As I mentioned on yesterday's show, there has been a significant development in Mann vs Steyn. For those new to this case, there's a whole book about it. But, to summarize, Mann is the climate ayatollah who created the global-warming hockey stick showing that nothing of any interest happened in the world's climate until a little over a century ago, at which point your great-grampa climbed into his Model T and the world started to burn. The hockey stick is total bollocks, but it was taken up by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and in the early years of this millennium was the single most influential graph of our time.
For the entirety of the twenty-first century, I've been saying as much in The Sunday Telegraph of London, The National Post of Canada, The Australian, Maclean's and various other places. Then I wrote a 270-word blog post for National Review, and Mann decided to sue. That was eight years ago. The first two trial judges have retired without getting the thing anywhere near going to trial. Now, and in splendid contrast, their successor Judge Jennifer Anderson seems keen to get on with it. Unlike her predecessors, she's focusing the case on its essentials. As she put it in her October 2019 Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery Against Mark Steyn:
The main idea of Defendant [Steyn]'s article is the inadequate and ineffective investigations conducted by Pennsylvania State University into their employees, including Jerry Sandusky and Plaintiff [Michael E Mann].
Indeed. In that respect, I regard Penn State as the South Yorkshire Police of the Eastern Seaboard. It was no surprise a fortnight or so back to find PSU trousering 55 mil from the phony-baloney "stimulus" while across the land laid-off hairdressers and waitresses are still waiting for their lousy twelve-hundred bucks.
This week Judge Anderson further focused the case. Responding to a motion by my co-defendants the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Rand Simberg, the Court has now ordered Mann to cough up his income records from 2007 along with any evidence of reputational damage. If m'learned friends will forgive a zippy generalization, when you sue for defamation, there are various kinds of damages: "Defamation per se" commands damages in and of itself without evidence of actual losses; on the other hand, compensatory damages requires evidence that you lost 27 grand here and 49 bucks there. Mann had argued that, as he was claiming defamation per se, he didn't need to show evidence of monetary loss. Judge Anderson has now reminded him that that's not what his statement of claim actually says:
Plaintiff [Mann] is, in fact, seeking compensatory damages that require proof. At the end of the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff "demands judgment against Defendants for compensatory damage in an amount to be proven at trial." (Amend. Compl. at 25.) In each paragraph that alleges damages, Plaintiff states "as a proximate result of the aforementioned statements, Dr. Mann has suffered and continues to suffer damages in an amount to be determined at trial" (Amend. Compl. ¶ 56, 92, 110), which is a clear call for compensatory damage because it includes causation and a determinable amount. Plaintiff must undertake the required burden of proof associated with compensatory damages and submit evidence which for Defendants are then entitled to challenge.
Will Mann actually submit evidence of his 2007-2019 income and any reputational damage? He didn't north of the border, where the British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed Mann's suit for failure to prosecute, awarded costs to his opponent Tim Ball, and rebuked the plaintiff for two periods of approximately three years each in which Mann failed to file a single document to advance his case:
I now turn to whether the delay is excusable. In my view, it is not. There is no evidence from the plaintiff explaining the delay. Dr. Mann filed an affidavit but he provides no evidence whatsoever addressing the delay... The plaintiff [Mann] and his counsel appear to have attended to other matters, both legal matters and professional matters in the case of the plaintiff, rather than give this matter any priority.
That's very much Mann's modus operandi: He'll sue you, and lower you into the general swamp of the courts as the judicial taximeter drains your savings. Eight years in, Judge Anderson is now demanding Mann put up. We shall see if he complies. By the way, he was promising his dwindling band of Mann-boys that he would not be paying Tim Ball's costs, no way, no how. Is he still standing on that?
It is worth remembering, meanwhile, that Mann is not really in the science game but, like so many activists, in the Shut Up business. He's currently embroiled in a dispute with Michael Moore over the latter's new film Planet of the Humans, which for a left-wing opus takes a splendidly contrarian view of the big green boondoggle of "renewable" energy and the like. Mann is demanding that the documentary be "taken down" and has accused Moore of being a Russian agent.
Incidentally, with regard to reputational damage, in the wake of my initial response to his suit in 2012, both the Nobel Prize committee and the IPCC told Mann to knock it off with the false claim (included in actual court filings) that he's a Nobel Laureate. Yet I see Josh Fox, who's an eco-playwright and enviro-director, has now weighed in on the Mann vs Moore war and is warning Moore not to ignore "nobel prize winners". Either Josh Fox really is that stupid, or Mann has figured, as the years go by, that it's safe to get his Fauxbel Prize out from the back of the wardrobe and start waving it around again.
Still, what a thin-skinned goon he is: Michael Moore, a hardcore leftie, is learning what a right-wing loonie like yours truly learned years ago - that, in Mann's world, only those who prostrate themselves before the Warm-Mongers can speak; everyone else must be silenced.
"Cancel culture" greatly assists that. Fortunately, eight years ago the Big Shut Up was still in its infancy, and Mann was forced to do it old-school, through the courts. The judge now seeks to see some evidence of his case. It would have been nice if this had happened eight years ago, but better late than never.
~We opened The Mark Steyn Club exactly three years ago - May 6th 2017 - and I'm thrilled by all those across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. As we embark on our fourth season, I'm very touched by all your kind comments. California member Leonard Lanigan writes:
That's a grand suggestion, Leonard, and I shall endeavor to act upon it. We have quite a bit of fun in The Mark Steyn Club, with radio serials, video poems, planet-wide Q&As (the latest airs this weekend), and much more. I appreciate the Club is not to everyone's taste, but, if you're minded to give it a go, either for a full year or a three-month experimental period, we'd love to have you. You can find more details on The Mark Steyn Club here - and, if you've a loved one who'd like something a little different for a birthday or anniversary, don't forget our special Gift Membership.