Heartland Institute Compares Climate Science Believers And Reporters To Mass ‘Murderers And Madmen’

For the latest update, go here.

The Heartland Institute has launched one of the most offensive billboard campaigns in U.S. history. The Chicago-based anti-science think tank is comparing all those who accept climate science — and the journalists who report on it accurately — to Charles Manson, the Unabomber, and Osama Bin Laden.

Leo blog : The Heartland Institute conference billboard in Chicago

Heartland Institute buys Chicago billboards along Eisenhower Expressway

This far-beyond-the-pale ad campaign to promote their Chicago conference later this month is a moment of truth for both the think tank and the broader community of disinformers and their enablers.

Will confirmed speakers like Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Czech President Vasclav Klaus, Joe Bastardi, Pat Michaels, Fred Singer, or former NASA astronauts show up at the conference, thereby endorsing this beyond-extremist message? Will leading deniers denounce these offensive ads — or will they implicitly endorse this kind of hate speech? Will media outlets like PBS keep quoting Heartland ‘experts’ as if they were a legitimate source of information?

GM ended their financial support of Heartland earlier this month, as has AT&T, but why are State Farm and Microsoft still supporting it? Many other public corporations have donated money or provided resources to Heartland, including Eli Lilly & Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Nucor, Pfizer, and Time Warner Cable. Will they cut ties or implicitly endorse these extreme ads?

UPDATE: Heartland ended their gruesome failure today at 5 pm, but in a release, refused to admit it was a mistake or apologize. Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast tried to call this an “experiment” even though a series of billboards were planned (see below) and stated, “We do not apologize for running the ad.” So, apparently, no lessons learned for the disinformers. What caused them to fold, then? The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent reported:

Congressman Sensenbrenner will not participate in the upcoming Climate Change Conference if the Heartland Institute decides to continue this ad campaign. We have contacted the Heartland Institute and voiced these same concerns to them.

You know you are off the deep end of anti-science extremism when you’ve offended the sensibility of Sensenbrenner, a man who once “sent a letter to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, calling for scientists whose names appear in the e-mails stolen from the U.K. Climatic Research Unit to be blacklisted from participating as contributors or reviewers of the forthcoming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.”

The UK Guardian, which broke the story this morning, calls this “possibly one of the most ill-judged poster campaigns in the history of ill-judged poster campaigns.

But let’s be clear. This is not some “oops” moment by an individual overzealous Heartland employee with catastrophically poor judgment. Quite the reverse.

This is a collective act by the Institute expressing its core worldview. A sustained billboard campaign would have to be signed off at the highest levels. Heartland displays the above image on its main website, proudly announcing its campaign and linking to its robust defense of “Our Billboards” on its conference website.

Heartland’s detailed rationalization for its hate speech confirms the very worst views of this right-wing group. I’ll quote it at length since it is so self-discrediting:

Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute point out that some of the world’s most notorious criminals say they “still believe in global warming” – and ask viewers if they do, too…

The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.

Why did Heartland choose to feature these people on its billboards?

Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming….

The point is that believing in global warming is not “mainstream,” smart, or sophisticated. In fact, it is just the opposite of those things. Still believing in man-made global warming – after all the scientific discoveries and revelations that point against this theory – is more than a little nutty. In fact, some really crazy people use it to justify immoral and frightening behavior.

You just can’t make this stuff up — unless you are a group of professional disinformers. As Climate Central puts it, “Heartland Institute Jumps the Shark.”

Oh, but Heartland wants you to know that not every single climate scientist — nor every member of the over 120 governments who sign off on the IPCC assessment reports nor every reporter who writes accurately — is like a psychopath:

Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.

Seriously. And yet they write:

The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.

Has there ever been a more insidious attack in this country on scientists and reporters — and millions of Americans who are alarmed and concerned about global warming based solely on what the science actually says?

One can’t even get into the internal logic of this nonsense. Outside of the climate blogosphere (and viewers of Fox News), it’s doubtful that more than a few percent of the public has any notion that these crazed individuals happen to have expressed views on global warming. They aren’t “the most prominent advocates.”

