Archive for July 2012
Chronicle of Higher Ed to Its Bloggers: Feel Free to Disparage Climate Science but not Black Studies
Yesterday, I wrote about the inappropriate blog post by Peter Wood appearing under the banner of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Woods’ post equated the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal to the email investigation of noted climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann conducted by Penn State. I asked my readers to send letters to CHE requesting a retraction and public apology. Here is the message sent by Chronicle President and Editor-in-Chief Philip Semas to some who sent letters:
Thank you for your message. As we clearly state on every blog post, posting on a blog does imply any endorsement of these views by The Chronicle. We publish a wide range of views in a wide range of formats, from opinion articles in print to blog posts to comments from readers. We couldn’t possible agree with or endorse all of them.
We also offer ample opportunity for readers to respond to and criticize opinion articles and blog posts (and indeed almost anything we publish). Indeed, Peter Wood’s post has, at last count, drawn 71 comments, many of which are critical of what he said about Michael Mann. Some make many of the same points you make in your message.
In other words, I think your quarrel is with Mr. Wood, not The Chronicle.
Well, there are two problems with his claims.
- The CHE banner waves proudly above his post and on the bottom of page of Wood’s post we see the CHE copyright both of which certainly give the appearance that CHE owns and endorses this piece.
- In May 2012, The Chronicle fired Naomi Riley for writing The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations so apparently CHE does not tolerate attacks on some disciplines but does with others. Why the double standard?
With regard to point #2, The Chronicle posted A Note to Readers to apologize stating:
When we published Naomi Schaefer Riley’s blog posting on Brainstorm last week (“The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations”), several thousand of you spoke out in outrage and disappointment that The Chronicle had published an article that did not conform to the journalistic standards and civil tone that you expect from us.
We’ve heard you, and we have taken to heart what you said.
We now agree that Ms. Riley’s blog posting did not meet The Chronicle’s basic editorial standards for reporting and fairness in opinion articles. As a result, we have asked Ms. Riley to leave the Brainstorm blog. Since Brainstorm was created five years ago, we have sought out bloggers representing a range of intellectual and political views, and we have allowed them broad freedom in topics and approach. As part of that freedom, Brainstorm writers were able to post independently; Ms. Riley’s post was not reviewed until after it was posted.
Scientists, health officials, military and intelligence experts, and the insurance industry keep warning us about the coming crisis that is climate change. Increased droughts, heat waves, fires, floods, famine, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification, all of which have been predicted for many years are now happening and many are suffering – particularly those in poorer nations who did little to create the crisis.
One must feel sad that The Chronicle of Higher Education has handed a megaphone to a factually challenged ideologue who, like many others, is obstructing scientific progress by attacking our experts. I again encourage you to send a letter to Philip Semas (contact page) asking him to uphold the mission of The Chronicle as a source of informed information.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
Appearing below is my letter of complaint sent to Philip Semas, President and Editor in Chief of Chronicle of Higher Education. I urge all of you to also send a letter or email message (CHE contact information). We must not allow scientists to be attacked, especially in a highly respected venue such as CHE. Consider the words of Edmund Burke above and act.
Why has Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) allowed one of its bloggers, Peter Wood, to smear noted climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann? Woods’ latest post, “A Culture of Evasion”, quite inappropriately compares Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child rape case with that of its investigation of stolen emails that included messages from Dr. Mann. (Previous posts by Wood also maligning Dr. Mann include “Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism” and “Climate Thuggery”.) Multiple international investigations, including one from the National Science Foundation, have carefully reviewed Dr. Mann’s email messages and have found no misconduct whatsoever. (For more on these investigations see http://bit.ly/hxdKKJ)
It is clear that Peter Wood finds addressing human-caused climate change inconvenient to his world-view and he hopes that somewhere in Dr. Mann’s emails there might be proof that the world is not rapidly warming so we will not need to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions. I wonder if Peter Wood also thinks a careful perusal of Sir Isaac Newton’s personal letters might end up disproving gravity thus allowing us to fly without spending money for an airplane ticket?
I have no issue with CHE allowing him to display his lack of understanding of well-understood science on CHE’s blog. After all, we are all entitled to our own opinions no matter how wrong they are and commenters on his blog have repeatedly tried to educate Mr. Wood about the settled fact of global warming. Isn’t that what the E in CHE is all about?
What is not acceptable is for CHE to allow Peter Wood or any other author to smear a well-respected scientist because of the writer’s political beliefs. It must be quite embarrassing to CHE that one of its bloggers is using a child rape case to achieve political ends and doing so under the mantle of CHE. CHE can repair the damage by immediately removing the article, admonishing Peter Wood, and issuing a public apology to Dr. Mann.
Scott A. Mandia, Professor/Asst. Chair – Physical Sciences
T-202 Smithtown Science Bldg.
Suffolk County Community College
533 College Road
Selden, NY 11764