Looks like InsideClimate News doesn’t appreciate me pointing out these inconvenient facts about its work. And in contesting these charges, it is only digging a deeper hole for itself. The result is to further expose the inaccuracy of their reports.
In a recent statement provided to the website Quartz, InsideClimate News writer Neela Banerjee attempted to defend against our charges by writing, “We never said Exxon stopped its research, nor suppressed the results.”
There’s just one problem with that statement: Claiming we stopped our research and suppressed the results is the central point to ICN’s exhausting series about ExxonMobil’s supposed perfidy. It’s the central point that has been repeated in other stories and op-eds, notably from high-profile activists Bill McKibben and Naomi Oreskes.
Ms. Banerjee and her colleagues first claimed that Exxon stopped its research in its very first report on September 16, when they wrote (emphasis mine):
Toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon curtailed its carbon dioxide research. In the decades that followed, Exxon worked instead at the forefront of climate denial.
Ms. Banerjee and her colleagues wrote that Exxon suppressed the results of our climate work in the “About This Series” section on the ICN website (again, emphasis mine):
The story spans four decades, and is based on primary sources including internal company files dating back to the late 1970s, interviews with former company employees, and other evidence, much of which is being published here for the first time. It describes how Exxon conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago and then, without revealing all that it had learned, worked at the forefront of climate denial, manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus that its own scientists had confirmed.
One way to view Ms. Banerjee’s recent statement is that InsideClimate News now admits that ExxonMobil did not halt or suppress our research.
I hope ICN will add an editorial update to its series reflecting that admission, though I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.
I noted recently that InsideClimate News tends to make assertions while hoping nobody checks to see if they are correct.
That’s been their strategy in selectively quoting from our documents – they have counted on people not reading the entirety of those documents, which undercut their accusations.
You only have to read them in full to realize that ICN’s claims are manufactured to sell a narrative that the facts don’t support, no matter how much Ms. Banerjee and her colleagues object.