Revkin: I’m No Worse Than the Norfolk Constabulary

A friendly motto from a friendly lot. Less friendly, perhaps, when they barge into the homes of climate skeptics to intimidate them and claim their computers, but that's just a detail.

I have been putting pressure on Dr. Peter Gleick to address the issue of the authorship of the most significant document that he presented to the world two weeks ago, the fake strategy memo purporting to show the Heartland Institute’s plans for the coming year. Specifically, I’ve asked that he admit to being the author, if he can. This presumes that he is the author, which I do.

Toward that end, I have e-mailed Dr. Gleick a handful of times requesting comment. I also wrote an open letter to Dr. Gleick. With time, I have come to be increasingly interested in the fact that Andy Revkin and the New York Times have failed to publish any substantive reporting on this last remaining piece of the Fakegate puzzle. And I have asked Revkin whether he was looking into the fake document’s authorship.

Revkin responded in a direct Twitter message: “ideas welcome (re/ investigating the doc).” I brought up the fact that he might want to ask Gleick directly. I brought it up more than once, in fact. It turned out in the end, that ideas were welcome in order to then be dismissed out of hand. That led to this post: “The Sound of Silence.”

In comments to that post, RayG mentioned that he had followed up on my queries to Revkin with his own. Here is RayG’s first comment:

I just posted this in Andrew Revkin’s DotEarth thread on Jonathan Foley. I will check back later to see if it makes it through moderation and, if so, if he responds.

“Mr. Revkin, I realize that what I am about to ask is off-topic but consider it to be a question that warrants a response. Have you contacted Dr. Peter Gleick directly and asked him, in plain language, if he is the author of the “Strategy Document” that he forwarded to at least 15 recipients as a part of the package that included the documents that he obtained from the Heartland Institute?”

Six and a half hours later came this: RayG had news of a response from Revkin on Dot Earth Blog:

I answered this when Harold Ambler asked. Folks can interpret the silence any way they please. There’s still silence from the Norfolk Constabulary, as well, and plenty of interpretations of that lack of noise.

Apparently, Revkin is suggesting a moral equivalence between Climategate and Fakegate. In the way that he intends the equivalence, this is appalling. More on that in a moment. Perhaps more appalling still, he is also comparing his role in not pursuing the Fakegate story to its logical conclusion to the Norfolk police’s inability to show that an external climate skeptic hacked the University of East Anglia’s computer system prior to the 2009 release of documents that came to be known as Climategate. He seems to be saying, “Yes, I am on the side that found Climategate to be morally abhorrent, and it has been very hard not to see justice done in that case. How do those of you on your side like it when the self-appointed moral police that I am part of do not effectuate justice in this case?”

What Revkin fails to see is that in both Climategate and Fakegate it is climate scientists who have been shown to be acting in less-than-upstanding fashion. There is a link between the two sagas, and it is the corruption of science and the corruption of scientists. Period.

I think there are other ideas embedded in Revkin’s words here. But it’s getting late on the East Coast, and my thinking is notoriously less-than-average at this hour. So, I reserve the right to re-tool my post here in the next 24 hours. In the meantime, enjoy! And buy my book. I wrote it to feed my children, not just to save the world.

About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
This entry was posted in Andrew Revkin, climategate, don't sell your coat, Fakegate, Peter Gleick and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Revkin: I’m No Worse Than the Norfolk Constabulary

  1. Kevin says:

    I think both sides should agree that ‘constabulary’ is a funny word.

  2. Alan Watt says:

    I think a much more interesting question to ask Andrew Revkin is whether he believes the Heartland Institute activities are in any respect not protected and guaranteed under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Or whether he believes their activities violate any provisions of IRS regulations concerning tax-exempt corporations. Perhaps he can be coaxed out of silence on these points.

  3. wws says:

    Seriously, does anyone doubt anymore that Revkin is one of the died in the wool warmists, who’s just a little bit more circumspect than the rest of “The Team”? He had a momentary shock and slipped a bit when Gleick’s dishonesty was first revealed, but now he’s back on his game and he’s going to run 24/7 interference for the Noble Cause of Global Warming.

