds to that revised opinion today.

      Also, Revkin writes an opinion column, and can say pretty much anything he chooses without constituting slander. Anthony could have made a statement of opinion on this site, then laid waste to Peterson and Revkin.

      Anthony chose the high road, and privately addressed the issue with an e-mail. Revkin’s sanctimonious pontificating borders on the silly.

      • EdA the New Yorker:

        Please reread your two quotes:

        “After what they did with Karl, et. al. 2015″
        “After seeing the desperate tricks pulled in Karl 2015″

        It seems abundantly clear that our host changed his opinion regarding NCDC’s intellectual honesty coincident with that publication, and holds to that revised opinion today.

        I’ve had a comment in moderation for about two hours now which I think shows things aren’t as simple as you guys have suggested. Hopefully it’ll be released soon. In the meantime, I do understand your guy’s explanation. I just can’t see how it squares with what Anthony Watts told me directly when I said his position is what you guys say it is (on Twitter).

        Once my comment clears moderation, you’ll be able to see what I mean.

        Also, Revkin writes an opinion column, and can say pretty much anything he chooses without constituting slander. Anthony could have made a statement of opinion on this site, then laid waste to Peterson and Revkin.

        Huh? I don’t remember anyone suggesting Revkin slandered anyone. Did I miss that somewhere? I honestly don’t know why you’re talking about him.

        Regardless, opinion columns don’t do that much to protect one against charges of libel. The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear things stated as fact in opinion columns still count as statements of fact for purposes of slander.

        Anthony chose the high road, and privately addressed the issue with an e-mail. Revkin’s sanctimonious pontificating borders on the silly.

        I don’t see how this follows. It is better Anthony Watts accused a group of people of committing fraud in private rather than in public, but it’s still a very serious thing to say. And as Revkin points out, it belies the notion of civility Watts claims to promote.

        You can’t be taken seriously in calling for civility if you go around sending e-mails like Watts sent. You’ll just be perceived as a hypocrite. That’s all Revkin said, and he was right to say it.

      • Sorry to be the nitpicker, but slander is done in speech. Libel is done in print. Revkin wasn’t slandering anyone, or libeling anyone. He could write ‘dead pigs are LGBT wannabees’ and while he might be ridiculed for jumping off the diving board before they put the water in the pool, he’s a columnist, and ‘opinionator’ as Bush would say.

      • And as Revkin points out, it belies the notion of civility Watts claims to promote.

        Oh wag-wag-wag, Revkin. As if Watts has one reaction to all stimuli.

  62. I find that I have used the term “bully pulpit” repeatedly — a term that might not be in every reader’s lexicon. The Wiki gives this definition:

    “A bully pulpit is a sufficiently conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to speak out and be listened to.
    This term was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt, who referred to the White House as a “bully pulpit”, by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda. “

  63. The biggest problem in the effort to sway public opinion on the climate (toward the obvious fact that Earth’s climate in the past 150 years has been perfectly normal): Leftists character attack, instead of debating their positions, while objective people like us too often try to debate our positions, and refuse to character attack.
    .
    I would think that people who really care about the science of climate change would be used to receiving character attacks by now, and, in return, would treat the smarmy “warmists” with the lack of respect they deserve.
    .
    No objective person or scientist ever has to apologize for calling a leftist “scientist” a liar (hockey stick chart), or a stooge of environmental activists, or a fraud for “adjusting” data to show more warming or eliminate the “pause”– that’s what they do to get government grants to play computer games for a living.
    .
    A lot of men, and I suppose a few women too, would love to get government grants to play computer games for a living in an air conditioned office … especially if the alternative was collecting data / samples outdoors, or doing scientific experiments in a hot, smelly laboratory !
    .
    No objective person or scientist ever has to apologize for calling a politician a parrot for repeating bogus climate statistics (“97% of scientists agree”), or a fool for treating computer games as if they are real science with real data, or a power hungry fascist for trying to make new laws through new EPA regulations, bypassing Congressional approval.
    .
    The hacks who write for the New York Times are only allowed to publish leftist-biased views their editors approve — their left-wing bias in what they choose to publish, and what they choose not to publish, has been obvious for many decades.
    .
    It would be foolish to expect a non-biased article in the New York Times (they recently attacked Republican Marco Rubio for getting four traffic tickets in 17 years, and buying a fishing boat with 10% of the money he made from writing a book, as if that was as bad as the Clinton’s billion dollar slush fund !).

    My climate blog (for non-scientists):
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.blogspot.com

  64. ” I don’t go to bed with no whore and I don’t wake up with no whore, that’s how I live with myself. I don’t know how you do it.” (Bud Fox’ dad in the movie Wall Street)

    Whenever you are tempted to climb into bed (metaphorically speaking, of course) with a McKibben or any other known whore, just remember that quote and remember who these people are. They sell themselves (or at least their mind and their integrity) for pleasure and profit. Not much else need be known about a person than that.

    If you think one of these guys has a ‘heart of gold’ (McKibben, in this case), just remember this; if they did have a heart of gold, chances are pretty good they wouldn’t have become a whore in the first place. There is no morally redeeming quality in selling your integrity or your mind. There is no ‘kind of dishonest’ or ‘sort of corrupt’ on the side that demonizes any who dare to disagree with the Great and Powerful Oz. Once you are on the medicine show wagon, you are a bought soul. If they were honest, they’d have left that camp behind years ago, when they first began to see the game for what it truly is.

    Once you sell your soul, there’s no point in playing fair anymore.

    This was my first response to your announcement that you were going to visit with McKibben. I didn’t hit the post button. Instead, I deleted it and posted not a word. I always pause and stop what I am saying when I find myself denigrating someone on an ‘a priori’ basis. This is usually exactly what happens. But now done is done and they’ve again proven that their team has zero scruples and no moral compass of any kind. I feel no compunction to pull punches or be delicate with what I call them. Any who would take the time to discover the facts would see this. So few will that it doesn’t matter. That is how they win. They lie, they cheat, they catch an honest broker in a trap and present the appearance that the person who made the effort to close the divide is in fact the bad actor. Did you think something else would happen than this?

    In conclusion; stop laying down with whores and you won’t get burned by them any more. Or keep looking for that ‘broken angel’ and keep waking up with whores. Your choice.

    Just my judgmental $0.02 on a dreary Iowa morning.

  65. Because of this thread, I found out about dotearth. I like to be well informed so there is no reason to waste time visiting there again.

  66. I’m a little confused. As Mr. Revkin has failed to permit Mr. Hansen permission to reproduce his copyright e-mails, and Mr. Hansen has obliged, why is Mr. Revkin not up in arms at the copyright infringement by Dr. Tom Peterson of Mr. Watts e-mails.

    Copyright has been automatic everywhere since the Berne Convention (signed by the U.S. in 1989) permission to use copyright material, except small extracts for the purpose of literary criticism and other fair use. By publishing in Australia, Dr. Tom Peterson has breached copyright and has opened him-self up to the risk of civil suit. It also gives an indication of his attitude to the rights and opinions of others, perhaps that others rights and opinions are not important whereas the thoughts, rights and opinions of Dr. Tom Peterson are all important.

    • The US only adopted aspects of the Berne Convention. Not the whole thing. For example, in your country (I believe) and certainly throughout Europe, a screenwriter owns the copyright to any script he or she writes. Not so in the US. That’s because the Nickelodeon owners fought it tooth and nail at the beginning of the 20th C. and it stuck. A playwright’s right to absolute copyright protection was cast in stone long before the 20th C in the US; no one can change a playwright’s words. The assistant accountant to the make-up artist on a film can whisper word changes to an actor and probably get away with it.

    • Reply to Richard ==> Mr. Revkin did not refuse “ok to publish”, he simply did not do it. There is nothing in this story about copyright — it is not a copyright issue. Journalists do not publish personal communications Bi without permission, it is bad manners and poor journalism. I won’t do it, and you can’t get lower on the journalism totem-pole than me. Revkin would never do it either. But, once the personal communications is in the public domain — all’s fair apparently. What Revkin failed to do was point out that gthe fault in the affair was with Peterson, instead blaming Watts — schoolyard rules along the lines of “he said something mean about my friend” as an excuse and (paraphrasing) “I’m way too busy and important to actually check something out before I comment on it.”

