It is no surprise that the Heartland Institue would yet again engage in intellectual dishonesty and scare tactics in its ongoing attempt to confuse and manipulate populate opinion on climate change - they've been doing it for years. What has startled everyone this time, from supporters to critics like us, is the boneheaded blunder and pointless tastelessness of the short-lived Chicago-area billboard campaign from the anti-science lobby group Heartland Institute.
What began on Thursday morning ended on Thursday afternoon last week, in what Heartland president Jose Bast characterized as an "experiment," as they prepare for their seventh annual climate change conference - a denial extravaganza featuring some of the foremost voices in anti-science and denialist rhetoric.
"I feel blindsided," said Donna Laframboise of NoConsensus.org, a scheduled speaker for the conference until she cancelled in protest of the offensive Great Heartland PR Blunder of 2012.
"Suddenly, we were all publicly linked to an organization that thinks it's okay to equate people concerned about climate change with psychopaths," writes Lamframboise. "Forget disappointment. In my view, my reputation has been harmed. And the Heartland thinks it has nothing to apologize for?"
A scrolling collection of quotes on NoConsensus includes the very apt question "Should we believe whomever shouts the loudest?"
Lamfromboise is just one of several sponsors and supporters that are considering or have already ended their relationship with the Heartland Institute. A Washington D.C.-based arm of the organization involved in insurance reform issues simply up and left, abandoning ship and closing up shop in the wake of reaction from insurance companies and other corporate supporters to the ad campaign.
What also shouldn't surprise anyone is Bast's unremitting defiance and refusal to apologize. He needn't apologize to me. To critics like me that work to expose the Heartland Institute for what it is, such startlingly ill-advised publicity campaigns are a God-send. They do our work for us. Bast should apologize to his supporters, without whom Heartland can claim any credibility to anyone.
Anthony Watts, publisher of the leading climate denial website WattsUpWithThat, claimed that the gaffe is a result of "battle fatigue."
If that is the case, it is from a battle of the Heartland Institute's own making.
ClimateWire (subscription required)
- "Murderers And Madmen": The Heartland Institute Has A Message For You (mykeystrokes.com)
- Heartland Institute Funnel of Funding Infographic (planetsave.com)
- GM Dumps Heartland Institute over Global Warming (planetsave.com)
- Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, XL Group Announce Withdrawal from 'Radical' Heartland Institute (thinkprogress.org)