04 August 2010

Romm on the Attack

[UPDATE 8/13: I see that Clive Crook has revised his posts that Joe Romm complained about. I wonder if Romm will be satisfied?  I'd guess not.]

Joe Romm is going after Clive Crook, a senior editor of The Atlantic, a columnist for National Journal, and a commentator for the Financial Times.  In a venting that is extreme even for Romm, he demands that Crook be sued and fired -- and calls for an email campaign to the Atlantic.  I've never met Crook, but I have long found his political arguments to be cogent and well worth reading.  I have also had my experiences with Joe Romm.  So, I am not surprised at what I found when I looked into this issue.

Here are Crook's two "libelous" offenses according to Romm:

First, Romm accuses Crook of "fabricating a quote" when Crook wrote of the Penn State investigation of Michael Mann that:
Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for “lack of credible evidence“, it will not even investigate them.
What did the inquiry actually report on the "three of four allegations" (here in PDF)?
Finding #1: ". . . no credible evidence . . ."
Finding #2: ". . . no credible evidence . . ."
Finding #3: ". . . no credible evidence . . ."
Crook should have put the quote mark before "credible" rather than "lack of."  There was no substantive harm done.  A firing offense?  Get real.

Second, and I don't even understand this one, Romm accuses Crook of falsely associating Mann with the infamous "trick" and "hide the decline" comments from the East Anglia emails.  Why Romm thinks this is a fabrication is beyond me as it was the Penn State investigation that correctly associated Mann with these phrases (here in PDF):
[I]n instances that have been focused upon by some as indicating falsification of data, for example in the use of a “trick” to manipulate the data, this is explained as a discussion among Dr. Jones and others including Dr. Mann about how best to put together a graph for a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report. They were not falsifying data; they were trying to construct an understandable graph for those who were not experts in the field. The so-called “trick” was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.
Whatever you think about the East Anglia emails, for Crook to write about Mann being involved in the discussion about the "trick" and "hide the decline" is perfectly proper.  It isn't the first time Romm has made stuff in order to attack someone.  I know a bit about that.

In short, Romm's attack is unhinged and bizarre.  More than any individual -- James Inhofe and Marc Morano included -- Joe Romm is responsible for creating a poisonous, negative atmosphere in the climate debate.  Responsible voices should say so, this nonsense has gone on long enough.