A short while ago, Reginal Perrin commented about Anthony Watts moderating out a fairly ordinary conspiracy theory as far as WUWT goes. The theory put forward by WUWT regular Charles Nelson, and embellished by dbstealey (aka ex-WUWT moderator Smokey, dbs, DBoehm etc) was that scientists are fraudulently changing data to suit some agenda of the US government. That's a theory that Anthony Watts has posited in the past himself, so it raises the question of why he decided to moderate out and delete these comments.
There are three possibilities I can think of. One is that Anthony is getting a bit twitchy because denier antics are under the spotlight. Anthony Watts might be afraid of repercussions from the war he's been waging against science and scientists for the past several years. On the one hand he is posting a lot of "breaking news" about CEI and the preliminary investigation in ExxonMobil and how CEI is being prevented from speaking freely (as if). At the same time he is posting "breaking news" about CEI's FOI campaigns against scientists, trying to stop them from "speaking freely". Anthony might be worried that he'll get hauled into court himself.
Another more remote possibility is that he is wanting to get on the good side of scientists. In a recent article he wrote about "peer review" on his blog, as if he was flagging a shift away from his usual pseudoscience. He might be able to con some gullible scientists into "peer review". If he does, let's hope they understand that they are setting themselves up for harassment and lynching, and are unlikely to make a dent in the "beliefs" of Anthony's conspiracy theorising readers.
Still another possibility is that he has decided to tone down the conspiracy theorising. The last couple of articles from Tim Ball have barely alluded to his One World Government conspiracy theory, if at all. (They've still got conspiracy theories about the IPCC.) He'll have a battle on his hands, trying to juggle his contention that scientists are fudging data with a ban on conspiracy theories. His readers will end up a tad confused about what versions of the "climate hoax" conspiracy theory are allowable at WUWT and what are not.
What comments are okay at WUWT?
Anthony is struggling with who to let comment on his blog, and what comments to complain about. He said he wanted to keep WUWT "clean and orderly", but is incapable of maintaining a civil demeanour himself. That's probably because he regards any comment that protests the nonsense at WUWT as spewing "invective, hate, and rants".
Here are some examples of how WUWT treats anyone who doesn't toe the "climate hoax" line. In this first example, Wagen comments on the fact that Anthony Watts campaigns on behalf of the disinformation lobby group, CEI, which has received substantial funds from ExxonMobil:
May 23, 2016 at 2:16 pmAnthony Watts replied in a less than civil and rather vulgar manner:
“The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change” is actually a site that pushes the CEI view (which we all know was fueled by fossil fuel interests).
[There’s nothing untrue about my masthead statement, and despite your hateful views often exponded on here, I don’take any money from CEI, Exxon, or anybody else to publish these news items. If the fact that I do publish factual court documents upsets your one-side world view, then that’s just too bad. As far as I’m concerned, you can take your opinion stated from behind the protection of anonymity and shove it up the bodily orifice of your choice – Anthony Watts]
In this second example, Spaatch wrote an innocuous and factual comment, just a straight quote from another website, without invective:
May 23, 2016 at 10:57 pmIn this case, the response was from "mod", who said it didn't matter, implying that it's okay for CEI to be at the centre of a global warming misinformation campaign. The "mod" decided that copying and pasting the above was spouting "hate", writing:
Founded in 1984, CEI is a Washington – based conservative think tank.
CEI is at the center of the global warming misinformation campaign.
With more than a $3 million annual budget, CEI is supported by both conservative foundations and corporate funding. Known corporate funders in addition to ExxonMobil include the American Petroleum Institute, Cigna Corporation, Dow Chemical, EBCO Corp, General Motors, and IBM. One of CEI’s prominent funders is conservative Richard Scaife who has provided money through the Carthage and Sara Scaife Foundations. CEI is also heavily supported by the various Koch brother foundations.
[and none of this matters, its what is being done in court that matters, but go ahead, spout hate -mod]
It looks as if Anthony might have banned another thorn in his side, Steven Mosher. He hasn't been seen at WUWT since Anthony Watts closed a thread [Update: Steven Mosher is back after a short absence. He said he's now been "unbanned"], writing:
May 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm
OK thanks to Mr. Mosher, this thread is getting out of hand and over the top. Expect a phone call, Steven.
