Culture

Mark Steyn Vs. The Appalling Michael Mann — Guest Post by Richard Law

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.

Mark Steyn

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.

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Categories: Culture

30 replies »

  1. Briggs, please look into John Ziegler’s work; Sandusky was neither a sodomite, not a kiddie diddler.

  2. So what was he then?

    No idea. I suppose I could research it, but the tale of Steyn’s battles needed a broad brush. Sandusky got serious jail time, I believe. Witnesses in some of the acccounts I read at the time described seeing sodomitic liasons between staff and the young athletes in their power.

    If I am so off-beam, don’t make me read another book – just give me the executive summary. It really doesn’t matter: the Penn State investigations were a whitewash to protect important staff members.

    This is not about Sandusky – it is about Mann and Steyn, so even if you give me your summary. I won’t engage with it. Move on.

  3. Note – Steyn has discouraged GoFundMe and similar sites as tools, for reasons people on this site would understand – the funds can be seized for no good reason by site authorities, and the donor lists can be doxxed to whomever wishes to defenestrate dissenters of orthodoxy. His money raising methods are limited, but keeps it in house and out of prying eyes.

    Is his future bleak? Perhaps. But he will go down blazing, and perhaps just might take a few more fools off their pedestals with him. Long may he wave that stick…

  4. Despite your blatant trolling, Dr. Weezil, I thought I had just better check if my memory of those events of twelve years ago was reliable.

    I have never heard of your non-citation of Ziegler. As an aide-memoire Wikipedia will have to do.
    I’m not quoting it here, it is far too long, but in among the many cases of alleged anal rape there is plenty of kiddy-diddling. The numbers are staggering.

    After reading the Wiki, my terms of art ‘sodomite and kiddie-fiddler’ for Sandusky seem mild – I must be going soft in my old age.

  5. Crooks like Mann were reasons to start mistrusting “scientists”, even before Fauci. Eff his list of credentials. I wouldn’t mind at all if I heard he had succumbed to a fatal case of sudden onset high velocity lead poisoning.

  6. @pate
    I am sorry to say I have no idea what ‘The Tribe’ is. Only if I knew what it was could I ‘studiously avoid mentioning’ it.

    If it is something connected to Mann, Steyn’s case or Climategate, could you educate me?

    If it is some international kiddie-fiddler ring, it’s OT so please keep it to yourself.

    There are only two factors that will count in the next few months; DC courts (ask the Donald) and money.

    R

  7. There are a dozen of them. More than enough to supply the hate-fueled conspiracy theories of any number of pitiful bottom-feeders desperate to find a reason for their own failures that does not reside in themselves.

  8. Steyn and his supporters would do well to read this latest expose at climateaudit -truth, after all, is the best defence.
    see: https://climateaudit.org/2023/11/24/mbh98-new-light-on-the-real-data/

    Lead:
    In today’s post, I will report on some excellent work on MBH98 by Hampus Soderqvist, who discovered an important but previously unknown Mike’s Nature Trick: Mann’s list of proxies for AD1400 and other early steps was partly incorrect (Nature link now dead – but see NOAA or here). Mann’s AD1400 list included four series that were not actually used (two French tree ring series and two Moroccan tree ring series), while it omitted four series that were actually used. This also applied to his AD1450 and AD1500 steps. Mann also used an AD1650 step that was not reported.

  9. @murphy
    The court in DC, in the person of its four judges, has shown itself to be completely uninterested in scientific/technical arguments. It is a court of law and they are all lawyers – how do you expect them to weigh the validity of one scientific statement over another?

    I got really frustrated with the discussion on WUWT, making such a fuss about some geezer managing to reverse engineer parts of Mann’s series. NO ONE CARES. No lawer or judge in that court has the slightest idea of the mathematics behind such series.

    Nor should you ignore that Steyn’s propaganda campaign again Mann occurred after the fact of the alleged libel. All the ‘evidence of opinion’ that Steyn collated in his book is irrelevant to the original libel. If anything, Steyn’s behaviour provides evidence for his ‘actual malice’ against Mann.

    I hope I am wrong, but he is toast IMO. And for the avoiodance of all doubt, writing this gives me no pleasure at all.

  10. About Jerry Sandusky, the universal popular perception at the time was very relevant to the case. The editorials by Simberg and Steyn were about lax internal investigations of Mann and Sandusky and comparing the two. Steyn and everybody, including me believed Sandusky was a pedophile, but he wasn’t!

