How one man fed the world his rotten Apple

I’ve been reading a fair bit about the latest twist in this Apple / Foxconn controversy, but this account of how an unrepentant Mike Daisey duped everyone into believing his fabrications is by far the most insightful:

“This is how Daisey perpetrated his con since “The Agony and the Ecstasy” premiered in early 2011: He took a vacation to China, hacked together a story out of some sensational lies then paraded them around like the world owed him a favor. While we were too busy wallowing in self-recrimination to check if what he said was true, he used his fake facts to leverage himself into the position of the world’s most prominent Apple critic, appearing on MSNBC and “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and writing an op-ed in the New York Times. In the process he debased anyone who actually cared about the true injustice of Apple’s manufacturing process. Daisey’s lies hurt labor organizations like SACOM by giving their critics ammunition to ignore their real complaints. He cynically warped the stories of Chinese workers to promote his campaign, and trivialized the work of journalists who actually do real reporting on the issue.”

via How I Was Duped By Mike Daisey’s Lies.


Amazongate: why it matters (as seen through a bullshit filter)

This post is a rewritten version of Delingpole’s latest, as filtered for bullshit. I don’t know if the recent implosion of “Amazongate” has affected him, or if his traffic’s dropped, because this screed is even more pathetic than usual.

In the war for spreading doubt about the near-universally accepted science of AGW, the resoundingly debunked “scandals” of Amazongate and Climategate (none of which actually challenged the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change) were the best attacks deniers could muster.

They cling to these shallow “victories” because the last three or four months have seen every assault on climate science the deniers could muster collapse under scrutiny. Despite their efforts, due to the scientific consensus and extensive evidence of climate change (as well as a more general need for energy security), Britain is investing £50 billion into a Green Investment Bank, which will create almost a quarter of a million jobs, generate much-needed energy and pump money back into the economy.

And what has been the deniers reward for their constant efforts? Their complaints have triggered a string of official inquiries, including three into Climategate, a Penn State one into Michael Mann, a Dutch one into the IPCC, plus the Press Complaints Commission one which led to a climbdown by the Sunday Times over its reporting of Amazongate – every one has exonerated the climate scientists involved and the science of global warming remains unchallenged.

It’s no wonder that promoters of AGW can claim to have right and truth on their side, and that their enemies are just vexatious kooks with no evidence to support their outrageous claims against decent hardworking honest scientists like Michael Mann and Phil Jones.

However, it is a big mistake to think deniers will go quietly.

They honestly believe virtually every respected institution in the world is involved in a climate change conspiracy.

They honestly believe that in a straightforward battle between truth and lies, the deniers have the facts on their side.

Unfortunately, it is likely they will continue to have success in the battle for hearts and minds. In the case of the Amazongate saga, they know that the minutiae is complex, involved and slightly dull. They know that their readers think it is complex, involved and slightly dull, which is why they won’t bother going into detail. They will link to other voices in the denier echo chamber who repeat the same debunked claims, sometimes with passion and sometimes with what appears to be sciencey sounding language.

However, they know their followers won’t go to the effort of reading all those other articles. They only use these other sources to give the impression of credibility before spouting their misleading (and sometimes outright dishonest) claims.

This is why they can say black is white with impunity and confidence.

They will say the Amazongate retraction by the Sunday Times is the result of activism on behalf of the AGW conspiracy and the pro-Warmist bias of the Press Complaints Commission (of all things!). They will, without irony, accuse climate change scientists of employing the same tactics deniers have been using for years.

Why do they do this? If the close of Delingpole’s article is any indication, narcissism is just one of the psychological problems motivating the leaders of the denier movement. As this special report in a May issue of New Scientist explains:

[Seth Kalichman, social psychologist at the University of Connecitcut] believes the instigators of denialist movements have more serious psychological problems than most of their followers. “They display all the features of paranoid personality disorder”, he says, including anger, intolerance of criticism, and what psychiatrists call a grandiose sense of their own importance. “Ultimately, their denialism is a mental health problem. That is why these movements all have the same features, especially the underlying conspiracy theory.”

