Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rep. Kopp Plagiarizes Sloppy, Selective, Unscientific Article on Sea Ice

Rep. Don Kopp (R-35/Rapid City) plagiarizes sloppy science from The New American's Alex Newman. Compare Kopp's letter in Sunday's Rapid City Journal with Newman's writing from December 18:

Kopp, 2014.01.12 Newman, 2013.12.18
In 2007, Al Gore hysterically warned the world that the North Pole would be “ice-free” by the year 2013. Joining this song and dance with Gore, and citing “climate experts,” the government-funded BBC hyped the mass hysteria, along with other major media outlets with the dire warning: “Arctic summers ice-free by 2013.” In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Gore publicly and very hysterically warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.” Citing “climate” experts, the government-funded BBC hyped the mass hysteria, running a now-embarrassing article under the headline: “Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’.” Other establishment media outlets did the same.
Well folks, 2013 has come and gone; as for arctic ice, it increased in size and mass by about 50 percent during 2013. In fact, it was the largest, single year increase in arctic ice since records have been kept. Well, 2013 is almost over, and contrary to the alarmist “predictions” by Gore and what critics refer to as his “doomsday cult,” the latest satellite data show that Arctic ice cover has actually expanded 50 percent over 2012 levels. In fact, during October, sea-ice levels grew at the fastest pace since records began in 1979.

Kopp's plagiarism is typical of the talk-radio karaoke that Kopp and his willfully slow-witted ilk embrace: Don't look deeply into an issue, just parrot the squawking that you think sounds so manly and patriotic between gold-coin and male-enhancement ads.

Alas for Kopp, he lies about his authorship and his science. Newman cites this BBC article, but ignores this better, bigger-picture science therefrom:

"Although the recovery of Arctic sea ice is certainly welcome news, it has to be considered against the backdrop of changes that have occurred over the last few decades," said Prof Andy Shepherd of University College London, UK.

"It's estimated that there were around 20,000 cu km of Arctic sea ice each October in the early 1980s, and so today's minimum still ranks among the lowest of the past 30 years," he told BBC News [Jonathan Amos, "ESA's Cryosat Sees Arctic Sea-Ice Volume Bounce Back," BBC, 2013.12.16].

Newman similarly ignores the hold-your-horses from the non-Cato Institute hack in this Daily Tech article. Newman and Kopp also ignore the date; Newman says it refers to this year's ice change rate, when in fact it refers to 2008:

Bill Chapman, a researcher with the Arctic Climate Center at the University of Illinois, says the rapid increase is "no big deal". He says that, while the Arctic has certainly been colder in recent months, the long-term decrease is still ongoing. Chapman, who predicts that sea ice will soon stop growing, sees nothing in the recent data to contradict predictions of global warming [Michael Asher, "Sea Ice Growing at Fastest Pace on Record," Daily Tech, 2008.11.07].

Kopp and Newman ignore other scientific observations that suggest sea ice cover does not indicate what they want to believe it indicates:

Moreover, the mere extent of sea ice does not necessarily say something about the volume of the ice, because that also depends on the thickness of the frozen layer. And the vast majority of the Antarctic ice mass is located on the Antarctic continent – and there the ice has decreased in recent years as a whole, particularly in West Antarctica.

But why the sea ice is increasing is a mystery. Scientists suspect that a change in the air currents could explain to a great extent the increase in Antarctic sea ice in recent decades. Other speculations are that ocean currents carry cooler surface water to the Antarctic or that the melting water, which flows through massive channels in the ice, decreases the temperature of the surface sea water [Anthony Watts, "NASA Announces New Record Growth of Sea Ice Extent," Watts Up with That?, 2013.10.22].

But hey, it's going to be 48°F in Rapid City today and 53°F on Wednesday. That's 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the average January temperature in Rapid. Must be global warming caused by Kopp's plagiarized hot air!


  1. Rorschach 2014.01.13

    It's not plagiarizing if you change a couple of words, right? asks Elmer Fudd.

    I'm sure that the Rapid City Journal will issue a stern rebuke, right? asks Rorschach.

  2. David Newquist 2014.01.13

    There was a time when a newspaper would be held responsible for libel and plagiarism (it involves copyright violations) even in letters to the editor. We old news dogs used to dread the time the editor distributed letters to the editor to the news staff for fact and source checking. And if we found evidence of false statements, libelous accusations, plagiarism, or a faulty citation from a source, we had to compose the letter to the contributor explaining why the person's letter was not publishable.