      Peterson has in all probability (almost certainly) violated US Government and NOAA (a US Federal Agency) regulations regarding handling of official communications (including email traffic).

  67. Brandon, I believe that your assertion that Antony’s email is not a “record” is incorrect. Over the past few years, there have been numerous cases in which U.S. federal agencies recognize emails as “records”. Indeed, agencies e.g. EPA have regularly expurgated identifying information even on the identity of their own employees. For you to support your assertion, you need to provide a case decision, and I am hugely dubious that such a decision has ever been rendered.

    Since Anthony’s email was sent to two people (Karl and Peterson), my earlier comment about “slanderous” is not quite as clearcut, though, since they were both coauthors of Karl et al, it seems unlikely to me that an email sent to them jointly could be considered “slanderous”, though it was uncivil.

    • Steve McIntyre:

      Brandon, I believe that your assertion that Antony’s email is not a “record” is incorrect. Over the past few years, there have been numerous cases in which U.S. federal agencies recognize emails as “records”. Indeed, agencies e.g. EPA have regularly expurgated identifying information even on the identity of their own employees. For you to support your assertion, you need to provide a case decision, and I am hugely dubious that such a decision has ever been rendered.

      Hrm? I pointed out the law’s definition does nothing to support your claim. You’re free to not agree with that, but just telling me I’m wrong does nothing to further the conversation. You would be every bit as obligated as I am to “provide a case decision” to support your claim. Actually, you’d be more obligated since your claim isn’t supported by the text of the law. My position could be summarized as nothing more than, “The law doesn’t say what you claim it says.”

      Regardless of who has what burden of proof though, the Privacy Act of 1974 requires all systems of records be listed in the Federal Register. That means there is no need for us to cite a case decision. We can simply look at the Federal Register’s list of system of records.

      Actually, we don’t even have to go to the Federal Register. Government agencies publish a system of records notice (SORN) for each system of records they maintain. The NOAA is no different. It has a web page for the 19 system of records it maintains. You can see it here. It even lists 22 general SORNs for the Department of Commerce since it is part of the Department of Commerce.

      In any event, that is a list of the 19 systems of records the NOAA maintains, a list whose existence is mandated by the Privacy Act of 1974. If the NOAA keeps any records, as defined by the Privacy Act of 1974, which are not covered by those SORNs, it is breaking the law. So for your claim to be true, one of those 19 SORNs must cover e-mails like those Anthony Watts sent, or the NOAA must be breaking the law in an obvious way.

      I challenge you to find an SORN which covers e-mails like Watts’s in that list, a case decision which supports your claim, or an explanation as to how the NOAA is maintaining a system of records which would cover Watts’s e-mail despite not having filed an SORN for it as required by law. I don’t think you’ll be able to. Because e-mails sent to individuals within an agency are not usually put into an system of records, and thus, aren’t usually covered by the section you cited.

      • Reply to Brandon ==> While your opinions on what constitutes a “record” under federal Privacy Act regulations would be of interest in a legal blog or a FIA discussion, it probably does not apply to Peterson. Peterson more likely violated NOAA rules about sharing internal work-related communications, like email with the public, without approval. Providing copies of emails to and from his official NOAA/NCDC email account with a web-based tabloid is pretty serious — in the corporate world, he would have been fired last week.

      • Kip Hansen:

        Reply to Brandon ==> While your opinions on what constitutes a “record” under federal Privacy Act regulations would be of interest in a legal blog or a FIA discussion, it probably does not apply to Peterson.

        If that law does not apply to Tom Peterson, that’s only because the people claiming he broke that law were wrong, which is surely a relevant point. The only reason I talked about that law is people claimed he broke it. That those people were wrong doesn’t make it uninteresting for me to point out they were wrong. That’s especially true given you yourself expressed an interest in the issue:

        Reply to Brandon S ==> We’ll have to see if the authorities at NOAA or the Attorney General’s Office agree with your interpretation.

        You said we’d have to see what people at NOAA or the AG’s office would have to say about my opinion on this law. If you’re planning on taking this issue to them, then a discussion of the issue is certainly of interest.

        Peterson more likely violated NOAA rules about sharing internal work-related communications, like email with the public, without approval. Providing copies of emails to and from his official NOAA/NCDC email account with a web-based tabloid is pretty serious — in the corporate world, he would have been fired last week.

        Maybe. There are plenty of rules and regulations within various agencies, and it is possible Peterson broke one or more of them. I wouldn’t know. If he did violate any rules though, nobody here has pointed them out.

      • Reply to Brandon ==> I am perfectly happy to leave the issue of whether or not Peterson broke federal or agency rules to those whose duty it is to enforce those rules.

        I can only give my opinion that there are such rules, backed by some of the input here, and that he probably broke them — but it is not my job to prosecute — Peterson has his own superiors and agency ethics enforcement personnel to take care of that.

        My essay here is about a Journalism Failure on the part of Andrew Revkin — Peterson’s ethical lapse, possible legal lapse, and certain lapse in professionalism are side issues for me. However, if Revkin had done his journalist’s job before commenting on the affair, he could have and would have found out what, if any, federal rules or agency rules Peterson did or did not break.

        The comment section here is probably not the right venue to try to figure this out — that’s what we pay those bureaucrats and lawyers for, to do that for us.

      • Brandon,
        you are simply wrong when you say “E-mails sent by people are not records under that law.” You have to be careful in trying to interpret laws. I can assure you that I’ve seen a number of federal FOIA requests for documents and that emails are consistently regarded by the U.S. federal government as records under FOIA, though they regularly refuse production or expurgate under various exemptions.

        For example, EPA says http://www.epa.gov/records/faqs/email.htm#q4

        Does FOIA apply to e-mail messages?
        Yes, e-mail is subject to the FOIA, and its release is subject to the same FOIA exemptions that apply to other agency records.

        I’ve never heard of any agency making an FOI refusal on the grounds that emails are not government “records” or because they are not a “system of records”, though governments have resisted on other grounds.

        Looking through this section, I also noticed a provision that seems relevant to a prominent current U.S. political controversy which doesn’t seem to have been discussed in that context:

        (i)(2) Any officer or employee of any agency who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the notice requirements of subsection (e)(4) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

      • Steve McIntyre, it would help if rather than make comments like this:

        Brandon,
        you are simply wrong when you say “E-mails sent by people are not records under that law.” You have to be careful in trying to interpret laws.

        You would address the things I’ve said to support my position. It is easy to say things like:

        I can assure you that I’ve seen a number of federal FOIA requests for documents and that emails are consistently regarded by the U.S. federal government as records under FOIA, though they regularly refuse production or expurgate under various exemptions.

        But that does nothing to advance any discussion. If anything, it shows why your response is so poor. This shows the very lack of carefulness in interpreting laws you caution me against. You claim under other circumstances, e-mails are counted as “records” therefore I am wrong. However, this ignores the fact words can be used in different ways in different laws. Even if what you say is absolutely true in the cases you describe, that does not prove e-mails are considered “records” under the Privacy Act of 1974.

        That said, I’m not convinced what you say is true. Whether or not e-mails are considered “records” for a law has little bearing on whether or not they could be requested under an FOI. FOIs can request things which are not “records.” In fact, FOIs will often not be able to request (or at least, not obtain) things stored in “systems of records” because of the very privacy rights this law is meant to help establish.

        Also in additional response to Brandon above, NOAA has previously responded to FOIA request for documents, including correspondence, as including emails and produced some, refused others under various exemptions, but never argued that these documents were not “records”.

        That would probably be because you’ve created a false dichotomy whereby you pretend FOIs can only request “records” as defined by this law, one which agencies like the NOAA had never considered before.

        Looking through this section, I also noticed a provision that seems relevant to a prominent current U.S. political controversy which doesn’t seem to have been discussed in that context:

        If you’re referring to what I think you’re referring to, that’s because the provision you cite isn’t remotely relevant because e-mail servers are not systems of record as defined for the law you’re citing.

