Michael Mann exonerated; will the media issue a retraction and apology? (of course not)

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

It is a truism of modern media that no one reads the corrections to articles. It is even rarer that the media publishes a retraction and an apology for having hyped a story that it later discovers to have gotten completely wrong. "Eh, it's old news, who cares?"

Such is the case with Dr. Michael Mann, the paleoclimatologist and Pennsylvania State University professor at the center of the "Climategate" hype last year that conservative climate change deniers and their energy industry friends in the media hyped last year.

It turns out that after an extensive peer review investigation, Dr. Michael Mann has been completely exonerated. Cue the sound of crickets chirping from the media that hyped this "Climategate" fraud. Meteor Blades at Daily Kos reports:

Remember Michael Mann? He is the renowned paleoclimatologist and Pennsylvania State University professor who originated the much-criticized hockey stick temperature graph that appeared in the Third Scientific Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The graph, based on ice cores, tree rings, and other gauges, reconstructed thousands of years of climate fluctuations that showed we are in a helluva mess, with temperatures hotter than they've been in 2000 years.

Subsequently, Mann and some colleagues were defamed in the so-called Climategate affair, when hackers published emails supposedly showing that the scientists' calculations had been doctored with a "trick" to create a climate-change hoax. Much of the mainstream media and the right-wing global-warming denial industry rubbed their hands in glee. And they went to work on the scientists, calling into question three decades of climate work.

However, on Thursday, in the final act of an investigation completed nearly a month ago, Pennsylvania State released a complete exoneration of Mann. The panel that investigated him was unanimous in its findings:

The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined that there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Professor, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University.

More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.

End of controversy. Full stop.

Well, not quite. As Joe Romm points out at Climate Progress, there are some newspapers and other media outlets who owe Mann retractions and apologies. These include Newsweek, CBS and Wall Street Journal reporters Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson.

But, of course, the deniers just keep at it. They're aided by newspapers like the Washington Post, whose record on accurately covering climate change is tainted by its editorialists, columnist George Will and some reporters. In a Post story about Mann's exoneration, a prominent global warming denier was given space for rebuttal:

Myron Ebell, a global warming skeptic who directs Energy and Global Warming Policy for the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted that the Penn State ethics review only interviewed one of Mann's critics, MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen.

"It has been designed as a whitewash," said Ebell, whose group accepts contributions from the energy industry. "To admit that Dr. Mann is a conman now would be extremely embarrassing for Penn State. But the scandal will not be contained no matter how many whitewash reports are issued. The evidence of manipulation of data is too obvious and too strong."

Ebell is a professional liar with zero scientific credentials. Including his industry-funded bullshit in the same section of the newspaper is an affront to decent journalism. But then that is not a unique occurrence at the Post.

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