Thursday, December 5, 2013

Disinformers are Disgusting: Anthony Watts makes up stuff and arguably moves into libelous polar bear territory

Sou | 12:22 PM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment

Update - see below for a comment from an unlikely and dubious ally, Christopher Monckton.

Update 2 - here is the summary of the complaint that I believe was the subject of the settlement.

Today Anthony Watts moves right into libelous territory in my opinion (archived here and updated here).  He is known for skirting close to the edge when he picks on individual scientists.  This time IMO he goes over the edge.

Today Anthony Watts falsely impugns the integrity of Charles Monnett, who suffered appalling treatment from his employer, BOEM, and from the Office of the Inspector General after he published a paper about sightings of dead polar bears.  Eli Rabett has written quite a few articles keeping people appraised of the saga.  Michael Tobis wrote about it too. It was suggested that the investigation, which focused on other matters - not polar bear sightings, was a payback witchhunt for Monnett writing a paper about the dead polar bears he saw, presumed drowned.  This article in Nature News describes some of the fiasco and there is a followup article here in Nature News.

The news item that Anthony Watts referred to describes the outcome of a complaint brought by Monnett against his employer.  As described in the news report, Monnett brought the complaint after Monnett's employer BOEM found no evidence of scientific misconduct but issued a reprimand for something else they reckoned he'd done.  This and the whole horrible saga prompted Monnett to lodge the complaint against his employer.  The complaint that Monnett brought against his employer was settled and as close to a win for Monnett as you'd be likely get outside of court, with BOEM paying a sum to Monnett:
Under the settlement, signed in October but released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Wednesday, Monnett will receive $100,000 but cannot seek Interior Department work for five years. His retirement was effective Nov. 15, at which point the agency agreed to withdraw the letter of reprimand and issue Monnett a certificate for his work on the tracking project.
The settlement makes clear that it does not constitute any admission of liability, including any admission that federal employees "treated Monnett in a discriminatory or retaliatory manner." A BOEM spokeswoman reached by email Wednesday said she would offer a reply later.

Despite the fact that Monnett was exonerated and vindicated, and that this was a settlement in a case Monnett took against the agency, not the other way around, Anthony Watts twisted the situation and with an implied big fat lie wrote:
So the message is: be a dimwit, make stuff up, and get paid for it. 

Charles Monnett didn't make up stuff.  Anthony is the one making stuff up.  But that's par for the course at WUWT.  This time he's making up stuff about a scientist who's devoted his career to the pursuit of knowledge.  His main "sin" seems to have been that Al Gore apparently referred to his paper in An Inconvenient Truth.

I'm utterly disgusted.  If Anthony Watts lived in Canada he wouldn't have dared write that.  Anthony has shown that he himself is ready to run to the courts on the flimsiest of pretexts, such as someone having a go at him about his scientific illiteracy, when Anthony Watts posts nonsense pseudoscience again and again.

Anthony Watts is intent on hastening climate change.  He's not satisfied with feeding his ignoramuses nonsense about science, he attacks scientists themselves, even to the extent of falsely accuses individual scientists of wrong doing.  What a dismal, pitiful, pathetic little man.

From the WUWT comments

Lots of people are telling Anthony Watts that he's barking up the wrong tree (or surfing the wrong Arctic wave): - archived here.

brians356 says (replaced link with headline):
December 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm
The story I just read on Anchorage Daily News says he gets $100,000 plus his fully-vested federal retirement. He cannot seek Interior Department work for five years.
Alaska polar bear scientist reprimanded over emails settles with feds
“Frankie, when they give you the money, it means you won.”

NevenA says:
December 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm
Either this, or it was a failed witch hunt. Google is your friend.

Steve from Rockwood says:
December 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm
That’s as close to a win as you’re ever going to see.

But even though the newspaper reports were quite clear, Anthony lets his commenters continue with the scientist-bashing.

Mark and two Cats says:
December 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm
Comrade, you have served the Warmunist Party well and shall receive political rehabilitation. Take a five year vacation – here’s $100k spending money.

Peter Miller is a crazy nutter who thinks all the thousands of scientists in the world are making up stuff and says:
December 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm
As this proves and we all know, when it comes to anything esoteric and intangible, nobody can waste money like governments can.
So along came supposed global warming and the B2 and C3 scientists were falling over each other to get into the troughs of overflowing research funds. As there was almost nothing real in the global warming scare, stuff had to be made up, or there was a threat the troughs might dry up.
And so the scare stories started: polar bears dying out, surging sea levels, polar ice disappearing and ocean acidification to name but a few. Each, on a local basis, may contain a small whisper of truth, but on a global basis they are a grand distortion and a distortion that appeals to the weepy side of far too many, otherwise reasonable people. As for the politicians, they are only interested in new tax raising gimmicks, so they can be seen to be ‘saving the works’.

