“We Win”: Conservative Media Celebrate Public Misconception That Climate Scientists “Falsified” Data

After relentlessly pushing the false claim that the so-called “Climategate” controversy showed climate scientists deceitfully manipulating data, conservative media are celebrating a Rasmussen Reports poll finding that a majority of Americans believe “some scientists” have likely “falsified research data” to support “their own theories and beliefs about global warming.”

Right Wing Media Celebrate Rasmussen Poll Results

Rasmussen: “69% Say It's At Least Somewhat Likely That Some Scientists Have Falsified Research Data.” A July 29-30 Rasmussen Reports survey asked, “In order to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming, how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data?” From the Rasmussen Reports write-up of the results:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 69% say it's at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say this is Very Likely. Twenty-two percent (22%) don't think it's likely some scientists have falsified global warming data, including just six percent (6%) say it's Not At All Likely. Another 10% are undecided. [Rasmussen Reports, 8/3/11]

  • Polling Experts Question “Vague” Survey Wording. Scott Keeter, the Director of Survey Research at Pew Research Center said via email that “the question says 'some scientists' - which is so vague as to be nearly meaningless.” Mark Blumenthal, Huffington Post Senior Polling Editor similarly said: “Have 'some' scientists falsified data? That's a low bar. It's not asking about 'most' scientists or about whether most findings about global warming itself rest on falsified data.” [Email exchanges, 8/4/11]

Limbaugh: “I'm Going To Take Credit” For Poll Results; “We Win.” Citing the Rasmussen poll, Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show:

LIMBAUGH: “While a majority of Americans nationwide continue to acknowledge significant disagreement about global warming in the scientific community, most go even further to say that some scientists are falsifying data to support their own beliefs.” I'm going to raise my hand and I'm going to take credit. This has been one of my pet peeve issues for as long as I've had this show


And 69% of the American people now say it's likely scientists have been lying about their own research. We win. [Premiere Radio Networks, Rush Limbaugh, 8/4/11]

Fox Nation: “Majority Think Global Warming 'Scientists' Lie.” Fox Nation promoted the Rasmussen poll with the headline “Majority Think Global Warming 'Scientists' Lie.”

[Fox Nation, 8/4/11]

Hoft: 69% “Believe The Junk Scientists Behind” Climate Change “Made It Up.” Jim Hoft promoted the poll through his blog, Gateway Pundit, writing that “69% of American voters believe the junk scientists behind climate change made it up.” [Gateway Pundit, 8/4/11]

Climate Depot Connects Poll Results To “Climategate.” Climate Depot promoted the poll results with the following image:

[Climate Depot, accessed 8/3/11]

JammieWearingFool: Poll Shows “We're Winning” And “Science Is Settled” Against Climate Change. JammieWearingFool wrote in post titled “Obvious: 69% Think Global Warming Hysteria Is Likely BS”:

We're winning.


The science is settled. It's up to the scaremongers to prove their junk science.

Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, warm-onger Al Gore has moved on to calling for an American Arab Spring. If he was coherent enough to understand public sentiment, he might find himself in a locked cage, [JammieWearingFool, 8/4/11]

Multiple Investigations Into “Climategate” Found No Falsification Of Data

Independent Review: “Their Rigour And Honesty As Scientists Are Not In Doubt.” The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review chaired by Sir Muir Russell found:

Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct. On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.

In addition, we do not find that their behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.

But we do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of the CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA, who failed to recognise not only the significance of statutory requirements but also the risk to the reputation of the University and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science.

On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data or tamper with it. We demonstrated that any independent researcher can download station data directly from primary sources and undertake their own temperature trend analysis.

Regarding CRU's global temperature records, the review panel concluded:

Any independent researcher may freely obtain the primary station data. It is impossible for a third party to withhold access to the data.

It is impossible for a third party to tamper improperly with the data unless they have also been able to corrupt the GHCN and NCAR sources. We do not consider this to be a credible possibility, and in any case this would be easily detectable by comparison to the original NMO records or other sources such as the Hadley Centre.

The steps needed to create a global temperature series from the data are straightforward to implement.

The required computer code is straightforward and easily written by a competent researcher.

The shape of the temperature trends obtained in all cases is very similar: in other words following the same process with the same data obtained from different sources generates very similar results.

By performing this simple test one determines easily that the results of the CRUTEM analysis follow directly from the published description of the method, and that the resultant temperature trend is not significantly different from the other results regardless of stations used or adjustments made. The test is therefore sufficient to demonstrate that, with respect to the declared method, the CRUTEM analysis does not contain either error or adjustments which are responsible for the shape of the resultant temperature trend. [The Independent Climate Change Emails Review, July 2010, emphasis original]

FactCheck.org: “Quotes That Skeptics” Point To Do Not Show “Falsifying” Data. FactCheck.org stated on December 10, 2009:

E-mails being cited as “smoking guns” have been misrepresented. For instance, one e-mail that refers to “hiding the decline” isn't talking about a decline in actual temperatures as measured at weather stations. These have continued to rise, and 2009 may turn out to be the fifth warmest year ever recorded. The “decline” actually refers to a problem with recent data from tree rings.


