Climate scientists increasingly report that they have become targets of cyber-bullying, saying threats and hatred pour into their email inboxes whenever they appear in the press or media. The emailers call the scientists cheaters, frauds, scumbags and worse. Australian academic Clive Hamilton speculated in a news column that purpose of this cyber-bullying is to upset and intimidate the targets, making them reluctant to participate further in the climate change debate. Most of the e-mails seem to be the work of frustrated individuals who simply want to rant, but some appears to be coming from coordinated campaigns. Scientists say people appear to be taking cues from influential anti-climate change advocates like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Web site ClimateDepot.com. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research -- who has received 19 pages of hate email just since November -- says that the most dispiriting aspect of the e-mails is that facts seem to no longer hold any weight in the public debate. He observes that the nature of public discourse, be it climate change or health care, has changed; information that does not fit peoples' worldview is now discounted or rejected. Richard Littlemore of DeSmogBlog says the cyberbullying starts with paid campaigners like Marc Morano, Executive Director at ClimateDepot.com, and Steven J. Milloy of JunkScience.com. "They're the PR guys and they're in the game and taking money for what they do," he said.
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