Michael Shellenberger Profile picture
Oct 2, 2022 23 tweets 12 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Over the last week, the mainstream news media claimed that hurricanes are becoming more frequent & intense, but they’re not, as the data clearly show. What’s more, it’s clear that the media are engaging in *deliberate* misinformation. These aren’t innocent mistakes. ImageImage
Consider this article in @FT claiming that “hurricane frequency is on the rise,” based on NOAA data.

But NOAA says “After adjusting for a likely under-count of hurricanes in the pre-satellite era there is essentially no long-term trend in hurricane counts.” ImageImageImage
In fact, NOAA writes, “The evidence for an upward trend is even weaker if we look at U.S. landfalling hurricanes, which even show a slight negative trend beginning from 1900 or from the late 1800s.” ImageImage
In other words, the graphic @FT chose to show of apparently rising hurricane frequency is, in reality, a graphic showing improved hurricane detection thanks to satellites.

What are the chances that FT reporter @Aime_Williams didn’t know this? I would guess close to zero.
It’s possible that @Aime_Williams was careless but I doubt it. I would bet good money that she read NOAA’s web site, which clearly warns that “there is essentially no long-term trend in hurricane counts,” and chose to ignore it in order to sensationalize.

What about intensity? Same story. Writes NOAA, “after adjusting for changes in observing capabilities (limited ship observations) in the pre-satellite era, there is no significant long-term trend (since the 1880s) in the proportion of hurricanes that become major hurricanes.“
Bottom line? “We conclude that the data do not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced century-scale increase in:  frequency of tropical storms, hurricanes, or major hurricanes, or in the proportion of hurricanes that become major hurricanes.”
Against the best-available science, the news media unleashed a hurricane of misinformation using the exact same manipulation of data as @Aime_Williams. @FT

The quantity of pseudoscience & journalistic irresponsibility is breathtaking. ImageImageImageImage
And now it’s clear that activist scientists at the UN are working with Google to control the information available on climate change.

This is dark, chilling stuff.
To the extent the cost of hurricanes is rising it’s due entirely to greater wealth in harm’s way. Consider how much more developed Miami Beach is today compared to a century ago. Once you adjust for rising wealth, there is no trend of rising costs. ImageImage
Is it possible that hurricane intensity will rise in the future? Yes. NOAA predicts a 5% increase in hurricane intensity. But it also predicts a 25% decline in hurricane frequency.

I have not seen a single mainstream news media outlet mention any of this. Image
This is not complicated. The information is not hidden away somewhere. NOAA even boldfaces its key conclusion.

Journalists know this. They’ve been covering this for decades. It’s clear that they are actively trying to mislead the public.

gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming… Image
I have made a complete debunking of environmental alarmism available on-line. All slides have references to the best-available science or primary data.

These are they key take-aways:

- weather-related disasters are declining not increasing

- rising human resilience massively outweighs climate change

- every major environmental trend is headed in the right direction ImageImageImage
I pushed back against misinformation on hurricanes and climate change in Congress last month at a hearing on… climate change misinformation
Final note: August had no hurricanes for the first time in 25 years. Hardly anybody wrote about it. Compare that to the wall of misinformation about a single hurricane last week.

The media have an agenda. They are peddling pseudoscience. They can’t be trusted. Image
Egregious misinformation by the @nytimes ImageImage

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More from @shellenberger

Nov 17
A Stanford group said the government didn’t fund it to censor anyone. But it did. Newly released files show that Twitter, pre-Musk, censored Republicans at the request of Stanford Internet Observatory, and that US taxpayers funded it, adding insult to injury. We have the proof.
After we testified before Congress, Stanford Internet Observatory denied everything. That was a mistake. After months of refusing to turn over key documents, Congress finally forced them to do so. They proved that what we had said was true, and that they had lied.
These guys violated the First Amendment, interfered in an election, and then blamed their interns for it.
Read 14 tweets
Nov 16
A US government-funded group at Stanford said its work was "nonpartisan," but it wasn't. A newly released tranche of files, exclusive to Public, show that it demanded censorship of Republican elected officials, but not of Democrats, for making equivalent claims of election fraud Image
Government-Funded Stanford Group Successfully Urged Censorship Of Republicans But Not Democrats For Equivalent Claims

