Question: What do the ACLU, the Reporters Committee for Press Freedom, the American Society of News Editors, the Association of American Publishers, the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (The Village Voice et al), NBC Universal, Bloomberg News, the publishers of USA Today, Time, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Detroit Free Press, The Seattle Times, The Arizona Republic and The Bergen County Record have in common?
Answer: They (and many others) all recognize that serial litigant Michael E Mann is a menace to free speech. You can read their intervention in Mann's defamation suit against me here.
In 2012, Mann, the inventor of the global-warming "hockey stick", decided to sue me, National Review, Rand Simberg and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, for calling his stick "fraudulent" and deriding his "exoneration" by the same Penn State administration that covered up for Jerry Sandusky. So here we all are two years later leisurely circling the drain of DC justice. Yesterday was the last day for submission of briefs on the matter to the DC Court of Appeals. (I'm not part of the appeal, as I decided six months ago to take Doctor Fraudpants at his word and give him his day in court, the sooner the better.)
You can read CEI and Rand Simberg's brief here.
You can read National Review's brief here.
You can read additional briefs from the District of Columbia; the Alliance Defending Freedom; the Cato Institute, Goldwater Institute, Reason magazine and David Horowitz's Individual Rights Foundation; The Daily Caller, PJ Media, The New Criterion and various Internet publishers;
I'll come back to all those briefs later in the week. But, while Time, NBC News and The Washington Post recognize the threat that the litigious Dr Mann poses to core liberties, the good news for Mann is that Professor Paul Krugman, the economist and New York Times columnist, has come out on his side. I've had no use for Krugman since his shifty and disingenuous explanation as to why he was on Enron's gravy train, but, unlike Mann, he is a genuine Nobel Laureate as opposed to a fraudulent, self-conferred Nobel Laureate. So I read his analysis of Mann's case against us with some interest - and then I fell around laughing at this section:
Now for the slightly encouraging news: Mann filed suit against National Review for defamation. And as D.R. Tucker points out at Washington Monthly, the latest response from NR sounds very much like a publication running scared.
Also encouraging is the evident inability of NR to understand how you defend against a charge of defamation. You don't repeat the false allegations — sorry, guys, but courts also have access to Google and Nexis, and can find that all the charges have been rejected in repeated inquiries.
Er, no. That's profoundly stupid in a way that only really smart guys can be. This will apparently come as news to Professor Krugman, but - stand well back - courts don't Google. Courts consider something called "evidence" , which has to be "introduced".
There's a difference between Google and evidence. If you Google, for example, Mann's name, you'll find a bazillion sites declaring that he's a Nobel Prize winner. To cite merely the latest, here's Robert Hunziker in today's Counterpunch:
The modus operandi of this orchestrated climate denial syndicate is to go after high profile targets, like Nobel Peace Prize winners, people like Michael E. Mann, climatologist, Pennsylvania State University (creator of the "hockey stick" in 1998), who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007...
Hmm. Where would Mr Hunziker get that idea? Maybe from Mann's own website, on which he continues to promote himself as a Nobel Laureate ("Nobel Prize-winning scientist Michael Mann talks climate change politics"). Or maybe just from Googling around more generally.
So Google would support the idea that there is such a creature as "Nobel Prize-winning scientist Michael Mann".
Yet, if you ask Geir Lundestad, Director of the Nobel Institute in Oslo, he says:
Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mann has falsely represented his academic credentials and passed himself off as a Nobel Laureate on an industrial scale - and, to a degree, by Google standards, it's worked, at least with gullible rubes like Robert Hunziker.
But in a court of law Google hits don't count. When it comes to Mann's fraudulent claim to be a Nobel Prize winner, only Geir Lundestad and a handful of his colleagues count.
That's the problem for Mann. His lies glide smoothly down the slipway and into the great sea of Google, but in court it's a stricter standard. From page six of my own brief:
What Judge Weisberg called the "convoluted procedural history" of this case derives from Mann's abuse of the judicial process. The delays stem from Mann's need to amend his original complaint because of its false claim that he is a Nobel Laureate and that Steyn and the other defendants had committed the crime of "defamation of a Nobel Prize recipient." Mann's fraudulent misrepresentation of his credentials and academic standing later earned him a rebuke from Geir Lundestad, director of the Nobel Institute in Oslo. One can well understand why the exposure ofI Mann's fraudulent claim should cause him embarrassment but it should surely not justify resetting the procedural clock back to the beginning on this case, which is what in effect happened.
I'm sure Professor Krugman, being a real "Nobel Prize recipient", knows that Michael Mann and Pia Zadora and the donkey from Shrek aren't. Yet Krugman's trust in Google is undiminished:
You don't repeat the false allegations — sorry, guys, but courts also have access to Google and Nexis, and can find that all the charges have been rejected in repeated inquiries.
Indeed. If you Google around, you would get the impression that "all the charges" against Mann have been "rejected in repeated inquiries" by multiple bodies on both sides of the Atlantic.
And yet, if you actually go to those bodies and consult the actual reports, you'll find that no such thing has occurred. From page seven of my brief:
In his later court filings, Mann has made equally preposterous and objectively false claims. For example, Mann has claimed that he has been "exonerated" by such bodies as the University of East Anglia, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, and even by the government of the United Kingdom, none of which have investigated Dr Mann at all, never mind "exonerated" him.
The audacity of the falsehoods in Mann's court pleadings is breathtaking. For example, on page 19 of his brief below dated January 18, 2013, he cites the international panel chaired by the eminent scientist Lord Oxburgh, FRS as one of the bodies that "exonerated" him, whereas on page 235 of Mann's own book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars , he states explicitly that "our own work did not fall within the remit of the committee, and the hockey stick was not mentioned in the report." It is deeply disturbing that a plaintiff should make such fraudulent claims in his legal pleadings.
On the evidence of Google, Professor Krugman may believe that "all the charges have been rejected" against Mann, but he's not in a position to testify to that. Lord Oxburgh is, and he won't. One more quote from my brief:
It is clear from the ease with which Mann lies about things that would not withstand ten minutes of scrutiny in a courtroom that he has no intention of proceeding to trial.
Or, to put it in Professor Krugman's terms, it's the difference between Google hits and the rules of evidence. Krugman hilariously headlines his column "The Empiricist Strikes Back". But "empirically" Mann is not a Nobel Laureate, nor "empirically" has he been exonerated by the University of East Anglia, NOAA or the British Government. He will not stagger away from the witness stand with his "empiricism" intact.
On the evidence of my somewhat narrow relationship with him, Mann would seem to be a serial liar. He lies glibly and easily for understandable reasons - because he is not a Nobel Laureate who commands the attention of G7 governments but a minor figure whose only contribution to science is a deeply flawed hypothesis that has wound up tainting everyone who signed on to it, most of whom eventually end up back-pedaling away - from the IPCC to fellow scientists such as Keith Briffa.
I'll get to the other briefs on the case later in the week, but in the meantime thank you for your continued support of my pushback against Mann via the Steyn store and our SteynOnline gift certificates. I'm very grateful to readers around the world, from New York and London to Vanuatu and the Falkland Islands. And I hope in turn you're gratified to see from the briefs by the ACLU, Washington Post et al that there are many others out there who understand that Mann's victory would be the worst setback for freedom of speech in half-a-century. Aside from the interminable delay, I like the lie of the land right now. We will fight on, and we will win.