At least Layman doesn't dispute the sighting of the dead polar bears in the water and says:
December 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm
With ice sheet coverage increasing and thickening Polar bears would be hard pressed to survive this winter. Come next melt we might see a new height in body count and then talented scientists could claim evidence of unprecedented drowning …from empty bellies……
My question is that polar bears are mortal too so when one sees a dead bear in the water in summer how could we tell which is fresh and which is freshly defrosted? And which was drowned through hunger and exhaustion?

Anthony Watts might be malevolent and dishonest, but he isn't quite as crazy as his utter nutter fans.  Take fobdangerclose who says:
December 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm
You and your group need to be on high alert. Pres. Obama and his crew now seem to be betting their farm on the EPA/Climate Change re-distribution of wealth.
As you can see he is not handleing this fail of the Obama Care re-dristribution operation.
All of you have been in the real world enough to see how poorly some handle not being able to do the job and or being caught in real bad lies on the job. Take attorneys who get disbarred, or real estate title officers who go south with the loan funds in escrow. When confronted they throw things, cuss, rant, even worse. You stand in his way, you block his access to power. He will not take it lightly that your correct, he will not go easy into the night. You will be a target.
Be Prepared.
REPLY: I doubt Obama even knows my name – Anthony


Monnett has found a dubious ally by the name of Christopher Monckton, who writes:

Monckton of Brenchley says (extract - you can read his full comment here, in which he sticks the boot into Al Gore):
December 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm
I’m uneasy at the tone of some of the comments here. The Monnett & Gleason paper described its methods with respectable precision, and made it very clear where it was reporting results, where it was extrapolating from those results, and where it was speculating. One might regard the extrapolations as being insufficiently justifiable in statistical terms, and the speculations as rather far-fetched (though they were actually quite cautiously expressed).
I can’t see anything that could possibly constitute serious enough scientific misconduct to justify three years’ hounding of Dr. Monnett by the Inspectorate-General. Two things stand out from the transcript: first, that Dr. Monnett had not been clearly told at the outset exactly what scientific misconduct he was being accused of, contrary to the audiatur et altera pars principle of natural justice; and that he was exhausted and terrified.

orion sums it up nicely and says, quoting Anthony Watts (archived here):
December 4, 2013 at 7:32 pm
“……So the message is: be a dimwit, make stuff up, and get paid for it……”
It’s a lesson you have appeared to have learned well Anthony.


  1. Well I'm quite surprised at Christopher Monckton's response. I've become so used to him behaving in a completely barking manner, it's quite refreshing to see him respond so reasonably. I doubt I should hold my breath for future utterences though.

  2. Ditto. Colour me mildly astonished!

    Hard to believe it's the same guy as here and here.

    And, yep - they don't hand over the money as a consolation prize! As His Lordship manages to perceive, Monnett's been through hell - and fully deserves the dignity of the result.

  3. The irony is that Monnett had the courage to stand up to the power of the OIG and his employer. He took on the government and they backed down. This is just what all the deniers clamour for and when someone actually does it they then jump all over him, as if he were the one in the wrong.

    As Nick Stokes pointed out, the letter of reprimand was apparently for making emails public - and isn't that also the very thing that deniers keep wanting? The government allegedly withheld them even from an FOI request as described here in the summary of the Monnett complaint, compiled by PEER..

    Anthony Watts and his rabble are fools, have appalling double standards and won't pass up an opportunity to try to trash the reputation of a good scientist if it pleases them to do so.

    They are beneath contempt.

    1. "They are beneath contempt."

      Perhaps so, but imho they would not give a damn for your nor my contempt. Indeed, for lots of them the whole subject is now just a political football, and attracting the opprobium of anybody from "the other side" is the actual point of the exercise.

      Contempt they will live with quite easily. Ridicule, otoh, not so much. Given that you now seem to be becoming the world expert on their preposterous imbecility, just keep up the great work.

      "REPLY: I doubt Obama even knows my name – Anthony"

      Poor Anthony has been very shabbily treated by President Obama if he didn't even get a Christmas card from the White House. I personally credit Anthony as the individual who did most to get Obama reelected.

      IIRC, which is unlikely, Superstorm Sandy hit NYC almost precisely one week before polling day 2012. At this point, one of the two candidates for POTUS disappeared from public view for three days, having apparently based his environmental policy proposals on the incoherent gibberish which Tony has done so much to promulgate; and for that at least I think he deserves thanks.



    2. "IIRC, which is unlikely, Superstorm Sandy hit NYC almost precisely one week before polling day 2012. At this point, one of the two candidates for POTUS disappeared from public view for three days, having apparently based his environmental policy proposals on the incoherent gibberish which Tony has done so much to promulgate; and for that at least I think he deserves thanks."
      To be fair, Romney refrained from campaigning during that time because of the tragedy and Obama, being the President, was understandably given the bully pulpit. I seriously doubt that Romney did anything at all because of what Watts wrote. Watts is a minor player that only we internet junkies know or care about.

      Rob Murphy

  4. Credit where credit's due - Monckton deserves acknowledgement for that. I have no problem adding my voice to those above.

    As to Watts, he's a dog-whistler and libeller of the worst sort - the sort that puts his own ideology and personal interests ahead of the future of human society and the bisophere.

    Bernard J.


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.