Rolling news: The Daily Mail's Friday afternoon Climategate reversionising

  • 25 Nov 2011, 18:15
  • The Staff

After a relatively sensible article about the second release of emails stolen in 2009 from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit earlier in the week, the Daily Mail has let rip with a heroically silly exercise in 'live-update' journalism on its website.

Originally entitled "Second climate emails leak: Political giants weigh in on 'biased' scientists bowing to financial pressure from sponsors", the piece quotes just one ex-MP - former chancellor, Nigel Lawson, founder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. It provides a whistlestop tour of the Mail's editorial views, with climate science and policy, the BBC and UK energy and climate change minister Chris Huhne* all criticised.

It's not entirely clear what argument the piece is making, but in the first paragraph the Mail appear to believe Huhne's "weak performance" - possibly on Question Time - has inflamed a row over the email release*. They also link cite a letter Lawson wrote to Huhne in which he defends the GWPF's work and stresses the 'rudimentary' state of scientific knowledge about climate feedbacks. Lawson also extends his criticism to the BBC's scientific coverage.

The piece then replicates truncated quotes from the latest emails, apparently cherry-picked by the hacker, implicating not just the scientists but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in its allegations of climate spin. We have taken a quick look at some of these claims already, here.

The article then copies and pastes the earlier Mail piece on the subject, which has a different tone and rather more caveats. Presumably this is preparation  for a splash on the emails in the Mail on Sunday, but it does make for a rather bizarre piece.

The title also made three changes as we were writing this blog post - from 'Second climate emails leak: political giants weigh in on 'biased' scientists bowing to financial pressure from sponsors', to '...politicians weigh in...' to just changing the whole thing to 'Revealed: how climategate scientists DID collude with government officials to hide research that didn't fit their apocalyptic global warming claims'.

*Oh, and they just deleted the first paragraph about Chris Huhne.

Incidentally, gratifyingly - and just in time for the Literary Review's Bad Sex Awards this year - they refer to Phil Jones as the "director of the Climactic Research Unit". Although that will probably have changed by the time you read this. Never mind, we have screenshots.


Update: 6.15pm - The whole article has now been rewritten. Have a good weekend.


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