Prosecute the torture.

February 22, 2012

Heartland Institute, Deception, And The Trib

The first paragraph of an editorial today's op-ed page at the Tribune-Review reads like this:
All the Heartland Institute ever asked for was an "honest debate" about climate change. And that's exactly what the commonsense libertarian think tank out of Chicago has offered for years, on climate change and myriad other important issues.
The piece itself is about Peter Gleick's admission posted at the Huffingtonpost:
At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute's apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.

Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else's name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues. I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.
Let's get Scaife's braintrust's first deception out of the way.  If I am reading the chart at Media Matters correctly, Scaife Foundations gave hundreds of thousands of dollars of support in the early years of Heartland's existence.

Not only that, but take a look at this:
Our research into the listed “sponsors” for the Heartland Institute’s upcoming “International Conference on Climate Change” finds that these organizations have received over $47 million from energy companies and right-wing foundations, with 78% of that total coming from the Scaife Family of foundations.
What they did, it seems, is to count up all the foundation support for the sponsors of the conference and then track the money those sponsors received from Exxon, Scaife, and Koch. Low and behold they discover something we've known all along. Scaife's support is everywhere.

So let's not kid ourselves into thinking that Scaife's braintrust's interest in protecting Heartland is purely altruistic.

It's also interesting to point out a discrepancy here.  When someone hacks into a mail server in East Anglia and publishes stolen emails, the Trib has nothing negative to say about that deception.  And yet Gleick's deception (to them at least) undermines his credibility.

Interesting.

And still no mention by Scaife's braintrust of NOAA conclusion that climate change is undeniable.

5 comments:

Heir to the Throne said...

When someone hacks into a mail server in East Anglia and publishes stolen emails, the Trib has nothing negative to say about that deception
However you and Ed condemned the releasing the hacked emails even if they should have been released under the FOIA.

But defend the forgery to smear/swiftboat the Heartland Institute

EdHeath said...

HTTT, you are saying that it would be perfectly reasonable for me to request all the emails from, say, the Department of Oncology at UPMC's servers (that gets funding for cancer research from the NIH), because I believe the government is concealing a cure for cancer from us? Because as I understand it, all the emails from the Climate Research Unit were stolen, not just ones related to any specific area of research.

Could I have received all the documents from the Heartland Institute if I made an FOIA request? After all, they benefit from federal laws that give them charity status; their donors get a tax deduction for the money they send to the Heartland Institute.

And is it forgery or smearing if the documents Gleick received are from the Heartland Institute (except for the original document Gleick received from ah anonymous source)? What is Heartland doing, that releasing actual true documents is somehow harmful to anyone?

Of course, you won't answer my specific questions directly. Republicans/conservatives aren't interested in open, honest debate. Consider were the term "swiftboat" was first used in our political discourse.

Heir to the Throne said...

Ed
Heartland Institute is corporation.
Since corporations are not people and have no Constitutional rights, the Obama administration can seize the their records at any time.

You should have used "Death Panels" as the reason to request the UPMC emails.

The only "shooting gun" was the original document Gleick received from the anonymous source.
The memo, by contrast, uses more negative language about the efforts it's describing, while trying to sound like they think it's positive. It's like the opposition political manifestos found in novels written by stolid ideologues; they can never quite bear (or lack the imagination) to let the villains have a good argument. Switch the names, and the memo could have been a page ripped out of State of Fear or Atlas Shrugged.
Basically, it reads like it was written from the secret villain lair in a Batman comic. By an intern.


I was using the term swiftboat to mock progressives.

Ol' Froth said...

Wow, that's a really tasty word salad Heir.

EdHeath said...

Congrats, HTTT, you made me laugh out loud. And (of course) you didn't answer many (really most) of my questions, which is par for the course for you. You are not interested in discussion, you just want to pretend that what you say matters in some way.

By the way, everything I have read suggests that the original document thingie Gleick received is absolutely a fake. And to be clear, nothing in the documents Heartland sent Gleick, which he sent on to apparently at least a couple of climate blogs, have any effect on the climate debate (just like the stolen emails from East Anglia). I mean, apparently the leaked documents show Heartland to be fairly slimy, but that has no bearing on whether climate change is happening or not.

So you understand where the term "swiftboating" came from, what was done and who did it. And you still want to use the term, to mock progressives. You are only succeeding in mocking yourself, dude.