One word on the late Osama Bin Laden. Terrorists try very hard to spread their disinformation.  A key goal is to get others to spread it for them, especially ones who are holed up in a cave somewhere — or who are now dead.  Thus terrorists craft their disinformation into a sensational message that they hope gullible members of the global media will repeat. If Heartland runs a billboard with Bin Laden’s image pushing his disinformation, it will be even a lower low for them (see here).

UPDATE: Not that it matters to the disinformers at Heartland, but as E&E reports on the Unabomber’s manifesto (which you can confirm online):

The words “climate change” don’t appear in the manifesto, nor are there references to “global warming” or “carbon.”

Asked about this discrepancy, Heartland spokesman Jim Lakely pointed to a passage from Kaczynski’s manifesto that says the Industrial Revolution has “inflicted severe damage on the natural world.”


Heartland’s entire justification for taking anti-science, anti-scientist hate speech to a new level — and plastering it over the Dwight D Eisenhower Expressway in Illinois — are the “Climategate” stolen emails and the incident in which Peter Gleick admitted using deception to obtain Heartland documents (which Gleick subsequently acknowledged was “a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics”).

Yet, several climate scientists who “had their emails stolen [in 2009], posted online and grossly misrepresented,” slammed Heartland for “spreading misinformation” and “personally attacking climate scientists to further its goals.” The scientists specifically noted:

In 2009, the Heartland Institute was among the groups that spread false allegations about what these stolen emails said. Despite multiple independent investigations, which demonstrated that allegations against scientists were false, the Heartland Institute continued to attack scientists based on the stolen emails. When more stolen emails were posted online in 2011, the Heartland Institute again pointed to their release and spread false claims about scientists.

You can read Heartland’s reply to similar charges here. Climategate isn’t a justification for Heartland to smear those who accept climate science. Quite the reverse. It is a reason for an apology, albeit one that pales in comparison to the mea culpas needed for this billboard campaign.

Does the Heartland Board stand behind these ads? The full list is here. Many of them live in Chicago. Does this really express their worldview?

Everyone needs to go on record on this. These ads are so extremist that failing to denounce them is an implicit endorsement of the worst kind of hate speech.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan comments on the billboard at The Daily Beast:

In some ways, this is an almost perfect illustration of what has happened to the “right.” A refusal to acknowledge scientific reality; and a brutalist style of public propaganda that focuses entirely on guilt by the most extreme association….

Mann and Ornstein are correct. Large sections of the American right are now close to insane as well as depraved. And there is no Buckley to rein them in. Just countless Jonah Goldbergs seeking to cash in.

It is worth nothing that the extremist disinformers at WattsUpWithThat were pushing this kind of hate speech long before Heartland (see “Purported eco-terrorist shot and killed by police“). When James J. Lee held people hostage with a gun and bombs strapped to his body at the Discovery Communications in 2010, this was Watts’ headline:

And the first line of Watts’ post is “Well, you filthy readers, see what happens when we don’t acquiesce?“  Remember, Watts is a guy who demanded others “dial back the rhetoric.”

And he stands by that headline and text to this day!

This post has been updated.

Related Post:

NOTE: ThinkProgress is among several publications to have published documents attributed to the Heartland Institute and sent to us from an anonymous and then unknown source. The source later revealed himself. The AP worked to independently verify the documents and concluded, “The federal consultant working on the classroom curriculum, the former TV weatherman, a Chicago elected official who campaigns against hidden local debt and two corporate donors all confirmed to the AP that the sections in the document that pertained to them were accurate. No one the AP contacted said the budget or fundraising documents mentioning them were incorrect.” Heartland Institute has issued several press releases on the documents. See also “CAPAF General Counsel Responds To Heartland Institute.”

151 Responses to Heartland Institute Compares Climate Science Believers And Reporters To Mass ‘Murderers And Madmen’

  1. Mykelb says:

    Then how do these people continue to justify murder in the name of their religion?

  2. Raoul says:

    Osama Bin Laden also believed in gravitation. Whiwh proves that believing in gravitation is nutty!

  3. MikeF says:

    And I’m willing to bet the Unibomber, OBL and Charlie Manson all believe the earth is round and what the heck, they probably even believe that the earth orbits the sun. Stupidity and evil are not the same thing, unless, apparently, you’re in charge of putting a PR campaign together for the Heartland Institute. Then you might point to yourself as proof of your own thesis.

