If you wondered whether Murdoch's various news outlets operate in sync when they misrepresent the facts about climate change, consider the deceitful reporting done by Ben Webster, the Environmental Editor for The Times of London . His smears against the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were immediately amplified and embellished by Fox News in New York. Both Webster's story and its Fox News incarnation were used to defame the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and to lend an air of legitimacy to the phony "Climate-gate" scandal that had already been debunked by scientific journals and scientific inquiries .
Today we know that one of the Murdoch employees arrested in Britain, Neil Wallis, was deeply implicated in two hacking scandals, the first pertaining to the News of the World, and the second pertaining to the invasion of computers at the University of East Anglia, the victim of the phony "Climate-gate" scandal touted by Fox News. So it may be worthwhile to take another look at how deceitful reporting within the Murdoch empire can spread like a virus. Look at the opening paragraphs in The Times of London story:
Climate scientists at the centre of the row over stolen e-mails acted with integrity and made no attempt to manipulate their research on global temperatures, an external inquiry has found.
Their research was, however, misrepresented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which failed to reflect uncertainties the scientists had reported concerning the raw temperature data.
An inquiry panel of leading scientists, nominated by the Royal Society, said that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit may not have used the best methods for analyzing temperature records.
Webster's second and third paragraphs distort the panel's findings beyond all recognition. The IPCC misrepresented nothing. The inquiry panel merely pointed out that the IPCC neglected to highlight a truism, which is obvious to all climate scientists and to anyone else who gave 10 seconds of thought to the subject. How can scientists gather data to measure changes in global temperatures going back in history? Recent data may be gleaned from meteorological instruments. Older data may be gleaned from tree rings, which can be found on land but not on the ocean. So scientists rely on well-established statistical methods to develop certain inferences about global temperatures at earlier times in history. All science is based on mathematics.
Here's what the scientific panel actually said:
Recent public discussion of climate change and summaries and popularizations of the work of CRU and others often contain oversimplifications that omit serious discussion of uncertainties emphasized by the original authors. For example, CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree-based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. While we find this regrettable, we could find no such fault with the peer-reviewed papers we examined.
The CRU research was "misrepresented" by the IPCC? Only to the extent that the IPCC failed to belabor the obvious. Nor did the inquiry panel say anything like, "the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit may not have used the best methods for analyzing temperature records." That was an extreme embellishment by Webster. The only thing the scientific panel said that remotely similar to Webster's allegation pertained to the data analyses of tree rings:
After reading publications and interviewing the senior staff of CRU in depth, we are satisfied that the CRU tree-ring work has been carried out with integrity, and that allegations of deliberate misrepresentation and unjustified selection of data are not valid. In the event CRU scientists were able to give convincing answers to our detailed questions about data choice, data handling and statistical methodology. The Unit freely admits that many data analyses they made in the past are superseded and they would not do things that way today.
It is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results. The published work also contains many cautions about the limitations of the data and their interpretation.
And the panel was also very clear that the CRU's critics, to put it charitably, did not know what they were talking about:
We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the dendroclimatological work, but it seems that some of these criticisms show a rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU. They seem also to reflect a lack of awareness of the ongoing and dynamic nature of chronologies, and of the difficult circumstances under which university research is sometimes conducted.
Remember, this is The Times' Environmental Editor reporting the story, which, on this side of the Atlantic, became:
"Climate Scientists Cleared, U.N. Blamed for Misinterpreting Data"
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