Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Gleick Review Won't Be Made Public, Pacific Institute Says

Peter Gleick has been cleared(*) by the Pacific Institute's Board of Directors and reinstated to his position.

I asked them for a copy of the independent report; they told me it won't be made public as it's a personnel matter:
"The independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Pacific Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick stated publicly and has further confirmed and the Pacific Institute is satisfied that none of its staff knew of or was involved in any way. It will not be released because it is a confidential personnel matter."
Guardian headline (as of 6/6/12)
(*) It my opinion, a person under investigation is not "cleared" of something until their organization says they're cleared. That word, "cleared," and my interpretation of it, seems to be the crux of the beef some people had with me (especially on Eli's post). The Guardian article's headline explicitedly used that word in their headline. Headlines matter (I suspect all writers can tell a story about how a headline -- which they probably didn't even write -- has gotten their article in hot water; indeed, it's usually the very thing that makes a reader want to read the article in the first place, and may well be the only thing they remember), and the Guardian's headline gives the distinct impression Gleick was cleared of forgery by the Pacific Institute. But he wasn't -- an outside investigation found that he hadn't forged documents -- but (naturally) the PI's Board would want to review that investigation's methodology and findings (and perhaps more) before really "clearing" him of forgery. (And even then they still could have legitimately decided, perhaps on ethical grounds, to let him go.)

And let's be real: without the report, or not even knowing who did it, or without being able to talk to Gleick (I've asked), we really don't know anything at all.

That's all I have to say about this, except that I still think anonymous commenters (distinctly differentiated from anonymous sources) are meaningless -- as likely to be spreading disinformation, misinformation, or uninformation -- as information.

More interesting questions are:

  • why do the PI and Heartland Institute differ on their conclusions about the forgery? 
  • why hasn't the HI filed their threatened suit yet? It seems to me that the sooner they file it the better, given what's recently happened to their reputation. Wouldn't such a suit -- now or four weeks ago -- be a strong counterpunch? 
  • How will Peter Gleick's story be remembered by history -- as an unethical scientist, as a scientist who let his activist side get the best of him, or as someone who caused the HI to overreach and implode? History is already being (re)written -- someone I read recently (I forget who) wrote that Gleick had "risked his career" to bring down the Heartland Institute. I wonder if Gleick would agree.

19 comments:

William Connolley said...

Will they at least tell you who conducted the review?

Anonymous said...

Actions still speak louder than words. Irrespective of what side of the argument you you support, how will the public view Gleick's tactics? Will they see Gleick as a "shoot them in the back" coward too afraid to confront HI face to face in debate? Or will they see him as a crafty "Art Of War" minuteman type who out-foxed the superior opponent?

Brian said...

I've seen a lot of speculation that HI won't sue because that will allow legal discovery of embarrassing info in HI files. I think that's possibly true if they sued over the strategy document. If they skipped that suit though, and went after just the conversion (theft) claim and invasion of privacy claim for the undisputed documents, then no discovery would be required.

It's possible that they don't want to sue only over the other documents because that would be seen as admitting the strategy doc is authentic.

Dano said...

how will the public view Gleick's tactics? Will they see Gleick as a "shoot them in the back" coward too afraid to confront HI face to face in debate?

Depends upon how much money the pollution industry spends on character assassination ads. And in salary for spam bots to spread disinformation and astroturf.

Best,

D

EliRabett said...

Better said, the PI Board has concluded that Gleick has not significantly damaged the reputation of the PI or committed a crime. Therefore they have reinstated him and he may continue to represent the PI. YMMV.

The whole thing about "cleared" is a bit of a red herring.

Jack Savage said...

He has been forgiven, not "cleared". This should ensure that the reputation of the Pacific Institute follows the same death spiral as that of Prof. Gleick.
Spin it how you will, he is a liability.

David Appell said...

The PI Board has cleared Gleick of the forgery.

stevengoddard said...

If the PI board has cleared Gleick of forgery, then they must know how he came in possession of it.

It is imperative that they release this information. If they don't know who created the forgery, then their investigation is a sham, and they are as dishonest as Gleick.

Fraud and theft are A-OK at PI

David Appell said...

I have asked the PI for any evidence whatsoever to support their conclusion. They haven't returned my emails or phone call on the question.

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts about PI's not responding? One would think PI would want their evidence spread everywhere and maybe even put up on billboards. :-)

Anonymous said...

Remember Gleick? What makes you think he deserves remembering? There are less than fifty people in the entire world who are remotely interested in this story. Please try and keep a sense of perspective.

grypo said...

There should be a way to get whatever important details were found out about the provenance of the MEMO from the IEC investigation without violating any personnel confidentiality (ironically, one of Gleick's mistakes was not redacting innocent employees from his release). Couldn't there be a trusted media go-between to assist in a redacted version, or use FOIA (they do get some public funding, although convincing courts that the memo issue is important will be a tall task) to get that information and use courts a mediator? Or even write up a FOIA that Pacific might comply with?

We can't forget that Pacific Institute has valid reasons for not releasing the full report. I believe proper pressure applied in the right places can get the necessary info. I don't think whining about it, like some people are doing, is really necessary or helpful.

Any chance of this?

David Appell said...

grypo: I don't see where any of those suggestions have any chance. The PI is a private organization, period. They have a right to keep their internal affairs private just as much as you or I do....

Jack Savage said...

@David Appell

"The PI is a private organization, period. They have a right to keep their internal affairs private just as much as you or I do...."

If Dr.Gleick and YOU and others at Desmogblog etc: had remembered this, and applied it to the Heartland Institute, this little episode would never have taken place.
Oh, the irony!

Elby the Beserk said...

Why don't you pretend to be a member and get hold of what happened. If it's OK for PI, it's ok for you. After all, the ends justify the means, as we were constantly told by the EcoSaints, with regard to Gleick and Heartland.

What's sauce for the goose eh?

Dano said...

the EcoSaints

It's always good when they project and give it away.

Best,

D

David Appell said...

Jack Savage. I didn't make the HI files public. But having been made so, they are fair game.

Jack Savage said...

@David Appell

That, Sir, is a dangerous road to go down. It may just come back to haunt you one day.

David Appell said...

It's the road everyone goes down, as with the Climategate emails.