    • Brandon you are pointing out that the law is vague however the case law and administrative interpretation is not. E-mails pertaining to official business are considered records.

  68. Revkin and McKibbens both enjoy up to 7 figure salaries, compensation which would be lost if they admited any skepticism whatsoever. To think otherwise is naive.

  69. Also in additional response to Brandon above, NOAA has previously responded to FOIA request for documents, including correspondence, as including emails and produced some, refused others under various exemptions, but never argued that these documents were not “records”.

    • As I said in response to your other comment, that’s because whether or not something is a “record” stored in a “system of records” as these words are defined in the Privacy Act of 1974 has little, if anything, to do with whether or not it can be requested and obtained via an FOI request.

      Again, as I pointed out above, the Privacy Act of 1974 requires all systems of record be listed in the Federal Register which anyone can view. It is trivially easy to find lists of the systems of record for dozens of agencies, none of which will include e-mail servers. That’s because e-mail servers are not considered systems of record for this law, and the e-mails sent to individuals like Tom Peterson are not considered records for this law.

      Well that, or every federal agency is flagrantly breaking the law by not filing notice of systems of record for their e-mail servers. That’s what your position would require to be true. I think it sounds pretty crazy, but…

      • Brandon,

        You have an unfortunate tendency to overstate your case. You may be right, but this issue is certainly not trivial. For purposes of the Privacy Act, there is a circuit split as certain courts have interpreted the definition of “record” broadly to include emails (e.g. Carlson v. GSA. Emails, while not directly mentioned, would clearly qualify under Tobey v. NLRB). Others have held that email is not a system of records (e.g. Abernethy v. IRS).

        Having said that, the Privacy Act should not apply here as the email is not “about” an individual (see Tobey).

      • cyne:

        You have an unfortunate tendency to overstate your case. You may be right, but this issue is certainly not trivial. For purposes of the Privacy Act, there is a circuit split as certain courts have interpreted the definition of “record” broadly to include emails (e.g. Carlson v. GSA. Emails, while not directly mentioned, would clearly qualify under Tobey v. NLRB). Others have held that email is not a system of records (e.g. Abernethy v. IRS).

        I couldn’t find a Carlson v. GSA case, so I can only go off the other two you mention. Tobey v. NLRB clearly supports what I’ve said here. Abernethy v. IRS doesn’t say one way or the other specifically in regard to e-mails, but it does offer this important quote:

        For purposes of the Motions for Summary Judgment, the parties agreed the Court should assume arguendo that IRS District Director Paul Williams made the alleged statements to Messrs. Sheffield and Misinco. However, these statements, even if made, do not violate the Privacy Act because the information allegedly disclosed was not actually retrieved from a system of records.

        This clearly shows for there to be a violation, the information must be “retrieved from a system of records.” A person’s inbox is not a system of records. That means what Tom Peterson did could not possibly be a violation of this law like people are claiming.

        As I said, I couldn’t find the Carlson v. GSA case you refer to, so I don’t know why you think it would show there is any lack of clarity on this issue. If you can provide a link, I’ll check it out. In the meantime though, the other two cases you reference make it clear the law does not apply here. I’m struggling to see why you think this isn’t a trivial matter.

        So far, nobody has offered a single thing that does anything to suggest Peterson actually broke this law.

      • Brandon,

        My access to Carlson v. GSA is through Westlaw. You can find it there or on any other legal database. If you have access to Bloomberg, you can find it on BLAW. It may not be freely available on the internet so you may need to do some research or pay a fee.

        I cannot fathom how you read Tobey v. NLRB and claim that it clearly supports what you’ve said here. It does not. An appropriate email would qualify under the test used for “record” as enumerated by the court. Appellant’s claim failed because the record in question was not “about” an individual. As I plainly stated in my original response, this should apply to the current case. Perhaps you missed the part where I said the privacy Act does not apply to this situation because of Tobey. However, it has nothing to do with your assertion that email is not a system of records.

        As regards Abernathy, the test used there would clearly exclude emails. I said that plainly. See also Counce v. Nicholson which is even more on point. However, this fully consistent with what I said in my original comment – there is a circuit split with the second and third circuits broadly interpreting “record” while the ninth and eleventh circuits have taken more narrow views.

        Seeing you appeared to misunderstand me the first time, I’ll summarize my points. The Privacy Act does not apply here. It does not apply because Anthony’s email was not “about” an individual. Whether or not an email is a “system of records” is a separate issue and is unsettled law. This is not trivial and your repeating your claim doesn’t make it any stronger.

      • cyne:

        My access to Carlson v. GSA is through Westlaw. You can find it there or on any other legal database. If you have access to Bloomberg, you can find it on BLAW. It may not be freely available on the internet so you may need to do some research or pay a fee.

        Or you could, you know, quote the relevant portions. Or summarize the case. Or anything other than just resorting to the time-honored argument of, “Look it up.”

        I cannot fathom how you read Tobey v. NLRB and claim that it clearly supports what you’ve said here. It does not. An appropriate email would qualify under the test used for “record” as enumerated by the court. Appellant’s claim failed because the record in question was not “about” an individual. As I plainly stated in my original response, this should apply to the current case.

        While you may not be able to “fathom” how I came to my conclusion, I’d suggest that may be because this approach to discussion where people just say things are true without doing anything to support them is a bad one. Since you’ve decided to reference the test in Tobey v. NLRB without actually explaining what it is, I’ll quote the decision:

        From this definition at least two requirements emerge. First, in order to qualify as a record, information must be “about” an individual. Second, in addition to being “about” an individual, the information must contain the individual’s name or other identifying particular. The second requirement leads to an obvious conclusion about the first: the fact that information contains an individual’s name does not mean that the information is “about” the individual. If it did, the first requirement would be surplusage

        E-mails are not information “about” an individual, therefore they are not considered records per the Privacy Act of 1974. Similarly:

        Focusing on the first requirement, we conclude that CHIPS is not a “system of records” because its files contain no records, that is, no information “about” individuals. Rather, they contain information “about” NLRB cases, such as the case name, the allegations made, the number of private-sector employees involved and the date of settlement, hearing, dismissal or closing of the case. Admittedly, the system also includes the number and initials of the field examiner assigned to the case. But this no more means the information is “about” the individual than it means the information is “about” the date on which the case settled.

        Again, e-mails sent by a person are not information “about” that person. You may not be able to “fathom” how I conclude this case supports my position, but given you’ve done nothing to explain why it wouldn’t, I “cannot fathom” how you conclude otherwise either. I’ve at least consistently explained my position.

        Perhaps you missed the part where I said the privacy Act does not apply to this situation because of Tobey. However, it has nothing to do with your assertion that email is not a system of records.

        As regards Abernathy, the test used there would clearly exclude emails. I said that plainly. See also Counce v. Nicholson which is even more on point. However, this fully consistent with what I said in my original comment – there is a circuit split with the second and third circuits broadly interpreting “record” while the ninth and eleventh circuits have taken more narrow views.

        Seeing you appeared to misunderstand me the first time,

        I understood you just fine. I just think nothing you’ve said has supported your contention there is any dispute over whether or not e-mails are considered “records” for the Privacy Act of 1974.

        And again, I’ll remind everybody the Privacy Act of 1974 explicitly requires all systems of record for the federal government be registered in the Federal Register. Not a single e-mail server is listed there. If Anthony Watts’s e-mail was considered a “record” under the Privacy Act of 1974, that would mean the NOAA’s e-mail server was a “system of record.” And that would mean the NOAA had violated the law by not registering that server. That would also be true for every other federal agency since none of them have registered their e-mail servers as systems of record.

        E-mails may be considered “records” under other laws, but for the Privacy Act of 1974, they are not.

        Or if they are, every federal agency is breaking the law.

      • Brandon,

        I feel that I am wasting my time with you. You like to argue and you don’t like to admit when you are wrong. You are not prepared to spend any time to get access to cases I cite and then resort to sarcasm because I don’t summarize them for you. Ok, I’ll summarize Carlson if it makes your life easier: an email about an employee’s wrongful termination claim was regarded as a communication of a protected record under the Privacy Act. If you don’t believe me, look it up yourself. I can’t help you anymore.