  4. J Bowers says:

    Joseph Stalin believed in gravity. Do you?

  5. Holden Pattern says:

    This is “fifth column” Andrew Sullivan complaining about “a brutalist style of public propaganda that focuses entirely on guilt by the most extreme association”?


  6. mike kanellos says:

    Let’s not forget Hitler. He was a vegetarian. I can’t believe they left that one out.

  7. dana1981 says:

    This is an absolutely massive own-goal by Heartland. It’s hard to believe anyone could be so stupid and have such poor judgment as to think these billboards are a good idea or will convince anyone to deny global warming. If anything they’ll have the opposite effect, making ‘skeptics’ realize who’s on their “side”.

  8. Lou Grinzo says:

    Yet again, let me remind everyone here that nothing Heartland did should be a surprise to anyone who is paying attention. The deniers see economic doom for the fossil fuel industries (which, not so coincidentally, tells you all you need to know about the prospects for making carbon capture an economically viable, broad-based option), which means that they will say and do anything they think will help their cause. ANYTHING.

    Normal human concerns like morality, ethics, and even legal issues mean nothing except to the extent that they reduce the effectiveness of their tactics. We are talking about living corporations, people who are so intent on maximizing their profits that they’ve tossed all other factors over the nearest deck railing.

    Expect their pattern of behavior to get far worse in the coming years. They’ve already placed such enormous bets on fossil fuels that they have no choice (at least as they perceive the world).

  9. Terradea says:

    “Experts” and staff at Heartland Institute, and many serial killers and terrorists, as well, believe in God and Jesus.

  10. Gus diZerega says:

    Nothing more perfectly depicts the moral nihilism and intellectual bankruptcy of the ‘skeptics’ on global warming than this ad.

  11. Sou says:

    It’s hard to imagine any responsible person or corporation continuing to support the Heartland Institute after this latest fiasco.

    Not sure which is worse. Their funding a program to prevent school children from getting a decent science education, or the fact they equate the majority of the population with ‘murderers, tyrants, and madmen’.

  12. Sonneillon V. says:

    Osama Bin Laden still believes the earth revolves around the sun. DO YOU?

  13. MarkfromLexington says:

    Heritage Institute supporters include Microsoft, State Farm, Comcast, GlaxoSmithKline, Farmer’s Insurance, Time Warner, Verizon, and Eli Lilly based on Heritage Institute’s 2012 Fund Raising plan.

  14. John H. Cato, jr. says:

    “The Heartland Institute has launched one of the most offensive billboard campaigns in U.S. history.”

    Why am I not surprised?


    BTW, Stalin was right – gravity *does* exist.

  15. Adam says:

    The farce is strong with this one.

  16. Rick says:

    This will most likely backfire on (the Heartland Institute) [snip] a brain dead group. Americans seem to get dumber by the day.

  17. Teresa says:

    Wow. Talk about desperate. Where does the Heartland Institute get its money? Will people fall for this campaign? I can’t imagine it would change anyone’s mind, but it’s giving the Heartland Institue an awful lot of attention.

  18. Dorie says:

    Might be insanely funny except that it’s so sad and so pathetic. How desperate they are to convince people that scince is something to be feared and that one must be a psychopath to believe in global warming. I fear for the world’s future if these people succeed in their cause.

  19. The scientific community isn’t even debating whether or not global warming is occurring; it is. Neither are they debating whether or not it is man made; it is. The question the scientific community is now grappling with is whether or not man-made global warm will excellarate synergistically in a process know as thermal run-away; it may.

  20. Charles says:

    “In fact, some really crazy people use it to justify immoral and frightening behavior.”

    Just like religion, but if you ran similar billboards with murderous leaders and people who supported religion, could you imagine the heads popping and the vile hatred being spewed. If anything, this shows just how desperate their side is getting.

  21. chrisd says:

    I do wish people would get the Microsoft connection straight. MS doesn’t give any money to Heartland. It has a program under which free or reduced-cost software is provided to nonprofits. Heartland is just one of thousands of nonprofits to take advantage of the program.

    The implication that someone at MS is writing checks to Heartland is just plain wrong.

