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What Lurks in the Sewer

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 2, 2010 1:05 AM


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It's tempting to dismiss this vulgar hit job on Roger Pielke Jr. as the guerrilla journalism equivalent of Punk'd. In the months preceding the article's publication yesterday, the author, Ian Murphy, conducted a lengthy and seemingly legitimate email interview with Roger, who has posted the entire exchange. As Murphy gleefully admits in a comment at Roger's site,

I guess my disingenuous emails belong to the ages now. I love you, Ian Murphy

Murphy's salutation there is the final insult, as it plays off of his phony flattery of Roger during the email exchange. On the one hand, I think Roger, in titling his post, "A Call for Violence Against Me," is reading too much into Murphy's intent. Sure, Murphy ends his ugly diatribe on this note:

What matters is that Roger Pielke Jr. is the most heinous climate villain academia can muster. He's a Green Herring, a liar. He doesn't deserve to be eaten by hyenas from the future. He deserves to be kicked in the nuts in the present.

But before you take this guy too seriously, you should poke around the magazine's site to appreciate how Murphy treats all his targets. Here's his opener in a recent piece, titled, "Fuck the Troops":

So, 4000 rubes are dead. Cry me the Tigris. Another 30,000 have been seriously wounded. Boo fucking hoo. They got what they asked for"”and cool robotic limbs, too.

I just hope he didn't conduct a bunch of phony correspondence with recovering GI's at Walter Reed in the lead-up to that article. It's also obvious that Murphy is trying to have it both ways: he wants the gist of his attack on Roger to be taken seriously, but he also wants people to know that he's trying hard to be funny and irreverent (instead of just perverse). Here he is in a mock Q & A with one of his colleagues, in a post today, introducing himself as the new boss of his internet magazine: Q: Now that you're the editor-in-chief, what can we expect? Same format as the old Beast?A:Yeah, more-or-less. You should expect more egregious grammatical errors, more original reporting and more personal attacks that border on libel. For instance, I have it on rather good authority that Roger Pielke Jr. smokes crack and molests small children. This guy knows exactly what he's doing. Except that he can't decide if he wants to be a push-the-envelope provocateur or a smear artist. UPDATE: This commenter at Roger's site also reflects my sentiments.

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