        As regards, your interpretation of Tobey, it is laughable. Have you ever taken a single class in statutory interpretation? If so, you should ask for your money back. You state: “E-mails are not information “about” an individual, therefore they are not considered records per the Privacy Act of 1974.”. This is completely at odds to the decision of the court. Read the judgment again. There is only a two pronged test: “…First, in order to qualify as a record, information must be “about” an individual. Second, in addition to being “about” an individual, the information must contain the individual’s name or other identifying particular….” Take the situation in which an email contained an employee’s performance review. Under the Tobey test, this would constitute a record and communicating this record would be be a Privacy Act violation. Under Abernathy, it would not be a violation as there is a far more rigorous test as to what constitutes a system of records. The appellant failed in Tobey because of the content of the “record” not the form. If you can’t get this and understand there is a clear circuit split (that any lawyer who works in this area knows) then, again, I can’t help you.

        You repeated point about email servers not being recognized is not helpful to your argument. They are not recognized as such because the agencies do not plan to use them as systems of records “about” individuals. This does not mean (at least under Tobey) that they cannot be used as a system of records about individuals.

        I apologize for my intemperate language, but it can be very frustrating dealing with someone who refuses to admit errors when clearly wrong.

      • cyne, is this a joke?

        I feel that I am wasting my time with you. You like to argue and you don’t like to admit when you are wrong. You are not prepared to spend any time to get access to cases I cite and then resort to sarcasm because I don’t summarize them for you.

        I found two of the three cases you referenced, read them and quoted one of them. The only case I didn’t find is the one you yourself said I may need to “pay a fee” to read.”

        Wasting your time? You apparently feel it is okay to require people pay money to look up references you are too lazy to even quote.

        Ok, I’ll summarize Carlson if it makes your life easier: an email about an employee’s wrongful termination claim was regarded as a communication of a protected record under the Privacy Act. If you don’t believe me, look it up yourself. I can’t help you anymore.

        That’s not how discussions work. If you can’t even be bothered to quote a reference or provide a verifiable source for it, people have no reason to believe it says what you claim it says. You could easily help me more. All it’d take is for you to provide something that actually supports what you claim.

        As regards, your interpretation of Tobey, it is laughable. Have you ever taken a single class in statutory interpretation?

        You complained about my use of sarcasm, but you behave like this? That’s silly.

        Take the situation in which an email contained an employee’s performance review. Under the Tobey test, this would constitute a record and communicating this record would be be a Privacy Act violation.

        No it would not. Even if an e-mail contained a record as defined by the Privacy Act of 1974, if that record was not obtained from a system of records, the law doesn’t cover its disclosure. More on point, that an e-mail can contain a record as defined by the law does not mean e-mails are, in and of themselves, records like you’ve claimed courts have ruled. In fact, it proves the opposite.

        If you can’t get this and understand there is a clear circuit split (that any lawyer who works in this area knows) then, again, I can’t help you.

        But you can constantly make derisive remarks while refusing to actually do basic things that are expected in discussions, like providing support for what you claim.

        You repeated point about email servers not being recognized is not helpful to your argument. They are not recognized as such because the agencies do not plan to use them as systems of records “about” individuals. This does not mean (at least under Tobey) that they cannot be used as a system of records about individuals.

        That isn’t remotely close to true or supported by anything in the case you cite. And even if it were, it would do nothing to contradict what I said. The Privacy Act of 1974 explicitly requires all federal systems of record be registered. Claiming there are things which count as systems of record for the law but don’t have to be registered would completely undermine the purpose of the law.

        I apologize for my intemperate language, but it can be very frustrating dealing with someone who refuses to admit errors when clearly wrong.

        Sure. And apparently people are “clearly wrong” the moment they disagree with you, before you’ve said a word to show they’ve gotten anything wrong. And then when you finally do try to say why they’re wrong, you spend 90% of your time mocking them instead of actually contributing.

        You are certainly wasting your time with me, but that’s not because of anything I’ve done. It’s because you’re refusing to meet even the simplest of standards for having a reasonable discussion.

      • So I’m not going to pay money to look up information someone else chooses not to provide, but I did find a bit of information on the Carlson v. GSA case referred to above. It turns out cyne was right to say:

        Ok, I’ll summarize Carlson if it makes your life easier: an email about an employee’s wrongful termination claim was regarded as a communication of a protected record under the Privacy Act.

        But wrong to fail to point out the significance of this remark. This discussions began when people suggested Tom Peterson violated the Privacy Act of 1974 by sharing the e-mail Anthony Watts sent him. That act prohibits disclosing individuals’ records (with exceptions, of course). The argument has been that Watts’s e-mail would qualify as a record.

        cyne says an e-mail about a person’s wrongful termination claim “was regarded as a communication of a protected record under the Privacy Act” of 1974. That is true. It is also very misleading. The reason it was considered communication of a protected record is the person who sent the e-mail included what was considered to be a “protected record” in his (her?) e-mail.

        That does nothing to address the issue at hand. I said “e-mails sent by a person are not information ‘about’ that person.” That you can include information about a person in an e-mail you send does nothing to rebut that simple point. You could disclose a “protected record” in a face-to-face conversation. That doesn’t make your face-to-face conversation a “record” under this law any more than it makes an e-mail a “record.”

        This case is nothing but a red herring. Even worse, it is one cyne insisted I look up rather than provide himself, an insistence strong enough he felt it was fine to require I spend money on it. That is like a climate scientist derisively telling a skeptic they don’t know what they’re talking about and pointing to a paywalled paper which doesn’t actually say what the skeptic argued.

        So yeah, Tom Peterson definitely did not violate the Privacy Act of 1974. And despite how many comments people have posted to suggest he has, there isn’t the slightest shred of evidence or logical argument to say he has.

      • Brandon,

        This is hopeless. I have read some of of your technical analysis and you are an intelligent person so I can only assume you are deliberately misunderstanding what I wrote and deliberately misinterpreting Tobey. However, i will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are debating in good faith.You again repeat your assertion that ““e-mails sent by a person are not information ‘about’ that person.” Again, this is unsettled law. Under Tobey, an email can be information about a person. Again I can’t fathom how you can read Tobey and reach your conclusion. The question in Tobey was whether a Case Handling System was covered as a “record” under the Privacy Act. In order to reach its conclusion that it wasn’t, the court looked at the specific information contained in the CHIPS system. They ruled that such information was about cases, not about individuals. Any references to individuals were incidental to the case information. Therefore the appellant failed. If the system had been about individuals, the ruling would have been different. To repeat myself, I can’t fathom how you can read this and not reach the conclusion that the Court used an expansive definition of “system of records”. I also cannot fathom how you claim this reasoning would not apply to an email. Tobey used two factors only to consider whether something is a system of records: (1) Is it “about” an individual (2) does it contain the individual’s name or other identifying particular. If the policy of an agency is that performance reviews are maintained on email, then that email is covered under Tobey as it meets the two simple tests. No rational person could claim otherwise and you have made no cogent argument to the contrary. As I said, Tobey is not universally accepted and other courts have dissented.

        You seem to have now done a fair degree of research on the topic. I assume your research has revealed that there is a circuit split on how broadly to define system of records Do you agree?

        As regards your other comments, with all due respect they are either red herrings or misinterpretations. I’m not going to even bother rebut them if you can’t accept the basic analysis I wrote above. Why should I waste any more time. This posting is long enough and I don’t want to give you any more free lessons which you refuse to understand.

        And I said from my very first posting that Tom Peterson did not violate the Privacy Act. So your last comment is a red herring. Anthony’s email was not about an individual. But you are wrong when you claim that email can never be a system of records. Under Tobey, it can.

        I apologized earlier for intemperate language. But it is incredibly frustrating dealing with someone who clearly has no background in an issue, but boldly makes definitive statements that are laughable to people who are actually educated in the area and is not prepared to accept correction. Just as a matter of curiosity, in the multitude of posting you have made on various blogs – have you ever admitted you were wrong? (Cheap shot – I know.).

