Category Archives: Social Commentary

“Passion Is Not Misconduct”

No, but what Professor Mann did is. An illogical, misinformed editorial at Science.

[Update a while later]

A few more thoughts on the case from Will Bates.

[Friday-morning update]

The latest over at Mark Steyn’s place: “So the net result of Mann vs Simberg is that Mann owes Simberg $8,587.64. Pay up, you deadbeat.”

Well, he actually owes it to both me and CEI, and we have to split it, so he only owes me a little over four times the (soon to be likely reduced) judgment. Here is our latest filing.

[Late-morning update]

The battle between skeptics and climate “dictators“: “Skepticism is a necessary aspect of the scientific discovery process. During the trial, however, skeptics such as Curry were not allowed to testify, despite her having prepared a 54-page report for the court on the hockey stick science, which was highly critical of Mann’s work.”

Judy did testify, but only as a fact witness, not an expert witness.

[Early-afternoon update]

Mike’s Legal Trick.

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.