The Fight Over The News Window–Willie Soon vs. Rajendra Pachauri


It’s pretty easy to identify those who have chosen sides in the climate wars. Those railing against Willie Soon for non-disclosure of funding sources have adopted the Consensus point of view, while those highlighting Rajendra Pachauri’s resignation on charges of sexual harassment are arrayed against the consensus.

Mainstream media are obliged to acknowledge what’s happening on the other side–The Guardian, a staunch defender of the consensus, did print a story on Rajendra Pachauri and Fox News has covered the Soon controversy. But story emphasis, sources quoted and number of pieces written (or broadcast) make it easy to see.

Bloggers are more transparent. We have been pretty much frozen into our positions for years and I can’t think of a single blogger who has changed their point of view since they began using Web 2.0 to put their ideas out there.

The same is (mostly) true of readers, of course. Those who come to the blogosphere without an informed opinion seem to make up their minds pretty fast and become fans of a certain circle of blogs.

As a Lukewarmer I’m somewhat distanced from the poles of opinion. I think every scientist should disclose funding sources, but at the end of the day it’s the science that matters–if it’s valid, it’s valid no matter who paid for it.

Sexual harassment needs to be treated severely–not because of it being the most heinous crime (surely murder, rape and robbery are worse) but because it is still so prevalent. Its corrosive effects on the victims can last for decades and many careers have been abandoned because of it. It is serious and when the powerful, such as Dominique Strauss Kahn and Rajendra Pachauri are charged with it, we need to make sure the charges are investigated thoroughly.

As it happens, I don’t think Willie Soon is right regarding the influence solar variation has on our climate. As it happens, I think Rajendra Pachauri should have been booted from office for earlier misdeeds and for inattention to the office he held.

As it happens, I think the media fuss over each of them tells us more about the media (and about us) than it does about Soon or Pachauri.

Which means we have all been sucked into another media moment of intense interest that will be forgotten by next week. Have I played a part in all this? yeah, I have. Sorry!

6 responses to “The Fight Over The News Window–Willie Soon vs. Rajendra Pachauri

  1. Tom:
    As it happens, I got sucked into the Wilie Soon funding/disclosure brouhaha in my role as a Wikipedia climate-skeptical editor: (scroll to near the bottom)

    FWIW, it looks to me like reporter Justin Gillis of the NY Times didn’t do his homework, and gave way too much credence to Greenpeace’s long-running campaign/vendetta against Dr. Soon. For the scale of this, have a look at Wow, just… wow.

    And for the NYT’s misstep, and lazy misreporting, see

    A sad episode, especially when a reputable newspaper falls for vindictive hackwork. Lots of copycat crapola cover stories and dung like “Leading Climate Denier and Harvard Scientist Took $1.2 Million Bribe From Oil Companies” — which someone snuck into the WP article (I took it out).

    Best, Pete Tillman

  2. pdtillman,
    You are discussing the deceptive and lazy reporting (hit piece) on Dr. Soon. You mention the NYT and then you talk about how sad it is for a reputable newspaper to fall for this. What is the reputable newspaper you had in mind? I only saw the mention of the WP and the NYT and neither of them have been reputable for quite some time.

    • 🙂 I’ve written for satellites of both WP and NYT. You don’t want to see how the sausage is made, but there are many, many good people working for both organizations. Infallible? Heck no. Reputable? Yeah, I think so. Hunter, which news organization(s) (if any) do you consider reputable?

      FWIW, I think one of the best is the Christian Science Monitor.

      • Tom,
        That is a good question. I am not feeling too optimistic these days so I am not able to actually name a large media outlet that I think is reputable. The corruption that has allowed things like “climate” to become as toxic and damaging as it has is not at all isolated. Large media is oligarchic and intertwined rather badly. Not a healthy condition.

      • Well, I guess that’s why blogs are still popular… even if people are starting to say they’re archaic.

      • Twitter seems to be taking over. I have not studied it enough to “get it”. I like the format of a blog- each person publishing their thoughts in a linear and contextual manner.

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