Other quotes that skeptics say are evidence of “data manipulation” actually refer to how numbers are presented, not to falsifying those numbers. [FactCheck.org, 12/10/09]

AP: U.K. Investigation Found “No Evidence” That CRU Scientists “Had Tampered With Data.” The Associated Press reported:

The first of several British investigations into the e-mails leaked from one of the world's leading climate research centers has largely vindicated the scientists involved.

The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee said Wednesday that they'd seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.

In their report, the committee said that, as far as it was able to ascertain, “the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact,” adding that nothing in the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity.” [AP, 3/30/10, via CBS; House of Commons, 3/31/10]

Independent Panel Found "[N]o Evidence Of Any Deliberate Scientific Malpractice." An independent panel commissioned by the University of East Anglia and led by former industry scientist Lord Oxburgh examined 11 publications produced by CRU and found “no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention.” The report said of CRU's temperature records:

In detailed discussion with the researchers we found them to be objective and dispassionate in their view of the data and their results, and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda. Their sole aim was to establish as robust a record of temperatures in recent centuries as possible. All of the published work was accompanied by detailed descriptions of uncertainties and accompanied by appropriate caveats. The same was true in face to face discussions. [Panel report, April 2010]

Penn State: "[N]o Credible Evidence" That Michael Mann Engaged In Actions “With An Intent To Suppress Or To Falsify Data.” Penn State conducted an inquiry, led by a panel of department heads and scientists, into whether scientist Michael Mann -- based on alleged evidence in the emails -- manipulated data or destroyed records. Among its conclusions:

After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data. While a perception has been created in the weeks after the CRU emails were made public that Dr. Mann has engaged in the suppression or falsification of data, there is no credible evidence that he ever did so, and certainly not while at Penn State. In fact to the contrary, in instances that have been focused upon by some as indicating falsification of data, for example in the use of a “trick” to manipulate the data, this is explained as a discussion among Dr. Jones and others including Dr. Mann about how best to put together a graph for a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report. They were not falsifying data; they were trying to construct an understandable graph for those who were not experts in the field. The so-called “trick”1 was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field. [Pennsylvannia State University, February 2010]

Following Email Release, Media Advanced Falsehood Of Data Manipulation

Conservative Media Asserted That CRU Emails Showed Scientists “Cooking The Data.” When the news of the CRU emails broke in November 2009, conservative media repeatedly claimed without evidence that the emails showed scientists tampering with data to exaggerate global warming. For instance:

  • Limbaugh: Emails Showed “A Lot Of Evidence Of Substantial Fraud.” [Premiere Radio Networks, Rush Limbaugh, 11/20/09]
  • Fox's Varney: Emails “Sugges[t] Scientists Are Fudging Data To Make Their Case For Global Warming.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 11/24/09]
  • Limbaugh On “Climategate” Emails: “Now We've Got The Hoax Fully Exposed.” [Premiere Radio Networks, Rush Limbaugh, 11/24/09]
  • Wash. Times: Emails Are “Revelations Of Fudged Science” In Support Of “Unproven Theory.” [Washington Times, 11/29/09]
  • Fox & Friends: Stolen Emails Show Scientists “Fudging,” “Doctoring” Data. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/2/09-12/3/09]
  • Hannity: Scientists “Were Certainly Fudging” Data. [Fox News, Hannity, 12/3/09]
  • George Will In Wash. Post: Emails Reveal “Some Scientists' Willingness” To “Massage Data.” [The Washington Post, 12/6/2009]
  • Chris Wallace: Emails Showed “Some Of The Climate Scientists Were Apparently Fudging The Numbers.” [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 12/6/09, via Nexis]
  • Palin In Wash. Post: Emails Show Scientists “Manipulated Data To 'Hide The Decline' In Global Temperatures.” [Washington Post, 12/9/09]
  • Fox Reporter: Emails Suggest “Scientists” Who “Believe” In Climate Change “Were Trying To Manipulate The Data.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 12/10/09]
  • Huckabee: “A Lot Of The Scientists Were Cooking The Data In Order To Reach A Political And Not A Scientific Conclusion.” [Fox News, Huckabee, 12/13/09]

Mainstream Media Outlets Uncritically Reported Unfounded Allegations Of Data Manipulation. Despite the fact that nothing in the email showed that the scientists had doctored data to exaggerate global warming, mainstream media outlets uncritically repeated the allegation:

  • NBC: Critics “Say These Emails ... Show Climate Scientists Massaging Data.” [NBC Nightly News, 12/04/09]
  • CBS: The Emails “Seem To Show” That Scientists Decided To “Manipulate Some Research That Didn't Help Prove Global Warming Exists.” [CBS Evening News, 12/8/09]
  • ABC: Email Referencing “Trick” Is “Damning.” [ABC World News, 12/9/09]
  • CNN: Emails “Suggest Some Scientists Faked Data To Support The Argument Of Global Warming.” [CNN.com, 12/7/09]

Conservative Media Have Continued To Feed Myth That CRU Emails Showed Doctoring Of Data

Fox Guest Borelli: Scientists Are “Trying To Ram The Data To Force-Fit” Their Conclusion. On January 15, 2010, Glenn Beck guest host Eric Bolling and guest Tom Borelli, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research used a grant awarded under the stimulus bill to climate scientist Michael Mann to revive debunked claims about emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University. Borelli claimed “these emails that they're all looking at, it seems like the scientists themselves don't believe there's such a consensus because they have their conclusion that man's causing it, and now they're trying to ram the data to force-fit it. It's the round peg in the square hole.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/15/10]

NewsBusters: Mann Was Involved In “Attempt To Exaggerate And Manipulate Climate Data.” In a January 14, 2010, NewsBusters post, associate editor Noel Sheppard referred to Mann's purported “involvement in an international attempt to exaggerate and manipulate climate data in order to advance the myth of manmade global warming” in stating that he “can identify absolutely no media coverage concerning” the grant. [Newsbusters, 1/14/10]

Hoft: Mann And Other “Junk Scientists...Knowingly Perpetrated A Fraud.” In a January 14, 2010, post on his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft called the grant “Unreal” because “Climategate Junk Scientist” Mann “was implicated in the global warming email conspiracy.” Hoft added that the stolen emails “prove that the junk scientists behind the global warming movement knowingly perpetrated a fraud on the global community.” [GatewayPundit, 1/14/10]

On Earth Day, Fox's Hannity Claimed Scientists “Manufacture, Distort The Data To Advance Their Agenda.” From a April 22, 2010, interview with Brian Sussman:

SEAN HANNITY: In his new book “Climategate,” Brian Sussman asserts that the global warming hype is really just a form of communism rooted in the principles of Karl Marx. Now Sussman argues that the communist tenets of moral relativism, the belief in science over God, and the idea of de-developing successful nations to fill the needs of underdeveloped countries all describe the global warming movement.

Climate-gate, he argues highlighted these principles by showing that the scientists were purposely hiding information that would prove their theories wrong and knowingly deceiving people by manipulating the science.


HANNITY: How are scientists corrupted in this process? In other words, that they would manufacture, distort the data to advance their agenda? How did that happen? Why were they willing accomplices here?

SUSSMAN: That's because the record, the temperature record of the earth is clearly rigged. So you get Phil Jones at the CRU in the U.K. I mean, he's pulled in $19 million for his organization in research grants. The temperature has got to be warming, Sean, otherwise he's not going to get the grants. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/10, via Nexis]

On Earth Day, MRC's Bozell Claimed “There Were Campaigns To Manipulate the Data In Their Favor.” After Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Media Research Center's Brent Bozell what his “take” was on “some of the problems” with global warming this year, Bozell said “we find from leaked memos that there were campaigns to manipulate the data in their favor. There was a campaign to destroy evidence that would go against them -- to manipulate that evidence.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/22/10]

Glenn Beck: “It Has Become Crystal Clear That Scientists Fudged The Data.” On the May 11, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck said:

BECK: One year after lamenting my crazy stand on global warming, it has become crystal clear that scientists fudged the data, lied about the numbers, gone out of their way to exaggerate the problem. And yet tomorrow they will introduce the cap and trade bill in Congress.[Fox News, Glenn Beck, 5/11/10]

Hannity: “E-mails That Show Manipulation Of Data Were Very Incriminating.” From a special August 27, 2010, edition of Hannity titled “The Green Swindle,” which dedicated a significant amount of time to “climategate”:

HANNITY: E-mails that show manipulation of data were very incriminating. But the written discussions about destroying records proved to be most damning.


HANNITY: When Climategate broke, the e-mails went viral and five investigations were launched while the scientists were cleared of any wrongdoing critics called these investigations a sham.

MCKITRICK: All of these inquiries have been a disappointment. In a sense, the documentation is there and the record is there. We are still waiting for a real inquiry to be formed that will get to the bottom of --

HANNITY: While the culprits claim innocence they are still trying to rewrite history. In a recent interview with the VDC, Mann said this about the hockey stick graph.