    Thinking that he is capable of even the imitation of honesty is folly. He’s as big a fraud as the rest of them. His entire professional life, just like the rest of them, is BUILT upon the fraud. When the fraud ends, so does his career. He knows this, why isn’t it obvious to everyone else?

    • Big Al says:

      It is obvious, but its still fun to watch em squirm.

    • Russell C says:

      I would disagree, as I believe there are chinks in Revkin’s armor over AGW. I’ve been especially leaning on him myself over the last 6 months via occasional emails on the larger issue of the smear against skeptic scientists and origins of it largely at the hands of anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan. It is distinctly possible that this Gleick thing is just another outgrowth of this, which I pointed out in my American Thinker piece last week, “Fakegate Opens a Door: More than meets the eye in the Heartland controversy”

      There is hopes for Revkin, he hit me back in ’09 with an out-of-the-blue email (resulting from an exchange he had with Fred Singer), and ultimately placed my response at DotEarth. He apparently understood my defense of a Rush Limbaugh statement, accepted my point of how even liberals can offer serious critical opinions on AGW, and allowed me to ask what would happen if reporters could not prove skeptics were corrupt. See:

      For those of you with Facebook accounts, you’ll see Revkin has both Gelbspan and Gleick on his Friends list. Not a good sign, but he also has (among his list of nearly 5000 others) Lord Monckton and Jim Peden, both very much skeptics, so there’s not much one can draw from such associations.

      If you ask me, there’s a better than average chance that he will turn full skeptic, simply because the overwhelming evidence that pushers of AGW prefer to marginalize their critics using baseless accusations rather than resolve glaring contradictions in opposing climate assessments.

      • Harold Ambler says:

        If Andy, who’s smart as a whip, turns skeptic I’ll be happy, and surprised.

  4. kcom says:

    It’s just one more example of the NYT ignoring stories they find uncomfortable while maintaining the arrogance that they are occupying (see what I did there?) the high moral ground. They did it with climategate and they’re doing it here. Their outrage at bad behavior is highly selective. This is not climate related, but I still remember when the story broke that public money from a Boys & Girls Club in New York had been siphoned off to prop up lefty radio network AIr America when it was struggling (and before it finally died). The story was all over the blogosphere for 10 days while the NYT uttered not a peep. When they finally did address it (i.e. they were forced to acknowledge what everyone else was talking about), the first paragraph of the story was all about how the evil Republicans were using the story to bash their opponents. Only then, after poisoning the well, did they actually lay out the details about the allegations in the following paragraphs, thereby violating the cardinal rule of journalism of putting the facts at the front of the story – who,what, why, where, etc. If they ever come out with something on Gleick and the fake memo, expect the same sleight-of-hand treatment.

    P.S. I’m thinking extra hard about my use of comments these days. 😉

    • cwon14 says:


      It happens all the time at the Times. Think of all the topics you might only have a marginal direct interest in? This is a NY Times standard operating procedure.

      On the Revkin matter I sensed real fear for a few days after he backed the fake memo, his head might have been on the block as it should have. Then a few days later he was backing away from his contrived “apology” if that’s what you could call it. Certainly Gleick was going under the bus if it was going to save Revkin then it all blew over and all attention went to Gleick and the nobel cause defense.

      The lesson here is to abandon the NY Times as “journalism” assumption going into these discussions. It’s many things but it isn’t journalism.

  5. kcom says:

    I meant “my use of commas”. Oops.

    • Gary says:

      Global warming is correlated, though not necessarily caused, by excessive use of commas. Be very afraid.

  6. GeoLurking says:

    Perhaps Andrew Revkin is the actual source and is a co-criminal. That would explain the silence.

    A non self incrimination sort of thing.

  7. P. Solar says:

    The Norfolk Police motto does not say “Our priority is your safety”.
    In this increasingly Orwellian world “Our priority is you” could mean a lot of different things. As Tallbloke recently discovered.

