Question Details

Michael E. Mann sues National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute - What will be the result?

Michael E. Mann sues National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute - What will be the result?

Asked by: Super Userkruijs in Science » Environment
currently suspended Suspend date reached on 08/30/2014 18:00



Michael Mann, an influential climatologist who has spent years in the center of the debate over climate science, has sued two organizations that have accused him of academic fraud and of improperly manipulating data.

Mann, director of Pennsylvania State University's Earth System Science Center, on Monday sued the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, along with two of their authors, Rand Simberg and Mark Steyn.

The lawsuit, Mann's lawyer said in a statement, was based upon their "false and defamatory statements" accusing him of academic fraud and comparing him to a convicted child molester, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.


Comment on this question:

Sign in to comment

   Super Userkruijs

The battle over climate-change science is heating up, so to speak, and it has moved to the courts. The defamation lawsuit brought by climatologist Dr. Michael E. Mann—one of the creators of the famed “hockey-stick graph” that shows a recent spike in world temperatures—has now moved to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the equivalent of a state supreme court for the district. Mann alleges that a blog post by Rand Simberg on the blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and subsequently quoted by Mark Steyn at National Review Online, was libelous.

The entire situation is silly. If this were a playground, Dr. Mann would be a tattle-tale who complains to the teacher that someone said mean things about him. After spending years arguing that climate-change skeptics are shills for big oil, Mann has apparently decided that the government should shut them up instead.

   Super Userkruijs

A judge for the D.C. Superior Court on Thursday refused to let libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and conservative news site National Review off the hook from a defamation lawsuit brought by climatologist Michael Mann, saying the sites’ musings about the accuracy of Mann’s research may not be protected by the First Amendment.

Mann had sued the outlets in 2012, claiming they published defamatory articles accusing him of academic fraud and comparing him to a convicted child molester, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Specifically, Mann alleged that CEI published — and then National Review republished — an article calling Mann “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.”

Judge Frederick H. Weisberg on Thursday ruled that while “opinions and rhetorical hyperbole” are protected speech under the First Amendment, accusing a climate scientist of lying about his seemingly factual data is serious enough to warrant defamation claims.

“The allegedly defamatory aspect of this sentence is the statement that plaintiff ‘molested and tortured data,’ not the rhetorically hyperbolic comparison to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky,” Judge Weisberg wrote.

   Super Userkruijs

On December 19 the District of Columbia Court of Appeals dismissed as moot an appeal by National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute of the trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss, on the grounds that a motion to dismiss an amended defamation complaint filed by Dr. Mann is still pending before Judge Weisberg in DC Superior Court. In this latest development in the procedurally somewhat tangled case, the Court of Appeals made no ruling on the substance of the defamation case.

   Super Userkruijs

A year ago, Penn State was reeling in the wake of revelations that its athletic program had covered up serial abuse by one of its football coaches. A blogger at the pro-free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute used that situation as an opportunity to suggest that the university was covering up malfeasance by one of its faculty members, climate scientist Michael Mann. The accusations of research fraud were then reiterated by a blogger at the conservative publication National Review. After a bit of back-and-forth between Mann and the two organizations, Mann filed a defamation suit.

Both National Review and the CEI attempted to have the case thrown out. They argued that it met the SLAPP definition of an attempt to silence critics and that Mann's case fell far short of the standards of defamation of a public figure. Now, a judge has denied both of these attempts, allowing the defamation trial to move forward.

What's This!?

  • This is a user submitted question. Players make predictions on what they expect to be the actual outcome.


  • Register for free and get 1,000 KtN$
    in virtual cash to start predicting!

  • Limited offer: Sign up today and recieve double cash!