  22. M Tucker says:

    “Will confirmed speakers like Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) or Czech President Vasclav Klaus or Joe Bastardi or Pat Michaels or Fred Singer or former NASA astronauts show up at the conference, thereby endorsing this beyond-extremist message?”

    YES! They will. Republican’s wholeheartedly endorse Heartland. They all endorse whatever lies and hate they think will work no matter how offensive! They will even lie to themselves if they think it will work:

    “This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

    Total lies! These have not been the names most frequently brought up as the “most prominent advocates of global warming.” These madmen have not been mentioned before. This is all new material from the preeminent organization of lies and hate. But this is exactly what happens when what used to be the fringe of the Republican Party takes over. Fringe organizations become prominent funders of campaigns and important sources of campaign funds. Fringe organizations become the mainstream messaging machine for the Republican Party and ALL news organizations will repeat their repugnant lies. Negativity and hate will dominate discussions. Insane conspiracy theories will be considered plausible or credible and all prominent members of the Republican Party will endorse the disgusting lies.

  23. Joe Romm says:

    OK, but can’t it draw the line somewhere?

  24. Lionel A says:

    Let’s try and get this one straight, one more time.

    It is the Heartland Institute that is in the frame here and not the Heritage Foundation, a quite different entity although some memes cross the border.

    Whatever, is it not time that the names and faces of the Heartland cognoscenti are emblazoned on bill-boards across the US and elsewhere?

    There are so many in the ranks of Heartland advisers that a rolling display could keep the attention for quite some time – particularly if each name and face was accompanied by one of their crass statements and its rebuttal.

    There is a handy list of Heartland Institute ‘global warming experts’ at SourceWatch.

    Many on that list are oh so familiar.

  25. ktrav says:

    The rank stupidity is staggering. It’s that weird uber-right wing belief that whoever screams the loudest wins.

  26. Some European says:

    Thanks for the clarification!

  27. ruth says:

    heartland institute is as crazy as their billboards… Scientist who studied Global warming were admonished to reporting the truth in front of congress and had to have their work ‘corrected’ by non-scientist before they were allowed to speak…

    The billboards and their messages are offensive to people who still think for themselves and most of all to the scientist who try to warn us…

  28. ClimateConsensusIsntSettled says:

    Better late than see this country be turned into eco-mush!

  29. Dianna says:

    Mark, did you mean “Heartland Institute?” There is a Heritage Foundation. I’d like to make sure the right donors get attached to the correct right-wing, money-laundering, tax avoiding, disinforming, propaganda outfit.

  30. Michael T says:

    Did you know that the roundness of the earth is a view supported by every mass murder, serial killer, terrorist, and father-raper of the past 25 years? Apparently, I really should consider an alternate world view.

    And don’t get me started on revolving around the sun. Crackpots, I sez, all of them!

  31. Jim Pettit says:

    My, how time flies! It seems that only a day or two ago that the very esteemed PBS yet again offered up a Heartland spokesperson as a climate change expert.

    Oh, wait. It was only a day or two ago.

  32. Mike Roddy says:

    Their firewall now is the US Senate, due to bribery of enough Senators to threaten a filibuster or block a climate treaty. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. So far Democrats and Green organizations are afraid to truly call out the McConnells and Barassos.

  33. Second Amendment Democrat says:

    So many people are willing to destroy the planet for a few more months of unprecedented PROFIT, regardless of the LOSS and major transformation of the entire ecosystem.

    These are the killers, the planetary rapists and pillagers. Liars, thieves, swindlers and psychopathic personalities. Feel free to treat them as you would ANY garbage. Crush them, throw them away, and do NOT recycle these monsters. They are here to kill you – so their bottom line will grow.

    If you want to take the Florida view, STAND YOUR GROUND, and respond to this life-threatening scenario. It’s legally self-defense (if you get a decent lawyer,) you’re trying to save your family’s lives…

  34. Paul Klemencic says:

    Lucia at The Blackboard talking about the billboard ads:.

    But now on to the billboard itself. Is it defamation? I think not. Should it change my mind about attending the upcoming meeting?
    No. For one thing, notwithstanding your use of the word “promoting”, attending is not the same as promoting. Your conflating the two is just another bit of evidence of your poor reasoning abilities.

    Of the billboards you write:
    Heartland has paid to put billboards up in Chicago comparing these scientists to mass-murderers and terrorists.

