The Other Shoe Drops

A press release from CEI:

Penn State Climate Scientist Michael Mann Demands Apology From CEI

CEI Refuses to Retract Commentary

Washington, D.C., August 24, 2012 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute received a letter on August 21 from an attorney representing Penn State University Professor Michael E. Mann that demands that CEI retract and apologize for a post on CEI’s blog,, written by CEI adjunct scholar Rand Simberg. The letter also threatens that they “intend to pursue all appropriate legal remedies on behalf of Dr. Mann.”

The Other Scandal in Unhappy Valley,” the July 13, 2012 blog post at issue, criticized Professor Mann, a climate scientist who is recent years has become a leading advocate in the public debate for global warming alarmism. Mann was the lead author of research that fabricated the infamous hockey stick temperature graph. The hockey stick was featured in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Assessment Report (2001), but was dropped in its Fourth Assessment Report (2007). E-mails from and to Professor Mann featured prominently in what became known as the Climategate scandal.

In response to the letter from Mann’s attorney, CEI offered the following statements.

Statement by CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman:

This week CEI received a letter from Michael Mann’s attorney, John B. Williams of Cozen O’Connor, demanding that CEI fully retract and apologize for a July 13th OpenMarket blog post concerning Mann’s work. Shortly after that post was published in mid-July, CEI removed two sentences that it regarded as inappropriate. However, we view the post as a valid commentary on Michael Mann’s research. We reject the claim that this research was closely examined, let alone exonerated, by any of the proceedings listed in Mr. Williams’s letter.

National Review, which earlier got a similar letter from Mann’s attorney, has expertly summed up the matter in a response by the editor and the publication’s attorney.

And regardless of how one views Mann’s work, his threatened lawsuit is directly contrary to First Amendment law regarding public debate over controversial issues. Michael Mann may believe we face a global warming threat, but his actions represent an unfounded attempt to freeze discussion of his views.

In short, we’re not retracting the piece, and we’re not apologizing for it.

Statement by Myron Ebell, Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment:

Penn State Professor Michael Mann’s lawyer claims that nine investigations of academic fraud have all exonerated Professor Mann. Most of these investigations did not examine Professor Mann’s conduct or even mention him, and Penn State University’s investigation was typical of that institution’s unfortunate tendencies.

The fact that Professor Mann’s hockey stick research is still taken seriously in the public debate is an indication that people haven’t read the Wegman Report to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the National Research Council’s report, or the analysis of Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.

Professor Mann’s political advocacy is no more reliable than his scientific research. His recent book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, repeats numerous factual errors, some of them about CEI.

> View the Michael Mann attorney letter.pdf

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and Follow CEI on Twitter!

As this is now a legal matter directly involving me, I will have no further comment.

48 thoughts on “The Other Shoe Drops”

  1. The allegations of misconduct and data manipulation are false, and were clearly made with the knowledge that they are false.

    Better watch out Rand, they’ve hired mind readers for attorneys. 🙂

    Let’s hope they run this bluff to it’s conclusion and truth wins.

    Be of good courage.

  2. So, Rand, hopefully your response to Mr. Hockey Schtick will be similar to “Get Lost” (per NRO)?

    Popcorn concessions aside, as many others have noted ‘Discovery will be a b***h’.

    Happy Trails

    1. As I said, I will not be responding — CEI will (and in fact has, with this press release). The suit is against them, not me, but I’ve been asked not to comment, and I will honor that request.

  3. I think the last line of this post sums up what the intentions of this lawsuit are. Even if it never goes to court or is thrown out, they have already achieved some level of success. Where are our lefty friends standing up for Rand’s right to free speech?

    1. I fully support Rand’s right to free speech. But I don’t see how it is relevant here — Rand’s employer asked him to not speak. Consider an alternate universe where Rand published his article exclusively on his own blog. Mark Steyn might still have noticed it, and events might have transpired just as they did in this universe (ignoring the butterfly effect, etc, for the sake of argument.) The only difference would be that no one would have asked Rand not to comment, and I believe Rand would be quite outspoken in that case.

      Oh, wait, did you want to hear a Lefty stand up for Rand’s right to be treated better by his employer? Well, I think the CEI is acting appropriately, but maybe you can find some other Lefty who will agree that Rand is nothing more than an exploited pixel-stained technopeasant. (You can look it up the reference.)

        1. Is there a single word or short phrase I could have used instead which would best describe their relationship with you? This may be helpful to other commenters too, not just to me.

          1. So, you are a CEI adjunct scholar, and therefore, (please help me fill in the blank), CEI is your _________.

            Maybe English lacks a word for this?

          2. Wikipedia provides the following explanation of “adjunct professor”, which should provide sufficient understanding of the use of the phrase ‘adjunct scholar’:

            An adjunct professor is a professor who does not hold a permanent or full-time position at that particular academic institution. This may be someone with a job outside the academic institution teaching courses in a specialized field, or it may refer to persons hired to teach courses on a contractual basis (frequently renewable contracts). It is generally with a teaching load below the minimum required to earn benefits (health care, life insurance, etc.) although the number of courses taught can vary.

            An adjunct is generally not required (or permitted) to participate in the administrative responsibilities at the institution expected of other full-time professors, nor do they generally have research responsibilities.

            Adjuncts provide flexibility to the faculty, acting as additional teaching resources to be called up as necessary.

          3. Bob-1,

            Most adjuncts in academia are treated as independent contractors. I expect the same would be true for think tanks.

      1. When did CEI ask Rand not to speak? When did they revoke his blogging priviledge on their site? Where did you get these facts, bob?

