Could a Penn State climate scientist obliterate The National Review?
Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann is getting ready to take part in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit in a few weeks, but for now, he’s making headlines over a lawsuit he brought to the conservative National Review in 2012, which some are now saying could spell an end to the magazine for good.
Called a “climate crusader,” Mann became somewhat infamous for his role in the 2009-2011 so-called “ClimateGate” scandal, in which climate skeptics claimed his emails with scientists at University of Anglia’s Climate Research Unit proved data manipulation data. Mann was exonerated of any misconduct after university and government reviews.
This led to National Review Online columnist Mark Steyn to quote an anti-climate science operative Rand Simberg, who called Mann “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.”
Well. Then Mann sued The National Review for defamation, which the magazine welcomed, until they didn’t. They noted at first they looked “forward to teaching him a thing or two about the law,” then, later begged their readers for donations to fight the suit, pleading on their website, “A lawsuit is not something we can fund with money we don’t have.”
Now, according to a recent report in The Week, and cited by numerous online news sources, The National Review’s lawyers have tried to get the case thrown out, and have failed. Which has led Steyn to write more blog posts—this time, against the judge.
In July, Judge Natalia Combs Greene rejected a motion to dismiss the suit. The defendants appealed, and last week D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Weisberg rejected the motion again, opening the door for the discovery phase of the lawsuit to begin.
That’s not all. On Christmas Eve, Steyn (who regularly guest hosts Rush Limbaugh’s radio show) wrote a blog post in which he excoriated Greene, accusing her of incompetence, stupidity, and obtuseness.
The mag, Steyn, and the law firm they’d hired recently parted ways, leading some to believe the case may be a lost cause, as noted by the Raw Story.
Steyn is representing himself against Mann and he and the Review have parted ways.
Steyn wrote to Mother Jones, saying that he was simply no longer able to contain his sense of disdain for the federal judge and her decision not to dismiss Mann’s suit.
“I spent the first months attempting to conceal my contempt for Judge Combs Greene’s court,” said Steyn. “But really, it’s not worth the effort.”
On his personal blog, Steyn wrote, “As readers may have deduced from my absence at National Review Online and my termination of our joint representation, there have been a few differences between me and the rest of the team.”
Now, as the suit grinds onward, the Review faces fairly dismal prospects. The suit could eventually be dismissed, but that is looking less likely. What’s looking more likely is that Mann could win a substantial judgment in court or the magazine could settle out of court.
The Week notes that it would be tough for the magazine to suffer either outcome, especially since it’s lost an estimated $25 million since it began publication five decades ago.
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