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Sunday, November 28, 2010
MRC Touts 'Climategate' Anniversary, Ignore Plagiarized Paper
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center was all over the first anniversary of the so-called "climategate" scandal:

  • At the Business & Media Institute, Julia Seymour wrote that the emails "showed potential manipulation of temperature data," pretended that the "hide the decline" remark was something sinister (it isn't), and insisted that the "so-called 'independent' investigations" that exonerated the participants of thte most serious claims raised by deniers like the MRC were nothing more than a a "whitewash."
  • At NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard touted a right-wing article criticizing "the atrocious media coverage of the scandal,"  ingoring that some of that atrocious coverage same from his own side.
  • MRC chief even ranted about it on "Fox & Friends."

So when news came of accusations that a global warming-related report contained key sections that were plagiarized, you'd think the MRC deniers would be jumping right on that breach of scholarship. They didn't.

Why? Because this made their side look bad. From USA Today:

An influential 2006 congressional report that raised questions about the validity of global warming research was partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report, plagiarism experts say.

Review of the 91-page report by three experts contacted by USA TODAY found repeated instances of passages lifted word for word and what appear to be thinly disguised paraphrases.


Led by George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman, the 2006 report criticized the statistics and scholarship of scientists who found the last century the warmest in 1,000 years.

"The report was integral to congressional hearings about climate scientists," says Aaron Huertas of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. "And it preceded a lot of conspiratorial thinking polluting the public debate today about climate scientists."

But in March, climate scientist Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts asked GMU, based in Fairfax, Va., to investigate "clear plagiarism" of one of his textbooks.

Bradley says he learned of the copying on the Deep Climate website and through a now year-long analysis of the Wegman report made by retired computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif. Mashey's analysis concludes that 35 of the report's 91 pages "are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning." Copying others' text or ideas without crediting them violates universities' standards, according to Liz Wager of the London-based Committee on Publication Ethics.

There's another reason the MRC didn't report this scandal: because it previously touted Wegman's research.

A January 2007 NewsBusters post by Amy Ridenour highlightedhow "the eminent statistician, Dr. Edward Wegman, who has described himself as a Gore voter," was among the "expert witnesses" who testified before a House committee.

Turns out he may not be so eminent after all.

If the MRC actually cared about science, it would be outraged by this. But they've said nothing, which tells us they care only about politics, not science.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 PM EST

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