    The Internet has changed all that with new laws absolving web site sponsors from such responsibility and reinterpretations of old laws. I have commented in the past, much to the consternation of bloggers, that many of my colleagues who are still teaching writing in our universities will not accept papers that cite Internet sources unless those sources pass a rather extensive set of guidelines establishing their authenticity and accuracy. One of my colleagues wrote an essay on the matter with the conclusion that if it comes off the Internet it is more than likely wrong. His essay contends that the Internet and World Wide Web have been grossly perverted from what their academic inventors intended them to be.

    Another factor is that news media have found that the comment and discussion board sections of their publications severely diminish their reputations for accuracy and reliability in the eyes of their readers. Most people associate the reactions of ignorant and malicious comments with the original articles.

    If Kopp had submitted his letter in an most academic classes, he would fuming over an F and in some places automatic failure and removal from a course. But cases such as this have deep implications for the news media and for educators involved in the teaching of critical reading and writing.

    Thanks for your sharp eyes and publishing this example. Not many educated people would bother to check a source like The New American, but thank the gods and goddesses of communicative integrity that somebody does it.

  3. David Newquist 2014.01.13

    Irony of ironies. When my comment above was published, some program inserted a hyperlink in the word "essay." If you click the link, it produces an advertisement for an essay writing service for those who can't or will not write their own.

  4. David Newquist 2014.01.13

    Oi vey. You can't escape those links.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.13

    David: that "essay" link isn't showing up on my browser; do you see it on this page on yours? Fascinating irony, supporting what you say about the perversion of the Internet from what the Founding Web Fathers intended.

    Even if the Web is full of rule-breakers, would the rules you mention on plagiarism still apply to RCJ's print editorial page?

  6. Nick Nemec 2014.01.13

    I'm using Firefox and don't see a link.

  7. David Newquist 2014.01.13

    I must have some malware embedded on my laptop. Links show up in two places on your response. At one time, the plagiarism rule would apply if a letter to the editor contained a passage plagiarized from another source. It was usually taken care of by publishing an acknowledgment and explanation of how the plagiarism occurred. However, at that time in the world of journalism the editors and reporters would have felt an intense chagrin if their publication was caught publishing something that stained the integrity of the publication.

  8. David Newquist 2014.01.13

    Turns out Google Chrome is the culprit. I called up these pages on Internet Explorer and those links did not show up.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.13

    (Must be a plugin, David! I recall some plugin for blogger that would automatically add links to keywords as the author wrote... I recall that I threw it out after one test drive for spammy reasons like what you're seeing. Check your Google Chrome extensions by typing "chrome://extensions" in your URL bar, see if anything funky pops up there.)

  10. David Newquist 2014.01.13

    There was so much funk that I uninstalled Google Chrome and replaced it with Firefox. This is a new laptop I got after my HP headed for the cyber graveyard. It is loaded with all manner of stuff that I am in the process of changing. I spent about two hours yesterday uninstalling stuff that crept in. And then the Boston Terrier ran over the keyboard and disengaged the cursor from the touchpad. Even the canines conspire against the old literacy. I long for my greyhound. All she did was lie on the sofa and look soulful. When she wasn't sneaking into the kitchen and stealing a couple of pounds of chicken wings thawing on the counter. What she didn't eat, she buried them in the sofa cushions. At least she didn't plagiarize.

  11. interested party 2014.01.13

    Shouldn't take long for DD's appointed senator for District 32 to diagnose Kopp and others as being 'round the bend.

  12. Larry 2014.01.13

    Most people in Rapid City, who paid attention to RC Politics, know it already. Some, who around the same bend, however think he is right in line.

  13. John Tsitrian 2014.01.13

    A great journalist named Forrest Gump once said, "reading the Letters to the Editor is like opening a box of chocolates. You never know where you're going to find the nuts." Cory, I hope you're forwarding your finds to Randy R. at the RCJ for consideration and possible publication

  14. Douglas Wiken 2014.01.13

    Kopp is an idiot. The RC Journal published one of his nut pieces as if it was fact when it was copied from a satire column. Never any comment by Rasmussen about that bit of idiocy.
    Below is a weather link which may be interesting. I really haven't had time to actually understand the data, but apparently the conclusions are realistic. I was sent this link a few minutes ago.

  15. John Tsitrian 2014.01.13

    Repair the sound barrier? That was rich, indeed. I wonder if Mr. Kopp believes we should tighten the Van Allen radiation belt?

