As details continue to unfold from the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal, some in the environmental community are wondering if the communications giant was behind the "Climategate" email hacking scandal.
For those unfamiliar with Climategate, it was the scandal where the email accounts of several of the world’s most influential scientists were hacked before the Copenhagen climate negotiations in late 2009. The emails were then taken out of context to make it appear as if the scientists were manipulating data related to global warming. Several investigations revealed that the scientists were not messing with the data, but by the time the scientists had their names cleared, the damage had been done, and the climate negotiations had been derailed. To this day, no one has been able to find out who was behind the hacking, but with the News Corp. scandal unraveling before our eyes, some are wondering if Rupert Murdoch’s company was behind this as well.
A story on ThinkProgress.org points out that, “in the light of the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal, it is clear that Murdoch’s outfit had means, motive, and opportunity for the Climategate email hacking. News Corp. certainly has a history of defaming climate scientists and a penchant for hacking.”
While it’s completely possible that News Corp. had nothing to do with Climategate, there are a few connections between the organization and the scandal. Consider this: Neil Wallis, the former News of the World executive editor, also has a pretty strong connection to the University of East Anglia (UEA), which is where the Climategate hacking took place. Wallis became a senior consultant to Outside Organization, a PR firm and crisis management agency, which was used by the UEA following the Climategate scandal.
Perhaps it’s a stretch, but with everything we are learning about this News Corp. situation, nothing seems out of the ordinary.