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DC Jury Found Climate Scientist Was Defamed By Right-Wingers

via CBS News
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A jury found two critics of climate scientist Michael Mann and his “hockey stick” model liable for defamation, with potential implications for scientific discourse.

Each defendant must pay Mann $1 in compensatory damages, and one defendant, Mark Steyn, will have to pay $1 million in punitive damages.

“I hope this verdict sends a message that falsely attacking climate scientists is not protecting free speech,” Mann wrote.

The ruling could deter critics from voicing dissent against scientific orthodoxy.

“The mainstream media, led by The Washington Post, is already salivating over how this court decision could impact criticism of vaccines, COVID measures, election results and climate change,” former senior staffer for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Marc Morano wrote.

Mann plans to continue pursuing lawsuits against National Review and CEI.

The case was about the ability to speak freely on important issues, potentially extending beyond climate change.

“This will only embolden claims that some scientific claims are above public scrutiny and will lead to more ‘consensus’ enforcement in areas like climate and public health. Mann’s victory in court may embolden more defamation cases against anyone who dissents from the official government narratives.”

The trial’s outcome may embolden more defamation cases against dissenters.

The impact of the verdict on scientific discourse remains a topic of debate among experts.

“The case was formally about defamation, but in reality it was not at all about defamation. As Michael Mann stated after the verdict, the case was really about politics and ideology,” academic Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote. “The defense made a big mistake in thinking that it would be sufficient to win by proving their case while Mann chose not to put one on. That was wrong … I would not be surprised to now see a flurry of lawsuits against people who have been critical of climate science or climate scientists. Such legal action may not be limited to climate — debate over COVID-19 also presents a target-rich environment for unwanted speech to silence. Watch this space.”

“The larger issues here are not about Mann, but rather the continued failures within the climate science community to uphold fundamental norms of conduct among its own ranks,” Pielke, Jr. wrote.

“Proponents of false narratives and apologists for fraud have been gloating about the decision on social media,” chemistry professor Richard Ebright said.

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