The Independent censored comment from climate scientist

A letter to the online editor of The Independent exposes a selective censorship of comments that are deemed to be embarrassing for that paper’s staff – in this case the science editor, Steve Connor.

Following publication of the email exchange between Connor and the eminent scientist Professor Freeman Dyson, covered by this blog, a climate scientist, Terri Jackson, submitted a comment that countered several of the assertions made by Connor.  The strength of feeling is clear from the introduction in the letter:

Dear Mr King

As a climate scientist I am writing personally to you as the online editor to strongly object to the blocking of my comments regarding the conversation by your science editor Mr Connor with Professor Dyson. My comments sent last night were phrased in very reasonable and temperature language and highlighted the serious and very misleading mistakes given by Mr Connor.

You can read Terri Jackson’s letter in full on Climate Realists, in which Jackson refutes a number of Connor’s central arguments used in an attempt to coax Dyson into attacking the theory of AGW.  Like Dyson, Jackson has little time for the bias in the Independent’s reporting of climate science matters, and says:

Is the Independent on a political crusade? It is high time that you started to report the facts, that human based carbon dioxide in the atmosphere poses no climate threat and that the majority of graduate scientists do not accept this unproven theory regardless of what certain scientific institutions may say.

It’s pretty uncompromising stuff.  The Independent’s decision to block the original criticism of Connor from wider view by the public demonstrates it’s lack of objectivity and impartiality.  Like all other media, it puts its own agenda above serving the interests of the public. The Independent – you might be, but it isn’t.

5 Responses to “The Independent censored comment from climate scientist”


  1. 1 Junkk Male 28/02/2011 at 7:14 am

    As one discovers too often these days, there are certain conceits that do still pervade mindsets that one may have thought had long learned unfortunate lessons of history.

    Too often I am seeing way too senior folk, from Heads of Universities to apologists for tribal media, attempt to justify censorship in justification of propaganda, based on no more than ‘it must be… because we think it to be so’.

    And when this patently ridiculous notion can be shown to be flawed, false or without foundation, the resort is obliterate any inconvenient counters to the narrative, now matter who clam or well portrayed, then hold their breath until they turn blue and, at best, hope to keep it up until things ‘move on’.

    In the wrongs hands, the edit suite is a truly dangerous place. At least, for democracy and free speech.

    But the internet has meant that these dinosaurs are immediately exposed and pursued relentlessly. Good. And their only ‘defence’ seems to be more of the same, whilst getting a colleague to pen a piece in another section about how bloggers are not ‘real’ reporters. Rather missing the point that folk actually prefer some actual facts if they are being served opinion, or no more than a retyped press release. It takes longer to spin up perhaps, lacking the immediacy of a national broadcast or print (or, worse, broadcast of minority print) audience in a 24/7 news cycle, but often the slow burn can lead to a longer-lasting, more intense and effective fire.

    My faith in the BBC was rocked over the Climategate emalls, especially the coining of the term ‘watertight oversight’ for what was no more than a news blackout on a topic that seemed under full control of a selective club until that point. For an outfit that would headline a Wikileak wild claim in a heartbeat to suddenly discover journalistic rigour so selectively this was hard to stomach. Richard Black is still running with the hack claim as gospel even now, when to the best of my knowledge this is, at best, unknown.

    So to the famous hilarious uses of language we are now subject to from certian quarters that seem devoted adherents to the ‘tell a lie often enough’ quarter of the MSM,joining BBC’s Helen Boaden’s ‘genetic impartiality’ and the Guardian’s ‘Comment is free’, we can now add the title of a paper that attempts to claim it is ‘Independent’.

  2. 2 Bunyip 28/02/2011 at 2:18 pm

    While England has trumped Australia at cricket, to my countrypersons’ great shame, the online censorship of troublesome opinions is a field in which we continue to lead not just England but the world. In regard to climate change, the taxpayers’ Australian Broadcasting Commission habitually impales dissent and counterargument on the moderator’s spike. And at the Fairfax press, where ardent warmism is a prerequisite for all environmental reporters, AGW critics are banished absolutely from the opinion pages as their supporters are scratched from online threads.

    Indeed, warmism is so entrenched that the Sunday Age of Melbourne’s state parliamentary correspondent, Ms Melissa Fyfe, recently jogged down the east coast of the continent to “raise awareness of climate change”. The newspaper continues to shed readers and advertisers, and the editors continue to wonder why.
    This is genuinely surprising, as their powers of perception are sotherwise acute to discern a definite relationship between CO2 and temperature that escapes so many others.

    No doubt, if a billion-or-so dollars in grants were to be made available, those soon-to-be-unemployed climate catastrophists at our research institutions could switch their attention to explaining why a once-sensible newspaper has insisted on pursuing such a suicidal course.

  3. 4 microdave 28/02/2011 at 10:00 pm

    I’ve said a few words and linked here. Max has also “tweaked” the Independent front page, to more accurately reflect their editorial stance. I hope you approve!

    http://www.maxfarquar.com/2011/02/independent.html

  4. 5 Steve 01/03/2011 at 7:18 pm

    I think that Terri Jackson seems to be the one on the political crusade having tried to confuse people.

    “It is simply wrongfor Mr Connor to say that present carbon dioxide levels are probably at their highest level for 800 000 years. In fact it is total nonsense. The Cambrian era had carbon levels 20 times what they are today”

    It’s not “total nonsense” since the Cambrian era was over 500 million years ago. Pointing this out is apparently “splitting hairs”! Half a billion years is a long hair. Perhaps Terri should also study astrophysics where she will learn that a main sequence star like the Sun was probably 5% less bright 500 million years ago. That seems like a potential explanation for the apparent temperature discrepancy.

    “The IPCC has also ignored the ocean bed volcanoes which emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the oceans, oceans which contain at least 60 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere.”

    Is Jackson claiming that the volcanoes are responsible for all the CO2 in the atmosphere, or is this an inappropriate linking of two separate claims. The first claim is false, the second irrelevant.

    “I also pointed out that the residence time for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is only about five years”

    Again misleading. A given CO2 molecule may reside for 5 years in the atmosphere before being inhaled or absorbed by the ocean, but if you increase CO2 percentage by a certain amount then it would take decades to hundreds of years for CO2 levels to return to balance.

    Possibly the Independent realised that Jackson was merely reciting some anti-scientific memes as part of her political crusade.


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