A month ago, Roger Pielke Jr. published a wild-eyed and tin-foiled Forbes post describing SkepticalScience’s list of Climate Misinformers as a “blacklist.” The Forbes post triggered a flood of follow-on posts spinning up the conspiracy theory that alarmists with lists are keeping deniers from getting hired (as opposed to the fact that universities tend not to want to hire people who have repeatedly and knowingly said things that are false).
For example, the Spectator ran a column about deniers being blacklisted a couple weeks ago. The piece concluded with praise for Valentina Zharkova’s work, pointing to the study that was retracted just days after the column was published as the sort of science that the mainstream media has blacklisted.
This isn’t the first time deniers have fretted about being blacklisted. For example, they complained about, and threatened to sue over, a Nature paper on false balance and climate science that included, buried in an appendix, the list of contrarians used to compare media hits to mainstream climate scientists. A decade ago they were worried about something similar, when Anthony Watts compared a list of deniers used for a paper to Hitler’s treatment of the Jews: “What next? Will we have to wear yellow badges to climate science conferences?”
It’s not just about climate. Last year denier James Delingpole decried the “financial blacklisting” of alt-right figures by Patreon, YouTube and other online sources of revenue.
Imagine our surprise, then, when we came across this James Delingpole post on Breitbart, which was reposted to WUWT, titled “Wikipedia airbrushes list of climate skeptic scientists out of history.” Until recently, the online encyclopedia included a list of scientists who disagree with the consensus, but editors voted to delete the page. According to the electroverse blog post Delingpole cites, this is “another disgusting indication of where climate science/debate is at today,”
Yes, after no less than a decade of hand-wringing over the publication of a lists of climate deniers, Delingpole et al are now angry that exactly such a list has been removed from the internet.
“Stalin,” Delingpole writes, with his trademark subtlety and grace, “who set the template for airbrushing inconvenient people out of history-- would no doubt have heartily approved of this wanton act of censorship.”
There you have it, folks. If you create a list of deniers, you’re Hitler. If you destroy a list of deniers, you’re Stalin.
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