    That billboard doesn’t compare anyone to a mass-murderer or terrorist. What it does is show that a particular mass-murderer happened to believe in global warming. The latter is stupid, and distasteful but that doesn’t magically transform it into the former. These are two different things.

  35. Joe Romm says:


    The message is explicit — thanks to Heartland’s website.

    HEARTLAND: “Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.”
    “The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

  36. rmwarnick says:

    Charles Manson most likely believes the Earth is a spheroid – does that mean I have to join the Flat Earth Society?

  37. Chris Winter says:

    It’s so tempting to think this is an “own goal” on Heartland’s part. Don’t you believe it! These billboards will fit right into the current political climate.

    Want to combat them? Find out how much the campaign cost. (There’s a standard cost for billboards, right?) Then point out how much anti-AGW science that sum could buy — if there were any to be found.

  38. Artful Dodger says:

    Perhaps not Microsoft, but the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently gave more than $300,000 to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). (OUCH).

  39. Robert says:

    Bingo! :)

  40. Xenon says:

    Indeed! What is this, kindergarten? (My apologies to decent, free-thinking four and five year-olds everywhere).

  41. Sasparilla says:

    When I saw I this I was just stunned – this advertising/assault campaign is so heinous and beyond morality its hard to properly quantify it. I’ll bet the Koch’s are high fiving each other thinking its reasonable.

    How on earth do you fight this? The Eisenhower expressway is one of the largest in the Chicago area. Hopefully this backfires and doesn’t have some underlying psychological effect of pushing folks away from the issue because of the nastiness of the message. (i.e. some Lee Atwater type of strategy)

    This hideous assault all because most of the U.S. population wants to deal with climate change and get us off fossil fuels a little earlier than we’ll have to anyways.

  42. RH factor says:

    Yes they are all collectively kicking our grand children’s ass – feel better.

  43. Mike Roddy says:

    The deniers are starting to crack up. It started with Watts’ BEST humiliation, and has been picking up steam.

    The pivot will be interesting. Guys like Jesse Helms and Lester Maddox managed it, turning from civil rights opponents into lovers of blacks overnight. Claiming that you understood basic science all along may be a little tougher, but don’t underestimate these guys’ ability to pull off more whoppers.

    When they do, Watts and McIntyre will be thrown off the bus, and they don’t even see it coming.

  44. RH factor says:

    I know know one talks about this, but honestly when all routes are exhausted do you not think there will be Eco-terrorism? At some point there will be – and there won’t be enough prisons, police, jails to stop it. So spin that one and see where it gets you.

  45. Whose mind would be changed by this billboard?

  46. Alex says:

    I guess what’s most scary and impressive about this is that it shows the likes of bin Laden and the others are more reality-based and clear thinking than the deniers and wingnutjobs.

  47. Matt says:

    Once again, IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION. For example:

    ” Still believing in an all-powerful invisible man in the sky – after all the scientific discoveries and revelations that point against this theory – is more than a little nutty. In fact, some really crazy people use it to justify immoral and frightening behavior.

    Funny, that fits BETTER than the original Heartland bit…

  48. KQuark says:

    This goes way too far. I’m sure the vast majority of criminals believe in gravity too. It’s not who believes a certain scientific theory it’s whether a theory is substantiated by the facts which climate change is.

  49. KQuark says:

    Furthermore almost everyone including the respected Roman Catholic Church thought the world was flat before the end of the 15th century. The point is what IS matters in science not what people believe.

  50. WhichTruth says:

    What else can they do? The facts are not on their side?

  51. chrisd says:

    Joe, you’re asking MS to research and screen thousands of applications every year and decide who they’re going to give stuff to for nothing, and who they’re going to deny. What company would do that? It would be an administrative and PR nightmare, almost certainly resulting in the termination of the program.

    I don’t much like their giving stuff to Heartland, but I can certainly understand why they have to. It’s either everyone gets it, or no one does.

  52. Joe Romm says:

    Well, you can’t know whether Bin Laden was simply pushing disinformation himself or actually believed it. He was a friggin’ terrorist mastermind, after all!

  53. Alex says:

    Well, whichever it was/is, what they were saying matched facts, evidence, and reasoning while the wingnutjobs and deniers run from those to the comfort of their faith-based ideology and selfish interests.

