They have a bridge to sell you
Stoat and friends are tearing the vapid Keith Kloor apart. Eli would like to go after smarter game. Journalism is prone to adopting frames, and smart publicists know how to establish those that advantage their side. Witness John Fleck who tries to shove the entire CRU imbroglio into two convenient ones
And therein lies the problem. The scientists involved, while a small number among the thousands of scientists worldwide working on this issue, have lost their claim to be honest brokers gathering, analyzing and sharing data with the public, politicians and policymakers. They turned into scientized actors trying to use their data to win the political argument. In the process, their actions tarnished many of their colleagues who have not behaved in such a fashion.actually three, first setting both sides equivalent when, as Steve Bloom points out
"(E)arly on the science became a target of a denial industry whose skills had been perfected in campaigns dating back many decades to the efforts to keep lead in paint and gasoline, and more lately to obscure the ill effects of tobacco. . . ."and neither has John, although to a degree Andy Revkin is beginning to get it. It isn't that the arguments on both sides are scientized, but that the arguments on one side are shaped to sound like science. The third is a bunny-bug-a-bear, the nonsense about an "honest broker"
I'll add the observation that the "tobacco wars" were only finally resolved (more or less) after the focus of the debate shifted from the science to the lies of the industry and their mouthpieces. There's a lesson there, and Hulme doesn't seem to have picked up on it.
The naive concept of "honest broker" has pushed discussion into a fruitless direction. As with many such things, reality shows how hollow this is.
Brokers do not expand the scope of choices available to clients, they narrow them. You want limitless choices, google. Brokers make markets. Brokers make a living by matching buyers to sellers and taking a commission (You thought they do it for free? What carrot wagon you fall off of bunny?). Ethical brokers go out on the market seeking product suited to clients and will seek clients suited to products available to them. Ethical brokers have mutual obligations to sellers and buyers, to qualify the buyers and vet the sellers, not to sell every piece of nuclear waste to every rube with a cell phone.
Good brokers know what is available and what their buyer's needs are. They select the best matches. The broker you want often tells the client NO, don't do that. Where the client insists on committing financial suicide the ethical broker is obligated to tell the buyer to take the business elsewhere.
If you want a simple example of the cacophony that "honest brokers" provide, think about the strange incoherence of the denialists, who simultaneously believe five to ten mutually contradictory things about climate ranging from there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect, it's all cosmic rays, mysterious 1500 year cycles and more. The CRU folk and their colleagues on the other hand are ethical and expert brokers providing information to policy makers and the public based on study and effort. They are not happy when the propagandists start to befoul the nest and the starlings** start squawking.
In other words, brokers are experts, and to expect them to tell you that shit is shinola is just the sort of thing that the honey wagon industry in the interests of fairness favors. It is similarly insane to demand that a climate scientist who has studies an area intensely and reached a set of conclusions about the dangers of continuing to emit CO2 at current rates to tell you that the guy on the corner with the Exxon sign on his back may have a point.
Eli has said this before, it bears repeating.
**Starlings are small but noisy birds which as Ed Darell points out are not just noisy, but noisy in gangs. Starlings drive songbirds out of their nests, harass the songbird young, steal their food, and generally pose a barbarian-style blight upon the bird world. Starlings steal the crops from farmers, and perform no useful service in return (like eating insect pests, or providing Beauty and Song). Starlings congregate in huge gangs in cities, befouling automobiles, sidewalks, and giving people heebie-jeebies whenever they remember the old Hitchcock movie. A flock of starlings is a perfect description of the mob trying to bring down Phil Jones and Mike Mann.