Journalists have been reeling from the realities of new media. No longer can they pretend their actual reporting lacks bias. Spun news stories, bogus video editing, lies and false statistics all make up the daily news diet.
But author Christopher C. Horner is proving that journalists out themselves long before a story even gets written. Horner, whose upcoming book “The Liberal War on Transparency: Confessions of a Freedom of Information 'Criminal'” comes out in the fall, just skewered New York Times’ lefty climate “reporter” Justin Gillis in a new piece for the DC Examiner.
Horner used Freedom of Information Act requests to go digging in the muck of global warming spin and he found Gillis setting up his biased attack on climate expert Richard Lindzen, which NewsBusters tackled in May. Here’s Horner:
“Gillis wrote a piece in May laboring to undermine one the the most highly credentialed and respected climate ‘skeptics’, MIT’s Dr. Richard Lindzen. This front page article prompted my request for information reflecting how the A&M professor and activist Gillis quoted was using his taxpayer-funded position.
The specific correspondence began when Gillis wrote saying it was “unavoidable” that he interview Lindzen for a piece on his area of expertise, and ‘[s]o I need a really good bibliography of all the published science’ countering Lindzen’s position on cloud feedback – ‘that is, anything that stands as evidence against Lindzen’s claim that the feedback has to be strongly negative.’”
You should recall that Horner is a major figure in trying to get at climate change e-mails from the University of Virginia. He’s such a scary threat to the left that The Washington Post attacked him in a 2011 editorial titled: “Harassing climate-change researchers.”
Here’s a bit of the Post attack that attempted to say Freedom of Information is only for lefty journalists, not for the likes of us peons: “Christopher Horner, its director of litigation, wrote a book called “Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed.” (We wonder whether the “alarmists” who wrote the National Research Council’s latest report on climate change are threatening, fraudulent or merely deceptive.) And ATI declares that Mr. Mann’s U-Va. e-mails contain material similar to that which inspired the trumped-up ‘Climategate’ scandal, in which warming skeptics misrepresented lines from e-mails stored at a British climate science center.”
Here's the full Gillis quote from his original e-mail:
"On a similar front, I'm about to fly off to Paris to see Dick Lindzen. It's unavoidable in a story confronting the cloud-feedback question. So I need a really good bibliography of all the published science that says the cloud feedback is neutral to positive ... that is, anything that stands as evidence against Lindzen's claim that the feedback has to be strongly negative. I'm aware of various stuff already, including all the papers that were direct answers to his iris paper, but are you aware of a complete bibliography on this question?"
In a subsequent e-mail, Gillis told one climate activist that Lindzen was 'quite slippery and prone to change the subject whenever a line of questioning became aggressive." He then added, "I trust you're treating these e-mails in strictest confidence, as I will." I guess he forgot FOIA was a two-way street.
It's also not especially professional to whine about one interview subject to someone on the other side. Gillis would do well to read the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics that says, in part: "Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived."