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DeSmogBlog’s fakegate problem

Richard Littlemore of DeSmogBlog is upset.

The fake document DeSmog released as part of the Heartland package has become the story, instead of the people and groups funded by the Heartland Institute:

The Climate Strategy that was emailed to the DeSmogBlog with a package of material from the Heartland Institute’s Jan. 17 Board of Directors meeting is serving as an excellent distraction from the legitimate issues raised in the other documents and reinforced by the excellent research paperby [sic] DeSmogBlog contributor John Mashey.

Heartland has clearly stated that the ‘gotcha’ document, the ‘Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy‘ is fake.

But that’s not good enough for Littlemore:

The DeSmogBlog has no evidence supporting Heartland’s claim that the Strategic document is fake. A close review of the content shows that it is overwhelmingly accurate (“almost too accurate” for one analyst), and while critics have said that it is “too short” or is distinguished by “an overuse of commas,” even the skeptics at weatherguy [sic] Anthony Watts’s WUWT say that a technical analysis of the metadata on the documents in question does not offer sufficient information to come to a firm conclusion either way.

They are trying the ‘fake, but accurate’ defense. Dan Rather must be proud.

It gets worse. Littlemore wants to turn the usual burden of proof on its head. In most cases when making an accusation, it’s up to the accuser to prove the charge. DeSmogBlog published the ‘Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy‘ document that has been widely quoted in the warmist world. He needs to prove that document is real, instead, Littlemore demands Heartland proves the document is fake. Because he can’t prove it isn’t.

The DeSmogBlog is committed to accuracy. Joe Bast says the document is a fake, a statement we take with a grain of salt given the Heartland Institute’s previous dissembling on the subject of climate change and its discredited position on teh [sic] safety of second hand smoke.  In the circumstances, if the Heartland Institute can offer any specific criticism of the Climate Strategy or any evidence that it was faked and not, actually, written on Joe Bast’s laptop, printed out and scanned, we would be pleased to consider that evidence.

Ignoring the comedy typo in a paragraph that says DeSmog is committed to accuracy, Littlemore’s upside-down demand shows how little integrity they have at DeSmogBlog. Brendan DeMille had the documents for only about an hour before he released them to the world. There was no time for fact checking and no attempt to verify the source. It was too good to check and, as a result, the issue they wanted to frame as #deniergate has blown up in their faces and become #fakegate.

If DeSmogBlog wants the world to look at the ‘legitimate issues’ they say are raised by Heartland’s documents, they should withdraw the faked memo until they either prove it is real, or issue an apology for a careless smear job.

Littlemore’s refusal to accept that he and DeSmog were used as useful idiots by whoever obtained the documents and wrote the fake memo is going to make this a long, slow-motion train wreck for DeSmogBlog, and warmists in general. All anyone will remember about this whole sordid affair is that the same people who would defend climate scientists against charges of faking data and making stuff up used those very same tactics to smear skeptics.

Oh, the ironing.