Their mistake is to treat Canada's own Tom Harris as a credible representative of the "sceptical" side of the AGW argument. Mediamatters gets some of it right: such technical training as he has is in mechanical engineering, but Tom is mostly a lobbyist/PR guy, not a scientist.
But there's way more to it than that. For example, the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) is pure astroturf, and probably gets funding from Aussie humvee maker Alan Gibbs. I don't know what Tom's making, but a couple of years ago they were offering $70,000 to $90,000 per year to the administrative head of their American affiliate (a job that eventually went to Steve Goreham).
So these guys are well paid to spread the FUD.
But perhaps most relevant for the people at the NY Times is (or should have been) Mr. Harris's association with The Friends of Science, a precursor to both the ICSC and NRSP (Natural Resources Stewardship Project). The Friends and Tom have recently made news in Canada. Basically, they were the recipients of about $500,000 in funds from various oil industry sources channelled improperly through research accounts at the University of Calgary. Part of this money was used to fly sceptics to various conferences and throw fancy parties for them (Tom Harris included). Another $175,000 wound up going to the PR firm APCO Worldwide, Mr. Harris's employer at the time, where it helped finance the video Climate Catastrophe Cancelled , script courtesy of...you guessed it...Tom Harris.
This unfolding scandal has given U-of-C a real black eye, and the leader of Alberta's official opposition has requested an investigation to determine whether the university has been subject to "inappropriate corporate influence". So you may hear Tom's name again in the near future.
And one final question I'd like answered: how is Tom Harris qualified to teach a 2nd year course in climate science anywhere, let alone Carleton University? I thought the kooks all taught at the University of Ottawa.