  8. Perry says:

    If A. Revkin considers himself no worse than the Norfolk Constabulary he should understand that opinion as to their worth is mixed. They think they are good at their work; Cambrige Constabulary and Suffolk Constabulary wanted nothing to do with them. Therefore, holding a poor opinion of
    A. Revkin’s moral worth is certainly justified by his self-identification with the mangel-wurzels.
    See: A Movable Rambling Police: An Official History of Policing in Norfolk, by Brian David Butcher

    A Constabulary is the earliest collective noun for the Old Bill working in the countryside.

  9. williamholder says:

    Thank you for your efforts to promote a real discussion about AGW. I will never understand why so much money and effort has been directed towards the climate when we have very real and verifiable needs and problems that must be addressed.

  10. John Silver says:

    Another dog that did not bark.

  11. So he received a document, anonymously. He wanted to verify it, so instead of asking the press relations people at the institute that was the supposed original source, he spoofs the office staff into sending him some details sent out along with an agenda to a meeting. he doesn’t solicit any specific documents, note, his was a fishing email.

    By pure chance the documents sent happen to confirm the stated facts in parts of the strategy documents. All the facts confirmed by those documents, although of course none of the strategy or evil plots to destroy science teaching.

    Riiiiiiigggghhhhht. Ooooookaaaay.

    If you believe that I have a very nice bridge I can sell you down near an old tower in London. Lovely thing, less than 150 years old. Mechanism still in perfect working order.

  12. Mike M says:

    Give Revkin a break, he’s thoroughly embarrassed and needs time to re-group. Fake-gate is a disaster of Biblical proportions when you consider how it managed to shoot both feet of the CAGW hoax at the same time. Not only did it demonstrate the shear desperation of these hard core CAGW liars like Gleick, it laid bare that there is ZERO evidence of massive funding involved with what they call the ‘anti-climate’ base.

    I’m an engineer who sees ZERO scientific evidence to prove that our climate is being affected by the weenie amount of CO2 we add to the air. Unlike the billions going into the pockets of those who try to counter my observation – NOBODY PAID ME A DIME. The truth costs nothing to be the truth, lies always end up costing everyone more than anyone can afford.

  13. Chuck L says:

    I used to have some degree of grudging respect for Revkin; I felt that even though he was in the CAGW camp, he was fairly open-minded and even-handed. No more, I have lost all respect for him as a journalist; it is clear he is a shill and apologist for “scientists” like Gleick. Maybe Scott “Supermandia” can lend Revkin a cape and a pair of tights.

  14. tallbloke says:

    The omerta of the SEJ (Society of Environmental Journalists) warmista on this issue is clear. They don’t even like to admit climategate II happened at all and refer back to the 2009 release wherever possible. This state of denial can’t do them any good in the long run.

    Just one detail: The Norfolk Police returned the computers on the 28th Dec. A circumspect rewording of the Constabulary logo caption might be a good idea. 😉

  15. I think perhaps you’re misreading Revkin’s own claim of equivalence with the Norfolk rozzers. What Revkin is saying is that there is no point in pursuing the enquiry because all the answers are in, in both enquiries.

    It’s reasonable for Revkin to surmise that Norfolk already know the source of the Climategate “hack”, that it was internal – i.e. a leak, rather than a hack – and that the investigation came to an end a long time ago. There are no “hacker” leads to follow because they don’t exist, because there is no hacker. By extension, implicit in Revkin’s claim of equivalence is that he also knows the source of the forged Heartland document, that it was Gleick and that, therefore, there is no point in asking Gleick a question to which he already knows the answer.

    Anyone perusing the content of the forged document can plainly see that the substance of the forgery is derived directly from the documents which were illegally purloined by Gleick. It is too great a leap (for rational thinkers, this is) to believe that Gleick received the forged document and was then able to obtain through wire fraud, so precisely, the exact documents from Heartland required to support the real text copy/pastes present in the forgery. The only way the forgery itself could exist, in the form that it does and with the content found within, is if it were authored by a person who had done exactly as Gleick has admitted he did – obtained these exact documents through deception.