  54. Sasparilla says:

    As you can see from the billboard the deniers will waiting to pounce on it as it will serve their ends, probably quite a bit.

    I know what you mean though particularly when you have groups that put this kind of stuff up….but it would be so counterproductive we have to hope people don’t start taking matters into their own hands.

  55. donquijoterocket says:

    Adolf was a vegetarian and liked dogs. And let us not forget while we’ve got serial killers up front that sometime Republican/Libertarian philosopher-in-chief Ayn Rand was an ardent admirer of the sociopathic serial killer William Edward Hickman.Got to be a connection there.Generally speaking most Americans probably never knew what Kaczynski looked like and can barely remember the association or what the unabomber was infamous for. I’d suspect that,as with a lot of the right’s efforts lately, the effect will be less than they imagined and hoped for and the backlash will be greater.

  56. Donald Brown says:

    This is a matter about we really need enhanced investigative reporting. Because, there is strong scientific evidence that climate change is already harming people and ecological systems on which life depends, funding disinformation is not only ethically abhorrent because it is untruthful, it has real and harmful consequences. Corporations that fund misinformation may be legally liable for damages. Although a lot is already known about who has been funding this, we need better records on who has been and still is promoting the disinformation campaign. The disinformation campaign is a surprisingly under-reported phenomenon, despite the fact that some of the elements are known.

  57. Kirk Taylor says:

    By a stroke of poetic justice, the address for the Heartland group is on South Wacker Drive.

  58. notthegwpf says:

    A response ;)

  59. Alex says:

    We can also construct a really incredible mental picture from this. We can imagine that there had to be someone to come up with this idea (which goes past pictures of fetuses in waste cans in my opinion), who then had to sell it to other prominent members of Heartland, and then decisions had to be made about whether the idea was a strategy they felt was clever, useful, effective, and said something important about Heartland. And at each stage, the decisions were in the affirmative. If that doesn’t tell people where the right is in this country and the viciousness and determination with which they will go to coddle the idea of unfettered markets, what will? Stunning.

  60. pilotx says:

    This is what happens when your climate “expert” does not have a degree in atmospheric science. I think he was an English major at Syracuse. The stuff conservatives believe, Ha!

  61. Ayn Wrong says:

    And Timothy McVeigh believed in limited gov’t. Does this discredit the entire point of view. Should liberal groups now start smearing his face all over billboards to attack conservatives.

  62. joan Savage says:

    And they slipped in “advocates” of global warming – that’s mislabeling a forecast as if it were a preference.

    The diagnosis does not “advocate” for the disease!

  63. Lars Rosenberg says:

    Well, not all mass murderers believe in Global Warming. In his manifesto the norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 persons last summer, describes Climate Change as a marxist conspiracy, and provides links to Christopher Monckton and Bishop’s Hill.

  64. chrisd says:

    Sorry, but I don’t see what Gates’s funding of ALEC has to do with Microsoft’s so-called “funding” of Heartland. I said “A doesn’t fund B” and your response is “Yeah, but C funds D”. I guess I have to say, “And …?”

    In any event, the Foundation has announced that it, along with Coca-Cola, Intuit, Kraft Foods, and others, will discontinue ALEC funding.

  65. Millicent says:

    I’d imagine there will be violence when the same headcases that currently send death threats to climate scientists realise they have been duped.

  66. John Hartz says:

    Please join me and the Forecast the Facts campaign in telling public corporations to cut their funding to Heartland immediately!

  67. Joe Romm says:

    They are a software giant. It would take them one days worth of work to come up with an algorithm. I think it wouldn’t be hard in this case.

  68. Alex says:

    The “free” marketers got away with an intentional disinformation campaign on tobacco for roughly 50 years to the enrichment of the few who stood to gain from it and the widespread misery of their valued customers. Now the “free” marketers intend to enrich themselves for their own short lives to the widespread misery of the entire planet’s biosphere and all foreseeable generations. Impossible to fully comprehend a measure of the sheer evil that’s embodied in their denier motivations.

  69. Joe Bickner says:

    Ad. Fucking. Hominem.

