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CRU, “Climategate” and reporting in the Japanese media December 3, 2009

Posted by fukumimi in Communications, Economy & Business, Energy, Environment, Japan, Media.
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Or the absence thereof.

It’s come to a point where the situation is beyond absurd. The story has been reported in all the respectable (and not so respectable) English media outlets I keep up with (NYT, WSJ, Washington Post, Times (UK), Guardian, Telegraph, the Indy, special mention of that esteemed outlet the Washington Times whose reporting hardly contained its glee), to a point where it is silly to accuse “the media” of greenwashing.

On the other hand, there seems to be a coordinated effort to keep this out of the Japanese mainstream press. Do a Google News search for say, “climate change” + “data” (気候変動 データ)  or “(global) warming” + “data” (温暖化 データ) or “CRU” (University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, for those of you who have been living under a rock (or in Japan) for the last week or so), and you get (if you are lucky) a grand total of three relevant Japanese language hits. A Bloomberg article, a Slashdot.jp piece and a Wired Vision piece buried in Nikkei’s PC Online publication’s security section. The Bloomberg and Slashdot pieces are dated Dec 2nd. The Wired Vision/PC Online piece is dated Nov 30 (but I suspect the editors thought it was a piece on hacking and it slipped through the net).

None of the major papers, Nikkei, Yomiuri, Asahi, Sankei, Mainichi… None appear to have a related story on this piece of pretty important news in any form searchable on the internet. NONE. Same goes for the TV media. Nothing on NHK, or any of the commercial terrestrial channels.

If I were a betting man, I would have money on this being a Ministry of the Environment Press Club managed greenwash of the most outrageous proportions.

So much for the new administration being a change from the old regime. Either the Minister and Vice-Minister (hello Minister Sakihito Ozawa, Vice-Minister Issei Tajima) are totally clueless, or are, like so many of their predecessors from the now exiled LDP, in cahoots with the bureaucrats in keeping a lid on important news (until at least  Copenhagen COP15, or maybe even longer).

So yet again, we have the media and other forces (the govt and/or bureaucracy and most likely business interests – who seem to have developed a taste for various green subsidies which are quickly turning into the new pork barrel money drip) seemingly taking a united stance against informing the general public about an actual topic worthy of discussion. Not like some actress caught doing drugs. Or the world’s best golf player’s dubious tastes in women.

It is highly unlikely that this story will be kept under wraps for too long. The story is too big for someone not to break rank and do a “scoop”, a week or two (or more?) after the rest of the world. And then the floodgates will open.

But it has to be asked, what are the media getting in return? So much talk of how commercial media (and their ecosystem partners) are in so much financial pain. Maybe something to ease that pain is in the works? I have a strong suspicion that might just be what the doctor ordered.

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Comments»

1. Locohama - December 7, 2009

glad we got you on the case!
keep it up! good catch

2. Brand X - December 7, 2009

Try your Google search again. I plugged in 温暖化 データ 大学 and got plenty of results from TV stations and newspapers such as the Saneki, Mainichi, and Asahi on “Climategate.” Personally, I think “Climategate” is a non-story. If there is one, it is about the theft of the data.

fukumimi - December 8, 2009

See the date of my post?

See when the Japanese media started reporting it (FYI, it was the 6th)

At the time of posting, there were literally no Japanese language reports.

So, the Japanese media were, what, a week behind the rest of the world in reporting this, regardless of the fact that it was all over the newswires as well as on the websites of many foreign newspapers.

So, either the Japanese press was ignoring this issue en masse, or they all get their wires and foreign newspaper subscriptions via surface mail, rather than through electronic media like the rest of us. Or they are just all plain stupid. The first and last options sound likely to me.

Brand X - December 8, 2009

I did notice the date on your blog post, but so what? CNN Japan and the Nikkei reported on this on the 5th, and the Mainichi ran the story on the 6th. That’s 2 and 3 days after you post. That’s certainly not a week and it certainly doesn’t suggest that the press has been willfully ignoring the story. So how can you possibly claim that this story has been ignored in Japan? What does the reporting lag prove? Nothing, since you haven’t offered anything apart from idle speculation.