      • cyne:

        Brandon,

        This is hopeless. I have read some of of your technical analysis and you are an intelligent person so I can only assume you are deliberately misunderstanding what I wrote and deliberately misinterpreting Tobey.

        Remarkable. When you like what I have to say, it gives you good impressions of me. When you don’t like what I say, you can only assume I’m a liar.

        You again repeat your assertion that ““e-mails sent by a person are not information ‘about’ that person.” Again, this is unsettled law. Under Tobey, an email can be information about a person. Again I can’t fathom how you can read Tobey and reach your conclusion.

        It might help you understand things if you’d bother to actually do anything to support your claims other than make derisive remarks. Despite repeatedly insisting cases say things, you’ve yet to provide a single quotation or piece of evidence for a thing you’ve said. And when I quoted your own sources, you didn’t say a word about the quotation.

        If the policy of an agency is that performance reviews are maintained on email, then that email is covered under Tobey as it meets the two simple tests. No rational person could claim otherwise and you have made no cogent argument to the contrary.

        It’s fascinating how you claim no “rational person could claim otherwise,” implicitly implying I’m irrational, say I haven’t made a “cogent argument to the contrary,” yet fail to address anything I’ve actually written. Not only do you adamantly refuse to quote your sources to explain how they support your claims, you refuse to quote me to support how what I say is wrong.

        And you apparently think it is okay to do this because, if I were interested, I could pay money to get copies of the sources you refuse to quote.

        As regards your other comments, with all due respect they are either red herrings or misinterpretations. I’m not going to even bother rebut them if you can’t accept the basic analysis I wrote above. Why should I waste any more time.

        You keep talking about this being a waste of time, yet you keep coming back to not quote or address anything in a direct manner. You do nothing to support anything you say, and the grand sum of your arguments might as well just be, “I’m right; you’re dumb and dishonest.” If this is the waste of time you claim, that is only because you refuse to behave in anything resembling a reasonable manner.

        I apologized earlier for intemperate language. But it is incredibly frustrating dealing with someone who clearly has no background in an issue, but boldly makes definitive statements that are laughable to people who are actually educated in the area and is not prepared to accept correction.

        I hope you realize how silly this sounds. If you actually have the level of knowledge your portray yourself as having, you should find it easy to respond to me in a far more substantive manner than you have. I could easily say all this about you, and it’d have just as much merit. In fact, it’d probably have more merit since I at least knew how to quote the sources I use.

        Just as a matter of curiosity, in the multitude of posting you have made on various blogs – have you ever admitted you were wrong? (Cheap shot – I know.).

        Hey, look at that! If you admit you’re making a personal attack, that means it is okay! Oh wait. No, it doesn’t. Admitting you know what you’re doing is wrong just makes the fact you’re still doing it even worse.

        But because I get this stupid attack on a regular basis, I’ll answer the question. Yes, I’ve admitted being wrong on numerous occasions on multiple blogs. This is easy to demonstrate, and people pretending I refuse to admit mistakes are just foolish.

      • Brandon,

        I believe I fully rebutted your strained interpretation of Tobey, but you seem to disagree though without substantively addressing any of my analysis. Ok, let’s try take this step by step. Before I respond to your latest, please will you answer the question I posed earlier: “You seem to have now done a fair degree of research on the topic. I assume your research has revealed that there is a circuit split on how broadly to define system of records Do you agree?”

        Let’s try to start with a point of agreement and maybe we can progress.

  70. Brandon, I respect the work you have done in exposing Cook, Mann and the other climate alarmist frauds. Off late, you are digressing unwantedly into areas where you patently are wrong and arguing for the sake of argument, with no basis. Please quit being pig headed, especially when it’s [obvious] that you are wrong.

    • Venter, I find it remarkable how often I’m told I’m “arguing for the sake of argument” and it’s obvious I’m wrong by people who disagree with me. I’ve gotten the same response when I discussed the Cook et al paper. I’ve gotten the same response when I discussed Michael Mann. I’ve gotten the same response when I discussed Stephan Lewandowsky. I’ve gotten the same response when I criticized BEST.

      It pretty much always comes from people who either cannot or will not offer an actual argument against what I have to say. I’ve gotten to the point where I just tune it out. It’s reached the point where no matter how right I may be or how much one side of a dispute may agree with what I say, I expect people on the other side of the dispute to say things like you just said.

  71. Here’s your government and press at play.
    Don’t you think there’s a better way?
    ===============

  72. Well, as intimated above, there was schism in the inner circle over whether or not to release Karl et al. There must be some there who recognize what poor science this was.

    So, in the process of ever improving science, which branch of the schism is more likely to thrive?

    It’s naive to expect this soon, but it’s even more naive to think it won’t happen.
    =======================

  73. U.S Fish and Wildlife service bulletin on treating email as federal records:

    Email and other electronic documents are rapidly replacing or supplementing paper documents used within Federal agencies. Many of us are not accustomed to thinking of electronic documents (particularly email) as Federal records. Though a more specific and detailed definition of the term ‘record’ may be found at 44 U.S.C. 3301, essentially a ‘record’ is anything that is used by Federal employees or contractors to document activities related to an agency’s organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions.

    Email falling within any of these broad categories qualifies as a record and must be retained in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) guidance.

    This bulletin restates the Service’s current policy and requirements regarding email records and tape backup copies. Additional detail regarding records schedules, email, and tape backup copies is provided below. More specific information regarding these subjects may also be found by referring to Director’s Order 103.

    What guidance does NARA currently offer related to the retention of email?

    Agencies may only delete email – which meets the definition of a Federal record – if the employee prints out the email (including pertinent ‘header’ information such as addressees, date, and time). Otherwise that information must be retained electronically in accordance with the agency’s records schedule.

    http://www.fws.gov/policy/m0089.html

    • Reply to Anthony ==> Thank you, Anthony, for filling in that bit. It is almost certain that there is an equivalent interpretation at NOAA.

      (I was getting tired of the legal wrangling here on a piece about journalism, though I respect the right of readers to discuss whatever winds their clocks.)

      • Again, the word “record” can be used in different ways depending on the situation. The link Anthony Watts provides an explicit reference to the definition of “record” it is using (44 U.S.C. 3301). That reference uses a different definition than the Privacy Act of 1974 does. It says:

        As used in this chapter, “records” includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of data in them. Library and museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference, and stocks of publications and of processed documents are not included.

        But the Privacy Act of 1974 says:

        (4) the term “record” means any item, collection, or grouping
        of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency,
        including, but not limited to, his education, financial
        transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history
        and that contains his name, or the identifying number, symbol, or
        other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a
        finger or voice print or a photograph;

        The two are very different because they are intended for different purposes. There is no reason to conflate them.

        As for whether or not this matters, people have portrayed Tom Peterson as having committed a crime based upon the flimsiest of excuses. And they keep defending that position. As long as people keep suggesting Peterson is a criminal, I think it’s necessary to keep pointing out he didn’t break the law people are citing.

    • It seems to me that Anthony has been libeled as a slanderer. I’d like to be wrong, but what is untrue in that email?

      Actually, I’ve mixed feelings about liking to be wrong. What a test case, but what an ordeal!
      ========

  74. Epilogue: Thank you to all who read and/or commented here. As always, your comments, favorable or critical, and your questions and answers, help to inform and clarify. Please continue the discussion amongst yourselves if you wish … I will no longer be monitoring comments regularly.

    Time will tell if this opinion piece has any effect whatever in the larger scheme of things … maybe Andrew Revkin will be a little more careful and do at least a tiny bit of his old journalist job before dashing off an unfair, undeserved negative comment from his NY Times bully pulpit. Maybe Peterson’s superiors will hold him to task for his [suspected] violation of agency rules on sharing his email traffic with the tabloid press. Maybe someone will out the internal squabble at NCDC over the publication of Karl et al. (2015).

    Are these unreasonable expectations? Probably … but one can hope.

