So, all last week on one of my favorite mailing lists I was hearing various climate alarmists crowing about a document leak from the Heartland Institute that supposedly prooooved that it (and by extension all other anthropogenic-global-warming skeptics) was engaging in a nefarious campaign to suppress its opponents and trash the teaching of science in the U.S.
You may, therefore, imagine my amusement when it turned out that the key, incriminating document in the Heartland dump is pretty certainly a fake. Several separate lines of evidence lead to this conclusion, including both content analysis of the document and some smelly things about the PDF metadata.
My initial reaction was: ho hum, more fraud by climate alarmists, good that they got caught again, should be entertaining to watch the mainstream media trying to suppress the story just as assiduously as they were hyping it when it looked like a good score against the eeeevil Heartland Institute and the eeevil denialists. In the normal course of events I’d have let all this pass without comment; it’s not surprising, and other than some entertaining resonances with Dan Rather’s forged TANG document back in 2004 it’s not very interesting.
That is, until yesterday’s unintentional hilarity at the New York Times.
Earlier in the day, Peter Gleick, a well-known climate alarmist, had blogged on the Huffington Post an admission that he obtained the Heartland documents by fraudulent means. The Heartland Institute (which has steadfastly maintained the incriminating summary document is fake) had already said it would sue whoever snookered the documents out of one of its employees before Gleick fingered himself; now it looks pretty likely they’ll win that suit.
So, according to the NYT, how should we feel about this? The column admits it now looks likely that that Gleick outright forged the incriminating summary document. Should we be:
(a) Angry with Peter Gleick for attempting a fraud, the intent of which was to poison and muddy the AGW debate. And more skeptical in future of attempts to demonize “denialists”.
(b) Sad that Peter Gleick, wonderful human being that he is, has damaged his reputation.
Well, if you thought (a) was even possible, you don’t know your Pravda-on-the-Hudson very well. (I know, I’m dating myself. Pravda actually stopped being a hard-left propaganda rag after the Soviet Union fell, a possibility that doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone running the NYT yet.) No, the Gray Lady weeps for Peter Gleick. Poor, poor Peter Gleick.
“That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family)” says the NYT. I could, if I were so minded, now launch into an extended rant about how this is not merely personal, but yet another thread in a continuing pattern of alarmist fraud. But let’s just take that as read, shall we? Because right now, I’m not angry, I’m laughing.
I’m laughing at the weird sort of insularity exhibited in this column. It’s beyond infuriating and well into pathetic. Andrew Revkin, the particular partisan in the NYT struggle brigade who wrote this piece, clearly has no concept of how ridiculously it reads. The establishment-media bubble has become a black hole that even one of its own writers can’t see out of.
Perhaps next week the singularity around NYT headquarters will actually hive off into a pocket cosmos with several good restaurants and no Republicans. Then they could spend the rest of eternity writing mash notes to Fidel Castro and the rest of us could get on with our lives. Well…I can dream, can’t I?