Renowned, multi-award winning science writer Dr. David Whitehouse – who has an asteroid named after him – has slammed the New Scientist as “offensive and prejudicial” for rejecting a feature it commissioned from him on the Earth’s inner core after it discovered that he serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). The GWPF is a climate contrarian think tank founded by the former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
In an email exchange seen by the Daily Sceptic, Daniel Cousins, Head of Features at the New Scientist, made the focus of the proposed piece clear:
…it would be first about how we’ve finally confirmed the existence of this inner core… then I guess it becomes about what we know about it’s structure (speculation about iron crystals, etc.) and how it formed… And finally, I guess we’d want to explore what the various scenarios for how it formed might inform how we think about habitability on other planets.
However, just 21 minutes after the commission was agreed, Dr. Whitehouse received a follow-up email from Mr. Cousins informing him that his affiliation with the GWPF rendered him “unsuitable” to write for the magazine:
I am writing with bad news, I’m afraid.
Barely a moment after I sent the email around my colleagues regarding that commission, one of my managers called to ask me if I was aware that you are on the board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and therefore not someone we can having writing for us.
I am of course as disappointed as you, because this is a good idea for a story – and we now can’t do aid [sic] story, because it not be fair [sic] to have someone else report and write it. Regardless, we can no longer proceed.
Clearly, I should have done my due diligence on this – and I am sorry to have wasted your time.
Dr. Whitehouse wrote to Nina Wright, the New Scientist’s Chief Executive, demanding an explanation:
The reason given for the cancellation of the contract was stated to be my association with the Global Warming Policy Foundation – a policy organisation that is in broad agreement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In the absence of any further explanation, it is clear that New Scientist has censored and reneged on a contract based solely on my professional affiliation. The cancellation of the article, which was on a completely unrelated topic, after it was negotiated and commissioned, is offensive and prejudicial treatment. More alarmingly, it could be taken as evidence of New Scientist exhibiting media bias and a cancel culture that would belittle its reputation.