What we have is a classic case of “now you see it, now you don’t”…. an egregiously incorrect accolade for global warming alarmist book author Ross Gelbspan that has now disappeared without explanation from an article at the highly regarded Columbia Journalism Review. [5/6/14 update now at 7th paragraph – the plot thickens]
JunkScience blogger Steve Milloy first exposed this troublesome ‘Pulitzer winner’ problem in 1997, and he revisited it at his 2006 Canada Free Press article, “Ross Gelbspan: Still Lying About the Pulitzer Prize” and once again at JunkScience in 2011. Myself, I’ve detailed the problem with several blog posts at my own GelbspanFiles site. Since the label really ends up looking like resumé fraud for Gelbspan, quite a bit effort has been placed on toning that down, particularly after the publication of his 2004 “Boiling Point book, which prominently – and incorrectly – displayed the label on its front cover. To this day, a search at the Pulizer organization yields no results for Gelbspan.
Apparently, the editors at Columbia Journalism Review were unaware of that resumé fraud appearance within a 5/1/14 article (full text archive backup here) written by Robert S. Eshelman. In a re-telling of how Gelbspan essentially began his second career exposing the so-called industry corruption of skeptic climate scientists, Eshelman’s article read like this on May 1st, about 1/3rd of the way into the piece (bold/color emphasis mine, screencapture here):
In 1992, just four years after Hansen’s alarming testimony, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Ross Gelbspan retired from journalism……
On the same day Eshelman’s article came out, I emailed CJR’s editorial staff, asking them to consider how this error got past them, a misapplied label that should greatly offend any journalist who aspires to win a Pulitzer. Earlier this afternoon, the article was altered, now with that sentence shortened to this (backup here, screencapture here):
In 1992, just four years after Hansen’s alarming testimony, investigative journalist Ross Gelbspan retired from journalism ….
As of this point in time, the ‘Pulitzer winner’ label for Gelbspan has been erased from Eshelman’s article without a solitary word of explanation.** [5/6/14 update: See author’s note below]
As I’ve detailed here at JunkScience and elsewhere, there are far larger problems facing Gelbspan. Certainly the most damaging one is the manner in which he is widely cited as the main source for the notion that skeptic climate scientists are paid shills of the fossil fuel industry, but neither he nor Al Gore, or any other accuser who repeats his accusation has ever offered a single shred of proof to back it up.
If the collective side of the global warming issue cannot give us a good reason to ignore skeptic scientists’ climate assessments, then there is no reason why we should proceed with drastic regulatory measures to stop global warming. But if one of the main reasons that the mainstream media has ignored skeptics hinges on Gelbspan’s accusation and the widespread unquestioned acceptance of it, then we instead need a thorough investigation of how this situation ever got so far out of hand in the first place, with so many failing to undertake basic due diligence to be certain any element of the accusation was true.
** [5/6/14 Author’s note: Today, a day after this JunksScience blog post appeared, the CJR altered Eshelman’s article again, to place an asterisk as seen here (bold emphasis mine, screencapture here) …
In 1992, just four years after Hansen’s alarming testimony, *investigative journalist Ross Gelbspan retired from journalism ….
… and they also added this note at the very bottom of the article (bold emphasis mine, screencapture here):
* In the original version of this article, we referred to Ross Gelbspan as a Pulitzer Prize winner. Gelbspan served as an editor on a Boston Globe team that took home a Pulitzer in 1984, but the prizes do not list him as a winner.
The CJR accomplishes nothing when it links to a 2012 Boston Globe article that has Gelbspan’s name among a larger “team of reporters and editors” which contains seven specific Globe reporters who received the Pulitzer, but when the Pulitzer organization neither lists Gelbspan as a winner of their Prize nor directly names him as a Prize winner, it means he is not a Pulitzer Prize Winner, or a Pulitzer Prize co-winner, or a Pulitzer Prize co-recipient, as I already detailed at my prior March 6, 2014 blog post quoting an explanation about that distinction coming directly from a Pulitzer organization administrator. The question now is why the CJR did not say more accurately that their article incorrectly labeled Gelbspan as a Pulitzer winner and that they regret the error.]