  70. Sasparilla says:

    I just hope the Dems hold the Senate in November (there are 12 more Democrat Senate seats up for election than Republican if memory serves), otherwise the gates will be open and the war on green energy and climate change from the House will get passed through…

  71. Bob says:

    Stupid people, and there are a lot of them out there.

  72. Mike M says:

    Will someone please quantify the difference between ‘climate change’ and ‘weather change’?

  73. joan Savage says:

    The Heartland Institute has now associated themselves in the public mind with Kaczinski, bin Laden and Castro. This is like the Italian head of state pictured in the same frame with an underage prostitute. It is a memory that is hard to overcome in the public mind.
    The Heartland Institute didn’t have a strong public image before, and now it will be very hard for them to invent one without this prior association.

    It could turn out just fine.

  74. Chris Winter says:

    It occurs to me to wonder whether this billboard accurately represents Kaczynski’s current views. Did someone from Heartland consult him? I doubt it.

    One thing that is clear about him, from his manifesto, is that he opposed industrial society in general. You down with that, Mr. Bast? How about your sponsors?

  75. John McClellan says:

    There is a saying in geology: “nature’s law enforce themselves.” They are not subject to change, suspension, or amendment by any human
    agency, particularly PR flacks of the kind so favored by the corporations. What we are seeing now in terms of bizarre weather is just what scientists predicted. Our choice is simple: change or become extinct.

  76. Joe Romm says:

    If you check my updated post, you’ll see I quote E&E news which points out >>The words “climate change” don’t appear in the manifesto, nor are there references to “global warming” or “carbon.”<<

  77. Sasparilla says:

    This seems to also be a major step of taking the direct propaganda out of the normal “friendly” alternate reality channels (Fox News, WSJ, News Corp. etc.) or news media (where they are parlayed as balance) and putting the propaganda directly into the Public’s face where they have no choice but to view it – and no avenues for rebuttal or facts to intrude.

    This is a place where the fossil fuel based money these groups have can go far (and they have alot of money), once they figure out how to message correctly, and is not a good development IMO – hopefully it goes no further than this awful campaign which seems destined to backfire. The awfulness of this is truly staggering.

    Goes along with trying to push the propaganda directly in schools. Big Brother (from corporate fossil fuel interests) bombarding the public with direct propaganda – in action.

  78. Weather is the atmospheric conditions today, tomorrow. Climate is weather averaged over a long period of time. Weather changes constantly. Rain one hour, dry the next, hail after that. Climate changes slowly, although right now it is changing more rapidly, perhaps, than at any period in the earth’s history.

  79. chrisd says:

    It’s not an “algorithm.” Unless you happen to have a HAL 9000 handy, there is no way this could be automated. It requires human research and human judgment. You are asking for the unworkable.

    But the bottom line is this: Saying that MS “supports” Heartland is, IMO, quite misleading. Heartland takes advantage of the same program your local kitty shelter does. MS doesn’t support Heartland, it supports nonprofits. Heartland, rightly or wrongly, is a nonprofit.

    A better argument is that there’s no way Heartland should be a nonprofit. It shills for whoever is willing to pay up. That’s a PR firm, not a 501(c)(3) charity.

  80. Reliable says:

    Charles Manson believes in gravity. DO YOU???

  81. Alex says:

    At the Heartland site, they had this to say about why they used these particular people in their ridiculous billboard:

    “1. Who appears on the billboards?

    The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

    These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.”

    So they’re lying through their teeth.

  82. Alex says:

    I must make another comment about that page on the Heartland website explaining their billboards: it takes a VERY strong stomach to get through all the outright, bald-faced lies. It’s simply disgusting they would continue with all the nonsense that has been thoroughly debunked and use it to justify the obvious non sequiturs that are their billboards.

  83. Makan says:

    There’s no point in picking at points of logic. These billboards aim to offend and outrage the outcrowd while delighting the incrowd.

    Don’t quibble with the logic, go straight for the jugular —

    > Pressure their sponsoring companies to distance themselves from Heartland
    > Pressure the media to stop giving oxygen to right wing fanatics like Heartland

    I bet PBS is feeling foolish right now.

  84. Sean Cordry says:

    I heard, a few years ago, that only 4/5 Americans believe the earth goes around the sun. I wonder what party that remaining 1/5 is affiliated with?