  75. On the one hand:
    I agree that Peterson should not have published the email. (Regardless of where)

    On the other:
    Nobody who engaged in the complaints about scientists based on Climategate email has standing (in the casual sense of the term) to complain. Even if it were the case that all email on a government server were public (which it isn’t), or that all email written by a civil servant were public (which it also isn’t), there’s the fact that many of the mails were written by people from outside — as Anthony is outside of NOAA. The only difference of kind is that this time, the recipient of the email made it public rather than a hacker.

    Vis. the legal arguing:
    Wow. My wife is a lawyer, which leads to discussions about standards of evidence and what is or is not a legal argument (in the sense of being the way that lawyers make arguments). Most of the comments on this have been bad enough that even I can see why my wife rolls her eyes sometimes.

    It’s certainly _possible_ that an email could be a ‘record’. But the fact that it _could_ be so does not make it one. Else nobody could ever delete a message from their inbox — not even the trillion reminders about meeting times, or ads, etc.. As a legal argument, the ’email is records’ is nonsense.

    There are requirements for something to be a ‘record’. To be serious about it, you need a lawyer who has specialized in this area. But one really elementary guideline is that it’s something used for decision making. On its face, it’s exceptionally hard to envision that Watts’ hostile email would be used for decision making in NOAA. Now, if Peterson were fired on the contents of that email (or promoted), then there’s a decision and the email would then be a ‘record’ (maybe; at least it becomes a not so trivial question). Anybody truly think that Peterson will be fired or promoted based on that letter, which says merely the same things which have been said very publicly here for years about NOAA (+ US government scientists, or, indeed, anybody in climatology who reaches conclusions which are disliked here)?

    • Robert Grumbine says: “It’s certainly _possible_ that an email could be a ‘record’. But the fact that it _could_ be so does not make it one. Else nobody could ever delete a message from their inbox — not even the trillion reminders about meeting times, or ads, etc.. As a legal argument, the ’email is records’ is nonsense.”

      If you have paid any attention to various recent e-mail scandals government employees are not allowed to delete their e-mails. Government agencies are expected to archive e-mails. One can only delete the e-mail form their client.

      Found this powerpoint from homeland security

      http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/toolkit/pdf/ID317.pdf

      slide 5

      E-mail meets the statutory definition of a record.

      Game set match you lose McIntyre wins.

  76. Robert Grumbine says: “even I can see why my wife rolls her eyes sometimes.” If your wife has to read your legal analyses, I can understand this as well.

    Emails are regularly produced by agencies in response to FOIA requests, including emails that were not used for decision-making. Sometimes emails about setting up meetings are relevant. Whether “all emails” are records is not at issue, only Peterson’s unilateral dissemination of Watts’ email.

    If a FOIA request had been made on June 7, 2015 for NOAA documents evidencing correspondence between Peterson and Anthony Watts during 2015, it seems to me that NOAA would almost certainly considered the email in question as such a document, though they may or may not have produced it or expurgated it. It would be retrievable by a search of Watts’ name. I cannot imagine NOAA seriously arguing that the email was not subject to FOIA because it was not a “record” that was valuable for subsequent decision making. Your attempt to connect the issue to whether the document was relevant for subsequent decision-making is precisely the sort of poor legal reasoning that makes your wife roll her eyes.

    In regard to your point about deletion of emails, it is entirely possible that NOAA’s document policies would not have required the retention of the email and that it would subsequently be deleted from NOAA archives under those policies. After such deletion, it would no longer be a NOAA record. The fact that NOAA might subsequently be entitled to delete the email from their records does not mean that Peterson was entitled to distribute the email. Your wife’s eyes ought to be rolling at you once again.

    As to hypocrisy, I agree that there is plenty of it to go around in connection with Climategate. Many of your, shall we say, fellow travelers called for police investigations and the severest possible punishments for “Mr FOIA”. So you can hardly, without hypocrisy, claim that Peterson should be entitled to violate rules with impunity, as you appear to be arguing. I do not recall Climategate critics arguing that hacking could be carried out with impunity and most critics understood that Mr FOIA was at considerable legal risk. If Peterson believed that bringing Anthony’s email to public attention was sufficiently important to break government rules (if he did), then he should obviously be prepared to accept the consequences – though, being a civil servant, these are undoubtedly mild.

    Peterson also has received some mild discipline in the past for inappropriate conduct in respect to opponents. You may recall that the NOAA Inspector General found that some of Peterson’s Climategate conduct was “inappropriate” as it raised issues about his objectivity. This led to their suggesting that NOAA take actions in respect to Peterson’s conduct, which took the mild form of Peterson being “counseled” by his supervisor. Obviously, Peterson didn’t take the “counseling” very seriously.

    • If you were to read the first thing I said, you’d notice that I did not approve of Peterson publishing the email. The hypocrisy is yours, not mine. Or perhaps you can point me to the article(s) of yours where you condemned the hacking, rather than the scientists whose mail was hacked. I certainly find the latter easily.

      So you’re yet another denizen who doesn’t understand the difference between ‘can be’ and ‘is’.

      ‘fellow travellers’, ah, the ‘good old days’ of Commie Hunting, Joe McCarthy, and name-calling as a way of costing people their careers. Thanks for the reminder of what you stand for.

      Most interesting is the fantastic psychic powers you claim to have — knowing what my wife thinks of me better than I do, or than she does. You’ve never met me, and you’ve never even had electronic contact with her. Most impressive.

      • as to your own name-calling, your McCarthy-baiting is very distasteful and false. My grandfather was chairman of a commission into civil rights in Canada that was a landmark in Canadian administrative law.

        I supported human rights long before I ever heard of climate. I immediately sharply criticized Cuccinnelli’s investigation into Mann on human rights grounds – a point acknowledged even by opponents, even, as I recall, by Mann. I went to a Heartland conference in 2010, in part to voice such views to an audience that was mostly unsympathetic to such opinions.

        You agree that Peterson “should not have published” the letter, but your reasons seem unclear. Based on the rest of your comment, you seem to argue that Peterson did not breach any obligations of his office in publishing the email, thus reducing the issue to one of etiquette. Based on my understanding of the relevant law – and it is tentative – it strikes me that it is more than merely a breach of etiquette. I would defer to informed legal analysis on the point, but not to yours, which is unconvincing. If your wife does not roll her eyes at your particular legal analysis when it is unconvincing, I presume that she is showing restraint out of affection, rather than deference to your insight.

      • Steve, you are the one who introduced the McCarthy language to the discussion. If you find McCarthy language distasteful, don’t use it. If you use it, don’t whine about someone noticing whom you’re modelling your language after.

        You still haven’t pointed to a response of yours opposing the hacking in climategate, which is the example at hand.

        As far as my opinions re. Patterson publishing the email: I consider it immoral to post other people’s email without their consent, irrespective of whether it is illegal. It’s also illegal wrt the Berne Convention on copyright, though what damages could be collected is likely minimal since nothing is in the letter that Watts hasn’t said publicly. Probably isn’t fattening.

        Where things got eye-rollingly bad was invoking the Privacy Act, Official Records laws, and the like. Few things that Patterson would ever touch could fall under either. If most did fall under either, then essentially everything ever done anywhere in the government in paper/program/email/…, would have to be maintained forever. Which is a practical impossibility. Could be is not ‘is’. As I said, though, if you (any of you all) want to get serious about these laws, you’ll have to get hold of a lawyer specializing in these matters. I’m sure they’ll be happy to discuss it with you, for a fee.

        Anyhow it’s amusing that you stay with your claims to tremendous psychic powers, not only knowing what my wife’s eye-rolls are at, but knowing why she doesn’t at other times.

        It’s particularly amusing given that I know what happens when my wife thinks I’m even potentially wrong, and how fast I find out.

      • Robert Grumbine Says: “If most did fall under either, then essentially everything ever done anywhere in the government in paper/program/email/…, would have to be maintained forever. ”

        Uh yes. Agencies are supposed to archive e-mails. Why do you think we have had so much controversy over deleted e-mails?

        Nothing you are saying is at all logical or even correct.

