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Joe Romm Breaks Media Embargo, Kneecaps Nisbet

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorApril 19, 2011 8:40 PM


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Say one thing about Joe Romm, he understands the value of getting ahead of a story to try and influence the media narrative. He's kinda like Mike Tyson in his prime, who would launch from his corner stool like a ball of fury as soon as the opening bell was rung and pummel his opponent into a sagging heap. Romm is similarly relentless and too goes for the quick knockout. But like Tyson, who also had no compunction about biting off ears and hitting below the belt, Romm has shown that he's willing to fight dirty. See, for example, this post from Romm yesterday, in which he breaks a media embargo, that astonishingly, a Harvard University-affiliated journalism watchdog, seems okay with. (Harvard's Nieman Journalism Watchdog appears to accept at face value that Romm has accurately characterized this report by American University communications professor, Matthew Nisbet.) So days before the official release of Nisbet's report, he has been forced to wade through the mud that Romm has thrown up. Every journalist writing about the report will now be forced to sift through the mud, too. And where are the referees who are supposedly interested in fair play? They are writing approving headlines like this:

Killing a false narrative before it takes hold

Even Tyson got called out when he mugged his opponents. UPDATE: It should be noted: Robert Brulle, who was a peer reviewer on Nisbet's report, and who didn't like the conclusions drawn, dramatically jumped ship last week and is now doing everything he can (in tandem with Romm) to torpedo the report's credibility. In Romm's latest post on this, I see he's saying that a "reanalysis" of the data has been done, with "the help of Dr. Robert Brulle." Yeah, no axes to grind here. Is this what passes for acceptable behavior among scholars? Is it ethically appropriate for someone who doesn't like the results of a study he helped review then join forces with a partisan blogger to deep six the report before it is even officially released?

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