Ammo for the activist: Wikipedia’s climate entries shaped by…A Green Party activist!
Greetings Redstate Activist. Looking for just the right Christmas present for that earnest, naive voter who fears that Earth is overheating, due to the evil pollutants created by capitalism and the breath of Dick Cheney? Courtesy of Canada’s Financial Times, I have just the thing: an eye-opening expose.
What’s the most widely-used reference source today, especially among tech-savvy young people? Wikipedia of course.
So, if you’re an activist, who wants to “sell” the voting public on your particular point of view (e.g., the Earth is heating dangerously because of man’s activity), it sure would help if one of your guys controlled whose viewpoints on the subject got read and whose didn’t.
Come to think of it, it would really rock if you could even rewrite history. Or, more to the point, erase inconvenient things that happened in the past.
Meet William Connolley, Wikipedia’s climate doctor.
From Saturday’s Financial Times :
The Climategate Emails describe how a small band of climatologists cooked the books to make the last century seem dangerously warm.
The emails also describe how the band plotted to rewrite history as well as science, particularly by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period, a 400 year period that began around 1000 AD.
The Climategate Emails reveal something else, too: the enlistment of the most widely read source of information in the world — Wikipedia — in the wholesale rewriting of this history.
Apparently, some of the client scientists pushing the “hockey stick” theory realized that, eventually, they’d be challenged. In anticipation of that, they created “RealClimate.org,” a venue from which they could launch counterattacks against their critics.
I’ll let the Financial Times tell you the rest.
One person in the nine-member Realclimate.orgteam — U.K. scientist and Green Party activist William Connolley — would take on particularly crucial duties. Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known -Wikipedia.
Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug. 11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.
All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.
The Medieval Warm Period disappeared, as did criticism of the global warming orthodoxy. With the release of the Climategate Emails, the disappearing trick has been exposed. The glorious Medieval Warm Period will remain in the history books, perhaps with an asterisk to describe how a band of zealots once tried to make it disappear.
William Connolley’s Wiki bio is here. IMO, anyone reading it (or just looking at his picture) would question this fellow’s objectivity. Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wiki’s own description of Connolley:
A July 2006 article in The New Yorker reported that Connolley briefly became “a victim of an edit war over the entry on global warming”, in which a skeptic repeatedly “watered down” the article’s explanation of the greenhouse effect. The skeptic later brought the case before Wikipedia’s arbitration committee, claiming that Connolley was pushing his own point of view in the article by removing material with opposing viewpoints. The arbitration committee imposed a “humiliating one-revert-a-day” editing restriction on Connolley. Wikipedia “gives no privilege to those who know what they’re talking about”, Connolley told The New Yorker. The restriction was later revoked, and Connolley went on to serve as a Wikipedia administrator from January 2006 until 13 September 2009.
Apparently, Wikipedia knew they had a fox guarding the climate history henhouse…and were just fine with it.
The Financial Times piece was written by Lawrence Solomon. For any trolls itching to paint him as a no-name Halliburton tool-for-hire, here’s his page on the FT website. Apparently he’s a regular over there.
Redstate Activist, please put this in your ammo pouch. There are lots of naive minds out there, just waiting to be awakened in time for 2010.