Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is Jonathan Leake the Whipping Boy for the "Princes" at the U.K. Times?

"The [Press Complaints] commission is notoriously reluctant to rule against a newspaper, but [Dr. Simon] Lewis's submission [here] was incontestable. To avoid an adverse ruling, the Sunday Times had no option but to publish a total retraction of its story, on page 2 of last Sunday's edition. In doing so it was obliged to admit that the paper's account – and by inference [Richard] North's almost identical treatment – was rubbish from top to toe. The deniers' greatest triumph has turned into a total rout.

But the interesting question is how the Sunday Times messed up so badly. I spent much of yesterday trying to get some sense out of the paper, without success. But after 25 years in journalism it looks pretty obvious to me that Jonathan Leake has been wrongly blamed for this, then hung out to dry. My guess is that someone else at the paper, acting on instructions from an editor, got hold of Leake's copy after he had submitted it, and rewrote it, drawing on North's post, to produce a different – and more newsworthy – story. If this is correct, it suggests that Leake is carrying the can for an editor's decision. The Sunday Times has made no public attempt to protect him: it looks to me like corporate cowardice."--George Monbiot for the U.K. Guardian (6-24-10)

The wonderful George Monbiot, a journalist for the U.K. Guardian (6-24-10), describes the events that caused the U.K. Times to retract its false story about the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Monbiot thinks that Jonathan Leake, the "author" of the Times story, may be the "whipping boy" for some prince at the Times. He also describes how the global warming denialists are being hoist on their own petards.

George Monbiot eats the denialists' lunch with some fava beans and a nice chianti in the U.K. Guardian (6-24-10):

It's a distressing sight but we'll have to get used to it: most of the world's prominent climate change deniers skewered on their own sword.

The weapon which has turned so cruelly against them is the revelation, paraded in triumph by the egregious fabulist Richard North in January, that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had "grossly exaggerated the effects of global warming on the Amazon rainforest...

Other deniers, being the herd animals we know and love, leapt on his claims and bore them off, cackling with delight, without apparently pausing for a moment to check them.

In the Telegraph, James Delingpole, who seldom misses an opportunity to make an idiot of himself, announced that these revelations meant:

"AGW [anthropogenic global warming] theory is toast. So's Dr Rajendra Pachauri. So's the Stern review. So's the credibility of the IPCC."

In reality, as we will see, it's Delingpole's beliefs on climate change that the story has reduced to toast.

Like the hundreds of others who fell head first into this trap, he should have been more cautious. Richard North is our old friend Christopher Booker's long-term collaborator, and between them they are responsible for more misinformation than any other living journalists. You could write a book about the stories they have concocted, almost all of which fall apart on the briefest examination.This one was no exception (Read the whole delicious skewering!)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's an interesting idea you have about Leake being thrown under the bus. Since the anti science crowd has their conspiracy nonsense we could come up with ours and see if Inohofe makes another list.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

Thanks for commenting.

This is Monbiot's idea. I think he has a point beause Leake read his whole article to Dr. Lewis and then changed it.

3:59 AM  

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