Since your first claim has no basis, let’s talk about the press being stupid. Could you flesh that out a bit? Maybe you could really give them a smacksdown by calling them douchebags or poo poo heads. Name calling does say a lot about you than it does about the press.

3. Paul - December 8, 2009

Brand X, do you think it’s a non-story because it’s obvious that government-funded scientists cry wolf to get more funding, or because you agree with various governments’ efforts to destroy the economy in an attempt to fight this phantom?

Brand X - December 8, 2009

It’s neither because your framing is disingenuous. The emails and documents were stolen. That’s a crime. The content of those emails and documents, while very unflattering for a few scientists, does nothing to disprove or throw into doubt the body of research on climate change.

Gary - December 9, 2009

Regardless of whether they were stolen, “hacked”, ftp’d, copied, dumped, or whatever, the emails and program code provide an astonishing insight into the venal atmosphere of the East Anglia CRU.

What’s more – and contrary to your preposterous and disingenuous attempt to minimize the impact when you state “unflattering for a few scientists” – these emails are amongst the entire de facto leadership of the Global Warming charade (including Jones, Briffa, Osborn, Wigley, Schmidt, Bradley, Trenberth, Santer, Mann, and Hansen). And the emails are rife with discussions of data manipulation, data hiding, manipulating peer review, intimidating editors, evading FOIA requests, and more. A great deal more than merely “unflattering” and potentially crossing into felonious intent (e.g., destroying FOIA data).

You also are either ignorant or deceptive to refer to the “body of research” on climate change and that the data “does nothing… to throw into doubt.”

In fact the CRU datasets – which are most certainly and definitely exposed as highly corrupted, washed, and manipulated datasets – are one of only existing 4 datasets used to “prove” global warming, and the other three datasets have much cross-pollination with CRU so they are in fact all suspect. Not to mention that the NASA GISS dataset “owned” by Richard Hansen is being challenged and under FOIA request in its own right, and for exactly the same suspected bogus manipulations and twiddling revealed in the CRU emails.

It is a mark of the Global Warming fanatic to minimize and distort the actual available record about the CRU mail and files, rather than to fess up to the reality that they have been caught red-handed in one of the most disgusting and egregious demonstrations of scientific chicanery and fraud in the history of the Western scientific method.

We tolerate these Warmists and their bogus BS at the jeapordy of Western society.

4. Blue Shoe - December 8, 2009

Indeed. I think whatever your feelings about climate change and man’s contribution to it, it should send up red flags that scientists of a major research institution fudged numbers and threw out raw data. If you’re a skeptic, it’s more reason to be skeptical. If you’re a believer, you should be pissed that your efforts to convince the world to take action are being undermined by shoddy or shady research practices.

5. fukumimi - December 9, 2009

Brand X,

The lag between the time I posted this, and when the Japanese media started reporting this is not relevant, and you know it. The important time lag to measure is the time between the non-Japanese media reports, and the Japanese ones.

Not sure where it broke first within the mainstream English language media, but I can certainly see significant reports (ie not a few short lines but 10+ paragraph stories) going back to at least 20th November.

If the first Japanese reports came out on 5th December, that is 2 whole weeks. So I was wrong when I said “a week”. Mea Culpa. It is, correctly, about two weeks.

Do you really think it is possible that every single one of the major Japanese media outlets did not catch a story that was getting major coverage in multiple reputable foreign media outlets for two whole weeks?

If you say that you believe that there was no collusion in this affair, you are being disingenuous or extremely naive.

And this is coming from someone who can hardly be described as a climate change skeptic.

In any case, I’m more interested in this story from a science ethics and media ethics angle.

And I certainly don’t condone criminal behaviour (which, as it happens, has yet to be proven, although the usual govt-media channels are spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories, all of which cannot by definition be consistent and simultaneously true), but I do think whistleblowers and investigative journalism are an asset to society.

Brand X - December 9, 2009

OK, let’s make this really simple. Where is the conspiracy or collusion not to report? You haven’t provided any evidence. Let me repeat myself: Lateness in reporting is not an indication that there’s a coverup. The fact that the major TV and newspapers have reported about “Climategate” renders your assertions of a coverup or collusion pretty moot.

