All the great newspaper con jobs get their comeuppance eventually, and for the Mail on Sunday and its climate change denial specialist David Rose, the moment of reality came when not even sham press regulator IPSO was prepared to wipe their backsides over yet another article which had stretched the available facts well beyond the limit of elasticity.
Last January, Rose had told MoS readers all about “Climate of Hate: His children are urged to kill him, he's compared to Adolf Hitler and labelled a 'denier' - even though he's Jewish. Disturbing article reveals what happens if you dare to doubt the Green prophets of doom”. The idea that “Climate Change Denial” has Holocaust overtones is ridiculous, and another stock right-wing technique to play the victim and blame the rotten lefties.
Rose’s outburst was described by the long-suffering Bob Ward at the LSE, who has been on the end of plenty of climate “sceptics’” abuse, as “Hilarious self-pitying nonsense”. But what was not realised at the time was that this was a deflecting tactic: the following weekend he was back with a real whopper. And it is this that has landed him in trouble.
“Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data … The Mail on Sunday can reveal a landmark paper exaggerated global warming … It was rushed through and timed to influence the Paris agreement on climate change … America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broke its own rules … The report claimed the pause in global warming never existed, but it was based on misleading, 'unverified' data’” read the headline. It was total bunk.
Zeke Hausfather of the Berkeley Earth project dismantled Rose’s claims in detail over at Carbon Brief, describing the MoS writer’s claims as “extraordinary”, and his claim about the NOAA’s information as “patently incorrect”. Rose’s “evidence”, he concluded, “in no way changes our understanding of modern warming or our best estimates of recent rates of warming”. Ward, meanwhile, complained to IPSO.
The complaint was under Clause 1: Accuracy of the Editor’s Code, and Mail Online now carries the IPSO judgment, which concludes “the newspaper had failed to take care over the accuracy of the article, in breach of Clause 1 (i) and had then failed to correct these significantly misleading statements, in breach of Clause 1 (ii)”. And on a graph in the article, and its footnote “'0 represents 14°C’”, there was yet more.
“The graph … had provided a visual illustration of the newspaper's contention regarding the difference between the 'flawed' NOAA data and other, 'verified', data. The newspaper's failure to plot the lines correctly represented a breach of Clause 1 (i), and there had been a further failure to correct the significantly misleading impression created as a result. There was a further breach of Clause 1 on this point”. BUSTED.
And it has to be concluded that either the MoS’ editors have been negligent in not noticing that Rose was coming up with more and more tosh, or … he was allowed to get away with it, because it chimed with the previously decided editorial line. The Daily Mail and MoS both have form for the latter. I’ll just leave that one there.