  77. Robert, I suggest that we mutually dial back the rhetoric, as both of us gone somewhat outside our usual range.

    My point in raising the question of Peterson’s legal liability was that I thought that there was a mildly interesting legal issue. Many such speculations about legal issues have taken place over the past few years, including discussions at the time of Climategate, about which laws, if any, may have broken by Mr FOIA (or, for that matter, by Phil Jones and others. )

    One can engage in such discussions without “condemning” someone, either implicitly or explicitly, but merely out of idle interest, which, it seems to me, is the relative level of interest that both you and I have in this particular matter. In that vein, it was silly of me to snipe at you. I disagree with your legal analysis but there was no need for me to attach needless editorializing and I apologize for that.

    Having said that, viewed simply as idle legal speculation, I think that your analysis of the legal issue is incorrect. Even if Peterson breached a regulation, I doubt that NOAA would do anything about it. Nor on a scale of all the issues in the world am I particularly concerned about or offended by Peterson’s conduct. But it does seem plausible to me that he breached the regulation referred to above.

  78. Robert,
    as a Canadian, the term “fellow traveler” does not immediately invoke a U.S. political phenomenon of the 1950s. The term had usage in other parts of the world, including Canada and England, prior to McCarthy and separate from McCarthy. It’s xenophobic on your part to assume that I, as a non-American, am “modeling” my language on an American politician. Having said that, you have pointed out that it does have such associations for you as an American, something that I had not anticipated, but which I understand.

    To a very considerable extent, Canadians tried to avoid the excesses of McCarthyism and it is not an important issue in Canadian political heritage. My grandfather had personal experience with the Un-American Committee, though in an unusual role. In the early 1950s (and here I’m recalling from his biography), the Un-American Committee wanted to interview Igor Gouzenko, whose defection had revealed the notorious spy rings. Arranging for such an interview within Canadian law while avoiding the circus of U.S. politics presented a conundrum for Canadian authorities. My grandfather, then a chief justice in Ontario, was chosen to preside over the session and took great pride in ensuring that the hearing was formal and disciplined.

  79. You say:

    Where things got eye-rollingly bad was invoking the Privacy Act, Official Records laws, and the like. Few things that Patterson would ever touch could fall under either. If most did fall under either, then essentially everything ever done anywhere in the government in paper/program/email/…, would have to be maintained forever. Which is a practical impossibility.

    Be that as it may, NOAA regards emails as records that they are obliged to search under FOIA. Here is a quote from a NOAA decision:

    NOAA searched the email and offices of all individuals in NESDIS and OAR that were reasonably calculated to have materials responsive to your request. This included searching the home office and personal email account of Dr ^ . All responsive records are included herein, subject to applicable FOIA exemptions.

    So your argument that the emails are not “records”, as I stated above, is not one that NOAA itself holds – so allow me to roll my eyes a little.

    A logical question to ask oneself is whether the Watts email would have been produced in response to an FOI request. U.S. agencies have frequently refused emails for various reasons, including privacy interests. It seems that there would be a principled legal argument for protecting some privacy interests, but not others, though the Privacy Act may well not be correct perspective for looking at the question.

  80. I really cannot believe that with all the e-mail scandals that have happened in recent years there are those who still trying and argue that e-mails are not records. The law might be slightly ambigious but the case law is not. This is an issue that is already settled and need to be debated on a blog. The official case law is that any e-mail relating to official business is a record.

    Anthony e-mailed about official NOAA business . That makes it a record. Its pretty clear that the release of this record violated the Privacy Act.

  81. Steven:
    xenophobic, I’m not, nor is it derivable from my ‘error’. Parochial, perhaps. (Though that’s also untrue.) My Canadian son will be particularly amused at me being called xenophobic. My coworkers, most of whom are from outside the US, will also have a chuckle.

    Ironically, it’s the fact that I _do_ know Canadians that lead to that ‘error’. Namely, as they themselves point out routinely, Canadians have a pretty good idea about US history. Regarding things like McCarthy, they average better knowledge than US people (in my experience). In parts of the US, textbooks are being rewritten, curricula modified (or, at least in both cases, it’s being argued in favor of at high levels) to portray McCarthy as a hero. Not likely in Canada, afaik.

    Then, as you elaborate after my initial response to your ‘fellow traveller’, you have even more reason than most to know McCarthyism for the evil it is. Yet you used McCarthyist language anyhow. I’ll take your word you had no such thoughts.

    But McCarthy aside, guilt by association is not the argument of someone who has the facts on his side or is interested in serious discussion.

    I agree with you that there’s a point of potential spectator’s interest regarding whether Peterson broke any particular US laws. Raising the notion was not the eye-rolling aspect. The extreme certainty some have expressed that Peterson heinously violated Watts’ rights under Privacy Act law is the eye-roll. Leave aside whether I think it was or not. Nobody in law thinks there’s certainty. Adage is, even with the best possible case, you’ll only win 80% of them. And even with the worst possible case, you’ll still win 20%. The figures are perhaps a bit pessimistic. But, given their experiences, it’s a sentiment common among the lawyers I know.

    Y’all:
    There’s a real simple, and profitable y’all, way to prove me wrong. Watts files suit against Peterson for violating his rights under the Privacy Act. You legal experts chip in your dollars to get the ball rolling, and split the proceeds with Anthony when he easily wins.

    ‘official business’
    In the mean time TomT et alia: What ‘official business’ was being conducted in Watts’ letter? Window dressing (Eisenhower, Yamamoto, …) aside, it boils down to:
    Watts thinks Peterson and other committed fraud.
    Watts thinks Peterson and others prostituted themselves, perhaps at the direction of higher ups.

    What action is it that Peterson is supposed to take? Official business, whether corporate or governmental, involves somebody having to do something. The prostitution assertion, as it’s figurative rather than literal (or at least that’d be a usual reading, perhaps Anthony does mean literal), doesn’t involve action either.

    But, make your accusation of fraud on the part of Karl, Peterson, et al., to the NOAA or DOC inspector general (whatever the job title is), and then there’s an action to be taken. Fraud is a serious matter, and it’s the job of such people to investigate fraud.

    It’ll probably get farther if you put more behind the accusation than ‘Anthony Watts thinks so’, which was all that is in the letter that did get sent.

    • Robert Grumbine

      Regarding things like McCarthy, they average better knowledge than US people (in my experience). In parts of the US, textbooks are being rewritten, curricula modified (or, at least in both cases, it’s being argued in favor of at high levels) to portray McCarthy as a hero.

      Odd. McCarthy was correct in his summary of the problem, of the symptoms of the problem, and of the cause (Communists and their agents inside the US government and US press and academic institutions.) His “list” has been cursed as a lie, and he himself has been used by the communists and progressives and liberals here as a scapegoat and terror.
      But … McCarthy was correct. As the Soviet Union messages and records show. You, on the other hand, are wrong.

    • Okay since you don’t seem to get it.

      Let’s say you are in Georgia 1961. A white woman doesn’t look both ways before crossing the street. A young black man reaches out and pulls her back by the arm before she gets hit by a speeding car. watch a young black man innocently grab the arm of a white woman.

      Seeing a black man touching a white woman two nearby officers proceed to beat the young black man within an inch of his life.

      Upon witnessing this you take action you write a letter to the officer and his boss telling them what you saw. You tell them that once you believed that the police were dedicated to serve and protect but after what you witnessed you cannot say that you hold that opinion anymore.

      Now rather than responding to your complaint the police choose to send your letter to the KKK. With a nice ‘guess who is a ###### lover’.

      You might think I’m using a bad example. That I’m going over the top. But look at the date of the Privacy Act. It’s 1974. The act itself is an offshoot of the civil rights movement.

      Do you think that 100% of the white south were just racist bigots? Well I’m sure you do because you are a bit of a bigot yourself. But no there were many many white southerners who were opposed to Jim Crow. But they could do nothing. Yes we are supposed to have a constitutional right to petition the government for a redress of grievences. But when the government will pass your petition onto people who will do you harm that petition you have no right at all.

      That is how Jim Crow lasted so long. Anyone opposed white or black was terrorized into submission by forces outside of but working with the government. Anyone who dared object to the government had their objection passed onto the KKK. That’s how the system worked.

