Almost exactly 6 years ago, Scepticus – to dead-name her – noticed that the Daily Kos had begun to ignore Cliscep.

Ignoring someone is a jolly jape – just ask any 5-year-old. But it’s also very difficult to do properly. To ignore someone is not merely to be unaware of what they are doing: to ignore is, to my mind, active, rather than passive. If the person is within the sphere of your perception, it’s almost impossible to keep up the ignoring game. [I know. I’ve been 5 before.]

The first time (2015) Daily Kos ignored Cliscep in its “ClimateDenierRoundup,” it said this:

But there is one development in the deniersphere:a new website featuring the writings of various UK deniers called cliscep.com (as in “climate skepticism”). The group of bloggers are pooling their efforts because the deniersphere is, according to the site’s about page, “becoming crowded to the point that it’s difficult to keep up.”

And:

So bookmark the site if you’re looking for an easy way to keep tabs on the second-string UK deniers—or you can just continue ignoring them, like everyone else.

The second time they ignored us, Daily Kos displayed their expertise in satire by referencing A Modest Proposal. Of course they then underlined it, hyperlinked it, and sent their baffled readers off to Wiki to learn what it was.

Over on cliscep where a sad set of UK deniers pool their efforts in a futile hope that someone will notice them, self-styled satirist Brad Keyes has a couple of posts up in a fit of click-bait handwaving. Giving the finger to Dr. Michael Mann, Keyes headlined one post “BREAKING: Mann Quits Climate Science” and the other “Mann Retirement: Analysis, Reax.”

I think you meant soi-disant satirist. That way, you could underline it, hyperlink it, and send your  baffled readers off to Robert to learn what it means.

And:

Someone should tell Keyes the key to good satire is a clear message driven home by hyperbole…

Oho, so that’s where I’ve been going wrong. Of course, back in those days I was not even holding Brad’s parasol in between takes. (Where did those days go? Eaten by locusts perhaps? Whatever became of our enfants perdus?)

Brad’s click-bait handwaving hasn’t dated:

The resulting graph, which debuted in a paper by Dr Mann and coauthors Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes, was so iconic it even got a popular name: the Hockey Stick. One science reporter who grasped the significance of the finding was The Guardian’s Fred Pearce, who wrote that it “solves one of the nagging scientific paradoxes of the late 20th century: if it was just as warm in the Middle Ages as it is today, how do you explain the well-known fact that we urgently need to fight climate change?”

Delving back into the archives led me to a lot of heartfelt testimonies about Daily Kos, of which a select few follow.

Michael 2: “It took DailyKOS about two hours to ban me some years ago.”

(Clearly, Michael 2 wasn’t trying very hard.)

Thomaswfuller2: “Unlike many other visitors here, I am a very, very left-leaning-liberal–and I can’t read Daily Kos. It’s really that bad.”

(It may be better now, but since everything bad gets worse with climate change, or whatever we’re calling it now, maybe not.)

Geoff Chambers:

They don’t want us to comment on their article about us. But we’d love them to come and comment on our article about their articles about us.

Here’s my message to the Kos:

24 hours ago I came across Your two articles about us. Since then you’ve closed comments on those two articles. Tell us where we’re we’re wrong; about Lewandowsky, about Oreskes, about temperatures; about CO2 sensitivity; about stinking rich British millionaires ripping off poor Africans in the name of sustainability; about the Royal Society paying some charlatan a five figure sum to continue to defame me and others by publishing articles accusing us of paranoia and irrational thinking.

Dear Daily Kos, you are (perhaps) the unwitting outlet, the fundament, the arsehole, of a system that can only survive by eliminating all opposition, ever, anywhere. As long as there exists a reasonable, audible opposition to your nasty little ideology, you are a joke. If ever you succeed in eliminating opposition (as it has already been eliminated at the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian and the Conversation) then you cease to be a joke, the simple arsehole of internet journalism, and you become the authentic voice of ecofascism.

Personally, as a leftwing supporter freedom of expression, of respect for the principles of science, of the right to oppose current doctrines and the governing consensus, I expect you to respect our right of reply. But only you can choose.

(Daily Kos is sad now that they closed comments so soon. That meant they weren’t able to emphatically bang the delete key moments after Geoff posted his comment.)

Anyway, 6 years on, and they’re still ignoring Cliscep. What are they ignoring us about now?

