In the big battle for the meme-of-the-moment, Fakegate has won.
DeSmog can’t be too happy about this. Google “DenierGate” and get 67,000 results, but google “Fakegate” and get 168,000.
UPDATE #2 March 14: FakeGate is now 6 times as popular. (“FakeGate” 420,000 results v “Deniergate” 69,000)
What do you know? Stealing things, breaching privacy, and exposing nothing but tiny funding isn’t catching on. As a PR faux pas this is a case study in implosions. DeSmog have inadvertently shone a beacon on the real David and Goliath story here, where the Big-Oil funding isn’t so big, and the real money is on the side who pretends they are “doing it for the planet”. Worse, between them, DeSmog and Peter Gleick have arranged a public ethics challenge for ethically challenged scientists, and a mass-media bias-test for biased journalists. The spectacle of scientists debating if it is OK to steal, and journalists making excuses for criminal activity, is doing as much damage as the original theft and overreaction. It’s so bad, even the Koch Brothers (target-number-one) can take the unassailable high ground (see below).
Note the auto-prompts: When it’s “FakeGate” it’s news, but when it’s Deniergate, Google queries the spelling … Did you mean: “denigrate”?
(Oh yes, I think they do…)
PS: Koch Industries wrote an open letter to the New York Times, pointing out what everyone online can see. The Times don’t do their research, don’t correct their errors, misinform their readers, and use sources that lie and steal:
“… the [New York Times] subsequent reporting still omits any mention of our direct and salient statements to the Times about that apparent fabrication. Readers are still left with the false impression about the size, duration, and intent of our donation. Our good faith questions about why the Times failed to call us and won’t include our viewpoint remain unanswered. Not one of the five Times reporters that have written on the topic – Leslie Kaufman, Justin Gillis, John Border, Felicity Barringer, and Andrew Revkin – even attempted to contact us for input or reaction.
One might expect the Times to have some chagrin about its reporting that was based on material obtained by fraud, motivated by an ulterior ideological agenda, and suspect in its authenticity. Yet even though that source lied, cheated, and stole – and refuses to answer any further question from the Times or anyone – reporter Andrew Revkin nonetheless found room to praise him, writing, “It’s enormously creditable that Peter Gleick has owned up to his terrible error in judgment.” Readers would be right to wonder if the Times itself is able to own up to mistakes on this story.”
UPDATE: Revkin has replied to critics about the Koch letter, pointing out he is an opinion writer, not a news writer, and has not mentioned Koch with this topic. He also bagged out Gleick more than most commentators, which is true. But why make any excuses for stealing and deceit, and why praise someone who only admitted their guilt when their name was top of the suspect list? – Jo