      This is one of the main things the privacy act was meant to stop. It’s also exactly what Peterson did. He passed on Anthony ‘ s petition to those who he knew would bring retribution since he cannot directly do UT himself. He not only violated the law in my opinion he did so with guilty mind and malice as evidenced by the party he chose to give the e-mails to.

    • you are correct that it would have been accurate to say that it was “parochial” on your part, rather than “xenophobic”. I accept the correction. Please note that I was merely trying to point out American self-centeredness in your association of language with American politics in this incident and did not extrapolate from a single incident to say that that characterized your conduct as a whole. No need to invoke your children as character witnesses.

    • What official buisnuiss?

      “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

      Anthony was pettition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      If you don’t want anyone complaining about your work then don’t work for the government. If you work for the government then they have a constitutional right to send you a complaining e-mail. Its part of your job.

      This running argument put forward by government scientists that there is somehow an equivalency between them and those in the private sector is a false argument. Working for the government comes with its own strings. If you didn’t want those strings you should have found employment elsewhere.

      • Steve:
        It’s extra amusing that you call me xenophobic in the very next comment you make after saying let’s dial back the rhetoric.

        As I commented, it isn’t my ‘American self-centeredness’ (again you go for guilt by association) that lead to my thinking you’d know the origin of your ‘fellow traveler’ phrase. Interesting, though, that I accepted that you did not mean what I thought you did, once you explained. But you ignore my explanation. Again, not the route to dialing back the rhetoric.

        My kids are adults. This one in particular has encouraged me to enter, as he put it, “The food-fight that is internet debate about climate’. Plus, of course, I had a great mental image of his reaction to hearing your accusation.

        Re McCarthy, do note that someone promptly wrote in approving of McCarthy. It’s a real and present issue down here. That, I wouldn’t expect you to know about. The original, I did, and was correct to expect you to know about.

        TomT:
        Considering that Anthony says nothing in that letter that he hasn’t said in public, your KKK example, which requires secrecy, is just wrong. More importantly:
        Unless Anthony is in imminent danger for his life, yes, your example is horribly overwrought.

        People complain about government employees all the time. My friends in the Weather Service are constantly told that they are always wrong. I’m sure they do save some of those messages, as some get pretty hysterical, and hysterically funny. But I doubt they are required by law to retain those messages eternally. If they, and all government employees, are required to do so, there’s a spectacularly simple DDOS attack which could be waged, and it would be illegal (per your reasoning) for the government to defend against — bunches of people continually send large messages to government email addresses. Since, per your argument, they could never be deleted, nor (obviously) could they spam block senders, the government mail system(s) would have to be allowed to crash, and then the government sued successfully by the DDOS attackers for failure to store the ‘official business’ they were sending. Though the suit would have to be carried out in snail mail of course. Or maybe the law doesn’t require idiocy.

        Then again, I also doubt that the organizations, NOAA included, allow meeting government requirements to be decided solely by peons like Peterson. No doubt the mailers have their own archival process well before the peons are allowed to see their mail.

        Steven: I’ll digress before signing off this thread.
        Something to consider. Not that I was ever a regular reader of your blog, but I did used to look in on a semi-regular basis. The last time I looked in in that vein, you’d written an entire post complaining that a data set had been compacted in .Z rather than .gz format. With the vast conspiracy, rampant fraud, dishonesty, flagrant disregard for the law that the WUWT crowd (and, somewhat, but only somewhat, less so, your commenters last I looked) complains of, and that you are careful to never you the exact wording of, .gz vs. .Z was what you wrote about? ! With that, I concluded you’d run out of any substance. Could be I was wrong, of course. But, yeesh. .gz vs. .Z? What’s next, steel cage match between Fortran, C, C++, Java, Javascript, R, Matlab, Perl, Octave, Forth, Lisp, Python, Algol, Ada, Smalltalk, Ruby, IDL, assembler, machine code, …? Bah.

        Y’all:
        There’s a real simple way to show me I’m wrong. Report Peterson to the IG. If you don’t get satisfaction there, file suit in court. Since you’re positive you’ll win, it’s just a matter of time before you get your rewards.

        bye

      • Robert Grumbine Says: “Considering that Anthony says nothing in that letter that he hasn’t said in public, your KKK example, which requires secrecy, is just wrong. More importantly:
        Unless Anthony is in imminent danger for his life, yes, your example is horribly overwrought.”

        He doesn’t have to be in danger for his life. The information has already been used in an attempt to libel him and do damage to his reputation.

        The law does not say that you cannot pass such complaints onto the KKK. It says you cannot pass such complaints to any third party. The law doesn’t care who the third party is. Peterson passed this onto those who he felt would use it in a reprisal against Watts. And it was used. He did so with malice and intent.

        Robert Grumbine Says: “But I doubt they are required by law to retain those messages eternally.”

        Your knowledge of how e-mail works is staggeringly ignorant. My company has a record of every e-mail ever sent to me and I’m not even in government.

  82. Anthony I know you are not the kind to push but Peterson needs to go down for this.

    The 1974 Privacy Act is born out of the civil rights movement. In the Jim Crow south not every white person was a racist bigiot. But anyone who exercised their constitutional right to ‘petition the government’ would have their petition passed onto the KKK.

    This collusion between the state and 3rd parties to scare people out of using their first amendment rights was what the act was meant to stop.

    Peterson passed this into a party he knew would do you harm with it. He did so with malice. It cannot be allowed to stand. Government officials cannot ba allowed to think that this is okay no matter the circumstance.

    • This is your government and press at play.
      How much longer gonna be that way?
      Troubles and troubles, been blown away,
      Nobodies, nobody’s, seen what I say.
      ==========================

  83. Robert Grumbine writes:

    The last time I looked in in that vein, you’d written an entire post complaining that a data set had been compacted in .Z rather than .gz format

    You sure can figure out stupid stuff to whine about. In this case, it also appears that you’ve imagined things.

    Sometimes in the past, I wrote posts on how to do things in R. Handling different forms of compression in R hasn’t always been straightforward. I’ve promoted R as a way of making analysis exchangeable, so techniques for handling compression in R is useful.

    I did a search of CA posts for the term .Z together with .gz.

    I located two CA posts which discuss how to decompress .Z files in R: http://climateaudit.org/2008/06/09/an-r-package-by-a-ca-reader-solves-the-z-problem/ and http://climateaudit.org/2010/08/30/tar-and-z/ . Both these posts diarized techniques for dealing with compressed files in R, including .Z files. They were entirely practical and free of complaint. In one case, a CA reader had contributed a decompression package to R, which Douglas Bates, a prominent statistician and leading R proponent, praised as a “good idea”. Perhaps you aren’t interested in ways of making analysis exchangeable and accessible, but many CA readers are. A blogpost on decompression methods in R was hardly regular programming anyway,

    The only other post that I located was a discussion of NOAA’s OCtober 2008 results, http://climateaudit.org/2008/11/19/noaa-in-finland/ where I made a single snarky comment about .Z compression, but otherwise the post was on an entirely different topic. The comment was:

    I downloaded the NOAA gridded data (who mercifully, in this case, at least use .gz instead of the medieval .Z compression so beloved of antique climate scientists). </blockquote?

    None of these posts remotely constituted "an entire post complaining that a data set had been compacted in .Z rather than .gz format".

    Based on my search of CA, I do not believe that there is any such post. Nor does it seem to me to be the sort of post that I'd write (though, as noted above, I did write technical posts on decompression of .Z files in R.) If you cannot support your accusation, I'd appreciate it if you withdrew it.

    • The blockquote above should read:

      I downloaded the NOAA gridded data (who mercifully, in this case, at least use .gz instead of the medieval .Z compression so beloved of antique climate scientists).

      None of these posts remotely constituted “an entire post complaining that a data set had been compacted in .Z rather than .gz format”.

      Based on my search of CA, I do not believe that there is any such post. Nor does it seem to me to be the sort of post that I’d write (though, as noted above, I did write technical posts on decompression of .Z files in R.) If you cannot support your accusation, I’d appreciate it if you withdrew it.

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