By Robert Wallace
Andrew Revkin, who works for the New York Times, has a blog post discussing the release of the hacked global warming emails from East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. In his piece he states:
I have a story in The Times on the incident and its repercussions, which continue to unfold. But there’s much more to explore, of course (including several references to me). The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.
Get that? If documents may have been acquired illegally and were not intended to be public, then the New York Times won’t make the documents available. Jonathan Adler notes at The Volokh Conspiracy that this must be a new policy:
Am I wrong in thinking that this is a change in policy for the NYT? Hasn’t the Grey Lady published illegally obtained documents on national security and other matters in the past?
Among the more famous instances would be the NYTs release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. On the front page. Keep in mind that the Pentagon Papers was a military study on Vietnam that was classified top secret and not intended for release. That would seem to fit the NYT’s criteria, wouldn’t? You could find plenty of additional examples. Important stories often involve information that is not intended for public conception, and often the acquisition of such information is a murky legal matter. But – as in the case of the Pentagon Papers – the NYT has often been willing to risk the legal ramifications.
But not in this case.
Revkin has apparently taken some heat for his original piece because he has updated it twice. In the first update he wrote:
The line above has been widely interpreted below and around the Web as implying that The Times is laying off looking into these documents even as the paper has been quick to publish or report on other documents of uncertain provenance. A quick scan of the original news story and these posts shows that we’re actively reporting on and citing these documents. And of course there’s more to come.
So – after flaunting their obvious double standard – we’re supposed to rest easy that the NYT is on the case. Yeah, right.
Then in the second update he wrote:
Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post explores some email exchanges criticizing certain peer-reviewed papers and journals and focused on excluding the papers from inclusion in the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change report. I’m running down tips and assertions related to the theft and hackings. It remains interesting that before they were placed on an ftp site and dispersed across the Internet, someone tried to plant them on Realclimate.org and publish a mock post linking to them.
See? We can trust the NYT to be so on-the-ball that when evidence surfaces that global warming defenders have been attempting to subvert the peer-review process by intimidating journal editors the NYT will ignore that and instead focus on the evil villain who brought this evidence to light. An evil villain – it turns out – that was quite possibly an internal whistle-blower and not an outside hacker. Adler points out that the emails in question were the subject of a Freedom of Information request. Rather than comply, the scientists began to delete their emails. As Adler states the whistle-blowing, “may have been due to the CRU’s denial of legitimate FOI requests.”
When the NYT can find a “whistle-blower” to reveal the inside scoop on government programs that make this country safer, they are very concerned with protecting their informant and publishing all the info. But in this case the NYT has no interest in the corruption of the peer-review process, the intimidation of journal editors, the evasion of an FOI request, or the deletion of requested info, and rather than protecting the potential whistle-blower, they are out to get him or her.
It must be nice to have such a convenient conscience.
Robert Wallace is classical liberal studying economics in graduate school. He and his wife work as business analysis consultants, and they live as undercover conservatives with their two small children in a socialist bastion of a college town. He has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.