I met Steyn once at one of the bigger sober global warming meetings. Back when we still called it global warming. I think he was just then beginning his troubles with the loathsome litigious little toad and arch midwit Michael Mann, who brightest and best bit of science was suing his critics. And now it seems Steyn is in some difficulty, as Richard Law, who is a retired web engineer living in Switzerland, tells us.
In 2012 Mark Steyn wrote a piece for the National Review Online directing righteous ire at the quality of Penn State’s internal investigations into itself, specifically in respect of the horrific child sex abuse scandal in 2011 concerning Jerry Sandusky, coupled with the inquiries in 2010 into the work of Professor Michael E Mann.
Mann was not accused of child abuse, but of professional misconduct arising from the shenanigans of Mann and others exposed in the 2009 leak of emails that became known as Climategate. The sodomite and kiddie-fiddler Sandusky was beyond saving, but the university rallied around its own in Mann’s case and exonerated him of any wrongdoing almost completely.
The Climategate emails had revealed in particular the all-pervading paranoia of the ‘hockey team’ of climate researchers gathered around Mann and some other major figures in climate activist science.
In the emails there is much talk of neutralising refractory colleagues or destroying the reputations and positions of opponents.
After exoneration by a number of high-level inquiries, exonerations which mystified most but allowed the Climategate gang to state that they had been exonerated, Mann struck back. Firstly, in 2011, against Prof. Tim Ball, whom Mann claimed had defamed him. Ball, a Canadian, together with a related Canadian policy think tank, had criticised Mann’s role in Climategate. In the following year it was the turn of National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg to be sued by Mann for defamation.
Ironically, Mark Steyn was at first only collateral damage in Mann’s actions. Mann confided in an email to Phil Jones that ‘there is a possibility that I can ruin National Review over this. Going to talk w/ some big time libel lawyers to see if there is the potential for a major lawsuit here that will bring this filthy organization down for good.’ October 2012.
From that moment to the present day, the case has trundled through the Washington DC court system, soaking up time and money, and putting food on the tables of many lawyers. It has even got through four judges. The inefficiency and incompetence on display is breathtaking; with one brief exception, the judges had neither curiosity nor knowledge. The first years of the case were taken up with discussions of applicability and procedure.
Steyn soon had enough of this: he didn’t want to dance a legal fandango, which is what the lawyers wanted, he wanted to prove his case that Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ temperature reconstruction was not just wrong, but fraudulent, and that its human architect was ipso facto a fraud, too. This would require discovery: both parties would have to put their respective evidence on the table. He not only counter-sued but wrote a book about Mann entitled A Disgrace to the Profession.
Steyn was obviously fired up by the challenge of repelling Mann and winning another famous victory of the sort which, against all odds, he had obtained over the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
Now, more than twelve years after the case kicked off, Steyn was due to get his days in court, except that they were cancelled for no very clear reason with contemptuous brevity. More months of waiting and spending lie ahead; more months of soul destroying shadow boxing.
When sorrows come, they come not single spies / But in battalions.
Those twelve years have not been good to Mark Steyn: His work with Fox News gradually dried up; a Mark Steyn Show streaming project ended in horrendous costs, unpaid bills (Steyn’s) and a vicious litigation campaign against him; Rush Limbaugh, a firm supporter, died, another paying gig gone; Mark seemed to have found a home for the Mark Steyn Show on the fledgling GBNews in the UK, but was thrown off after about a year for attracting complaints from the UK broadcasting censor, Ofcom. After his finances had been ruined, his health was wrecked: two heart attacks and most of the year spent in medical care in various countries.
Those of us who remembered him from his bullish GBNews days were shocked to see the photo he released from the door of the court building where the trial should have started that day.
He was slumped in a wheelchair, still smiling but gaunt, the dapper suit of old was merely hanging on him; his hair and beard totally white and slightly unkempt; his skeletel wrists and hands clutching one of his Mann Hockey Sticks, possibly the last source of income that will keep him from going down. Every piece he writes is plugging his products, every dollar desperately counts.
Yes, I am aware of the ancient taboo I am breaking: we are supposed to say, ‘My, you’re looking chipper’ or some such nonsense, not ‘Heavens, what happened to you?’. It took a brave Steyn club member to ask about the sudden white hair.
Now, twelve years on from the good old days he stands almost alone in a fight that promises to finish him, financially, professionally and spiritually. Even if he wins, nominally, he might get a portion of his costs. If he loses, Mann will demand his fees, though whether Mann will be able make a case for compensation for reputational damage — always a tricky one — is questionable. He’ll need receipts. A win for Mann would effectively freeze all fraud talk in the future.
Steyn — typical Steyn — has spent those years attacking and mocking and propagandising against his nemesis. If Mann wins, it really will be payback time. Whoever wins, there will probably be appeals: more expense, more time, more slug-like progress.
The outcome of the case is not at all certain. It’s a jury trial, so who knows anyway? Mark Steyn has a mountain to climb to successfully defend himself.
Readers just need to consider the two parties which are ranged against each other:
Prof. Dr. Michael Mann
Education: A.B. applied mathematics and physics (1989), MS physics (1991), MPhil physics (1991), MPhil geology (1993), PhD geology & geophysics (1998). Institutions: University of California, Berkeley, Yale University
Academic career: tenure-track assistant professor in the department of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia; associate professor in the department of meteorology Pennsylvania State University; Director of PSU Earth System Science Center; full professor in 2009; Distinguished Professor of Meteorology. Lead author on the IPCC Third Assessment Report
Awards: American Geophysical Union Fellow (2012); Hans Oeschger Medal (2012); Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2020), etc. etc.
Went to school.
I am not being flippant. In discovery, Mann’s attorney made a lot of Mark’s lack of scholastic paperwork. Despite being a very talented and widely read man, Mark has zero academic credentials.
Consider what the juror finds in that DC courtroom: one guy with a stellar and uninterrupted academic career; the other guy a nobody, a satirist, a right-wing gadfly.
This is a DC courthouse, a Democrat stronghold. It is already clear to those with eyes to see which way this is going to go.
So let me ask the question: How can we who are well disposed to him, whom he has greatly entertained in his inimitable and thought-provoking way, how can we help him at this awful moment in his life?
Cash, and lots of it. Forget the hockey sticks, get it straight into his bank account with as many zeroes as you can manage. I’m a pensioner, but I’ll do my bit. I’ll get this information and post it soon.
NB: That cash is for him, so that he feels he can buy plane tickets and even afford an onboard sandwich.
Someone reliable, upright and well known to him should set up a GoFundMe page tout de suite [or some other donation site that is more reputable: WMB]. This may be better than direct transfers, but he needs the cash soon, not in six months.
Support the man, with email and some good news for a change. By God he needs it. So far he has been a model of sturdy self reliance, the loyal membership of his club has born him through these diafana. But what will take place in DC early next year may possibly be epically horrible for him and for us.
He needs a good legal team. I don’t know what his current representation situation is, but if he is not to lose by default he needs some solid people, even if it all ends up in damage limitation. John Hinderaker worried a few weeks ago that Mark would be defending himself. That must not happen.
Briggs late addendum: Steyn added an update on the trial recently.
Subscribe or donate to support this site and its wholly independent host using credit card click here. Or use the paid subscription at Substack. Cash App: $WilliamMBriggs. For Zelle, use my email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and please include yours so I know who to thank.