Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mann Vs. Steyn, Part II

An update on the unfolding defamation suit climate pitting climate scientist Michael Mann against  Mark Steyn and The National Review.  The NR has offered its response to Mann's contentions here.  It will fight, and not retract nor remove the post in question.  Obviously, IANAL, and U.S. defamation laws make it a tough slog for Mr. Mann.  However, I would note this passage from the document:
Frankly, I know of nowhere that a reader, be they careful or careless, could interpret the term "fraudulent" when applied to a scientist's work as implying anything less than that they were guilty of scientific misconduct (the kind of thing they discuss here) or straight out fraud.  I am unaware of any place the term has been used  merely to state that the scientist's work is incorrect.  This is quite a bit different than the situation with "blackmail", where there is an established colloquial sense that is weaker than the more precise legal sense (the colloquial sense does not entail criminality where the more legal sense does).

But as I say take this for what you will.  IANAL.

PS. I'm not sure why the usual suspects think Mann would fear the discovery phase.  I think Steyn's emails would be far more revealing.

8 comments:

harebell said...

Fraud is not a nice thing to be accused of. People go to gaol for fraud.
When you call someone a fraud it is a serious claim and it should not be used lightly especially in print where a wink cannot accompany it.
Steyn better have cast iron evidence of fraudulent behaviour or he did indeed commit libel in my book

dizzy said...

NRO's lawyers have obviously been working hard this past month. Citation after citation.
The main argument seems to be that
1. Mann is a public figure
2 Mann, even after being found innocent by the investigations, continues to be abused in public, so it's normal [1st Ammendment protected ]discourse
3 [& I think this is the strongest argument] Steyn is a practitioner of "classical rhetorical hyperbole" & no "reasonable person" would have concluded that "as a factual matter, that Mann committed any" etc Take that Mark.

In fact, the lawyers are really saying the same thing about their mag.
Sue us? May as well sue for impersonation some guy on the street corner claiming to be Napoleon.

Over to Michael Mann http://www.facebook.com/MichaelMannScientist

Holly Stick said...

Baker Hostetler is a big old firm with many interests, including media law: http://www.americanlawyer.com/firmProfile.jsp?name=Baker+%26+Hostetler

About the lawyer Bruce Brown:

http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2012/08/baker-hostetler-partner-to-lead-reporters-committee-for-freedom-of-the-press.html

Maybe it shows the National Review is taking this seriously, though I doubt Steyn qualifies as a reporter.

As for the usual suspects, some of them are so deluded they probably believe Discovery will provide evidence of a scientist conspiracy to invent AGW and thus get government grants.

Douglas Yoder said...

"PS. I'm not sure why the usual suspects think Mann would fear the discovery phase."

Um, just a hunch, but Mann has been preventing discovery for the last ten years. Perhaps "the ususal suspects" consider past behavior as a predictor for future actions?

bigcitylib said...

If he was so worried I doubt he would launch the suit.

Holly Stick said...

He has a statement by his lawyer up now; they intend to file a lawsuit.

http://www.facebook.com/MichaelMannScientist/posts/413540955368779

Chris_Winter said...

Both substantially accurate and rhetorical hyperbole, eh?

I think NR just shot themselves in the foot (hyperbolically speaking). CERTS ™ can be a candy mint and a breath mint, but a statement cannot be both accurate and hyperbolic.

Holly Stick said...

This anti-Mann blog has interesting links:

http://www.volokh.com/2012/08/22/mann-v-steyn/

including a response by Steyn:

http://www.steynonline.com/5118/stick-it-where-the-global-warming-dont-shine

At least two of the links are already asking for donations to the National Review. How many rightwing suckers can they find?

So what is Steyn's record in court?