“Thanks to Michael Mann’s response, a newspaper censors a letter to the editor ex post facto“ (2011-10-02). Anthony Watts tells us that Michael Mann, lead bully of “the Team”, has forced the proud Vail Daily to withdraw a Sept. 30th, 2011 Letter to the Editor from the skeptical mind of Martin Hertzberg, titled Vail Valley Voices: Researcher disputes evidence for global warming.
Could it be that Dr. Mann found Hertzberg’s analysis so embarrassingly accurate that he had to use his secret power connections to eradicate the hated thing? Hmm. No. Dr. Mann never made any such request.
What did he do? He wrote a response on Oct. 1st, 2011 that effectively started with this:
“It’s hard to imagine anyone packing more lies and distortions into a single commentary.”
Someone at the Vail Daily, whose brain cells happened to brush up against each other, had a look and realized that Dr. Mann was right. Really, really, right. The issue suddenly wasn’t about the noble rights of the upstanding Martin Hertzberg, self-identified “long-time denier of human-caused global warming”, to tell whopping great malicious lies. It was about whether the Vail Voice was legally exposed for carelessly spreading his false and defamatory statements. They chose to put as much distance as possible between themselves and what was clearly a piece of crap.
Anthony can’t even keep his indignation straight. He starts off implying that the Vail Daily is a noble vehicle for free speech, but turns on them with a series of nitpicking remarks intended to impugn their professionalism (does Dr. Mann live in Vail? I think not! Why the obsequious one day turnaround for Mann’s response? Why did the paper call Hertzberg a “denier”? Oh, that’s his self-description. Etc).
After all the howling it seems that the Vail Daily has re-posted the offending Letter to the Editor, apparently with some of the stupider things removed. What do we learn about Martin Hertzberg? He’s a big fan of the deceptive Oregon Petition. He knows that the greenhouse effect is “fear[ ]mongering hysteria… devoid of physical reality.” He considers anthropogenic CO2 emissions “about as significant as a few farts in a hurricane.” He’s heard of the Medieval Warm Period. He knows that diplomats and bureaucrats “have huge egos and a lust for power.” Finally, he’s a co-author of the idiotic Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, so he’s already had his ass kicked repeatedly on the same topics. I think Martin’s journey to the dustbin of history will be a short one.
In my opinion it’s better to leave these things “up” as originally posted and insert a correction at the start so they are in legitimate context and not left as unchallenged assertions. That way Anthony’s link to the Wikipedia entry for freedom of speech need not be indignantly displayed. I think he should have, uh, censored the sentence “In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on libel, slander, obscenity, incitement to commit a crime, etc.” though, because that’s the exact issue here.
P.S. Anthony, I think your Latin’s a bit over-enthusiastic. Also the Sherlock Holmes-by-screen-capture schtick is wearing thin, especially in light of your coy pretense of ignorance about Martin Hertzberg’s denialist contributions. Don’t bury the lede.
2011-10-03 update: Some good coverage at caerbannog (Michael Mann opens a can of whupass on a global warming denier) and at Rabbet Run (It Must Be The Neighborhood).