Playing Checkers with Chess Players

Michael Mann, the wamist is trying to sue the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a CEI adjunct, National Review Online and Mark Steyn for libel. Michael Mann has just made a strategic error. He mistakes libel or defamation action for being like a normal criminal trial. They are not. The way case like this are tried puts the burden of proof on the defendant and so the co-defendants in this case will be able to systematically unpick Michael Mann in a court of law while he sits there impotent as they present mountains of evidence for their honest held belief or proof of truth as to why they have negatively characterised him.

Christopher Horner explains Michael Mann’s blunder in excruciating detail:

Michael Mann has made what will, I expect, prove to be his greatest misjudgment yet. He has filed suit against the Competitive Enterprise Institute (with which I am affiliated), a CEI adjunct, National Review Online and Mark Steyn for libel.

The gist of his claim that negative characterizations of him and his activities are actionable is that he has been “exonerated”. No, he hasn’t.

The truth is he has never even been investigated, and has furiously warded off scrutiny of what he and his allies insisted was the missing “context” explaining away Climategate. This suit, if he continues with it, should put an end to that.

I and my co-counsel encountered this talking point after Mann intervened in litigation against the University of Virginia, seeking to block release of certain public records relating to his tenure there (our judge rightly waived that away as irrelevant to applying the law).

Like so much else in the “climate” realm this claim suffers badly under scrutiny. As I detail, in discussing publicly funded academia’s refusal to self-police, in my new book The Liberal War on Transparency: Confessions of a Freedom of Information “Criminal”.

Exoneration requires investigation; investigation requires pursuit aimed at discovering material facts. Two bodies are actually positioned to pursue and produce such facts. Mann’s employer since 2005 and where he worked when the Climategate leaks occurred, Penn State University, has done no such thing. Neither has the University of Virginia where he worked when first organizing against researchers who were undermining his claims.

[A]s Mann now seeks to again use the courts to push this claim, the reality is plainly otherwise. Mann has never been credibly investigated. By definition he has therefore not been exonerated. In fact, he and his allies furiously oppose all possible independent inquiries — scrutiny of public, yet still-hidden records providing what they all swear is the missing context that would explain everything away as a big misinterpretation. Only release of UVa and other Climategate-related emails has the potential to actually exonerate the Hockey Team.

Read whatever you wish into their fiercely opposing release of precisely that which supposedly would clear their names. With this latest lawsuit, they may find they have no choice.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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