Sunday, February 11, 2007


In his eagerness to ridicule Alan Ramsay and Tim Flannery -- if anyone deserves ridicule, it's these two -- Andrew Bolt makes an embarrassing number error and eventually admits (sort of) he's wrong. This just goes to show you, Andrew Bolt is not the go-to guy for climate science. Me personally, I rely on Tim Blair.

Anyway, Tim Lambert's gloating (both at his blog and Bolt's) about Bolt's error, sarcastically praising Bolt's sort-of correction. This is a multifaceted irony.

As far as I know, anyone can go to Bolt's blog and comment so long as they don't say anything too outrageous -- I'm unaware of anyone being banned or subjected to moderation. Comments at Deltoid are, on the other hand, tightly controlled by Lambert. Any commenter not toeing the line can expect to be called a troll or to have his comments manipulated so as to make them unreadable (disemvowelled). Commenters who persist in being “difficult” can expect their comments to be neutralized through “moderation”, where comments linger for hours, even days; to be posted only when the discussion has moved well on. Some comments never emerge from moderation. Lambert has even so fas as to removed comments already posted.

Anyone who adopts an alternate identity to get around Deltoid's moderation black hole can expect to be held up for ridicule as a sock puppet. This is ludicrous, of course, because simply adopting an alternate identity does not automatically make that person a sock puppet.

In his posts Andrew Bolt frequently engages in give and take discussion with his readers -- as he does in the post with the bogus number. Lambert is very much inclined to stonewall, simply ignoring comments he finds troublesome. At blogs other than Deltoid Lambert responds to challenges by immediately exiting the conversation, popping in now and again to snipe.

Acknowledging errors and posting genuine corrections are not amongst Lambert's repertoire. He came pretty close in May 2006 when yet again caught out posting DDT rubbish, acknowledging his error in comments (where he also accused me of sock puppetry for commenting under an assumed name). The correction wasn't posted on the front page of his blog, rather hidden in the original (over a year old) post at his old blog.

Lambert again screwed up in a, October 2006 post titled "How many Iraqis have to die before it is front page news?" in which he claimed the Washington Post hid the story about the 650,000 excess Iraq deaths claimed by the then new Lancet study. In fact, the Washington Post featured the study on the front page (above the fold) with the photo of a grieving Iraqi mother. The story itself was on an inside page but the study had indeed made the front page. Lambert's reaction:
"In comments, ragout informs me that the story was referenced on the front page. The actual story, however, was not on the front page, but buried on page 12."
Lambert also got it seriously wrong in claiming Bolt was wrong in all 10 points raised in a post about global warming. Bolt's post was strictly light-weight and not particularly well researched but he was right on probably seven of his ten points (scroll down to BBgun's list of points Bolt gets right). Lambert had plenty of opportunities to defend himself at the link immediately above but wimped out and retreated. (Regardless, Lambert was certainly wrong to claim rising sea are forcing Tuvaluans to flee to New Zealand.

DDT's use in the fight against malaria is a frequent Lambert topic. His DDT posts are especially likely to contain errors and misrepresentations. Examples are to be found here, here, here, here, here, and here. For more on Lambert's DDT deceptions go here.

Lambert has repeatedly crashed and burned but always manages to survive, like some sort of asbestos crash test dummy. He pulls this off by limiting the discussion at Deltoid and refusing to engage when outside the secure confines of his own blog. Regardless, while he might be a scientist, he certainly isn't blogging science.

I'll leave the last word to Lambert, here explaining how to handle difficult commenters:
Err, Jason. Beck is a troll. He doesn’t actually believe the things he writes — the point is to get a rise out of the people he attacks. He’s been spectacularly successful with this latest effort. You should ignore his comments and his posts and never link to him. There is also a handy plugin for WordPress that bounces any links he makes to you. This seems to really annoy him.


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