Friday, January 08, 2010

And, once again, AP shows it's not exactly a 'Give you the unbiased information'

media outlet; couple of long excerpts:
Take an in-depth analysis of Climategate provided by the Associated Press. The piece appeared in hundreds of publications, with many newspapers carrying it on the front page of their Sunday December 13th edition under the headline, “Science not faked, but not pretty.” The five AP-reporters interviewed three scientists about the emails, and concluded: “no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data, although concerns could be raised about some instances of very ‘generous interpretations,’” as the AP quoted Dr. Mark Frankel, director of scientific freedom, responsibility and law at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AP had provided him a copy of the emails, without any other important documents.

But we spoke with Dr. Frankel about his interview with the AP, and it appears that AP portrayed him as not too concerned about Climategate. Asked whether it was possible for him to conclude from the emails whether there was “no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data” based on the emails, Dr. Frankel replied:

No, you can’t do that on the emails alone, you can’t do it on the emails or the program. You know, you owe it to people to interview and get their responses, and you owe it to people to ask people within the discipline, other scientists within that discipline, you know what are the expected practices, forms, etcetera in your field. And that takes a little bit of time, I mean that’s why these investigations often take a long time and that you involve experts who know that scientific field.

When pushed further, “Just trying to clarify that you couldn’t make an answer as to whether there was evidence of falsification or fabrication of data,” Dr. Frankel said:

No, I couldn’t make it on the basis of what I’ve seen, and I consider myself to pretty much be an expert in areas of research misconduct. However, I’m not in the area of climate change, so clearly whoever was doing the investigation would have to be sufficiently… have sufficient expertise as resources in order to carry out this investigation.

He also supported the investigations that had been started at Penn State University and the University of East Anglia, though he suggested that those outside the universities should themselves closely study the investigations:
There is a big difference between saying that there isn’t sufficient evidence to determine if falsification of data occurred, and that there should be an investigation, and concluding, as the AP did: “Science not faked.”
Why yes, there is!

About the words of Prof. Dan Sarewitz:
The AP quotes him as saying: “This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds.” It uses the quote to minimize worries. But our interview suggests his quote was hardly a defense of what transpired, but rather a warning that politics infecting science is all too common and that non-scientists have a too idealized a view of science. “All I’ll say is that you know based on what I’ve seen of the emails it sounds like nasty science politics. And it’s not uncommon in science,” he said. Dr. Sarewitz indicated that these biases undoubtedly affected both sides of the debate and that it is proper for reporters to ask scientists in these controversial areas about their political affiliations, and noted for the record that he is a liberal Democrat.

Further along,
There were other concerns with the piece. As for Professor Mann’s and others’ attempts to punish academic journals that published skeptical research seems defended by the AP: “That skeptical study turned out to be partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute.” However, the AP fails to bring up that Mann and others who were pushing global warming similarly received funding from organizations that support claims about man-made global warming.
Just like they don't like mentioning the CRU gets funding from Shell and British Petroleum...

And finally, on one of the reporters giving us this article:
Finally, one of the reporters, Seth Borenstein, the AP science reporter who writes on global warming and the lead author on the piece being discussed here, is part of the Climategate story itself. There is a question about whether he should have rescued himself from investigating the story. The last sentence of the 1,800 word AP piece acknowledges: “The archive also includes a request from an AP reporter, one of the writers of this story, for reaction to a study, a standard step for journalists seeking quotes for their stories.” But Borenstein’s email is hardly a neutral “standard step for journalists.” Borenstein criticizes Marc Morano, a critic of man-made global warming claims, of “hyping wildly” the study that Borenstein was asking for comments on. The email looks as if Borenstein was working with others involved in Climategate to discredit critics of man-made global warming.

Yeah, that's the media we've come to distrust and- all too often- despise.

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