There is a meme on the internet and in popular culture, from the stolen 'climategate emails', it is the quote: "Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline". This is often presented as evidence that the scientists were trying to hide a global cooling, this is done by liars and fools.
Here's what Dr Jones actually said (for context I quote Greg Laden at the end of the post).
"I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”Such selective quoting is lying by omission. It is a deliberate act of sophistry utilised by the morally bankrupt and every time such dishonest behaviour can be seen it can reliably be used as a shortcut to the conclusion that the person employing it has lost the argument. From which point it is safe to ignore them as someone with nothing valuable to add to the discussion.
Dr Judith Curry has recently ended a blog post with the following comment:
This episode illustrates how a potentially legitimate FOIA request can get twisted by the media with amplifying effects of twitter that serve to confuse the public and damage the reputation of the scientists. In hindsight, the way the Climategate emails was rolled out, after very careful scrutiny by the targeted bloggers, was handled pretty responsibly. Lets face it – “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline” means . . . “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline.”Dr Curry has left me puzzled for some time. Now by this act of sophistry the game is fully exposed, even for a very conservative sceptic like me. In her blog Dr Curry is clearly not interested in honest debate about aspects of climate science, it is a soap-box for sophistry and dishonest implication by selective quoting serving what I find to be a puzzling and weird bias against the issue of climate change.
I often consider scientists as being like the consultants I have had to use. If I came across such behaviour from a consultant I wouldn't use them again, I am too busy to be second-guessing whether their advice is biassed and based upon bizarre internal motivations. Likewise with scientists; I am not going to bother reading Dr Judith Curry's papers because I just cannot be bothered second guessing what weird biasses have crept into the method or the results. Which oddly enough, despite very different behaviour, is the same reason I have recently stopped paying attention to Prof Peter Wadhams.
It's a funny old world.
Context about the 'nature trick' and 'hide the decline' is given by Greg Laden.
The reconstruction by Briffa, (see K. R. Briffa, F. H. Schweingruber, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn, S. G. Shiyatov, and E. A. Vaganov, “Reduced Sensitivity of Recent Tree-Growth to Temperature at High Northern Latitudes,” Nature, 391 (1998): 678–682) in particular ……was susceptible to the so-called divergence problem, a problem that primarily afflicts tree ring density data from higher latitudes. These data show an enigmatic decline in their response to warming temperatures after roughly 1960, … [Jones] was simply referring to something Briffa and coauthors had themselves cautioned in their original 1998 publication: that their tree ring density data should not be used to infer temperatures after 1960 because they were compromised by the divergence problem. Jones thus chose not to display the Briffa et al. series after 1960 in his plot, “hiding” data known to be faulty and misleading—again, entirely appropriate.