Distortion comes naturally to climate change deniers

This video is an edit of an exchange between Phelim McAleer, journalist / climate denier, and Stephen Schneider, Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University.

It was posted on YouTube by the people behind Not Evil Just Wrong, an anti-climate science “documentary” directed by Phelim McAleer. Not Evil Just Wrong is closely tied with a lobbying group called Balanced Education for Everyone. Together, their mission is to bring a “fair and balanced” perspective of global warming to classrooms in the United States. The first step towards achieving this aim, parents are told, is to suggest McAleer’s documentary to teachers – available online for the bargain basement price of only $79.99 per DVD (with the required educational and library licence of course).

Now, compare McAleer’s edited version of events above, with the longer, unedited version below.

And this is why, despite a persistent and well-funded campaign of obfuscation from the right, my trust in the science of climate change remains firm. Every piece of denier propaganda I’ve seen, every impassioned anti-climate change polemic I’ve ever read, quickly falls apart under scrutiny. This example clearly illustrates how quick these people are to mislead and distort in pursuit of their aims.

For the record, the undistorted view of events has received fewer than 2,000 views. McAleer’s edit has been viewed over 270,000 times.

One final thought: normally it takes quite some digging to discover the duplicitous nature and ignoble intentions of climate deniers. In the case of Not Evil Just Wrong, it’s easy. The main focus on the front page of their website is what appears to be an embedded video, complete with a big play button and message saying “watch the trailer”. If you click on it, what do you think happens? That’s right.

It takes you to their online store.

(via The Guardian)

Is James Delingpole for real?

If you’re familiar with the work of James Delingpole, you’ll know him as the painfully ignorant, eternally inaccurate “journalist” trolling on the Telegraph Blogs. Like a pickled deformed foetus, he is at both repulsive and fascinating. Repulsive because every opinion he has, belief he holds and statement he makes manage to distort reality and normal human decency to such an extent his articles become something like a written manifestation of a Dali masterpiece – if said masterpiece was painted by a brain damaged chimp with stumps for hands. Fascinating because I can not comprehend how someone so devoid of an ability to construct a cogent opinion (let alone honestly report anything factual) is a journalist – and has a regular presence on the website of one of Britain’s biggest daily newspapers. Yes, being an ignorant jerk isn’t exactly uncommon within the British press, but Delingpole is SO consistently bad, it genuinely troubles my mind.

I’ve long suspected Delingpole to be a fake. That the James Delingpole persona is entirely fictional; his blog nothing more than a vessel for other Telegraph writers to vent their most vile and hateful thoughts. Like a columnist ‘river of slime’. However, that doesn’t quite add up as I’ve seen the ‘Pole on the telly and I don’t think they make CGI that ugly. In the past, I’ve termed him a professional troll – a shameless shill paid to discuss issues he doesn’t really care about (and clearly knows very little about) simply to stir up controversy and attract readers. This too isn’t quite right, as Jimmy spends his offline time head-to-head with the world’s brightest, debating issues he knows very little about.

So, even though it hurt my brain to do so, I was forced to accept that Delingpole was genuine. At least, I did until today… (the plot thickens!)

Delingpole’s latest post on the Telegraph is so pointless it’s barely even worth mentioning. I only do so to set the scene. He rants in response to today’s “exclusive” report in The Times about EU plans to adopt a more ambitious target for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

[As an aside, earlier today The Guardian’s George Monbiot wrote a blog post about the same story. It’s interesting to compare the differing approach of the two long-term rivals. When confronted with the news, the first thing Monbiot did was phone the European commission in an attempt to check the validity of the story (for the record, they said it was “totally wrong” – interesting to think that The Times will be charging for such exclusives very soon). Meanwhile, Delingpole smacked his angry face into the keyboard until something resembling an article was vomited forth.]