    Sandusky defenders are not a fringe group. There’s lots of other prominent people besides John Ziegler who’ve looked into this case, not that there’s anything wrong with Ziegler’s extensive media credentials. Renowned bestselling author, Mark Pendergrast, wrote a book on the case entitled, The Most Hated Man in America, that got practically no media coverage save for a review at Michael Shermer’s Skeptic magazine website (his board balked at putting it in the print version). BTW this review which is rather long makes a good summary of this very complicated case:

    https://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/trial-by-therapy-jerry-sandusky-case-revisited/

    Well known author, Malcolm Gladwell, included a chapter about Ziegler’s work on the case in one of his recent books. A Federal Investigative Services agent named John Snedden did an extensive investigation of the case to determine if Penn State president Graham Spanier should have his top secret security clearance renewed. He agrees with Ziegler on the case and Spanier’s security clearance was renewed. He now often reports on the case along with crime reporter, Ralph Cipriano on a video podcast called Search Warrant. The Freeh Report, which Steyn referenced in his ill fated editorial, was commissioned by Penn State for about $8 million and didn’t even interview grad assistant Mike McQueary, … at the request of the prosecutors! Perhaps you might recall Louie Freeh’s (a Clinton appointed head of the FBI BTW) recent donation to the Biden’s grandchildren’s trust fund.

    There’s lots more like renowned memory expert, Elizabeth Loftus, who testified at an appeal hearing. If you really like crime and court stories and miss Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, there’s a, by now, close to 100 hour epic podcast series called, With the Benefit of Hindsight with probably the most exhaustive coverage of any high profile crime case in the new millennium. Some episodes go up to 4 or 5 hours. there’s lots of interviews with pertinent people like Penn State board members and even the late NFL great, Franco Harris.

    There are no memoirs from the prosecution side on what should’ve been the high points of their careers. You’d think the Shermer type skeptic organizations would love to lampoon us Sandusky truthers.

    I’m one of the bloggers at cliscep.com and I’ve written a couple of posts about this:

    https://cliscep.com/2021/02/01/is-mark-steyn-walking-into-a-trap/

    https://cliscep.com/2023/10/23/podcast-report-mann-v-steyn-weeks-away/

  11. I emailed Mark Steyn about this article. I received a prompt reply from his assistant Melissa – which just as promptly went into the spam folder. It took four days before I noticed the reply. Here are the relevant points from her mail.

    WAYS OF SUPPORTING MARK

    Mark is quite happy and grateful when readers buy:
    a liberty stick [ https://www.steynstore.com/product36.html ];
    a club membership [ https://www.steynonline.com/club/gift-membership/ ];
    gift certificate [ https://www.steynstore.com/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/msteyn/sc/order.cgi?fromid=order.cgi&storeid=*20d8b94cf50031447ae51bbc72a196e8a0b7&cert=gift ] or other items from the store [ https://www.steynstore.com/ ].

    This commercial transaction becomes a win-win for Mark, for the cause, and for the customer.

    We decided long ago not to go the Go Fund Me route for many good reasons. For one, Mark is not seeking charity. For another, our method protects supporters from harassment. See Canadian Truckers, et al.

    SOME CORRECTIONS

    p.s. Mark’s work at Fox did not dry up. They would have him back anytime. Mark left for reasons he has explained in past Q & A’s related to the shallowness of the topics he was asked to opine on.

    Also, guest hosting for Rush was not a job. Particularly at the end, Mark made himself more available out of loyalty to Rush. It was never Mark’s interest or desire to do a daily radio show on politics.

    Hope that clarifies things.

    My thanks to Melissa for putting me right on these points. I apologise once again for overlooking her reply for so long – mea culpa!

  12. @dombroski
    Thank you for your contribution. I don’t follow cliscep closely so missed the items you mention.

    After studying these materials – and especially Menton’s piece – I am still of the opinion that the case in DC cannot possible consider arguments about the science behind Mann’s hockey stick. The court, especially if this is a jury trial, has no skill whatever to adjudicate the claims of the parties. Ultimately it will come down to your credentials vs. my credentials.

    Mann can claim that his work and his participation in climategate have been investigated by high-ranking bodies in the UK and the US and he has thus been completely vindicated. He can also claim that Steyn’s disparagement of him in his book ‘A Disgrace to the Profession’ is clear evidence of animus and ill will.

