Mark Steyn

…and the death of justice.

Hopefully, it’s not dead, just resting.

[Update a while later]

The latest stupidity in journalism:

University of Pennsylvania professor and climate scientist Michael Mann won a defamation lawsuit against a pair of right-wing bloggers who compared his depictions of global warming to a convicted child molester over a decade ago.

No, we compared the way the corrupt administration at Penn State treated the two cases. And just what is it about me that’s “right-wing”?

The Superior Court of the District of Columbia jurors awarded Mann more than $1 million, deeming the statements in the blogs to have been made with “maliciousness, spite, ill will, vengeance or deliberate intent to harm.”

The jury didn’t “award” anything. Mann doesn’t have his million dollars, and is almost certain not to get it. And the statements were not made with any of those things, and Plaintiff offered no evidence that they were.

“I hope this verdict sends a message that falsely attacking climate scientists is not protected speech,” Mann said in a statement. “It’s a good day for science.”

It was a terrible day for both science, and justice.

In 2012, the libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute published a blog post by Simberg, who at the time was a fellow at the organization, comparing Mann’s work to the case of Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University (where Man was also working at the time) who was convicted of sexually assaulting children.

I was never a “fellow” at CEI. And to the degree that we were “comparing” the two cases, it was to make crystal clear, in black letters that Mann was not a child molester.

Mann’s research had been investigated after his and other scientists’ emails were leaked in 2009 in an incident that brought scrutiny of the “hockey stick” graph, with skeptics claiming Mann manipulated data. Investigations by Penn State and others found no misuse of data by Mann, but his work continued to draw attacks, particularly from conservatives.

Yes, because as we provided abundant evidence for at trial, the Penn State “investigation” was in fact (as we knew at the time) a whitewash.

Mann argued that he had lost grant funding as a result of the blog posts. The writers countered during the trial that they were stating opinions and that Mann became one of the world’s most well-known climate scientists in the years after their comments.

Claims that he failed to substantiate, and he presented false claims to the jury, an act which the judge found “stunning.”

But other than that, great reporting.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s more shoddy reporting:

Simberg and Steyn were each found guilty of defamation and were ordered to pay $1 each in compensatory damages and one million and $1,000 in punitive damages, respectively.

Juries cannot “order” anything, and didn’t. And the reporter reversed the awards for punitive damages for me and Mark.

[Wednesday-morning update]

I missed this last week, but here is John Hinderaker’s commentary.

[Update a while later]

I’ve seen a lot of comments in the coverage (and in comments) about how Mann “dragged out” the trial. That’s not really the case. We ended up dragging it out quite a bit ourselves, in our efforts to get the case dismissed, then having to appeal it to the DC appeals court, which took years, then an appeal to SCOTUS, which added more time, and then getting the cases against CEI and National Review dismissed, and then when the (fourth) judge didn’t dismiss my and Mark’s cases, discovery. Then we had Covid, during which there were no jury trials. Then Mark had his heart attacks a year ago, and couldn’t stand trial. Trial was rescheduled to October, and then His Honor continued it again because he came down with something the day before trial was set to begin, at which point it was rescheduled to mid-January. So while there is plenty to criticize Mann about, delaying the trial isn’t part of it.

[Update mid morning]

More warmist bilge from Michael Hiltzik.

In all, eight separate investigations by official bodies found Mann innocent of wrongdoing or validated his research findings; the results all were made public. But the attacks continued, even up to this day. (Mann is now at the University of Pennsylvania.)

More regurgitation of Mann’s BS. They did not “find Mann innocent of wrongdoing”; many of them didn’t even mention Mann. And we learned in discovery even more about the Penn State whitewash.

[The NSF] examined “a substantial amount of publically [sic] available documentation concerning both [Mann’s] research and parallel research conducted by his collaborators and other scientists” in the field of global warming, and also interviewed Mann, “critics, and disciplinary experts” before finding that there was no evidence that Mann “falsified or fabricated any data.”

He wasn’t accused of “falsifying or fabricating data,” so this was a straw man.

The truth is, however, that Steyn and Simberg lost only after the jury applied the most stringent standards for defamation lawsuits — standards that have been developed precisely to protect “the integrity of free speech” and that protect serious journalism. Mann had to show that the authors knew or should have known that their factual assertions about his work were false, and that’s exactly what he did.

He did not. He presented no evidence whatsoever to that effect.

10 thoughts on “Mark Steyn”

  1. Mark does not look well. I hope his appeal can be made by his attorneys quickly. He does not need to personally participate. He should be resting, best he can.

    I had some things to say about Mann and his role in all this.

    But I’m really done talking about who?

  2. Rand if perchance you meet up with Mark again, please let him know at least one of your blog commenters sends best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. The world needs Mark Steyn.

    1. If I can get to talk to him in a couple of weeks on the cruise, I’ll pass this along. As for being “right wing”, I’ve found that these days, if you have an ounce, or a few grams of rational thought in you, you tend to be labeled “right wing”. Back when I used to live in Canada, I thought of myself as a “Pink Tory”. Since then the world has shifted left. And since moving to the States, I’ve learned a few things. My peripheral involvement in climate science has not made the left look any more attractive.

  3. Journalism as practiced today reminds me a bit of the story of the unsuccessful insurance salesman. Having built an office in a small town, the insurance salesman went about business schmoozing the locals at every opportunity. Hanging out at the local diner, church social, community festivals, school events. And yet try as he might he could not obtain any business from the town-folk.

    Finally, realizing his business was about to go under, late one night in total frustration (and a little drinking) he set fire to his little office and went home. No one saw him do it.

    The next day people were lined up at his door to buy fire insurance!

  4. ‘And just what is it about me that’s “right-wing”?’

    Your stubborn insistence that data trump narrative. In this day and age, data is fascist.

  5. I’ve been especially troubled by three things in the news lately that all seem like symptoms of the same disease: Boeing not having a process to make sure door plugs get bolted back on (and generally being unable to innovate or deliver anything); Taylor Swift being so boring and so popular at the same time; and this really terrible injustice.

    I was grateful that it wasn’t actually worse, but still so angry that the little rat-faced liar got away with it. That according to anyone not paying attention, Mann was “vindicated”. It’s depressing. And then they had the gall to say he’s endured this for 12 years when he’s the one dragging the whole thing out, making sure to make the process as painful as possible.

    I’m sorry, Rand. I can barely believe how messed up it is. It’s hard to have a lot of faith in the future of this country when you can’t get a fair trial because you’re associated with the wrong team.

  6. I just saw something that’s not totally unrelated to the trial. I briefly watched a part of the Fani Willis disqualification hearing and there was a procedural issue being discussed. One of the attorneys suggested that it was worthy of a sidebar. Now, the Youtube closed captioning was turned on and I suppose that it is powered by some new fangled AI software. The captioning came out that it was worthy of a cyborg. So it’s now clear to me that Rand and Mark should have had cyborgs ready for all of the objections in the trial.

  7. I find it interesting the judge started the trial noting the case was not trying Climate Change. Then he gave the last word before the jury was released to deliberate to the plaintiff that made the exact contrary claim, that it was a trial about Climate Change. Now Plaintiff is writing op Ed’s claiming that he won a necessary trial to protect Climate Change from disinformation.

    To be fair, it was one problem with the podcast also saying it was a trial about Climate Change.

    The original post by Rand was about a corrupt government entity hiding malfeasance by its faculty. More data is now being molested.

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