Monday, February 15, 2010

Developing

Via Deltoid, the Independent has traced down the source of Chris Monckton's favorite fabricated quote from Sir John Houghton

"Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen," Sir John was supposed to have said in 1994.
Turns out that Piers Akerman in the Australian newspaper The Sunday Telegraph was the first to publish it, but, the money line is
Sir John, who was the former head of the Met Office but is now living in semi-active retirement in Wales, said he is considering taking legal action because he feels that the continued recycling of the misquotation is doing him and his science a huge disfavour.

"It doesn't do me any good because it suggests to everyone that I have hyped things up. I've been growing aware of it now for some time. The trouble is, if I just deny it then it cuts no ice with the people who want to believe it. I have to consider legal action," Sir John said.
More fun at Media Watch who is nailing everyone's positions down including Akerman.
The Independent says it didn't receive an on-the-record response from Akerman until after it had gone to press.
And what did Piers say?

According to reporter Steve Connor:

He said that he cannot remember where he got the quote from but was going to check through some material he has. Not heard from him since.
Piers also responded to Media Watch
As I told you, there was an error in The Independent report. I have responded to The Independent
This could get expensive, with lots of books pulped. It is our duty to hunt down all of them for Sir John and ask for apologies, and oh yes, pass the popcorn it appears that Akerman is getting ready to toss someone under the bus, Eli wonders whom.

Comments

11 comments:

Truth about journalism said...

The original Sir John quote was:

"It doesn't matter what we say, they will make shit up anyway"

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Acerman deserves to be called a "journalist". He is a liar, who tries to discredit Jones with a fabricated quote.

Anonymous said...

Nathan says...

In Australia we all call Piers Akerman "Pies", like meat pie. I think it would be good if you did the same :)

But yes, couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke. Somewhere on the intertubes is a video of him attacking another Journalist at the Australian 'Walkley Awards' for Journalism. He'd had too many beers that night... He's a bad apple.

bigcitylib said...

If climate scientists were more willing to sue the balls off a few deniers for defamation, then the course of this debate would change significantly, I would hazard.

Hank Roberts said...

8" floppy disks. My first software -- CP/M, WordStar, and dBase--came on those.

RP_sqrd said...

My guess is that the quote originated in a publication by some fringe group (I'd put my money on the LaRouchies, given their obsession with finding evil in everything British together with their, shall we say, "imaginative" approach to extracting quotations from the scientific literature). That publication probably cites Houghton's book but does not literally source the quote to the book. (That's how they do things - they manipulate the text so as to give the impression that statement X is comes from source Y without explicitly saying so.) Then someone - either Akerman or an intermediary - read the quote in the fringe publication, saw the reference to Houghton's book, and repeated it with a citation to Houghton's book.

Anonymous said...

it took "Sir" 16 years to correct the record, Eli, yet you think it's everyone else's fault.

lol.

Anonymous said...

Nathan I think you'll find it was Glen Milne attacking Stephen Mayne at the Wakely's.
Still your general description of Acherman is accurate. He is a buffoon.

Kevin J

Marco said...

Some people really are incapable of understanding plain English. Anonymouse #7 would be wise to read the story in the Independent and note how it did not pop up until November 2006 (in Australia).

But I guess even reading that piece in the Independent would not help much. The comments below that piece show the same claim as our Anonymouse, despite being below the article showing it is a recent crock.

Anonymous said...

@bigcitylib

The problem with defamation suits is they may stop false attacks on individuals, but do not stop attacks on climate science.

Article 10 of the Europcan Convention on Human Rights provides for freedom of expression, but section 2 of that article provides for restrictions for reasons of public safety and national security.

It could be argued such restrictions should be applied to denialists, since they are threatening public safety and national security. Since ECHR is now part of UK domestic law, this might provide an opportunity for a legal challenge against the denialist propaganda.

JMurphy said...

lol wrote :

"it took 'Sir' 16 years to correct the record, Eli, yet you think it's everyone else's fault."

(I think it would be kinder to make 'lol' the name, rather than highlight that someone has laughed at something that they have so painfully misunderstood)


All I have to do is copy and paste, firstly from this very article :


Via Deltoid, the Independent has traced down the source of Chris Monckton's favorite fabricated quote from Sir John Houghton

Turns out that Piers Akerman in the Australian newspaper The Sunday Telegraph was the first to publish it


Those, at least, should have given 'lol' pause for thought.


But then the killer, from the INDEPENDENT :


In fact, the earliest record of the quote comes not from 15 years ago but from November 2006 when it appeared in a newspaper column written by the journalist Piers Akerman in the Australian newspaper The Sunday Telegraph.

lol, 'lol'