The #ThinkBeforeSharing campaign was launched back in 2020, but we’re only seeing it now because Geoff Chambers posted a whole long rant to CliScep about how totally not mad and jealous he is about the UN using the climate and conspiracy theory expertise of John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky to put together these social-media shareables. Cook and Lewandowsky should be familiar to regular readers here, having put together the Conspiracy Theory Handbook and Debunking Handbook, upon which the UNESCO content is based, and one of the first major sets of recommendations for social media companies to minimize the harm of disinformation.

I’m not entirely sure what a “whole long rant” is, but I don’t think Geoff’s excellent piece qualifies.

Daily Kos:

Cook and Lewandowsky should be familiar to regular readers here, having put together the Conspiracy Theory Handbook and Debunking Handbook, upon which the UNESCO content is based…

They are familiar to sceptics for other reasons, which I urge Daily Kos to familiarise themselves with. [For that, you have to delve into archives that pre-date Cliscep. This at Climate Audit is a good blast from the past.] However, the Debunking Handbook itself is not a handbook at all, but more of a pamphlet. It’s 19 pages, and the last 4 of those are the references. Having skim-read it, the Debunking Pamphlet reads to me as a pointless lecture by a bunch of people who think ordinary people aren’t as smart as they are, and are therefore incapable of evaluating data and arguments for themselves. “Debunk often and properly” we are told. “Avoid scientific jargon or complex, technical language.” (Because your audience is composed of dimbulbs.) See also here for John’s opinion of the Debunking Pamphlet and its unblushing admission that a previous version contained the opposite advice to the new version.

Saith the Debunking Pamphlet:

Conversely, not speaking out can lead to a “spiral of silence”, both for the person being corrected and for the observer, where a mute majority cedes a narrative to a vocal but misinformed minority.

Damn those vocal but misinformed minority of deniers, who have taken control of the narrative in the face of a “spiral of silence.” Good job there’s no-one out there trying to censor unpopular opinions, eh?

What I really like about the Debunking Pamphlet is the Example of a Refutation on p.15, as recommended by Geoff. The myth to be debunked is indeed a myth: that because climate change has happened naturally in the past, climate change must be natural now. As a denier who does not believe this myth, I think the choice is a poor one; a straw man. Why not debunk the myth that “Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity is lower than the models say it is,” which is something this denier actually does believe? As I always say, it’s not IF when it comes to climate change, it’s HOW MUCH.

Having set up a triangle of skittles to knock over, the pamphlet then gutter-balls straight away by mentioning a fact which a denier could rush off to check and immediately discover it is not a very solid fact at all.

Here is the temperature of the lower stratosphere:

RSS

To cherry pick a (harrumph) 25-year period, the temperature in the lower stratosphere is not going down at all. You can see El Chichon there and Mt. Pinatubo. The temperature seems to have plateaued after Pinatubo. It looks like the temperature was dropping before the Montreal Protocol (1987). [Ozone absorbs high-energy photons from El Sol, so the less of it there is, the cooler the stratosphere; I don’t see any obvious signal from increasing CO2 concentration in this figure. The more CO2 there is, the more energy is supposed to be emitted to space, cooling this region of the atmosphere.]

Daily Kos also ignored Tony Thomas’s latest post “Shut Them Up, Argues the Academy of Science.”

In it, Tony observes that shutting down debate is the antithesis of science. This should be obvious, but it seems not. Better surely to allow your critics to speak, and then answer them, rather than shut them up? When it later turns out that you were censoring the truth, all you have done is foster distrust in what should be authoritative statements. If you try to enforce a line like “the vaccine is safe,” it isn’t a good look when several countries begin to ban it. Likewise when you ban mention of Hunter Biden’s laptop, labelling it “Russian Disinformation,” only for it and its contents to be later proved real, fewer people will believe you next time – and maybe next time it will be disinformation. Let it out, and answer it, is my suggestion. If you don’t think your public are smart enough to hear the argument, then the failure is elsewhere. And yes, there are incredibly credulous people out there. Even iPhone users.

Conclusion

Daily Kos, we love you. Keep doing what you’re doing. And when all this is over, let’s meet up in the rubble for a cognac and a cigar.

Thanks also to Vinnie for raising the topic in Open Mic.