    We shall see….

    My point is also that if Steyn loses it will be a disaster for him; if he wins, it will be a pyrrhic victory at best.

  13. Richard Law, The case is about Mann and Steyn, but the perception of Sandusky at the time is related to the case. Simberg called Mann the Jerry Sandusky of climate science. Also, Steyn or his legal team appear to be using the fact that Mann has acknowledged former Penn State president Graham Spanier in his books. Two of his books after the filing of the suit acknowledge Spanier: The Madhouse Effect (2016) and The New Climate War (2021). I don’t know if his latest, Our Fragile Moment does. Spanier was, of course, charged with some felonies, went to trial, was acquitted on the felonies, convicted on one misdemeanor, had this conviction thrown out because it was not on the books at the time and then got jailed anyway by grandstanding AG, Josh Shapiro (now governor).

    I have a scenario that I admit is farfetched, but I don’t think should be completely discarded. First off, I’ve been following this story for half a decade since I found it at Michael Shermer’s Skeptic magazine website. There’s mountains of evidence, it’s a really great story and there’s always some reporter trying to write it up for some big outlet only to have that outlet chicken out at the last minute. There’s too many people who know about it for it to completely die. Ziegler is always doing interviews about it and having people approach him to do documentaries. Most of the people who know about this are from Pennsylvania. Michael Mann at Penn State could likely know about it. Anyone who follows Mann’s writing knows that he’s well connected and admired in leftwing circles. He writes editorials and columns in Newsweek. As a last ditch effort, he might have enough influence to have someone break the story or even break it himself (perhaps just by tweeting about it) and indirectly affecting the jury. If he could squash Steyn’s claim that he’s the acknowledger of child rape enablers in his books, that could divert attention from the real free speech issues of the case and probably make him a rock star in the left wing media. Does anyone believe a DC jury would ignore it?

    Anyway, here’s another good summary of the case:

    https://www.bigtrial.net/2022/10/a-shower-of-lies.html

    As for witness accounts, there were only two accusers at the trial claiming actual sex acts. The first accuser, whose mother almost certainly put him up to it, wrote a book, called Silent No More with her and his quack therapist where they hint at repressed memory techniques and spin conspiracy theories. The Philadelphia Eagles were involved! The one with the preposterous story of being locked in the sound proof basement was obviously in it for the money. On the day of a settlement meeting he wrote on his Facebook page, “Shit man, I’m balling like a mother. Hell ya, money”. He got $20 million.

  14. Richard Law, The case is about Mann and Steyn, but the perception of Sandusky at the time is related to the case. Simberg called Mann the Jerry Sandusky of climate science. Also, Steyn or his legal team appear to be using the fact that Mann has acknowledged former Penn State president Graham Spanier in his books. Two of his books after the filing of the suit acknowledge Spanier: The Madhouse Effect (2016) and The New Climate War (2021). I don’t know if his latest, Our Fragile Moment does. Spanier was, of course, charged with some felonies, went to trial, was acquitted on the felonies, convicted on one misdemeanor, had this conviction thrown out because it was not on the books at the time and then got jailed anyway by grandstanding AG, Josh Shapiro (now governor).

    I have a scenario that I admit is farfetched, but I don’t think should be completely discarded. First off, I’ve been following this story for half a decade since I found it at Michael Shermer’s Skeptic magazine website. There’s mountains of evidence, it’s a really great story and there’s always some reporter trying to write it up for some big outlet only to have that outlet chicken out at the last minute. There’s too many people who know about it for it to completely die. Ziegler is always doing interviews about it and having people approach him to do documentaries. Most of the people who know about this are from Pennsylvania. Michael Mann at Penn State could likely know about it. Anyone who follows Mann’s writing knows that he’s well connected and admired in leftwing circles. He writes editorials and columns in Newsweek. As a last ditch effort, he might have enough influence to have someone break the story or even break it himself (perhaps just by tweeting about it) and indirectly affecting the jury. If he could squash Steyn’s claim that he’s the acknowledger of child rape enablers in his books, that could divert attention from the real free speech issues of the case and probably make him a rock star in the left wing media. Does anyone believe a DC jury would ignore it?