Both Republicans and Democrats claimed election fraud, but Stanford Internet Observatory and Twitter only sanctioned Republicans

by @shellenberger & @galexybrane
Stanford Internet Observatory Founding Director Alex Stamos (left) and Research Manager Renée Diresta (right)

The US government-funded Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) claims that its 2020 Election Integrity Project (EIP) and its 2021 Virality Project (VP) were “non-partisan research coalitions.” They did not discriminate against Republicans or conservatives, SIO insists.

But a new tranche of SIO files subpoenaed by the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Mark Green (R-TN), and Homeland Security Subcommittee for Oversight Chairman Dan Bishop (R-SC) reveal that SIO singled out Republicans for censorship, even though Democrats engaged in similar kinds of inaccurate or misleading speech.

One member of Congress singled out for censorship was alarmed to learn of the pattern. “In striving to silence duly elected Congressmen and prevent them from communicating with constituents,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) told Public, “this government-funded censorship network has shown itself to be a far greater threat to our representative democracy than any foreign nation.”

Representatives from Stanford Internet Observatory did not respond to a request for comment.

To see the pattern of partisan behavior, we have to go back to November 2020, when the EIP was well underway.
At 5:58 am, November 4, 2020, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-SC) tweeted, “The Silicon Valley Cartel is in on the STEAL! Censoring our President while DEMOCRATS work overtime to STEAL THIS ELECTION! I need you to join me in the fight to STOP THIS.!” Image
Read 11 tweets
Nov 14
California Gov. @GavinNewsom says he does what he can. In truth, he does what he is told. When told to let people die on the streets, he does. When told to clean up the streets, he does. This is the story of a person who wants to be president but isn't even his own man. Image
All Eyes On What Gavin Newsom Will Do Next Now That Feds Cleaned Up San Francisco

A summit of world leaders has forced the city to shut down a major open-air drug market. Will it last?

by @lwoodhouse
Gov. Gavin Newsom [Getty]

For years, the sidewalks outside the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in San Francisco’s SoMa district have been clogged with drug dealers and homeless addicts. On any random day, as in the above video that Public shot, you might see EMTs carting away an overdose victim, while swarms of addicts around them continue to smoke meth and fentanyl on the curbside.

But not this week. Suddenly, the sidewalks on 7th and Mission are spotless, as are streets all over the vicinity of the Moscone Convention Center.

On Saturday, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference got underway. On Wednesday, President Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping will be in attendance. So the city has pushed all the dealers, addicts, and tent encampments out of the neighborhood and cordoned off much of the area behind 10-foot fences, creating a Potemkin Village of cleanliness and order.

The sudden change has been head-spinning for those who have watched for years as politicians have promised and failed repeatedly to fix the problem. When now-Governor Gavin Newsom was elected San Francisco’s mayor almost exactly twenty years ago, he pledged to end chronic homelessness in the city within a decade. We’re now 10 years out from that deadline and the problem has only gotten worse.

“Open-air drug dealing and using has been going on for years without the city taking necessary action,” said Randy Shaw, head of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. “It’s not meaningfully better today than when Mayor Breed issued her Emergency Declaration for the Tenderloin two years ago.”

But then last week, seemingly overnight, one of the largest concentrations of open-air drug dealing and public camping in the city, in the SoMa district, vanished into thin air. The crackdown was, in part, to accommodate President Xi, one of the most singularly responsible people alive for the addiction crisis city workers were working double time to conceal. The fentanyl on America’s city streets is manufactured by Mexican drug cartels out of precursor chemicals created in legal, above-ground Chinese labs. China has allowed its lethal fentanyl industry to persist and thrive, in a kind of Opium War in reverse. “Whereas China has gone to war with other drugs that have a demand in China, such as methamphetamines,” New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith said in 2018, “it has conspicuously failed to launch a similar crackdown on fentanyl, which has no demand in China.”

