NPR played a sound bite from a professor who felt politics kept his skeptical paper from being published. The sound bite, however, was immediately countered by another sound bite from a scientist who dismissed the first as, in effect, paranoid. If the prof's paper was rejected because his theory "wasn't new" -- as the other scientist argued -- why wasn't the professor told this when his paper was repeatedly rejected, if only to defuse any conspiracy theory? We don't know because the NPR story never asked.
The piece never talked about professor Michael Mann of Penn State University. Apart from Al Gore, Mann is probably the most important voice in the Gore-bull warming world.
Scientific American magazine called Mann the "Man Behind the Hockey Stick" -- referring to the famous or, depending upon your point of view, infamous "hockey stick" graph that shows a huge recent increase in worldwide temperature, supposedly coinciding with a huge increase in CO2. The increase in CO2 is, again supposedly, primarily the result of man-made activity. The term "hockey stick" is used because the graph -- showing temperature over a long period -- looks like a hockey stick with its long flat shaft on the ground and the blade part sharply poking upward (reflecting a recent upward spike in temperature).
Mann's critics say he fudged the data to exclude or minimize the Medieval Warm Period (A.D. 800 to 1300), when the Earth's temperature was actually hotter than today. If man-made activity is heating up the Earth and will continue to do so with catastrophic consequences, how do you explain that 1,000 years ago, with no factories or autos and far fewer people, the Earth was actually warmer? The e-mails suggest that there may be at least something to the critics' charges.
One crosses the line from scientist to advocate when, if faced with conflicting or unexpected data, the scientist tries to get around it rather than to understand it. If data cause a re-examination of previously held assumptions, so be it.
The incurious NPR piece did almost nothing to inform its listeners of the seriousness of this e-mail scandal. It spun this as if a couple of kids carjacked a Lexus and went joyriding.