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Poor old Plimer (not really)

January 18, 2010

[Note: this was written before Monbiot thoroughly exposed Plimer and his fatuous book during a TV debate]

Some posters have suggested that running another story about Plimer is either part of a suppression campaign, an unfair attack on someone who has made only a few minor mistakes, a smear attempt, a cover up and a rearguard action by a retreating army of fanatical Marxists posing as vegetable growers.

Let’s be explicit about why this story is valid and important. It is because Plimer has produced a book full of major errors and it is selling like hot cakes. It is a book designed to exploit the fears and anxieties of people who find climate change to be almost incomprehensible in its scope and the threat of change that it heralds, the unknown tomorrow that is always harder to address than the known yesterday.

Plimer is a ubiquitous and highly visible CCCs (climate change creationists). The amount of coverage he gets, and the amount of criticism, is entirely proportional to the number of books he sells. I saw no criticism by CCCs of the Spectator giving him such prominence, so it appears that pro-Plimer coverage is acceptable, but critical pieces are not. I understand exactly why that is.

Nor can Plimer’s mistakes be minimised. They are egregious, glaring and yet he will not be held to account for them. In fact, when challenged, he evades the issues or repeats falsehoods, for by now he knows exactly what those criticisms are. He has proved he cannot substantiate claims he has made, while failing to acknowledge misrepresentation or outright errors in his work.

But he is making a lot of money. By manipulating Monbiot through the challenge to a debate, he and the Spectator knew they were in a win-win situation because whether Monbiot accepted or declined, they were sure he’d write about it, and that in turn would spawn more coverage – all of which raised the profile of the book and the Spectator. The whole thing is a cynical manipulation of public opinion, and the falsity and self-serving nature of this exercise in rank propaganda must be exposed.

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