PROFESSOR MICHAEL MANN, EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE: I always thought it was somewhat misplaced to make it a central icon of the climate change debate.

HANNITY: While the, quote, “investigations” turned up nothing, the impact of Climategate is clear. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/27/10, via Nexis]

Hannity: “Climategate” Showed “That They Artificially Altered The Science To Hype Global Warming.” From the November 19, 2010, edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: Today is the one year anniversary of climategate, where we discovered that they artificially altered the science to hype global warming, which I say -- and others -- doesn't exist.


HANNITY: If the science was so incontrovertible, why did the scientists have to alter it? [Fox News, Hannity, 11/19/10]

Fox Guest Suggests Climategate Showed “The Science Is Not Quite Science In Many Cases.” Discussing greenhouse gas regulations on Fox Business, conservative columnist Jedidiah Bila said:

JEDEDIAH BILA: I do not think it will go through as a result of Climategate and so many things that have happened. I think people are well aware that the science is not quite science in many cases. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 12/27/10, via Nexis]

Beck: “Do I Believe Scientists? No. They've Lied To Us About Global Warming.” On the January 6 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck discussed his distrust of media and experts and said: “Do I believe scientists? No. They've lied to us about global warming.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 1/6/11]

Fox's John Gibson: Scientists Were “Cooking Up Bad Information For A Long Time For Political Purposes.” From the June 21 edition of Fox Business' Follow The Money:

ERIC BOLLING: This East Anglia University that came up with the faulty numbers that they were basing some of the global warming trends on, what do you think about CRU

BILL KIRK, WEATHER TRENDS INTERNATIONAL: Again, again, it was, for instance, the hockey stick. We've cooked the books of the past. And that's the sad thing about data. We are corrupting the data forever. We're all about data, at WeatherTrends360.com, it's all about data (inaudible). So yeah, there definitely is some fraud there.

BOLLING: Quickly, last thought, sir?

JOHN GIBSON, Fox News Radio Host: East Anglia is a scandal the global warming people just don't want to admit to. Those scientists were cooking up bad information for a long time for political purposes.

BOLLING: Political and monetary. They sought to -- they got a lot of funds based on some of that science. [Fox Business, Follow The Money, 6/21/11]

Fox's Crowley: “A Lot Of This Data Has Been Falsified, Fraudulent, Made Up Out Of Thin Air.” On the June 22 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley stated, “We've seen over the last year or so that a lot of data has been falsified, fraudulent, made up out of thin air.” Crowley added that “in fact, we may be cooling.” [Fox Business, Follow The Money, 6/22/11]

Fox's Stossel: CRU Emails “Revealed That Some Scientists Were Manipulating Data To Support Their Alarmist Position.” From the July 7 edition of Fox Business' Stossel:

JOHN STOSSEL: Continuing with “The Road to Serfdom”, is the Green Movement putting us on the road to serfdom? Yes says James Delingpole. He's one of the journalists who broke the “Climategate” scandals.

He published some of those e-mails that revealed some scientists were manipulating data to support their alarmist position on global warming. [Fox Business, Stossel, 7/7/11, via Nexis]

Wash. Times: “The Climategate Scandal Showed That Scientists Manipulate Data To Bolster Their Stories Of Impending Doom.” From a July 25 Washington Times editorial:

During the past several years, the Climategate scandal showed that scientists manipulate data to bolster their stories of impending doom. That, combined with the absence of actual temperature elevations, has soured the public's acceptance of Mr. Gore's central article of faith that human activity is heating the planet. [Washington Times, 7/25/11]

Fox Has Leveled Other Baseless Accusations Of Doctoring Data

Fox News Baselessly Accuses Scientists Of “Doctoring” Sea Level Data To “Exaggerate” Global Warming. FoxNews.com and Fox Nation trumpeted the baseless claim that scientists at the University of Colorado are “doctoring” sea level data to “exaggerate the effects of global warming.” In reality, the scientists used a standard and transparent procedure performed by other research groups around the world, and even the climate skeptic cited by Fox News objects to the implication that the group engaged in scientific wrongdoing. [Media Matters, 6/20/11]

Fox's Hannity Trumpeted Claim That Britain Had “Tampered With” And “Rigged” Data. On his Fox News show, host Sean Hannity falsely claimed that a “major Russian climate change organization dropped a bombshell” report claiming that “much of its climate data was tampered with by a leading British research center” and that “any of their data that could help disprove global warming was simply ignored.” In fact, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) is not a “climate change organization”; it is an economic and social policy think tank headed by Andrei Illarionov, an economist, climate skeptic, and fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute; moreover, the report was not about “their” data -- it simply purported to analyze how the UK Met Office used data from Russian meteorological stations. [Fox News, Hannity, 12/18/09]