The Truth, Sourcwatch Style

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorNov 1, 2010 11:46 PM


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This is priceless. The person responsible for researching and writing the SourceWatch page on Judith Curry has an odd way of gathering her information. For example, here are some questions she emailed Curry last night:

Hello again Dr. Curry - People who know climate science are having trouble making sense of your critiques, and I am having trouble making sense of your classifying my community's most blatant global warming denier as "not an identified "skeptic" (as far as i can tell)". So I have additional Qs to you "“ and yes, I realize they're obnoxious and I apologize for that, but IMO we need to get at the truth.

Has your handwriting been getting shaky lately, or your balance worsening, or your (verbal, etc) self-restraint just vaporizing? (I ask since these did noticeably happen to me, & not all at the same time; fortunately they didn't persist.)

Are you being threatened or blackmailed; either on behalf of you, or on behalf of others (e.g. family members) close to you, including the younger generation(s)? Would you take the enhanced [Jeffrey] Dubner oath? ("I swear that I have never taken money or received services "“ whether directly or indirectly "” from any political campaign or political group or government agency or think tank "” whether federal, state, or local "” or from anyone else "” in exchange for any service performed in my climate communication endeavors.") ("directly or indirectly" would include carrots/sticks for friends and family members) I'm sorry to ask you so directly, and you're certainly free not to answer any of these Qs; but they are the questions I have.

I especially loved the bit about the handwriting. Coincidentally, I was rummaging through the thread of a free (and publicly aired) climate therapy session yesterday and came across what appears to be the lone contributor to Judith Curry's SourceWatch page. There she was, Anna Haynes, "journalist by avocation," in action, getting the goods on Judith Curry. In case you were wondering, SourceWatch is

a collaborative specialized encyclopedia of the corporate front groups, PR teams, "experts," industry-friendly groups, and think thanks trying to influence public opinion on behalf of corporations or government agencies.

SourceWatch is published by the Center for Media and Democracy, which calls itself (my emphasis)

an independent, non-profit, non-partisan media and consumer watchdog group

You know the opposite of Fox News, which is "fair and balanced." UPDATE:I emailed Ann Landman, the managing editor at the Center for Media and Democracy, to let her know about this post. In her response, (which is reproduced below with her permission), she provides useful context that elaborates on the quality control aspect of SourceWatch and the site's journalistic function:

The Center for Media and Democracy asks that all information contributed to Sourcewatch be backed up by authoritative references, which helps the site maintain credibility. Unfortunately, since SW is a wiki, it is sometimes hard to adequately police this. The site is continuously a work in progress. We do our best to monitor contributions, but sometimes we simply have to address deficiencies as they are brought to our attention. We also do not claim to have a neutral point of view. The points of view expressed on SW could potentially be as numerous as our contributors (thus the requirement for authoritative references), thus we do not claim to be strictly a journalistic enterprise. We are a crowd-sourced enterprise.

Journalists do consider SW to be a resource, as the site is occasionally mentioned as a source by media outlets, including the New York Times, for example.

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