Yet somehow, Xi’s arrival in San Francisco changed everything. How did the city suddenly achieve what it has been unable to accomplish for decades? And will things return to how they were as soon as the heads of state leave town? Or is there room for optimism?
Please subscribe now to hold California's leaders accountable, and to read the rest of the story!

Read 4 tweets
Nov 10
Representatives of a US government front group, "Stanford Internet Observatory," denied ever demanding censorship of anyone. They lied, and we have the proof. They got social media companies to censor accurate Covid information in a clear violation of the First Amendment. Bam. Image
Stanford Group Helped US Government Censor Covid Dissidents and Then Lied About It, New Documents Show

A trove of newly released Virality Project reports confirms that the government used a Stanford cut-out to censor true content about Covid vaccines, vindicating Twitter Files reporting
by @galexybrane & @NAffects

A Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) spokesperson says it “did not censor or ask social media platforms to remove any social media content regarding coronavirus vaccine side effects.”

This denial came in response to Twitter Files published by Matt Taibbi in March, which revealed that SIO’s so-called “Virality Project” had pushed platforms to treat user concerns about vaccine mandates and passports as “disinformation” and to consider “stories of true vaccine side effects” to be actionable content on social media.

The Virality Project was an initiative undertaken jointly by Big Tech, universities, and NGOs to combat “anti-vaccine misinformation.” SIO responded to Taibbi’s Twitter Files by claiming that his findings were “inaccurate and based on distortions of email exchanges in the Twitter Files.”

But new evidence shows that Stanford lied about the scope of the Virality Project and that its censorship efforts were undertaken on behalf of the US government.

As Public reported on Tuesday, new documents shared by the House Judiciary Committee revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created the Virality Project’s predecessor, the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), to censor protected speech. Explains the committee, “EIP reconstituted as the Virality Project” and continued working with the federal government. The Twitter Files also found that the Project partnered “with several government agencies,” including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Office of the Surgeon General, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Still, Stanford and the mainstream media insist that “disinformation” experts were merely conducting research, and not involved in actual censorship.

Now, an investigation by Public has uncovered clear evidence that the Project was directly and deliberately involved in successful censorship efforts. Public analyzed a trove of newly released Jira system tickets, the Virality Project’s tipline to social media companies. These tickets overwhelmingly contradict Stanford’s assertion that it did not try to get content censored.

The Virality Project, acting as a cut-out for DHS and CISA, worked directly with employees at Facebook, Google, YouTube, TikTok, and more, who were all signed up to their Jira system.

Those companies regularly assured the Project that they were addressing the content it flagged. Companies responded with comments like, “Thanks for flagging this. We have actioned the content,” or “Thanks for escalating to us — our team is looking into this now.”

The Virality Project kept track of actions on the content it flagged, and was frequently successful in getting content labeled or removed by platforms, and in getting users suspended.

The Virality Project appears to have played a major role in one particularly infamous case of Covid-related censorship. On March 15, 2021, Harvard professor of medicine Martin Kulldorff tweeted, “Thinking that everyone must be vaccinated is as scientifically flawed as thinking that nobody should. COVID vaccines are important for older high-risk people, and their care-takers. Those with prior natural infection do not need it. Nor children.”

“Dear Twitter Team,” a representative of the Virality Project wrote in response to Kulldorff’s post, “This Tweet directly contradicts CDC’s advice.”

“Thanks team — we’re looking into this,” a senior Twitter Trust & Safety policy specialist wrote back.

Kulldorff’s tweet was then labeled as misleading and he was temporarily suspended from the platform. Internally, the Virality Project identified Kulldorff, a renowned biostatistician, as a “repeat offender.”

