Penn State Scientist Sues Conservative Mag That Likened Him to Jerry Sandusky
A climatologist can advance claims that the National Review defamed him by likening him to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky and accusing him of academic fraud, a judge ruled.
Michael Mann is a meteorology professor at Penn State University, which was rocked by Sandusky’s sex abuse scandal in late 2011. In addition to running the university’s Earth System Science Center, Mann co-wrote the “Hockey Stick Graph,” a purported long-term analysis of global climate trends using indicators such as tree rings.
Questions over Mann’s work arose in 2010 when emails between Mann and climate scientists at the University of East Anglia surfaced.
National Review reporter Mark Steyn brought the allegations to a head in July 2012, days after the school released an FBI report that faulted Penn State’s failure “to properly investigate known allegations of misconduct when they arose.”
Steyn’s blog post for the National Review, titled “Football and Hockey,” made reference to another blog post that called Mann “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except for instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.”
A judge ruled this week that Mann’s lawsuit against National Review—for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress—can proceed. “The record demonstrates that the NR defendants have criticized the plaintiff harshly for years; some might say, the name calling, accusations and jeering have amounted to a witch hunt, particularly because the NR defendants appear to take any opportunity to question plaintiff’s integrity and the accuracy of his work despite the numerous findings that plaintiff’s work is sound,” the judge wrote.