Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Chronicle of Higher Ed to Its Bloggers: Feel Free to Disparage Climate Science but not Black Studies

with 5 comments

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

5 Responses

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  1. We went through this last year with Peter Wood and CHE.
    See Guest Post: Bottling Nonsense, Misusing a Civil Platform.

    John Mashey

    July 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm

  2. I have sent the following letter to C.H.E.:

    ATTN: Phil Semas, President and Editor-in-Chief, the Chronicle of Higher Education


    I write regarding Peter Woods’ “A culture of evasion” as it appeared at

    Whatever Woods’ purpose, surely the whitewashing of the horrific Sandusky criminal behavior was sufficient to prove his case regarding the malfeasance of the administration of the Pennsylvania State University. I do not know much about the Spanier’s failure to disclose salaries of public employees, but tossing the disproven inquisition of the noble Professor Michael Mann onto the pyre is nothing less than character smearing and assassination, as well as endorsing horrible logic. Doing so strips the Chronicle of any pretense of representing “Higher Education”.

    There are at least two fallacies in Woods’ piece: Administrative accusations are not the same as guilt, especially ones determined by process to be rejected. And that Professor Mann was exonerated by a tainted administration does not make his being cleared of administrative charges false. The Chronicle should be capable of basic reasoning, whatever its poor status in our enfeebled polity.

    Also, the charges brought against Professor Mann can, in retrospect, be surely seen as an inquisition and ill-motivated, whether considering the findings of subsequent criminal investigations judging their basic evidence (the professional hacking of the Climatic Research Unit emails), or the highly successful results of projections and a line of climate research Professor Mann and others pioneered.

    By failing to be a proper Editor, you implicitly endorsed this bad logic and form. It is not simply someone’s free expression that you allowed, but gross, harmful error, damaging to the principles for which higher education exists.

    You owe your readership a retraction, an apology to Professor Mann, and an admission that your publication of this piece endorses bad logic, bad form, and unreasoned, populist attack. You have done so in the past. You owe the readership and Professor Mann one this time.

    – Jan Galkowski, Class of 1976G, MIT,
    Westwood, MA.

    Mandia: Thank you!


    July 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm

  3. Dear Readers:

    I will be posting agin on this matter soon at a major blog. if you sent a letter to CHE please forward to me.

    Scott Mandia

    August 18, 2012 at 10:50 am

  4. As we clearly state on every blog post, posting on a blog does imply any endorsement of these views by The Chronicle.

    Wait, what? Does it, or doesn’t it?


    October 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

  5. […] Mandia accuses Chronicle of Higher Ed to Its Bloggers: Feel Free to Disparage Climate Science but not Black Studies. This is in reference to Mann suing the National Review for libel (see, e.g. DA or BA). The Chron […]

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