Poor Andrew Revkin can’t help himself. The New York Times reporter and Dot Earth blogger is so intellectually invested in the environmental movement that he simply cannot report bad news about the movement’s extremists without spinning it.
That’s what he did over the weekend when confronted with a mountain of evidence that his heroes of global warming “science” actually are villains who have been manipulating data to achieve pre-determined beliefs, resisting efforts to make their research public, and maligning anyone who dares question their work.
The evidence came in the form of more than a decade’s worth of e-mails from within the global warming cabal. They were published online after a hacker hit the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. The e-mails appeared on the Internet on Thursday, and the revelations within them quickly became scandalous.
Revkin covered the scandal, already predictably dubbed “ClimateGate,” in the Times on Friday and has been blogging and “tweeting” about it, too. His body of work on the story further solidifies Revkin’s reputation as a journalist with an agenda who can’t be trusted to fairly report the facts about the environmental community.
The bias began in the headline, “Hacked E-Mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute.” It avoided the substance of the scandal — what the e-mails actually say — and downplayed it to nothing more than just another he-said-she-said debate among global warming alarmists and critics.
Revkin took the same tack in the lead. The story as his biased mind saw it wasn’t that scientists have been conspiring to “hide the decline” in temperatures that would undermine the theory of global warming but that the e-mails had given “skeptics” new ammunition to make that case.
Six paragraphs into the story, Revkin kicked his spin machine into overdrive. “The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument,” he wrote.
In short, he dismissed the evidence rather than reporting it. While he couldn’t ignore the story because it’s too big, he did the next best thing — tell his readers the news doesn’t matter.
Revkin also tried to win sympathy for climate scientists. “Some of the correspondence portrays the scientists as feeling under siege by the skeptics’ camp,” he wrote. Plus his repeated use of the loaded word “skeptics,” a favorite tactic of environmental reporters, cast critics of global warming in a negative light.
The only time Revkin played the role of objective reporter was when he cited the spin of his friends in the global warming community. He repeated, without comment and with a straight face, this nugget from Michael Mann, a professor at Pennsylvania State University:
He said the choice of words by his colleague was poor but noted that scientists often used the word “trick” to refer to a good way to solve a problem, “and not something secret.”
Got that? A trick isn’t a trick if scientists do it; it’s a solution. Mann seems destined for a future in politics — and Revkin for a job as his flack.
Revkin also has been spinning the story on his blog and Twitter account. His blog post on Friday emphasized the illegal behavior of hackers. Revkin called the e-mails “purloined documents” that were “uploaded surreptitiously” to a pro-climate blog, and he assumed a self-righteous stance.
“The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here,” he wrote — as if the Times hasn’t published illegally obtained news before.
Blogger Ed Driscoll aptly called that sentence “a staggering moment of hypocrisy” on Revkin’s part. Michael Goldfarb of The Weekly Standard added: “If Revkin’s position is that he will not reproduce publicly available e-mails simply because they put the authors — whom he happens to agree with and whose increasingly questionable agenda he happens to support — in a bad light, then he ought to consider another career.”
On Twitter, meanwhile, Revkin turned to his global warming buddies to add “context” to the e-mails. Why bother spinning the evidence himself when he can just link to their spin?
And when labeling the release of the e-mails as a case of “cyber terrorism,” Revkin included a hashtag for the liberal blog Daily Kos in his tweet. He clearly wants the spin to make its way into the left’s online echo chamber.
The other angle that Revkin has addressed only in passing thus far is the fact that his close connections in the global warming community make him a part of the story. E-mails to, from and about Revkin were part of the online document dump. Power Line dug into some of those notes.
Add it all together, and it’s clear that Revkin has no desire to objectively report the news about the e-mails. His agenda is to limit the damage, and the Times is giving him multiple forums to do it.
“I’m thinking ‘hide the decline’ could be a slogan for a lot of folks right about now,” blogger Glenn Reynolds wrote at Instapundit. Revkin and the Times certainly are in decline. They’re just not very good at hiding it yet.