I realize that I have been quiet lately, but I will be trying to change that. Let's start by taking on one of the biggest newspapers in the country, shall we? I sent the following letter to the New York Times today. Shall we see how they respond?
I am curious as to whether or not your newspaper continues to employ a legal department or are people like Paul Krugman allowed to write libelous statements in your editorials and get away with it simply because it is called an opinion piece?
In the article titled "Who Cooked the Planet?" dated July 25, 2010, Krugman writes the following paragraph:
"You’ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers — allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of “Climategate,” and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media."
This is a blatant lie and I have a very difficult time believing that Mr. Krugman does not know that it is a lie. It has been argued that the importance of the emails was overstated; it has been argued that the emails did not mean what people claimed or thought that they meant; it has been argued that the emails did not invalidate the science. It has not been argued, let alone charged or proved, that the scandal was a fraud.
An accusation of fraud is an accusation of a crime and for a newspaper to print that someone has been proven to have committed a crime knowing that no such crime has been proven is libel. Ask your legal department, if you still have one.
I fully realize that Mr. Krugman believes that he is above the common man and thus able to say anything he pleases with impunity, but this is not legally true. He is bound by the same legal standards as all the rest of us and you, as a prominent newspaper, are even more bound.
I am sure that you will prepare a correction for this before any lawyers become interested, though I am equally sure that you will bury that correction so that no one ever sees it, except by accident. You should be aware, of course, that bloggers will be quite interested in such a gaff in such a major newspaper.