Not long ago, the American Tradition Institute initiated a transparency campaign using federal and state freedom of information laws to learn more about how taxpayer-funded academics use their positions to advance a particular agenda. On its face, this should have been welcomed by the Left, which often lays claim to the “transparency” mantle. It is instead causing great angst.
Our project would compile the context to the “Climategate” scandal, which, as activist academics central to its revelations assured us, was really an out-of-context misrepresentation. Curiously, the same people think this project a very bad idea.
So do the media and environmentalist establishments. Of the latter, the Union of Concerned Scientists became particularly exercised, mobilizing left-wing groups to urge universities not to satisfy our requests for public documents.
None of these groups, incidentally, was troubled by a series of similar requests by Greenpeace, whose effort we replicated. They only became opposed when we sought the emails of the sort of activists with whom they work.
Some of these, recently obtained from Texas A&M University, provide one explanation for this reversal.