It's so unfair.
Malicious bullets fired by the global warmists’ guns
In response to accusations he had misquoted John Houghton, Piers Akerman did the right thing and made a call to International Rescue. It worked:
"Unfortunately for The Independent, Crikey and the ABC, my call to international scientists has borne fruit.
Yesterday I was forwarded an article published in The Sunday Telegraph (UK) on September 10, 1995, in which Houghton told writer Frances Welch: “If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.”"
This is indeed unfortunate for the Independent. It's tragic in fact. Here we have a different quote with different meaning to the one Houghton never made. But if we really want to - if we close our eyes and really wish - we can imagine that perhaps the misquote was just a paraphrase of this quote. A slight paraphrase in fact.
"How that remark came to be slightly paraphrased in the quotation sent to me we shall probably never know. It’s possible that someone, somewhere in cyberspace tidied up Houghton’s original remark before including it in the material which was sent to me. That sort of thing occurs in the blogosphere."
Akerman gives the blogosphere the credit it deserves, but strangely he claims we will never know how the quotation was paraphrased. If he consulted a Blog Scientist such as myself he could have found out.
The Blog Science technique of "tidying up" quotes - an example
Take what John Houghton actually said in 1995:
"If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident."
This is quite boring. He's claiming humans won't act until it's too late. We could indeed paraphrase him as saying such. But that's not blog science. That's just telling people what John Houghton said, which would be alarmist. No we need to tidy up his words before we can discredit him and the science. Let me tidy up his words a bit so that it sounds like Houghton is advocating lying:
"Unless we announce disasters no one will listen"
There we go. Now it's blog post material.
True to form, The Independent ran Connor’s story which said I had not responded to his queries and, just as reliably, two left-leaning Australian organisations eagerly followed, convinced that they could discredit first me and, more generally, the convincing argument against global warming theorists.
So Conner misquoted Akerman. Typical! Misquoting people is a grave journalistic malpractice. But in Conner's defense perhaps he had simply tidied up Ackerman's words and was just slightly paraphrasing Ackerman.
Even worse we find out that other media outlets eagerly parroted the Independent's story! And it was all done to discredit an individual and discredit scientific arguments! I am glad us skeptics never stoop to such low practices.
Connor was playing ambush journalism and Houghton had never and still has not contacted me.
Ambush journalism? How typical! Fortunately Ackerman knows Ambush Journalism when he see's it. Skeptics would never resort to such a thing.
Houghton hasn't contacted Akerman which technically means he wasn't misquoted and Akerman is off the hook. I mean if you were egregiously misquoted and smeared by a journalist, wouldn't you be just dying to have a phone conversation with them? In journalism if you can misquote someone without them finding out, that's fine.
The ABC’s MediaWatch was next with a piece in which The Independent’s claim it had received no response from me was repeated.
That was patently false but then The Independent was not interested in accuracy. It was interested in discrediting me
Indeed and accuracy is of course very important. Journalists shouldn't be allowed to get away with patently false claims. Akerman is on the ball here.
his agenda was clearly to discredit the messenger (me) and, through that, strike a blow for the warmists, those who have been distorting and withholding data, manipulating scientific evidence and falsifying reports.
Discrediting messengers is bad, yet that is just the kind of behavior that mad "scientist" James Hansen would resort to.
The little Crikey website had a defamatory reference to The Independent and me, clearly unsupported by any research.
Defamatory statements? Statements unsupported by any research? Who would ever print such things? Certainly not Ackerman. Only those bastard warmist rags.
As it happens however, Houghton has made numerous remarks about catastrophic events that would flow from global warming, all of them now found to be baseless, and there is every likelihood that he wishes he never made them. When I read the material on Houghton sent to me, I believed it because it was entirely at one with the quote he gave The Guardian when he equated global warming with WMD in a piece it published on July 28, 2003.
We know what Houghton thinks so we should be allowed to put words in his mouth.
If The Independent, Crikey and the ABC had done some research they would have found the remark ascribed to Houghton which I was given was so little different to what was published 11 years earlier as to make their claims totally misplaced and devoid of anything but malice.
Ackerman is right. Journalists really should research quotes before publishing them.