Steven Mosher's crimes were like this comment, where he pointed out how the UAH satellite temperature data have gone through multiple changes over the years:
May 20, 2016 at 10:34 am
Here is a challenge Bob.
Go Ask Roy Spencer for his first version of UAH
[Go ask Gavin Schmidt for the code to GISS, ditto for Tom Karl and his unreplicable outside of NOAA data processing – Anthony]That comment from Anthony was an example of how he makes up stuff. You can download GISS code here. And the data processing for NOAA is described in various papers.
Another example of Steven Mosher annoying Anthony was his comment suggesting how to compare a 1981 dataset of temperature with CMIP5 model outputs:
May 20, 2016 at 10:55 amOr maybe it was his response to Walter Sobchak, who falsely alleged that scientists are lying, which seems to be okay in WUWT-land:
you cannot simply compare them.
They right way to do it would be to mask the CMIP5 using the locations from the 1987 data.
May 20, 2016 at 8:04 am
It is not the earth that is being cooked, it is the data.
Figures don’t lie. Liars figure.
Steven Mosher replied:
May 20, 2016 at 10:57 am
Arrest them all,, its the new WUWT motto
Although it could have been this one that got Anthony all riled up. Steven Mosher was replying to a comment by TA, who falsely alleged nefarious activity on the part of scientists. In this case, both the mod and Anthony Watts didn't object to the false allegations, but they both objected to objections to the false allegations:
May 20, 2016 at 11:02 am
“None of the charts show the 1930’s as hotter than 1998, so Hansen’s 1987 model must be using bastardized data, too. Am I wrong?”
Note how anthony lets any speculation slide by moderation..
[Reply: Do you prefer censorship? -mod]
Speculations and assertions that fit his bias.
you might as well invite Goddard back to post, you let him sock puppet with impunity
is it any wonder that people dont take this seriously any more?
is it any wonder that serious discussion goes to places like Judith’s
No. its pretty clear.
Of course in the old days rank speculation about crimes and fraud would not get past moderation.
never at a place like climate audit and rarely at WUWT..
but now… ya.. we didnt land on the moon and all the data is cooked.
Oh wait… Watts 2010 used cooked data.. will watts 2016(7)(8)(??) use the data that WUWT readers swear is cooked?
[Oh jeez Mosher, moon landing? cooked data? Goddard is sock-puppeting? You are off your nut. You’ve just shot your own credibility to hell. -Anthony]That exchange might explain why Anthony is making a weak show of objecting to conspiracy theories, while promoting conspiracy theories on his "climate hoax" blog.
Deniers are in the doldrums
What is evident is that deniers are in a tough spot at the moment. They will most likely start "ice age cometh" comments again when the global temperatures drop again next year, after this year's most likely third in a row "hottest ever". The next few months will be difficult for them. They will make the most of drops in the monthly anomalies in the meantime, however their cries will seem hollow. They won't be helped if Arctic sea ice continues to plunge:
|Arctic sea ice to date. Source: NSIDC|
Scientists beware: Leopards don't change their spots
The main point I want to make is that leopards don't change their spots. Anthony Watts earns a decent income from advertising revenue, donations and the occasional fund drive. His audience wants and expects WUWT to defame and vilify scientists and their work, and would soon depart if Anthony Watts shifted to writing proper science articles. He won't, so they've no need to worry on that score. He's recently said that "climate has become mostly political now", and he wears his politics on his sleeve. The last time that I can recall an article by climate scientists was the one by Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards in November 2014, which was bare-faced opportunism from Anthony Watts, setting them up for his WUWT lynch mob.
If any scientist is taken in by him in the future, don't say you've not been warned.
References and further reading
CEI and ExxonMobil funding - from ExxonSecrets.org
Exxon the road not taken - articles by Inside Climate News
Disgusting Deniers: Anthony Watts exploits the publicity he got from Tim Ball - HotWhopper article about the treatment dished out to Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards at WUWT
An economist should know better, maybe ...but what about Anthony Watts? - HotWhopper article listing some of the pseudo-science typical of WUWT
More perversity from Anthony Watts @wattsupwiththat - HotWhopper article about the spin Anthony Watts put on things, when he falsely accused Dr Tom Peterson and NOAA scientists of fraud