[You can get a copy of the Debunking Pamphlet here, if it’s raining and you don’t like the look of The Rings of Power.]

16 Comments

  1. Jit,

    You talk about Cliscep being ignored, but spare a thought for poor old me. I write an article directly attacking the ‘Discourse of Delay’ taxonomy and its citing of Lewandowsky and Cook’s debunking advice. I even refer in the article’s title to the ‘Democratic right to be unhappy’. But when the Daily Kos gets on its hind legs to deride our unhappiness and mock those who bad-mouth those two gentlemen, I don’t even get a mention. What does a guy have to do to get a personal nod in their denier roundup? I’m obviously not trying hard enough.

    The Democratic Right to be Unhappy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So of course what Lew and stürmfeüer Cook, and DK prove in reality is that censors are the bad guys.

    Like

  3. John, it was remiss of me not to mention your post. I had reviewed it along with quite a few other Cliscep posts, mostly from the archive, but forgot to include it here. In my defence I did remember to link to your comment explaining the Debunking Pamphlet’s boomerang boomerang.

    Like

  4. Jit,

    Actually, I wasn’t having a go at you, it was the Daily Kos. When I started reading their hit piece, I was looking forward to a bit of notoriety, but alas only Tony and Geoff got the brikabats. I felt slighted by them. Surely I had done enough to be labelled a professional liar in their eyes.

    Anyway, enough said. The most significant aspect of the Kos article was its insignificance. We do not corner the market in that respect. The main difference between us and them is that we realise what is going on, so we are in a position to care less.

    Like

  5. John,

    I’m sorry to break it to you, but you don’t make the De Smog Blog Climate Disinformation Database either…

    Like

  6. Mark,

    That I knew. I am going to have to get used to the fact that I am a third string denier, destined for eternal anonymity

    Like

  7. I don’t think we have any fourth-stringers Mark. We don’t have the numbers to make up four XIs.

    Like

  8. Mark never play the 4 String Ostinato in D Minor!
    Every sailor knows that means death!

    Like

  9. Hi Sceps, a few responses for the next time you’re pleasantly surprised that your self-googling finally turned up someone citing you-

    Daily Kos automatically closes comments after a day, and isn’t something that we have any control over.

    Daily Kos is just the blogging platform, note the line under the byline disclaiming “Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)” They have no more to do with the ClimateDenier Roundup than WordPress has with cliscep.com.

    As for how often we’re ignoring the combined effort here, for context we publish daily M-F, producing roughly 250 posts a year. Over six years, that makes some 1,500 times we’ve talked about climate disinformation worth alerting a wider audience to, of which it looks like you made the cut 8 times.

    Cheers!

    Like

  10. What? So now you have to comment on our website to emphasise how much you are ignoring us? But please don’t bother. If you had wanted to upset us by drawing attention to our relatively low profile, you missed that chance a long time ago. As I said on here back in April:

    “Of course, when I first joined the band, at the invitation of Bradley Keyes, I had no idea I would still be here four years later – still plugging away, searching for that magical riff that would secure my place in the sceptics’ hall of fame. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that I will never achieve such an accolade. In fact, if truth be known, I came to that conclusion 95 articles ago.”

    On the other hand, if you really did want to upset us, you could perhaps have gone over to Tony’s latest article and pointed out how our concerns for the importance of delineating aleatory and epistemic uncertainties when analysing climate model ensemble output are misguided. You could have, but you didn’t. And you didn’t because you wouldn’t know how. So you chose instead to go with the puerile suggestion that we must have got some sort of buzz from being cited by you. Well, I guess you got that wrong.

    Like

  11. I like being a Scep
    Looks like we have at long last been noticed by the Climatedenierroundup. Glory be!

    Like

  12. ClimateDenierRoundup noted that they have mentioned Cliscep 8 times. However, with typical climate denier slapdashery, I was only aware of 3 such occasions. Now I’m really going to have to “self-Google” as Cliscep’s infamy archaeologist to unearth the other 5 and see what they took umbrage at.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jit,

    I don’t think that writing generic hit pieces that indulge in the usual denier-bashing cliches throws much light on matters. However, if you do find anything substantive that actually addresses any of the specific matters raised on this site, please let me know. Otherwise, as I said earlier, I am capable of caring less and, despite my mock protestations, I do not actually value the notoriety that someone like the Daily Kos could offer.

    Like

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