For those unfamiliar with this ongoing story, climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann has brought a lawsuit against conservative pundit Mark Steyn over a column in which Steyn accused Dr. Mann of fraud (and referred to him as the "Jerry Sandusky of climate science"). Steyn contends that Dr. Mann's hockey stick graph is fraudulent, a serious charge in response to which Dr. Mann has sued Steyn for libel.
Now, Jay Ambrose is jumping into the fray with a syndicated McClatchy oped in which he defends Steyn and attacks Mann. Ambrose points out that the case hinges on whether Steyn acted with "actual malice," meaning that he knew his claim was false before publishing it. So the case is contingent upon whether Steyn actually believed Mann was a fraud when he said it. If Steyn had any doubts about the veracity of his claim that Mann's hockey stick was created fraudulently, then he may be guilty of libel.
Ultimately, though, Ambrose damns Steyn while defending him by pointing out that "a significant number of researchers have agreed with [Mann's] results." So even someone defending the right to claim that the hockey stick graph is fraudulent admits to scientific consensus on the issue. That can't bode well for Steyn.