Friday, March 28, 2014

FiveThirtyEight Apologizes On Behalf Of Controversial Climate Science Writer

This Just In:

"Two prominent climate scientists say Roger Pielke Jr., a controversial writer at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, sent emails threatening possible legal action in response to their criticism of his findings for the data-driven news site.

"Pielke says it's "ridiculous" to characterize the emails as threats against Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. FiveThirtyEight, however, apologized to both men."

In an email to HuffPost, Mann said Pielke sent him "a threatening email in response to my fair criticism of his piece." Mann added that a representative from FiveThirtyEight contacted him and offered "an apology for what they characterized as unacceptable behavior by Pielke.”

Mann declined to make Pielke's email public, but told HuffPost that he viewed it as a "thinly veiled" threat of legal action.

In an email to HuffPost, Trenberth said Pielke contacted him and his bosses following the ThinkProgress report. Trenberth said he also received an apology from FiveThirtyEight.
Trenberth said he considered Pielke's email "a threat to me.”

“He was very accusatory and threatened me if I did not respond,” Trenberth told HuffPost.

Trenberth forwarded the text of the email to HuffPost. Pielke wrote that Trenberth had "made some pretty coarse and perhaps even libelous comments" in the ThinkProgress article. Pielke requested that Trenberth correct his public claims and noted that "an apology would be nice also."

"Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology," Pielke wrote to Trenberth and his bosses. "If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further. More generally, in the future how about we agree to disagree over scientific topics like gentlemen?"


J Melcher said...

"Mann declined to make Pielke's email public,"

Which is, if nothing else, consistent.

... " but told HuffPost that he [Mann] viewed it as a 'thinly veiled' threat of legal action. "

And Mann, if anyone, has the experience to view such things clearly, however veiled.

The word THREAT, however, has certain legalistic technical meanings well established in case law. Much like, just for instance, FRAUD. Were a malicious person attempting to bait a victim into over-reaching, that person might portray the (perhaps what a jury might agree to describe as) "complaint" as a (what the jury might agree is a distortion) "thret".

Were millions of dollars worth of legal aid available to both sides to litigate such matters, they might eventually be resolved. As is, we all will be left to wonder.

David Appell said...

Melcher: You have no idea what email Mann received, do you?

Do you?

Funny how you're so able to judge it, without having seen it.

PS: You are on very thin ground here. Your comments are very weak, and won't be published without supporting evidence. Your final warning.