Conservative commentator Mark Steyn hit with $1-million fine for calling climate scientist's work fraudulent
· Feb 9, 2024 ·

A decade-plus-long legal battle came to a grim end on Thursday:

Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist, won his long-standing legal battle against two right-wing bloggers who claimed that he manipulated data in his research and compared him to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, a major victory for the outspoken researcher.

The verdict came down against writers Rand Simberg and Mark Steyn. The latter, a Canadian expat living in New Hampshire, is well-known among conservatives for his fiery brand of commentary in defense of western values and against left-wing ballyhoos like "climate change."

The battle began in 2012 when Steyn claimed that Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph was "fraudulent." You know the graph: It shows a "global temperature anomaly" over the last 1,000 years, with the temperature apparently spiking to catastrophic levels since around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution:

We'll leave it up to you to decide if any scientist can accurately determine a "temperature anomaly" present at the Battle of Hastings. But Mark Steyn had certainly made up his mind in 2012 when, responding to a post from Simberg, he wrote at National Review:

Michael Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockey-stick' graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus.

That was enough for Michael Mann, who promptly sued Steyn, Simberg and National Review over the blog post. And thanks to what Steyn regularly called the "choked septic tank of DC justice," the miserable process played out for a dozen years, only coming to trial in the last few weeks.

An attorney for Simberg had argued that "inflammatory does not equal defamatory." In most cases it doesn't. Climate scientists, however — being the sainted high priests of America's public climate religion — are apparently treated differently in the public square:

Calling Michael Mann's work fraudulent is just patently false,' said Lauren Kurtz, executive director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, a group that helped defend scientists facing legal attack in 34 cases last year. ...

'Climate scientists are still regularly targeted by climate deniers, even though the science is quite clear at this point,' she added.

Uh huh. Sure.

Steyn was ordered to pay Mann $1 million in punitive damages. He has vowed to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, where in all likelihood it will get significantly reduced.

Steyn, meanwhile, met the depressing verdict with his usual cheerful demeanor, writing after his departure from Washington:

Just to cap a somewhat unsatisfactory day, baggage handlers threw Mark's favorite suitcase under the 'plane and wrecked it. But at least he's out of America's diseased and depraved capital city.

Not a great day for free speech, all things considered.

P.S. Now check out our latest video 👇

Keep up with our latest videos — Subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Ready to join the conversation? Subscribe today.

Access comments and our fully-featured social platform.

Sign up Now
App screenshot

You must signup or login to view or post comments on this article.