Brian Rudman Open Letter – An Update

In my last post, I discussed an opinion piece which discussed how rude Brian Rudman (A New Zealand Herald Columnist) was when discussing the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC). In the opinion piece, he described NZCSC as ‘flat earthers’ for using a court case to contest the NIWA 7SS climate history (for details see the original post). At the end of the post, I wrote a polite open letter for Brian Rudman asking that he apologise for his rude remarks, as the evidence has since shown that NZCSC’s action was justified.

Having published the post, I immediately left a comment on Brian Rudman’s  opinion piece that was current at the time. The comment was not published, and I guess that this might be explained on the basis that it was not on the subject of the opinion piece to which it was posted. However, as I had considered that this was a possibility, I also used the facility to contact the news desk, and sent the following message on the 13th April:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have just posted a comment on Brian Rudman’s latest opinion, pointing out that there is an open letter for him at this blog:

https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/brian-rudman-will-he-apologise-an-open-letter/

Mr. Rudman used very unpleasant language in his description of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC), and the letter asks that he apologises for what he said, in particular in light of events since his comment.

I am writing to you as I am sure that you would be concerned at the unpleasant tone of Mr. Rudman’s column, in particular in light of the what has since taken place (explained in the post).

The column at issue can be found here:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10666806

It appears that Mr. Rudman opined without a proper investigation of NZCSC’s side of the story. As a responsible news outlet, I would hope that you feel that an apology would be in order.

Kind Regards,

Mark, NZ CLimate Change Blogger

I have received no reply from either the NZ Herald or from Brian Rudman. No apology or comment has been issued. As a result, accepting that correspondence might go astray, I have sent another message via the ‘contact the news desk’ facility as follows:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wrote to you on the 13th April, regarding an opinion piece by Brian Rudman. I pointed you to an open letter at the following address:

https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/brian-rudman-will-he-apologise-an-open-letter/

Can you confirm that you received my last communication? If you did so, I am puzzled that you have not taken the trouble to respond. I hope the information in the link is self-explanatory in the event that this is the first time that you have been made aware of the open letter.

However, I am concerned if you have received the last communication, and have simply chosen not to reply. I would expect that you would have concern that all of your information, whether ‘straight news’ or opinion pieces were well informed. I would also hope that, if you wish to defend one of your columnists, you would have the courage of your convictions and present a defence of the columnist.

I await your reply with interest.

Mark, NZ Climate Change

I am hopeful that the lack of response or reply is due to administrative problems or errors. It seems that, when a person identifies to a new outlet that one of their columnists is taking such a strong position, and may be misrepresenting an organisation in doing so, any responsible news outlet would take the trouble to either:

  1. Defend their columnist if they believe the columnist’s position was justified
  2. Seek to correct any problems that were identified

There is also the question of Brian Rudman’s integrity. If he has been notified of the open letter, then it would be reasonable for some kind of response to defend his position. His opinion piece was extremely rude about NZCSC, but it appeared that he did not bother himself with seeking information about their work and research. The point in my open letter is that he misrepresented NZCSC, and that the facts of the matter have demonstrated NZCSC were right in their pursuit of court action against NIWA. Brian Rudman might seek to refute this, or alternatively have the courage to admit his error. For the latter, does he have the courage of his convictions, and for the former does he have the personal integrity to right a wrong?

I hope that my last communication with the NZ Herald will prompt a response, and will be happy to publish the NZ Herald’s position in full, along with any statement from Brian Rudman. However, will they respond? I hope so, as it would be heartening to know that such a high profile news outlet, and such a high profile columnist, do indeed have integrity.

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