Nobody who knows anything about me could believe I am a defender of Michael Mann. I’ve criticized him on more issues than most people know exist. I’ve written tens of thousands of words condemning his work and criticizing him as a person. I even wrote a ~20 post series explaining why it is reasonable for people to believe he is guilty of fraud to show he cannot win a lawsuit against people describing his work as fraudulent.
Why then, did Mark Steyn just say:
I said that you think “Michael E Mann has a case against me and the case ought to be permitted to got to trial”. You’ve just confirmed that
Claiming someone has a case means you believe has a significant amount of evidence. What evidence could I possibly believe Mann actually has? More importantly, I’ve repeatedly said Mann cannot win this case. How could I believe he has a case? In what world does, “Obviously, he’ll lose” translate into, “He has a case”?
And why does Mark Steyn say he is not sure what I think he has misunderstood while completely ignoring my direct statement of one thing he got wrong? I quoted his text and responded:
‘(Shollenberger rests this belief on the quaint assumption that Mann has been “cleared” by “eight different investigations”.)’
I neither assume nor believe Michael Mann has been cleared by those investigations.
Does Steyn want us to believe he doesn’t understand when someone directly tells him he misrepresented their beliefs? Does he want us to believe he can’t understanding the meaning of quoting a sentence and explicitly saying it is wrong?
Maybe. Maybe Steyn’s incessant use of bombastic rhetoric has rendered him incapable of understanding simple, straightforward sentences. Maybe he’s being willfully obtuse. Maybe there’s some other explanation. I don’t know. What I do know is paragraphs filled with comments like this:
You appear to understand all the finer points of the science, but you don’t grasp what Fontaine and Ms Malloch and Mann are doing in a cruder sense – attempting to make the price of questioning Big Climate too high. Whatever happens when Mann eventually gets “a day in court”, I’ve already lost.
Are pathetic. I’ve never said what Michael Mann is doing is right. I’ve never suggested I think his behavior with these lawsuits is remotely reasonable. All I did was attempt to examine the legal standards as they apply to this case. I didn’t say a word about my thoughts on anything beyond that.*
You can disagree with my analysis of the law. You can disagree with the law itself. Those are both reasonable reactions. What isn’t reasonable is painting gross caricatures of my views, especially when doing so requires ignoring direct statements of what my views are.
Dear Mark Steyn, it appears simple statements regarding views and disagreements don’t work with you. As such, I’m going to attempt to use your language of over-the-top rhetoric. I’m afraid I possess neither your flair nor audacity, but if you believe your depictions of me in these two articles you wrote are accurate, much less fair, you’re an idiot. You’re either willfully obtuse, grossly incompetent or just plain illiterate.
Seriously. Emotional appeals laced with gross misrepresentations of people’s views written because somebody happened to say something that bothered you?
I can’t imagine where I’ve seen that before.
*In that particular post. I’ve expressed views radically different than Steyn portrays on many other occasions.