  16. Rick 2014.01.13

    Don Kopp threw his credibility away about five years ago when he made international and national news and embarrassed our state with his dim-witted resolution denying climate change. I'm pretty sure sections of that dumb declaration were plagierized as well.

  17. Rick 2014.01.13

    Oh wait! Just got a flash from God. He says global warming is a hoax perpetrated by liberal demon Al Gore, and that the rising oceans are NOT the result of ice melting. It's cold outside, right? Nope. God says he's just creating more water 'cause he created more people who are thirsty. Rising oceans are just proof of that.

    So, here's the headline, straight from The Big Guy: 'God's creating more water while liberal Al Gore creates lies.'

    Keep up the good work, Rep. Kopp. God's on your side, buddy.

  18. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.13

    Just got an email from God, it said,

    "Koop is full of Poop"!

  19. Les 2014.01.13

    My God has me building a boat, Rick. Two of everything but Democrats.

  20. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.13

    You know that Ark was a pretty smelly place, why would Democrats want to get on board with a bunch of stinky Republicans?

  21. Rorschach 2014.01.13

    Kopp is one of your GOP champions, John Tsitrian. Rapid City keeps sending him back again to make state laws or at least to keep a seat warm. His son wants to be the governor of Colorado, and judging by the gene pool he's probably a doozy.

  22. grudznick 2014.01.13

    According to Mr. Montgomery's map of the legislatures, Mr. Kopp is kind of out on the fringe with some of the most ineffective others. I think those maps are very interesting. Did you see how our young pastor friend Mr. Hickey showed up right in the meat of the conservatives? That shows how one issue or vote should not be misconstrued to represent him as a libbie or some other crazy thing. You need to look at the thousands of votes like Mr. Montgomery not 10 selected crazy bills.

  23. John Tsitrian 2014.01.13

    Thanks for reminding me, Rorschach. We are indeed the party of a verrrrry big tent, lol.

  24. Rick 2014.01.13

    Les, I've got a drill and want to help you with the bottom of that boat.

  25. Les 2014.01.13

    Living in a state with no elected Democrats, do we really believe the R has that much meaning?
    It is obvious there are only a few looney holdouts in the New Dem False Flag Party being used by those Rinos, former Dems, who now outnumber the real Repubs. Cory, it's round up time, bring em back home. Errr, put the party brand back on and quit your griping.
    Or something like that.
    I'd help you run that drill on a bunch of em Rick. Be mostly former Dems ya know.

  26. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.13

    Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat South Dakota.

    People really shouldn't talk in generalities.

  27. mike from iowa 2014.01.13

    Les-where would you get two real men if Dems aren't allowed?

  28. Donald Pay 2014.01.13

    Kopp's resolution was straight from ALEC model legislation, though it was slightly changed to make it even dumber. Several similar resolutions were introduced in other states.

  29. Les 2014.01.13

    Sorry Mike, this boat needs procreation if it's going to save the world. A man and a woman.

  30. Taunia 2014.01.13

    But not a woman who can think on her own, make her own choices and vote with her own mind.

    Kopp is in Rand Paul's lead of plagiarism.

  31. Taunia 2014.01.13

    lead = league

  32. Les 2014.01.13

    Ok, I'll put two real men(democrats) on the boat to satisfy you miss taunie. Not unlike some in the party here, neutering any kindred spirit who might happen by, not wearing the mark of your beast.
    Good luck in growing your party in SD miss taunie.

  33. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.01.13

    To Mr Newquist's point, I have gotten very gun shy about forwarding some of those informational emails that seem almost unbelievable, because I have gotten more and more of them back from folks who have checked them on Snopes and found them to be false. It is pretty embarrassing to have to then email everyone to whom I had sent the original email and tell them, that darn I am a dumb ass and sent you some crap that is as ridiculous as it sounds. Also I notice more and more that Wikipedia is asking for updates and more information to be edited to their description of items that they have listed. Sounds like anyone can edit the post. Thanks David

  34. mike from iowa 2014.01.14

    I thought it was only a woman's prerogative to change her mind.Les-your quote was"two of everything". Get it? That means two men and I'll say this-without two real men(Dems) your little excursion is (insert a nasty four letter word for procreation with an ed on the back end), literally. And, as an aside-New Jersey's soon to be ex-guv(I hope) is embroiled in Rethuglican's version of "Fat and Furious" scandal.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.14

    John, I would think Randy R. would already be aware of that plagiarism. After all, he's getting a paycheck for that sort of thing, isn't he? :-)

Comments are closed.