    Anyway, here’s another good summary of the case:

    https://www.bigtrial.net/2022/10/a-shower-of-lies.html

    As for witness accounts, there were only two accusers at the trial claiming actual sex acts. The first accuser, whose mother almost certainly put him up to it, wrote a book, called Silent No More with her and his quack therapist where they hint at repressed memory techniques and spin conspiracy theories. The Philadelphia Eagles were involved! The one with the preposterous story of being locked in the sound proof basement was obviously in it for the money. On the day of a settlement meeting he wrote on his Facebook page, “Shit man, I’m balling like a mother. Hell ya, money”. He got $20 million.

  15. @dombroski
    That’s an interesting observation – be thanked, friend!

    I broke my own tacit rule referring to Wikipedia. I regret doing this now. My aim was to get a quick knowledge fix for one of my many lacunae, without implying it was correct or not.

    Let’s wait and see whether the current ‘official’ line in Wikipedia gets changed as new information appears.

    In a related question, which you may be able to answer, why is Ziegler’s work so difficult to find? I did hack around about searching for ‘Ziegler’ but lost patience with all the irrelevant results I obtained. That’s when I went to the Wiki – and was surprised to find no Zielger there either, I seem to remember.

  16. Richard Law,
    Ziegler actually has most of his work on the Penn State case archived at a retro AOL era style site:

    https://www.framingpaterno.com/

    His long media career included a long stint as a popular LA radio talk show host. He’s definitely a talk radio type of personality. He has lots of YouTube videos related to the case including a surreal appearance on Piers Morgan along with Sara Ganim, the young reporter who won a Pulitzer for breaking the story. My favorite is a press conference he gave at a Sandusky appeal hearing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOijU9wNTu4

    He’s also known as a documentary film maker for The Path to 9/11 and Media Malpractice: How Obama got Elected. He’s also known for a high profile interview with Sarah Palin. He now does a podcast called The Death of Journalism.

  17. The one thing Briggs and most commentators on this blog don’t seem to get is that active malice is involved. I suppose it’s more comfortable to imagine it’s incompetence, mid-wittery a*se-covering, empire-building, simple greed, and common or garden acquisitive crimnality but you’re fooling yourselves mightily. Your models need serious revision.

  18. “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.’ ”

    I cannot think of a more noble action than to sue that filthy rag, “National Review” and the odious carbuncles like David French who make their home there right into the ground. I positively LOATHE David French. He is the king of cucks. National Review is a progressive organization. They are progs who don’t want to pay taxes. “The case for the latest progressive evil” is a mainstay of NRO.

  19. A late coda

    In his ‘Mark’s Monday Notebook’ December 18, 2023, Mark Steyn comes face to face with the destructive force of a Washington DC jury:

    ====

    ‘Mine is not, however, the only defamation suit in America’s depraved capital city. A Georgia mother and her daughter cannily chose Washington as the venue in which to sue the formerly beloved “America’s mayor”. It has paid off handsomely:

    Jury Orders Giuliani to Pay $148 Million to Election Workers He Defamed

    ‘I’ve had multiple requests to discuss my upcoming trial in light of the Giuliani verdict. Well, the two cases don’t really have anything in common – except that the fine upstanding jurors who will decide my fate are drawn from the same pool that decided his. Gulp.’

    ====

    Those who have read about the Giuliani judgement have to agree with one of the main points I made concerning the judicial peril Steyn is facing, that rational jusrisprudence goes out of the window in DC.

  20. Richard Law, see this:

    2020 Georgia Fraud Exposed – Leading Report:

    “Georgia Gov. Kemp’s legal staff has notified Ga Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that 17,852 invalid 2020 votes were counted in Fulton County, GA, alone.”

    https://theleadingreport.com/2020-georgia-fraud-exposed/

    And yet, Rudy was convicted, and it’s my understanding that he was not allowed to present any evidence in his own defense. This is how DC courts roll now, and Mark Steyn will be treated no better.

  21. Mann v. Steyn Gets Under Way | Power Line

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2024/01/mann-v-steyn-gets-under-way.php

    “After 12 years of wandering in the wilderness of the D.C. court system, Michael Mann’s defamation case against Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg has finally gone to trial. Opening statements were delivered today….”

    “Mark fired his lawyer some time ago and elected to try his case pro se. I was afraid this might prove a bad mistake….”

    “I shouldn’t have worried. Mark’s opening statement, delivered on his own behalf, was a bravura performance.”

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