On February 18, the Department of Commerce released the results of yet another independent investigation into the “Climategate” nontroversy, and again (as in the previous four investigations by various agencies) the climate scientists involved were totally cleared of wrongdoing.
The latest redundant investigation was requested by arch climate denier Sen. James Inhofe, who promptly ignored its conclusions and went right back to raving about evil tricksy scientists.
Here’s a good piece by David Roberts at Grist, looking back at this appalling right wing attempt to discredit the science of climate change: What we have and haven’t learned from ‘Climategate’.
It’s a numbingly familiar pattern in media coverage. The conservative movement that’s been attacking climate science for 20 years has a storied history of demonstrable fabrications, distortions, personal attacks, and nothingburger faux-scandals — not only on climate science, but going back to asbestos, ozone, leaded gasoline, tobacco, you name it. They don’t follow the rigorous standards of professional science; they follow no intellectual or ethical standards whatsoever. Yet no matter how long their record of viciousness and farce, every time the skeptic blogosphere coughs up a new “ZOMG!” it’s as though we start from zero again, like no one has a memory longer than five minutes.
Here’s the basic question: At this point, given their respective accomplishments and standards, wouldn’t it make sense to give scientists the strong benefit of the doubt when they are attacked by ideologues with a history of dishonesty and error? Shouldn’t the threshold for what counts as a “scandal” have been nudged a bit higher?