Organized Campaigns to Cyber-Bully Climate Scientists?

Steve Milloy on Fox News

Climate scientists increasingly report that they have become targets of cyber-bullying, saying threats and hatred pour into their email inboxes whenever they appear in the press or media. The emailers call the scientists cheaters, frauds, scumbags and worse. Australian academic Clive Hamilton speculated in a news column that purpose of this cyber-bullying is to upset and intimidate the targets, making them reluctant to participate further in the climate change debate. Most of the e-mails seem to be the work of frustrated individuals who simply want to rant, but some appears to be coming from coordinated campaigns. Scientists say people appear to be taking cues from influential anti-climate change advocates like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Web site Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research -- who has received 19 pages of hate email just since November -- says that the most dispiriting aspect of the e-mails is that facts seem to no longer hold any weight in the public debate. He observes that the nature of public discourse, be it climate change or health care, has changed; information that does not fit peoples' worldview is now discounted or rejected. Richard Littlemore of DeSmogBlog says the cyberbullying starts with paid campaigners like Marc Morano, Executive Director at, and Steven J. Milloy of "They're the PR guys and they're in the game and taking money for what they do," he said.


I commend the personnel at this website for providing this important information to the public. In Germany during the 1920's and early 1930's, the storm troopers (SA) provided a similar service, i.e. intimidation of political opponents, for Hitler and the Nazi party during their rise to power. In light of the tendency of the American right to resort to violence these days, e.g. the murder of an abortion provider, perhaps its time for the left to consider developing its own paramilitary organization, as did the German Social Democratic party, to combat the right-wing thugs. I'm curious about the source(s) of funding for this campaign of intimidation. In any event, these threats should be taken seriously.

Responding with violence is giving these elements of the American right-wing exactly what they want - a fight on their terms. It would also mean a suspension of any real public discussion on global warming based on facts, which is again, what I suspect these elements really want.

I agree that they must be monitored and documented.

But the moment the rest of society cedes the debate/discussion/problem-solving components of our public discourse - however flawed they may be - to the right-wing, then we've all lost. We must never resort to violence as a means of winning any debate, but we must not also let hatred and violence get in the way of said debate.

how much attention to the facts is paid in mainstream political discourse these days? I suspect you may have read Chomsky and his imitators, so let's be honest. does the right-wing media, the Republican caucus on the Senate and Hourse of Representatives, or, for that matter, the Democratic caucus care about the facts (and just the facts)? A consensus conclusion among climate scientists about the cause of global warming has clearly been established, and they continue to monitor the world's climate in an attempt to stay current and publish their findings. Meanwhile, their opponents are busy intimidating them and illegally hacking into their e-mail (just prior to the Copenhagen conference).

in a similar display of contempt for both civil liberties and polite political discourse in this country, the right has adopted, as standard operating procedure, harassment and intimidation of abortion providers in this country. As a result, there's a dearth of abortion providers in many areas of this country. If one side of the aisle is determined to resort to such tactics on a routine basis in the practice of politics and the other is not, historical situations can be used to predict which shall prevail.

It's sad that some people have nothing better to do than spread tension and negativity... Unfortunately the cyber space gives access to communication to any nitwit who wants to express themselves, even if they know little or nothing about the topic they write about...

Well... I just mainly wanted to express disapointment and sympathy. The key is not to take it personally. Most of these commentators have no idea what they are talking about. You are the scientists and they are the bystanders who like to throw "rocks" at scientists - except you have a thick bullet point glass that does not let the rocks penetrate.

It's not personal - it's only ignorance...