WITH ‘CLIMATEGATE’ HAVING COME AND GONE…. When global warming deniers latched onto the “Climategate” story, they thought they’d finally come up with a credible basis for their beliefs. The charge was the climate scientists deliberately manipulated their research to reach pre-conceived conclusions. Some of the nuttiest deniers on the right even tried to use the “controversy” to suggest climate change itself is irrelevant and inconsequential.

Of course, there have now been five independent investigations of the incident, and all five have found that the deniers’ arguments are wrong. The most recent report, released this week, concluded, “On the specific allegations made against the behavior of [Climatic Research Unit] scientists, we find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.”

The New York Times editorial board raised a good point today: “Perhaps now we can put the manufactured controversy known as Climategate behind us and turn to the task of actually doing something about global warming.”

There have since been several reports upholding the U.N.’s basic findings, including a major assessment in May from the National Academy of Sciences. This assessment not only confirmed the relationship between climate change and human activities but warned of growing risks — sea level rise, drought, disease — that must swiftly be addressed by firm action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Given the trajectory the scientists say we are on, one must hope that the academy’s report, and Wednesday’s debunking of Climategate, will receive as much circulation as the original, diversionary controversies.

That last point is of particular interest.

…Media Matters for America joined 12 clean energy and progressive organizations in strongly urging news outlets that reported on the original “Climategate” controversy over stolen emails and the reliability of climate science to set the record straight. These outlets are urged to highlight recent developments that completely disprove much of the evidence that supported the alleged “Climategate” scandal with the same forcefulness and frequency that they reported the original charges.

Of course, if given a choice between policymakers taking climate change seriously going forward and major U.S. media outlets covering the exoneration of the climate scientists with equal gusto to coverage of the “scandal,” I suspect the former is more likely.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.