Is FOIA harassment? The WaPo thinks so

The Washington Post used the holiday weekend to weigh-in on the case of Michael Mann’s emails, you know, the ones a Prince William County judge ordered the University of Virginia to produce after a FOIA request from Del. Bob Marshall and the American Tradition Institute.

The WaPo’s editorial contains little that is new for anyone who has been following this case over the last few months. But for those who have, the omissions in the piece are stunning. The anonymous editors thunder that ATI “…boasts about its challenges to environmental regulations across the country,” and proceeds to impugn the character of Chris Horner, the lawyer who has lead the charge to get UVA to obey the law.

As Mr. Horner will tell you, though, the WaPo’s attempt at making him look like a well-coiffed Lucifer is pretty thin gruel compared to the attacks he’s weathered from others during his career. Even so, it is interesting to see the newspaper, the very one that, back in the day, risked much to publish the Pentagon Papers in an effort to get the truth out there, should appear so upset when a former state employee’s emails are required to be made public under a long-standing Virginia law promoting openness. The WaPo’s crocodile tears over academic freedom, the search for truth, mom, apple pie and such, should not distract us from the University of Virginia’s wretched, and selective, behavior in this matter.

Recall that when Del. Marshall originally requested Dr. Mann’s records, UVA told him they had been deleted, as Mann was no longer an employee. At roughly the same time, when Greenpeace requested the emails and much more of former professors Pat Michaels and Fred Singer, UVA not only found the records, but was eager to comply with the group’s request. Greenpeace was looking for “a list of grants that financed their research. The organization also requested conflict-of-interest statements, disclosure forms on outside income, correspondence with conservative advocacy groups and correspondence with ExxonMobil and other companies.”

The Post doesn’t mention any of this, alas. Nor does it mention Greenpeace’s “investigation” of Ken Cuccinelli for his role in destroying polar bears or some such nonsense.

And let’s not forget that when Cuccinelli filed his civil investigation demand, the great, good and wise on the University’s faculty rose up to fight the idea because it threatened free inquiry. Or maybe it was puppies. Interest groups, as nefarious, proud and chest-thumping as ATI gathered the signatures of nearly 800 Virginia academics to decry Cuccinelli’s witch hunt.

One of the prime movers of that effort, the Union of Concerned Scientists, makes no bones about its views on global warming and the role it plays in fighting those truly despicable climate skeptics.

The WaPo doesn’t include such references, nevermind the University of Virginia’s arrogance and duplicity regarding FOIA. That would spoil the narrative. And we can’t have that.

(cross-posted at Score Radio Network)