UPDATE: Some confusion about Samanta's sex but somewhat more concerning, although he is the the first author, Samanta is a graduate student in Ranga Myeni's group.
Press releases hyping every half baked paper have become a plague on the land, often having no relation to the paper itself, but achieving a far wider audience as it spreads through the media. One example is being cut to pieces at Real Climate and In It. Eli is not inclined to play nice as some of the folk at Real Climate are, granting the benefit of the doubt to Arindam Samanta the first author.
Give him credit, Simon Lewis, who wrote the post, Up is Down, Brown is Green (with apologies to Orwell, gets it, but still wants to be nice.
As others may have noticed, the climate debate is NOT being played out in the scientific literature and there are a fair number of nasty people out there gunning for climate science. Pretty much anyone can spin a clear statement into a CYA garment. Either Samanta knew what he and his colleagues were doing in that press release, in which case as Dr. Lewis has shown, he was culpably wrong (UPDATE: He knew), or he was unbelievably naive, in which case he still is wrong and needs not to post on Real Climate, but in the places where her paper is being used as a club against the IPCC. Eli makes no assumption about motives, but he understands responsibility and effects.
In the words of Daniel Patrick Moynahan, if you define deviancy down, you get deviants. A large proportion of the mess we find ourselves in is owed to your (climate scientists) willingness to listen to excuses in private from the Lindzens and the Pielkes, while they read you out in public. Samanta has taken the first bite, either the cost is made clear to him, or he will take the second.Eli has a modest suggestion: Proposed outreach, so called "broader outcomes" have become an important part of grant applications and press releases are certainly an outreach. Require all press releases to be included in any grant renewal request. Let the reviewers at em.