In a media environment saturated with such blatant disinformation, it’s not only our job to report on the progress of science, it is our job to report on those who are working furiously — and with vast resources — to demean and diminish the role of science in our society by framing scientists as merely another special-interest group with an agenda.
Alex Witze did a great job covering this talk that Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann gave at the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing meeting on Sunday.
Here are a few other of his more pointed statements from that talk:
"No doubt we are in for a period over next months or even years where climate science is likely to be subject to the sort of politically motivated inquisition that we frankly haven’t seen in this country since the 1950s and it is of course necessary not only for the science community to do the best that it can to defend itself from this attack but frankly we are entirely reliant on willingness of mainstream media to serve in its role as a critical and independent arbiter to not just report the two sides of this so-called debate but to establish what is fact and what is fiction. Scientists will not be successful in their own attacks coming unless the media is serving its role."
He added that we must “draw those analogies [to 1950s McCarthyism and its blacklisting campaigns] where they are appropriate. I think they are relevant and legitimate.”
And re: the Virginia AG’s efforts to get his hands on the climate scientists’ data, Mann noted that the data are already available to the public. He added that the attorney general “wouldn’t know what to do with data if he was given it. He doesn’t want any materials that relate to science and the conduct of science. He is looking to get hold of more private correspondences between scientists, emails written documents, that they can again mine for individual phrases that can be used to distort what climate scientists believe and say in their ongoing campaign to fool the public about reality of human caused climate change.”