If you’re a scientist, and your findings might cost a big company some money, expect that company to try to destroy you, personally as well as professionally. Of course, we only get to find out when the effort at least partially fails. If you’re wondering why climate scientists don’t want to give their industry-sponsored critics access to their data, this might provide a hint.

Syngenta’s public-relations team had drafted a list of four goals. The first was “discredit Hayes.” … In 2005, Ford made a long list of methods for discrediting him: “have his work audited by 3rd party,” “ask journals to retract,” “set trap to entice him to sue,” “investigate funding,” “investigate wife.”

Things I’d like to see:

* The universities banding together to provide a defense fund for their faculty, so the Tyrone Hayeses facing corporate persecution and the Michael Manns facing official persecution – always with aid of the wingnut media -don’t have to do so alone.

* Some Senate hearings on Syngenta’s unconscionable behavior, where its flacks and their academic shills had to defend themselves in public.

* Repeal of the ludicrously misnamed “Data Quality Act,” written by corporate lobbyists to keep unsafe products on the market.

* A Presidential order for the EPA to re-analyze the atrazine data.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.