Crank of the Week - April 26, 2010 - Michael Mann
Michael Mann, the Penn State meteorology professor and global warming true believer, best known for his invention of the “hockey stick” temperature graph, is mad as hell and not going to take it any more. The globe may not be warming, but things are evidently getting too hot for Dr. Mann. After enduring university investigations, hostile questioning, legislative probes and attacks by colleagues he has had enough and is threatening to sue the makers of a satirical video that's a hit on You Tube. Look out—like mobsters on The Sopranos, the Climategate Mafia is lawyering up.
The parody video, titled “Hide the Decline,” received national attention when Rush Limbaugh played it on his radio show. Featuring a cat with a guitar, a talking tree, and a dancing figure sporting the image of Professor Mann, the catchy video has had more than 500,000 viewers on YouTube. It's the use of his image that Mann is complaining about, arguing that the video supports “efforts to sell various products and merchandise.” Is it just a funny parody or an illegal defamation? Decide for your selves.
Mann has been a leading climate change alarmists for decades and, recently, one of the central figures in the CRU climate-data scandal. His “hockey stick” graph was a key visual aid in the IPCC's AR3 report, explaining how the world is warming at an alarming rate due to the rise in human CO2 emissions. Long a highly visible climate change cheerleader, Mann is director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and a co-founder of the climate change website RealClimate.org. Unsuprisingly, his is a past Crank of the Week winner.
At the end of 2009, email stolen from a university in England were released online, revealing exchanges between climatologists and a reference to a “trick” that Mann had used to get the graph to portray what global warming scientists wanted to see. Mann rejected allegations of wrongdoing, commenting that the e-mails had been “misrepresented, cherry-picked ... [and] completely twisted to imply the opposite of what was actually being said.” Not withstanding, the revelation led to an investigation of Mann's professional conduct by Pennsylvania State University officials. A preliminary report, published in February 2010, cleared Mann of any research misconduct, though a further review is still ongoing.
“The guy is crazy to threaten legal action,” said Jeff Davis, the President of No Cap and Trade, a large organization that includes Minnesotans for Global Warming, the group Mann is threatening to sue. “A lawsuit would give us full discovery -- and there's a lot to look at in his work.” According to Davis, the video was created in the wood-warmed RV that is the “world headquarters” for Minnesotans for Global Warming and its three members, who jokingly think that Minnesota could use a little more heat.
When the first letter arrived, threatening legal action, they quickly pulled the video from You Tube and their website because they couldn't afford to defend against a lawsuit. But, as word spread of the legal threat to the creators, a number of groups, including No Cap and Trade, rallied to their defense. They even backed a newer version of the video titled “Hide the Decline II” and re-posted on You Tube and the No Cap and Trade site. Does the petulant professor have the courage to sue and open that Pandora's box? We hope so. In the mean time: Michael Mann, this Crank of the Week is all yours.