This process was indeed a deliberate, state-sponsored act of censorship. In many egregious instances, the Virality Project — again, a government cut-out — intentionally and knowingly worked to silence and deplatform social media users. Jira records vindicate the Twitter Files and are evidence of First Amendment violations.

Here are some of the Virality Project’s most egregious, absurd, and anti-science censorship efforts:
Please subscribe now to support Public's award-winning investigative reporting and to read the rest of the article!

Read 6 tweets
Nov 3
The Directors of the FBI & the Dept. of Homeland Security say they didn't violate the First Amendment by demanding censorship, but they did. And their recent statements before Congress suggest they not only know they did but also that they are scared of the consequences to come. Image
FBI And DHS Directors Mislead Congress About Censorship

Plus: Twitter Files journalists win Dao Prize for journalism

by @shellenberger & @galexybrane
Senator @RandPaul questions Department of Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas and FBI Director Christopher Wray during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 (Getty Images)

Over the last year, mainstream news reporters have dismissed every new revelation of government censorship. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) officials who primed social media executives to censor the Hunter Biden laptop were simply on guard for Russian disinformation, they said. White House officials who demanded that Facebook censor accurate information about Covid-19 vaccine side effects were simply trying to save lives, journalists argued. And the sweeping effort by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to demand, alongside academic institutes, social media censorship of Covid and election information was, a “public-private partnership” to “counter misinformation,” many reporters insisted.

But many independent journalists disagree. We and others have documented how these efforts blatantly violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which explicitly prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The FBI had Hunter Biden’s laptop in its possession since 2019 but primed social media executives in the summer of 2020 to view it instead as Russian disinformation, resulting in its censorship.

White House officials also demanded that social media companies censor accurate information about the side effects of the Covid vaccine. Facebook complied, fearing retaliation from the White House, even though executives knew that doing so would increase, not decrease, “vaccine hesitancy.”

Emails obtained through discovery in the Missouri v. Biden case revealed how officials from the federal government threatened, berated, and pressured social media companies. In light of this evidence, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals partially upheld an injunction in the Missouri v. Biden case, ruling that some government agencies had coerced platforms into censoring protected speech. And the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals viewed the sweeping public-private effort overseen by DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to censor disfavored views on vaccines and elections to be in violation of the First Amendment. The court demanded that CISA, along with the FBI, CDC, and the White House, refrain from coercing or significantly encouraging social media companies to censor users.

After this sequence of events, many rightly wondered how the heads of the various government agencies within the Censorship Industrial Complex would respond to public questioning by members of Congress. After months of anticipation, this finally occurred this week, when Senator Rand Paul interrogated DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Senator Ted Cruz similarly grilled National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan earlier this month on that agency’s distribution of millions of dollars to promote “the science of countering social media myths and disinformation as well as the development of digital tools to track and censor so-called misinformation.”

With the Censorship Industrial Complex increasingly under scrutiny, America’s leading thought police turned evasive, misleading Congress about their involvement in censorship. Why are they no longer defending the actions they once said were necessary for safety, public health, and national security?
Please subscribe now to support Public's award-winning journalism and to read the rest of the article!

Read 4 tweets
Oct 27
The idea that governments are working together to censor citizens who tell the truth sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it's not. It's true. And now the UK & US governments have been caught conspiring to censor accurate information & spread disinfo about a journalist. Image
A British free speech group @BigBrotherWatch has caught a UK government agency spreading disinformation about journalist @JuliaHB1

That same UK agency, which was set up to demand greater censorship of Covid wrongthink, worked with a US State Department censorship organization called the "Global Engagement Center."

Thanks to a lawsuit filed by @JuliaHB1 , the UK government has not only confessed to conspiring with the US government, but also apologized to her.

The UK government has shut down its "Counter-Disinformation Unit," which was a a totalitarian censorship office.

It's time for the US Congress to shut down the Global Engagement Center (GEC), which may have violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The US House of Representatives held hearings on GEC earlier this week.

Read 11 tweets

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