‘I Don’t Bluff’: Michael Mann’s lawyer says National Review must retract and apologize
Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann is demanding that National Review retract and apologize for a July 15 post that compared him to Jerry Sandusky, the convicted child molester and former Penn State assistant football coach.
The post in question, by Mark Steyn, accused Mann of academic fraud, dredging up a discredited charge that emerged in 2009 following the leak of emails between Mann and other scientists, which critics claimed were evidence of data manipulation. Despite the fact that almost half a dozen investigations affirmed the integrity of Mann’s research, Steyn quoted a post from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) that referred to Mann’s work as Penn State’s “other scandal,” and read:
Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.
CEI has deleted that and another sentence from its post, which was written by Rand Simberg, one of its “scholars,” calling them “inappropriate” in an editor’s note appended at the end. Steyn’s post remains unaltered, but in it he distanced himself from the Sandusky reference very slightly, writing, “Not sure I’d have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr Simberg does, but he has a point.”
In the minds of Simberg and Steyn, the numerous investigations that supported Mann were “just another cover-up and whitewash.”
In a letter sent Friday to Scott Budd, National Review’s executive publisher, Mann’s attorney, John B. Williams, called Steyn’s allegations defamatory:
“Your allegation of academic fraud is false, and was clearly made with the knowledge that it was false….” Williams wrote. “And further, you draw the insidious comparison between Dr. Mann and Jerry Sandusky, who as you point out, was recently convicted of child molestation. This reference is simply outrageous and clearly subjects your publication to a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.