Andy Revkin was extremely harsh on Peter Gleick, and folks of authority in the science community have little choice, in defending their institutional integrity, but to line up behind him.
But those of us on the fringes can afford to see another side to the story, and to my knowledge some of us have said so in the comments at Dot Earth. Or tried to, anyway.
But for whatever reason, those comments (and presumably many others) are not going through. At this moment, the only visible comments are those from a few people with pre-authorized posting status on the NYT blogs.
So, for the record, here’s what I fired off in the first five minutes after reading Revkin’s piece:
What, no journalist ever misrepresented their identity in search of facts? Is there an accredited J-school way of doing this?
See, you all (I mean the journalistic community) never managed to uncover what Heartland is (basically, a fee-for-service mouthpiece for hire for oligarchs with various axes to grind) and explain it to the world. We’ve been asking you (collectively, I mean; your profession) to investigate and report on these groups for decades, and you never managed it. Peter (and, according to his version of events, his anonymous informer) did.
Peter didn’t manage to cover his tracks very well, possibly leading to trouble for him, which is unfortunate. (I don’t want to speculate on the details and their legal implications. This will presumably be soap opera fodder for some time.)
But to suggest that this sets the rational public debate back…? I fail to see it.
Let’s talk about how ill-informed but self-important super-wealthy people with pet obsessions distort the public conversation, and to add insult to injury, deduct the expenses from their taxable income.
If Peter’s acts stimulate that awareness, they will have served the greater good and moved the possibility of rational debate uncolored by oligarchs and their paid minions forward. In my opinion, you should be defending him for taking personal risks in the pursuit of what, in the end, was a journalistic endeavor.
If anybody else has a comment stuck in the queue at Dot Earth and would like to make it public, feel free to add it in comments below or provide a link.
There are several followups on this site. I’m especially fond of this one.
Woot, lots of really silly borehole items suddenly coming in on this one. I’m Morano’ed! See said items here.