Earlier today I asked whether American news outlets would do their due diligence in evaluating the content of the newly-released batch of "Climategate" emails hacked from the University of East Anglia two years ago. It didn't take long for our esteemed print outlets to disappoint.
Writing on the Washington Post's website, Juliet Eilperin quotes an email exchange that she said was about "whether the IPCC has accurately depicted the temperature rise in the lower atmosphere":
In one round of e-mails, researchers discuss whether the IPCC has accurately depicted the temperature rise in the lower atmosphere. An official from the U.K. Met Office, a scientific organization which analyzes the climate, writes to the Climate Research Unit's former director Phil Jones at one point, "Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary [...]"
Later, the official adds, "I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run."
Astoundingly, Eilperin does not tell readers that these email exchanges took place in February 2005 and were about the first draft of a chapter of the IPCC report released two years later. The emails depict the authors of the chapter hashing out what should be included -- exactly what you would expect this process to look like.
After providing comments on the draft, then-Met Office official Peter Thorne wrote: "I'm pretty sure we can reconcile these things relatively simply. However, I certainly would be unhappy to be associated with it if the current text remains through final draft - I'm absolutely positive it won't."
So were his concerns addressed in the final draft? If only we had reporters who asked these questions. For his part, The Hill's Ben Geman simply repeats what Eilperin reported, while admitting that he hasn't even "been able to view the newly released emails."
The Washington Post reported that McCain aide Mark Salter said Sen. John McCain would not "tolerate" racially tinged attacks. According to the article, Salter noted that McCain "denounced" Bill Cunningham's controversial remarks about Sen. Barack Obama and that he "criticized" an ad by the North Carolina GOP. But the Post did not challenge Salter's claims: In fact, the McCain campaign reportedly invited Cunningham to a rally despite his history of controversial remarks, and McCain reportedly did not take steps to stop the ad from airing.
Several media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and The Washington Post, have uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's speech attacking Sen. Barack Obama for "outlining a plan" for Afghanistan and Iraq before his upcoming visit to the region without noting that in the same speech, McCain outlined his own "Comprehensive Strategy For Victory In Afghanistan," but hasn't visited that country since December 2006.
The Washington Post quoted Sen. John McCain asserting, "I helped author with Senator [Edward M.] Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform, and fought for its passage," but did not note that McCain has since said he would not support that immigration reform bill if it came to a vote on the Senate floor.