James Delingpole leads Telegraph into vicious climate over email - Comment by George Monbiot

28/1/2010 Guardian I think I have worked out where commentator James Delingpole is coming from.He pretends to be a climate change denier and enemy of environmentalists. In
reality he’s a mole, paid by Greenpeace to inflict as much damage on the
anti-green cause as possible. And he’s doing a marvellous job.
His blog posts for the Telegraph consist of the kind of ill-informed viciousness
provided for free by trolls on comment threads everywhere, but raised by an
order of magnitude. He puts a wrecking ball through any claims the denial lobby
might have to being civilised, intelligent or serious. His followers act as an
echo-chamber, magnifying his nastiness. Between them they succeed in alienating
anyone who might want an informed debate. But this week he surpassed himself.
On Sunday he published a letter sent to a Conservative candidate asking about
his position on climate change. Here’s what the letter said:

  “Dear Edwin Northover

  I was concerned to note the results of a survey of 140 Conservative candidates
  for parliament that suggested that climate change came right at the bottom of
  their priorities for government action.

  I hope you can reassure me that you recognise the importance and success of
  climate change action by the UK government at home and internationally.

  Can you clarify that:

  You accept that climate change is caused by human activity?

  Do you support the target to achieve 15% renewable energy by 2020?

  Do you support the EU imposing tougher regulation to combat climate change?

  Kind Regards, *** ***”.

It looks to me like a polite enquiry from someone concerned about climate
change. Delingpole, however, saw it as a “nauseating email” which must have come
from a “disgusting eco-fascist organisation”, though he didn’t know which
organisation this might be. His post was headlined “Conservative candidates
stalked by eco bullies”. Much worse, he published the man’s name and home
Delingpole’s bootboys took the hint and immediately swung into action. Within a
few minutes of the comments opening, they had published the man’s telephone
number and email address, a photo of his house (”Note all the recycling going on
in his front garden”), his age and occupation. Then they sought to tell him just
what a low opinion they had of “stalking” and “bullying”.
One commenter wrote: “I tried to telephone *** *** on the number helpfully
posted in this blog, but he’s out until tomorrow. Perhaps he is out ‘tackling
climate change’? – anyway his missus didn’t seem to know where he was.”
Paradoxically, their hounding of this poor man demonstrated that he was just
what he seemed to be: an ordinary citizen, exercising his democratic right to
ask a parliamentary candidate about his position on an important matter.
The comment thread was rich with unintended irony, as Delingpole’s readers
lambasted the man who had sent the letter:
“This intrusive and abusive lobbying is disgusting”
“I cannot stress enough how dangerous and vindictive the environmentalist
movement is.”
After some 20 hours of this venom, the Telegraph took the post down, but not
before an article purporting to oppose bullying and stalking had been used to
launch a campaign of bullying and stalking.
The paper has issued no apology or explanation: if you click on the link it just
says “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.” This suggests an absence of
transparency and honesty and a failure to admit to what looks to me like a grave
breach of media ethics.
Anyway, James should be congratulated for a magnificent attempt to do even more
damage to his purported cause. Greenpeace is doubtless posting another fat
cheque to him as I write. Unfortunately his noble and self-sacrificial campaign
is probably being waged in vain. If the comments are anything to go by, his
regular readers appear to be devoid of humanity, reflection or any sense of
irony. However vicious or stupid their spokespeople become, they will still go
along with it.

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