Towards the end of this stream of non-consciousness, he rages about David Cameron’s commitment to tackling climate change (going so far as to use ALL CAPS – truly the mark of a serious journalist). This is despite telling his readers to vote Conservative pre-election. In the comments, one of his followers, Jacquesarden, points out this inconsistency. Not particular cutting, I feel. It is entirely possible to support one party about others but criticise individual policies. Regardless, the really interesting part of this tale is Delingpole’s enigmatic reply:

@jacquesarden Sorry mate, but I think you may be a bit too stupid to understand the point of any of my blogs. May I suggest the Guardian’s Comment is Free, or similar?

Now, this is unusual for a couple of reasons. For one, Jacquesarden’s is the only comment out of 16 to which Delingpole bothers to reply. It’s odd that a so-called professional journalist would respond to such a harmless comment with such a childish rebuke. More intriguingly is Delingpole’s reference to “the point” of his blogs. He could’ve just said something like: “I still feel voting Conservative was the best option; albeit out of an exceptionally bad bunch. However, just because I supported David Cameron in the general election, this doesn’t mean I’m going to relent when trying to bring some common sense to British politics”.

Instead, he teases us with talk of a “point”, suggesting a grander scheme behind the blog – something only an inner circle of his sycophantic followers know about. Maybe they’re not even in on the secret?

Now, what could this “point” Delingpole refers to be?

It can’t be to inform or educate his readers; his articles mainly consist of misleading claims and tenuous assertions.

It can’t be to further the debate about climate change; he frequently regurgitates long-debunked denialist arguments.

It can’t be to spread doubt and confusion about climate change; he lacks the credibility and knowledge to make much of an impact.

It can’t be to promote the libertarian philosophy; he’s very aggressive towards people whose thoughts differ from his own and is remarkably critical about people making money (admittedly the only people with money he mentions are the ones who also campaign for protecting the environment).

It clearly isn’t to help or support a Conservative government; if his advice for the Tories are anything to go by, he either wants them confined to the political wilderness or understands even less about the British public than he does about climate science (I think it’s the latter).

So, what’s the point?

Possibly there isn’t a point and the James Delingpole blog is nothing more than the earnest writings of an egotistical man-child, overcompensating for his own insecurity and whose privileged upbringing managed to disguise what I suspect is a mild case of autism.

On the other hand, this could be the closest I’ve got to seeing Delingpole admit that the whole thing is a hoax – a parody. Could it be that the “point” of James Delingpole’s blog, and in fact his entire existence, is to act as a twisted reflection of ourselves?* A dark satire, exposing man’s innate instinct to eschew rationality and compassion in favour of bitter, instinctual self-interest? His every assertion is baseless and narrow-minded. Every piece of “evidence” he uses is mercilessly corrupted to fit a predefined conclusion. How then does he differ from the rest of us in our every day lives? When we tell our friends about how unfairly we’ve been treated at work, we don’t stop to fact-check or make sure all quotes are put into proper context. When overhearing a snippet of private conversation between two friends, we don’t seek to establish the full story before leaping to (and passing on) any conclusions. Delingpole’s gift to humanity has been to expose its lack of credibility by sacrificing his own.

Just think: when you’re reading Delingpole, you’re reading yourself telling the people who you want to take you seriously things you think you know stuff about.

Either that or you’re reading the deluded scrawlings of one of the world’s biggest cunts.

*That question was totally an homage to John Rentoul.

What would’ve made the ‘Climategate’ emails truly damaging…

You may have noticed an increased chill in the air since Friday as, over the last week, global warming has finally been exposed as an elaborate hoax orchestrated within the innately Machiavellian halls of the University of Anglia. At least, that’s what right-wing commentators would have you believe following the revelation of hacked emails from leading climatologists. In reality, and despite the bitter cold, climate change continues to devastate lives and 2009 will be one of the top five warmest years in the past 150 years.

Unexpected as the sceptics seizure of what scant controversy exists is, I was surprised by the rabidity of The Telegraph’s James Delingpole. Even the great arch-hatemonger Melanie Phillips’ responded with hyena-like caution

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