        1. Leland,

          Its in Rand’s best interest not to as anything he writes or says could be used against him in the lawsuit. That is why as soon as a lawsuit is filed those involved are asked by their lawyers to stop talking about it.

      2. Oh, I see what you did there.

        But seriously, the left is all about freedom of speech when it comes to burning flags or pooping on them, placing crucifix’s in jars of piss, advocating for a socialist revolution OWS style but when it comes to criticism of an AGW scientist they are all for using the law as a crudgle to silence dissent.

        Bob-1, Chris, and Jim should be standing up for Rand, Steyn, and CEI even if they disagree with what was said they should support people’s right to freedom of speech.

        1. I don’t understand your position. Do you think I should be against libel laws because I love the 1st amendment? I think Rand, perhaps without meaning to come off as stridently as he does, doesn’t give people the benefit of the doubt, and that makes his words a target for a libel suit. Is Man a public figure? I dunno.

          I *am* against Mann’s lawsuit – I agree with Jim. (But that’s not surprising, as Jim-7 is my immediate superior neuromodulator in our forward-feed propagation ruletree somanet.)

      1. Rob,

        It is also the University’s reputation that is being attacked, claiming they did a cover-up, so the University has an interest in the outcome of it.

        1. So if there’s nothing relevant to be disclosed discovery becomes of little importance.

          The defense case is going to largely depend on the assumption of the existence of evidence which is currently just speculated about.

        2. Why would discovery include Mann’s University of Virginia emails? His hockey stick papers (MBH98 and MBH99) were published before he was at U of V.

          Any why would discovery include his personal emails, any more than they would include yours?

  4. In his desire to use the legal system as a tool of censorship Mann is starting to resemble Brett Kimberlin.

    A serious problem is that Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District proved that anything can happen in a court of law. Judges like the one in that case are all too often scientifically illiterate morons, and Mann may end up being able to play his like a fiddle.

    1. Yep, once things go to court the world of the rational and logical is left behind for one of legal gamesmanship. It will be interesting to see where this goes and how it ends up.

  5. Mann is trying to do a SLAPP suit against Canadian Climatologist Dr Tim Ball, but since he is stonewalling discovery there it seems likely the BC Supreme court will rule against MAnn and throw out the case (hopefully with a citation of contempt and him paying the legal bills of Dr Ball).

    We should blogburst this so MAnn will either be bankrupted trying to silence everyone through SLAPP suits or he will realize that he cannot intimidate people and silence opposing views.

  6. Judith Curry comments:

    Having spent 3 years at Penn State (1989-1992) and doing my best to leave as quickly as possible (after encountering much unpleasantness that got swept under the rug by the administration), I have a pretty good understanding of the problems with the Penn State administration. No one has called Mann a pedophile, but IMO it is legitimate to point out the problems in the Penn State administration as evidenced by the football scandal.


    Hush Baby Manny, don’t you dare,
    Say we another need “Climate Scare”.

    ‘Cause your Scare didn’t do the trick,
    And we didn’t buy your hockey stick!

    Since that hockey stick got broke,
    All your goofy numbers went up in smoke.

    Since those numbers went smokin’ away,
    You don’t have a clue where they are today.

    If today we know you’re a fool,
    Suing CEI just isn’t cool!

    And if CEI can’t speak its mind,
    Then the law we know’s no longer blind.

    If the law’s no longer blind,
    Then another Prezzy we should find.

    Once a new Prezzy we have found,
    We can start to turn this country around!

    And once we turn this country around,
    Then no silly scientists need be found.

    When the silly scientists are all gone away,
    No more Climate Changers will come our way.

  8. If Mann doesn’t sue or drops the suit, they should up the ante to bait him into it, just for the discovery.
    How much would loosing a lawsuit cost?
    It might be worth it to keep raising the stakes until he bites.

  9. The issue of “discovery” applies to whether or not the phrase “torturing the data” is defamatory.

    The “Streisand Effect” applies, regardless.

    For those coming to the dispute late, it has been claimed that Michael Mann acquired another researcher’s data on mud sediments that might indicate historic temperatures. The original researcher asserted that thicker sediments indicated one sort of temperature, and thinner an opposite. When Mann used the (legitimately borrowed) data, his methods forced a correlation between mud thickness and other temperature data irrespective of the original researcher’s physical interpretation. This whole process is now referred to as the “Upsidedown Tijander”.

    Taking “innocent” data and “forcing” them into an “unnatural” “upsidedown” configuration can be — in the rough and tumble of public discourse — fairly described as “torture”. If, on the other hand, the data were NOT innocent or the process did not force such an interpretation, then torture is an inappropriate and defamatory verb to use of Mann’s process.

    Discovery is the only way to decide whether or not Mann’s methods, intentionally or otherwise, tortured the data. It might not have come to this had the Mannian methods and data sources been disclosed in the same sort of sharing process Mann relied upon to obtain Tijander’s data in the first place.

      1. Sorry — you have not demonstrated bias, and the fact that so many other research groups and a completely different mathematical method find the same result is a strong indication the finding is robust. That is exactly how science works.

      2. Sorry — you have not demonstrated bias, and the fact that so many other research groups and a completely different mathematical method find the same result is a strong indication the finding is robust. That is exactly how science works.

  10. It occurs to me that one way or the other, the taxpayers are paying for Mann’s lawsuits. Either he is funding it himself via government grants for spewing manmade global warming “science”, or he is being funded by his universities which are taxpayer supported. It’s a heads I win, tails you lose proposition. As such, by definition he has the funding to grind any target into dust. Cheers –

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