Amazongate : Jonathan Leake Retracts

Another chapter in the ongoing saga of the exhausting struggle to educate the mainstream media journalists to check their Climate Change stories thoroughly before publishing.

You may have heard of “Amazongate” – the Amazon would seem to be capable of withstanding more frequent drought caused by Global Warming – according to one interpretation of an isolated piece of research.

However, if you believed that take on things, you’d be very much mistaken in doing so. And the person you’re most likely to be able to have believed on this story would be Jonathan Leake, writing in The Sunday Times.

An article that he wrote, published on 31 January 2010 has been retracted after a submission to the Press Complaints Commission by Dr Simon Lewis. The link to the original article has been removed from the Times Online website :-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7009705.ece
“UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim”

Searching for this article title using Google produces thousands of pages that refer to the original publication :-

http://www.google.co.uk/search

The retraction is apparently published here, but I have no access to it, because it requires subscription, which I will not register for, so I do not know what it says :-

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/article196428.ece

The Times and Sunday Times newspapers are regarded by many as authoritative sources – journalists writing in these pages are expected to have good, although unnamed, contacts with establishment figures, leading scientific experts and the Government.

However, just recently, The Times and Sunday Times have been getting Climate Change Science stories wrong. Completely wrong. And one journalist in particular has been accused of distortion and fabrication. Why does Jonathan Leake want to misrepresent the truth ? Who has his ear ?

What is the future for Climate Change Science reporting ? Can the mainstream media ever get to grips with the main narrative, the trends in the evidence, and the real frontlines of research ?

And will the mainstream newspapers start to hire people trained in Climate Change Science, people who understand the material they are writing about ?

Here is some background on the story :-

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/06/leakegate-a-retraction/

http://www.realclimate.org/docs/Leake_and_North_original_S_Times_article_31_Jan_2010.pdf

http://climateprogress.org/2010/06/20/amazon-ipcc-climategate-sunday-times-jonathan-leake-simon-lewis-apology-retraction/

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/06/sunday_times_shamed_by_bogus_j.php

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/global_warming/leakegate/

http://mediamatters.org/print/blog/201003310004

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201002160017

http://climatesafety.org/swallowing-lies-how-the-denial-lobby-feeds-the-press/

http://hot-topic.co.nz/sunday-times-apologises-for-amazongate-misinformation/

http://www.clivehamilton.net.au/cms/media/documents/articles/abc_denialism_series_complete.pdf

Dr Simon Lewis’ complaint :-

http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Lewis_S_Times_PCC_Complaint_As_Sent1.pdf

I wonder when The Sunday Times will retract or correct this article, also by Jonathan Leake :-

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece
“February 14, 2010 : World may not be warming, say scientists”

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