    So yes, like Norfolk Plod and Climategate, Revkin already knows everything he needs to know about Fakegate. While perhaps it is useful for Plod not to close the investigation (either to avoid inviting grief from influential interests, or because it’s a useful way of justifying funding when you have an open investigation/money-pit, perhaps both), it would simply not be in Revkin’s ideological interests to make publicly known what he certainly knows himself (whether he’s asked privately of Gleick already, or not) regarding Gleick’s authorship of the forgery. Revkin doesn’t want to draw fresh attention to a thing he hopes will eventually fade away.

    As he pointed out to Heartland’s Joe Bast, recently, Revkin has no ethical obligation to tell the truth, either in part or the whole, because he’s not employed as a journalist by NYT any more, just as a blogger. Some of us might argue that ethics ought to transcend the NYT website subdomain one’s writings are served from, but given Revkin’s “reporting” history, Revkin himself probably wouldn’t concur. This fundamental lack of ethical integrity is the streak which, we are beginning to see as we watch its death throes, runs through activist-science and environmentalism, and their reporting entourage, like lettering through a stick of Blackpool rock.

    • Harold Ambler says:

      I believe that Revkin, by mentioning Climategate, is principally trying to feed his base. I don’t think it occurred to him that in the process he is underscoring the likelihood that the document release was a whistle-blowing leak rather than a hack.

  16. Mike M says:

    Doubting Rich says:

    Rubbish. Children are being taught ‘green’ nonsense in public schools that human CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming. Scientific temperature data shows that that is simply not true. I want the truth taught in the classroom, I want children to be taught that skepticism is the very cornerstone of science itself to force PROOF of any theory being advanced. That is what Heartland wants too.

  17. David says:

    Perry says:
    March 7, 2012 at 2:41 am
    If A. Revkin considers himself no worse than the Norfolk Constabulary….
    Perhaps Revkin, if he is equivicating this with climategate 2,should then request/confisgate Gleick’s computers. Now that might have some journalistic value.

  18. koles says:

    If the Climategate docs had been faked (or even if their veracity had been disputed), he might have had some kind of point. But they weren´t, so he doesn´t.

    There are many other breakdowns in his attempted parallel, some of them covered above, but I´d say the above is the most significant one.

  19. Lance says:

    Revkin has to stay on message.

    The “cause” is what’s important. Sure these scientist have made a few “errors in judgement” but the science is “settled” and their hearts were in the right place.

    It was never about the science. The IPCC was constructed to push a foregone conclusion that in turn was constructed to push a political agenda.

    That’s why no matter how the evidence mounts that the science is weak and that the “scientists” pushing it the hardest are really political activists the mainstream media will continue to look the other way.

    The narrative is set. It’s just a matter of damage control to cover the tracks of “well meaning” scientists that are “transitioning” to a role of “communicator”.

    I just hope to god this whole thing comes undone, and when it does Revkin and his ilk will have a lot to answer for.

  20. JohnBUK says:

    I think you’ve all got this wrong. Revkin believes ALL the Climategate emails are forgeries and that’s why he equates that with Fakegate. Simples!

  21. sherlock says:

    The most damning part of this is that Gleick, at a time he claims to already be in possession of the document in question, did not ask for it directly in his queries to Heartland. His emails were worded in such a vague fashion that they should have alerted the Heartland staff IMHO, but at any rate they sound exactly like they came from someone who had no clue what he might find, as opposed to someone who was trying to authenticate a document that was in their possession.

    William of Ockham would say that Gleick is lying.

    • Big Al says:

      It is very common for criminals to admit to only that which they beleive is provable. As the investigation progresses they start to admit more as it becomes clear that denying it is unsustainable. Ask any rozzer 🙂

  22. Duster says:

    I believe, if you read the response, that Revkin is indicating that there is an on-going “investigation.” Police rarely comment much on an investigation in progress for very good reasons as a rule. It is for instance unlikely that the Norfolk police have an AGW-supporting agenda, and if anything, UEA must be very anxious to know just who released those emails as well, for reasons beyond climate debates. The silence of the police is understandable in terms of an investigation.

