Gleick has done enormous damage to his cause and his own reputation, and it's no good to say that people shouldn't be focusing on it. If his judgement is this bad, how is his judgement on matters of science? For that matter, what about the judgement of all the others in the movement who apparently see nothing worth dwelling on in his actions?When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths--including lying--to advance their worldview, I'd say one of the movement's top priorities should be not proving them right. And if one rogue member of the community does something crazy that provides such proof, I'd say it is crucial that the other members of the community say "Oh, how horrible, this is so far beyond the pale that I cannot imagine how this ever could have happened!" and not, "Well, he's apologized and I really think it's pretty crude and opportunistic to make a fuss about something that's so unimportant in the grand scheme of things."After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you've lost the power to convince them of anything else.The other thing one must note is that his story is a little puzzling. We know two things about the memo:1. It must have been written by someone who had access to the information in the leaked documents, because it uses precise figures and frequent paraphrases.2. It was probably not written by anyone who had intimate familiarity with Heartland's operations, because it made clear errors about the Koch donations--the amount, and the implied purpose. It also hashed the figures for a sizable program, and may have made other errors that I haven't identified.Did someone else gain access to the documents, write up a fake memo, and then snail mail that memo to Dr. Gleick? Why didn't they just send him everything?
I should also probably note that I disagree pretty strenuously with Heartland's position on global warming. I not only believe that anthropogenic global warming is happening, but also support stiff carbon or source fuels taxes in order to combat it.