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Sunday, November 11, 2007
Sheppard Source Fell for Anti-Global Warming Hoax
Topic: NewsBusters


A Nov. 9 NewsBusters post by Amy Ridenour complained that Reuters "tried to make a mountain out of a molehill" by reporting that a number of global warming skeptics fell for a hoax study that purported to claim that "pointing to ocean bacteria as the overwhelming cause of global warming" and, thus, supporting skeptics' claims that global warming is not manmade. Among those who fell for the hoax, Ridenour noted, was "Benny Peiser, who forwards copies of news articles and studies on climate matters to his 'CCNet' e-mail list several times each day. Peiser sent a copy of the hoax study to his list Wednesday without comment and sent out a hoax warning to the list about an hour later."

Turns out that Peiser is a source for a number of claims repeated by NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard (though Sheppard didn't repeat the hoax study). Sheppard cites Peiser as a source here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, among numerous other posts.

Whether or not Ridenour realizes it, what we really got to see here is a glimpse of the skeptics' transmission belt. Lead deniers like Peiser feed any scrap of information, no matter how dubious, to secondary deniers like Sheppard, who is also not interested in entertaining questions about the veracity of these sources, as we've detailed.

Who is Benny Peiser? DeSmogBlog notes:

Peiser's "claim to fame" in the war on climate change science was a 2005 study that he claimed refuted an earlier study by Dr. Naomi Oreskes. Originally published in the prestigious publication, Science, the Oreskes study looked at 928 research papers on climate change and found that 100% agreed with the scientific consensus. Peiser originally stated in January, 2005 that Oreskes was incorrect and that "in light of the data [Peiser] presented... Science should withdraw Oresekes' study and its results in order to prevent any further damage to the integrity of science." On October 12, 2006, Peiser admitted that only one of the research papers he used in his study refuted the scientific consensus on climate change, and that study was NOT peer-reviewed and was published by American Association of Petroleum Geologists[.] Peiser's incorrect claims were published in the Financial Post section of the National Post, in a May 17, 2005 commentary authored by Peiser himself. 

Deniers like Sheppard and Peiser and Marc Morano don't seem to care whether the claims they make are true; all they care about is that they attack a political position they oppose. They pretend they're telling the "truth" about global warming when all they're actually doing is what they accuse their opponents of: playing politics.

UPDATE: EnergySmart (via Orcinus) cites an interview with the anonymous hoaxster, who says:

Its purpose was to expose the credulity and scientific illiteracy of many of the people who call themselves climate sceptics. While dismissive of the work of the great majority of climate scientists, they will believe almost anything if it lends support to their position. Their approach to climate science is the opposite of scepticism.

Sounds like Sheppard and Morano's M.O. to us.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2007 12:40 PM EST

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