    Concerning Revkin, regardless of his biases, there is no reason Revkin would expect that Gleick, who lied to his friends, would hesitate to lie to a journalist. So, I doubt the moral “equivalence” perceived in the response is necessarily implied as existing between CRUgate and FAKEgate but rather, precisely as phrased, between Revkin and the police. You want to recall that Gleick used Revkin as a patsy and lied to him as well. I have no idea how Revkin feels, but if someone used me as a patsy I would be entertaining a desire to rearrange the relationship between my “source’s” nose and the rest of his face.

  23. Walt says:

    I did buy your book. On Kindle. A bargain at twice the price. I strongly recommend it. Haven’t read a better precis of the state of climate science. And I have read many.

    Congratulations on a good job.


    Come on, guys. Help the dude out. It’s less than 10 bucks on Kindle.

  24. Doug Allen says:

    I have just about given up posting to Dot Earth. My posts are cordial toward Andy whom I agree with on most subjects- not CAGW- but I’m often critical of the NYT for their unbalanced reporting on the climate controversies. The NYT has done something very odd (or is it Revkin himself, I don’t know who makes the decisions on whose posts to publish or blackball), not printing 3 of my 4 posts shortly after Glieck’s confession. The only one of the 4 published was the one asking why my earlier posts had not appeared. Even more odd, Andy sent me, and I asssume many others, an email, saying he was ought of town and didn’t know why posts were being dropped. Since then, my two more recent posts have appeared about 24 hours after posting them, when Revkin and everyone has moved on to a new topic. I’m getting the “REALCLIMATE” treatment from Revkin and/or the NYT.
    It looks like Revkin, Glieck, the NYT, the whole “team” is ready to go down with the sinking ship!
    Andy Revkin writes time and time again about the problems in communicating climate science. Many of us have written back time and time again that balanced reporting would go a long way in creating good will and perhaps even credibility. BTW, I’m a conservationist, environmental educator, and natural ally of environmental protection and rigorous science. I will be cross posting this to Dot Earth, but I don’t suppose the NYT and Revkin will publish it.
    I actually emailed the above directly to Andy Revkin (there was no Dot Earth post today) who immediately wrote back, and we exchanged emails about my posts and also a movie I saw last night, “Ghost Bird” with eerie similarities to climate science contoversies. I will again try posting to Dot Earth in the future.

    • Eric Barnes says:

      I’ve had exactly the same experience Doug. Many comments missing, complaints always get through. My speculation is that Andy has gone to far in his condemnation of Gleick and either refuses to monitor those threads, or management is actively montioring those threads themselves. IMO, Andy is an honorable man who is disgusted with the Gleick affair. I think his stance on AGW has more to do with management than any closely held beliefs of his own.

  25. pat says:

    Revkin does not only not understand, science, statistics, or basic math, he does not understand what he is saying!

    • Doug Allen says:

      Pat, IMO no one understands climate science, though some try to convince others that they do. It’s a young science and a complex one involving atmospheric physics and fluid mechanics, organic chemistry and biology (for the carbon cycle), geology, paleontology, astonomy and solar physics plus statistics. How many are expert in all those subjects!? I compare climate science at this stage to the blind men touching the elephant.

  26. John Whitman says:

    Revkin’s silence may be compared to the ‘silence of the lambs’ (see movie). Why isn’t Revkin bleating like an innocent lamb at Gleick to answer questions about responsibility for the forged ‘Fakegate’ strategic document? Revkin is not bleating for that because he is a lamb that has already figuratively been journalistically slaughtered by his editorial shepherds at the NYT. That explains his silence . . . . . . n’est ce pas?


  27. Michael Hart says:

    Not just Norfolk Constabulary but
    “…the Metropolitan Police, the Norfolk Constabulary and the Computer Crime division…”
    knocked on Tallbloke’s door with a warrant.

    I wonder what Revkin’s considered opinions are about them.

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