The action of making something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
The Plaintiff's case hinges on making you, or rather the jury, believe — nay, they have to prove — that Mark and Rand knowingly falsified information and had an intent to ruin Mann's reputation. How are Mann's lawyers trying to do that? By making data falsification, fabrication, and every other journalistic standard, such as plagiarism (which has been in the news of late, if we recall correctly), the exclusive domain of academia. These really smart people are the only ones who are educated enough to say what is right and what is wrong.
The Plaintiff and his legal team are trying to argue there is an inherent difference between an editor of an academic journal or scientific standards and say, the editor of National Review or the many academics who proudly work for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
And the reason for this difference, besides, of course, being smarter than the rest of us common folk? You guessed it, their political belief system. We aren't discussing the Second Law of Thermodynamics here, which incidentally is still debated in some circles. It's about (any) criticism of a graph that purports to demonstrate climate change, created by a climate change "communicator" — Mann's own word, not ours.
National Review, CEI, Mark and Rand were clearly all wrong (and deserved to be sued) because they expressed a difference of opinion and are clearly spreading disinformation (the dreaded D word). And this is what the Plaintiff wants to obfuscate — because to do otherwise would undermine their entire argument (i.e., the case). So, the Plaintiff has to focus on "question marks" and what Mark and Rand believe. This has mainly focused on their own CVs and the fact they have both worked for institutions not in vogue in today's political climate. Not that being in vogue was ever the aspiration and/or ambition of the aforementioned institutions.
As the Plaintiff eats into the Defence's time this week with their witnesses (this week was originally reserved for the Defendants to present their respective cases), we'll leave you with this from the inestimable William F. Buckley, Jr.:
"Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."
In the News
The Andrew Lawton Show this week covers the trial and is not to be missed. Plus, Phelim and Ann have a bonus episode out now, which is a brilliant reenactment of Mark's opening statement. Don't just take it from us, here's a glowing endorsement from Tommy: "If you listen to only one podcast episode this year, please let it be this one: Mark Steyn's blistering opening statement in his current libel trial taken by Michael Mann. An hour of the most brilliant oratory."
From the Inbox
"Years ago I bought Steyn's A Disgrace to the Profession. It is an amazing collection of critiques and criticisms of Mann's certainty in the face of statistical questions." — Bruce G.
"OMG the interminable litigation in Dickens' Bleak House lives in the modern age. There once was a reason this was prohibited as 'champerty,' as it was corrosive and against public policy by corrupting the courts." — Max H.
"God bless you, Mark Steyn. We are all praying for your health. And for justice to prevail in this pathetic case." — Jeff H.
And this from Kent C. who sums it up with, "Scientific proof? Silly rabbit."