6. apeescape - December 9, 2009

I’m continually amazed at this collective bukkake from people who’ve never written down an equation to save their life. Unlike, say data in medical science, environmental data is not happy cake and proxies are needed for both mathematical and scientific reasons. If the scientists were actually “fudging” and “cross-pollinating” their datasets and models, it is a travesty. But the 13 years of emails, when properly put in context, is actually more evidence that people (thousands of scientists) are doing legit. work.

Seriously, people with no trust of the government or people that receive government funding (huge demographic!) should just grab a physics textbook, the raw climate data and take David Archer’s GW class. There’s never been so much transparency (partly thanks to the cynics) on a scientific issue ever and hard info is all over the place. But still people cop-out and read the kuso opinion makers in the media which hardens binary political framing — resulting in mass society’s cherry-picked quotes, misdirected slander, worship of dissenting legitimate scientists (who’ve never touched a General Circulation Model in their life), and yes, email hacks. It’s not that the scientists are “minimizing the impact” on this matter, but dissenters maximizing its impact because of the ease in believing in conspiracy theories when not understanding the mechanics of the science.

So, CTFD and read a book! (that includes me)

7. apeescape - December 9, 2009

fukumimi-san,

日経パソコン had an article on 11/29/09, although that’s hardly one of the major publications. I couldn’t find any of the smaller publications that reported it earlier (aside from Ikeda Nobuo). My opinion is that it was a non-story to begin with (if it is, why won’t the smaller pubs report it?). Remember, anti-AGW sentiment is really high in (at least) the U.S, where in Japan, it occurs in spots. It might also be insightful to look at other stories and their lags (I don’t pay attention to Japanese media much).

8. Stig - December 10, 2009

Good post.

Here in Norway we have much of the same situation. It took more than a week from the news broke before mainstream media started reporting it. Even then, the reporting was dismissive of the incident’s importance.

Still today, a month later, some newspapers have not mentioned climategate with a word. At the same time the Copenhagen meeting is all over the front pages.

It seems that these people are hell bent on saving the world. Any information indicating that the world might not actually need saving must therefore be suppressed.

It is wonderful to live in such a time of enlightenment and progress!

9. Mythirdeye - December 10, 2009

If you really want to make it simple, think of the real reason we can never prove that man is causing climate change. We simply haven’t been here long enough. Modern industrialization only really began around 200 years ago, and since the Earth goes through multiple ice ages and climate changes on its own, we can only prove one thing- it’s warm right now. To say that it is caused by us or our CO2 output is hubris. Do the research and you will see the truth, investigate the real correlation between CO2 and tempeture rise.

I too was convinced that we must be causing some damage with all our waste and pollution, but the reality is we are ony hurting ourselves and the rest of the animal kingdom- not the Earth. Trust me… it will all grow back after we’re gone, and WE WILL become a sediment layer if we don’t get it together as a society. There are things happening that are FAR more relevant to our species’ survival, and we must not waste time bickering over issues put forth by the media. How many people in the 1950′s were worried about warming? None of them- the media had been filling people’s heads with the fear of the upcoming ICE AGE. Anything to keep your mind off the real issues.

10. Gemma Kato - December 21, 2009

December 21/09

Dearest japanese media,

I am Mrs.Gemma Kato 41 years old.Married to the Japanese Jourlist Mr.Kenzo Kato.I am Living in the Philippines together about 24 years.

I am reporting to your office that my hushband already died last November 13/09 in the Philippines.But I have a big problem I dont know how to continue receiving my pension.Because I never visited in Japan even 1 time.

Mr Kenzo Kato died by the ell

1. Cardio Arrest Pulmonary
2.Cadio Deases
3.Hypertension

Please help my Family in the Philippines.1 month ago i never recieved even his borial money first.

And my family too cannot live on.Please help us!!!

My address in the Philippines !!!

Casay Argao Cebu Philippines 6021

My cell Number you can contact my family!

+63 9152249163
++63 9218479558
+63 09227116004

+09227076048 my daughter contact number Ms.Kazumi m.Kato

Yours truly,

Mrs.Gemma Marzon Kato

11. Global Voices Online » Japan: Blogosphere Opinions on “Climategate” - January 20, 2010

[...] support of anthropogenic global warming — was also a topic of interest in Japan. Although the controversy was not as strong say compared to the U.S. or U.K., many Japanese bloggers voiced their [...]


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