CAP Backs Down When Challenged


Judd Legum is an editor for the Center for American Progress, where he oversees their “Climate Progress” blog.  Over the years, in his role as editor he oversaw or wrote some 160+ articles about me on their pages, misrepresenting my research and political views. After I wrote an article for Natre Silver at 538 in 2014, he called up Silver (and Silver’s lead editor) to demand I be fired. In 2016, the Wikileaks releases revealed Legum was misrepresenting my work as part of a political campaign on behalf of billionaire Tom Steyer. But that embarrassment hasn’t kept Legum away, just yesterday he again took to Twitter to misrepresent my academic work. It’s always the same playbook.

I’ve had enough of CAP and their lies, misrepresentations and character assassination. So yesterday I challenged Legum to back up his Twitter and Wikileaks bravado in a public debate with me. If my work has been “comprehensively debunked” by CAP and is the work of “deniers” then he should be able to destroy me in a public forum, giving a powerful lesson to anyone foolish enough to challenge him.

Here is how Legum responded in declining the opportunity to debate the subject of my 538 article that has had him so worked up over these past four years:

I think on the topic, the idea of what’s driving the costs of disasters is a technical topic that would not create a compelling public debate. The arguments all hinge on data analysis that would be boring and no readily comprehensible for a general debate.

Say what? A “technical topic”? And “not readily comprehensible”? So much for the Wikileaks bravado about debunking my work and all that.

More generally Legum responded:

I’m not sure you actually stake out any such positions that I disagree with.

This is a remarkable admission from the guy at the Center for American Progress who has overseen a decade-long effort to destroy my academic career through social media bullying, behind the scenes politicking and the spreading of outright lies. It also shows what happens when bullies are challenged but can’t back it up. They back down and slink away.

14 thoughts on “CAP Backs Down When Challenged

  1. I don’t enjoy the social media wars, Dr. Pielke, but understand your urge (need) to defend yourself. You know all too well that this incessant cat fighting w/ the Legums and Manns displaces the time, energy and creativity you’d otherwise have to do important work. It must be hard to balance the two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I don’t enjoy them either. I wish I had a better solution to what are intentional and highly effective efforts to damage or destroy a career. Sunshine is a disinfectant, so I’ll shine a light.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw your challenge to Legum, and I was going to offer to sponsor the debate, much as I did when you challenged Romm. This is apparently turning into a safe investment.

    If anyone at CAP grows a set, let me know. I would still offer to sponsor at least some of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have to compliment you for challenging him to a debate. It is evident he is unwilling to do so, hiding behind a vague claim that the public wouldn’t understand the proceedings. That shows what a low opinion he has of the public. I suspect he is in for a shock as to how literate and conceptually perspicacious ‘the public’ is. It is one thing to call an individual ignorant and wrong, but to attack the entire public as incapable of following the plot, quite another, and vain.

    Challenge him again and offer to limit the breadth of the topic to something he has specifically claimed you have wrong and he has right.

    From this distance, it appears the Center for American Progress is, like a cancer, in regression.

    Liked by 1 person

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