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Article  Did Michael E. Mann win the lawsuit or was climate science subsituted for his case?

C C Offline
False equivalence

EXCERPTS: . . . a jury in Washington, DC awarded renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann more than $1,000,000 in damages in a defamation lawsuit he brought against two bloggers. [...] In my view, there were two absolutely pivotal moments in the trial.

One occurred when Mann was testifying and he explained that he felt that the bloggers were not just criticizing him, but they were attacking all of climate science, and he could not let that stand. As the world’s most accomplished and famous climate scientist, Mann intimated that he was simply the embodiment of all of climate science.

For the jury, this set up the notion that this trial was not really about Mann, but about attacks on all of climate science from climate deniers.

The second pivotal moment occurred when in closing arguments Mann’s lawyer asked the jury to send a message to right-wing science deniers and Trump supporters with a large punitive damage award.

[...] This framing — climate deniers versus climate science — has also characterized mainstream media coverage. ... The case was formally about defamation, but in reality it was not at all about defamation. As Michael Mann stated after the verdict, the case was really about politics and ideology:

"This is about the defense of science against scurrilous attacks, and dishonest efforts to undermine scientists who are just trying to do our job … whose findings might prove inconvenient to certain ideologically driven individuals and outlets. It’s about the integrity of the science and making sure that bad actors aren’t allowed to make false and defamatory statements about scientists in their effort to advance an agenda."

[...] The defense made a big mistake in thinking that it would be sufficient to win by proving their case while Mann chose not to put one on. That was wrong.

There is no equivalence here between the “renowned” Michael Mann and the “right-wing trolls” who deny climate science and support Donald Trump. The case, at least in this particular venue, was simply unwinnable no matter what cases were put on by the prosecution and the defense. Mann simply had to show up...

[...] For Mann’s part, he signals that he is just getting started in his legal campaign against his opponents... I would not be surprised to now see a flurry of lawsuits against people who have been critical of climate science or climate scientists. Such legal action may not be limited to climate — debate over Covid-19 also presents a target-rich environment for unwanted speech to silence... (MORE - missing details)

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