  85. catman306 says:

    That makes me wonder if the unibomber can sue the Heartland Institute for liable or defamation? Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

  86. Jeff R says:

    Not sure, but while traveling through Nebraska last year, I saw hundreds of billboards with variants of “They want you to believe your great-grandfather was a monkey. [picture of chimpanzee] We believe in God. What do you believe?”

    Someone believes that all that expense is doing something.

  87. Jay Alt says:

    Group pulls plug on billboard linking global warming believers to terrorists

    Like a pathetic has-been actor, I think it shows their desperation for MSM attention to tout their dimwit gathering.

  88. Graeme Tyree says:

    A simple and effective response is #1., To identify the Companies, Corporations, Directorships, and trusts those vile persons are involved with. Then #2., Take every opportunity to boycott their products and services. #3., Enjoy watching their share prices and profits tumble. #4., Pat yourself and colleagues on the back. #5., Hold a street party. #6. Form a political lobby group. #7., Run yourself as a Candidate for Public Office. May THE FORCE be with you !

  89. fj says:

    Bill McKibbens twitter response demanding an apology

    WOW: a climate denial ‘think’ tank is comparing us to mass murders. Fight back and #ConnectTheDots this wknd: via @350

  90. John Hollenberg says:

    A little off topic, but even Bin Laden could see that Faux News was not “fair and balanced”. From the just released documents:

    “From the professional point of view, they are all on one level except (Fox News) channel which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks neutrality too”

    I wonder what he thought about the Heartland Institute???

  91. Joan Savage says:

    “Group pulls plug on billboard linking global warming believers to terrorists”

    By Brian Vastag, Friday, May 4, 5:34 PM
    Washington Post

    A stark mugshot of domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski briefly took center stage in the increasingly ugly debate over climate change Friday as the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank funded by major corporations, launched a billboard campaign equating people convinced that global warming is real to the convicted killer.

    “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” read big orange letters next to the Unabomber’s infamously grizzled face on an electronic billboard along the Eisenhower Expressway outside Chicago, the Heartland Institute’s home.

    The billboard went live Thursday afternoon. But by 4 p.m. ET, an outcry from allies and opponents alike led the Heartland Institute’s president, Joe Bast, to say he would switch off the sign within the hour.

    rest of article at link

  92. caerbannog says:

    I just checked out the latest comments over at WUWT. They’ve gone from two cans short of a six-pack to four (and counting)….

  93. Deborah Stark says:

    They’re going to hang themselves with their own twisted rope. It’s inevitable.

  94. Edpeak says:

    It’s worse than that: Charles Manson, the Unabomber, and Osama Bin Laden, and brutal dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar (oops, US-backed, delete that) and um, yeah, Castro, also believe that:

    * The earth is Round

    * Puppies are cute

    * 1+1=2

    Repent you others who agree with such vile people! ;-)

  95. SteveC619 says:

    Please be aware that there is also which is the website for Heartland Blood Centers, an Illinois based blood bank that supplies blood to Chicago suburban area hospitals. It is NOT affiliated with this false science right wing group.

  96. Steve Bloom says:

    Yes! Because everyone knows that while what Democrats want always takes 60 votes to pass, what Republicans want just takes a majority. I mean, it’s written in the Constitution, right? Oh wait…

  97. Ray says:

    I believe in global warming and I believe that mankind plays a role in it. I believe the people at the Heartland Institute and the people who support them believe that it is their god given right to rape the land as they see fit. I will vote to oppose them any chance I get.

  98. Sasparilla says:

    Thanks for the details Joan.

    These knuckleheads are beating a hasty retreat while declaring victory…

  99. Jake says:

    Hitler and Stalin believed in planet Mars! Do you?

  100. Charles says:

    I agree completely, Joe. Those words are far more insidious than the billboard–and the billboard is appalling.

  101. From Peru says:

    By doing this, this far-right extremists are showing a classical example of PROJECTION.

    In a nutshell, projection is an attack against the adversary in a discussion that is actually a twisted form of self-criticism.

    Think about this: pollution kills hundred thousands of people every year, mainly by respiratory and enteric illness.This is already enough to call someone that pollutes or oppose regulating pollution a mass killer. This killing becomes murder if he/she/they is/are aware of the consecuences of his/her/their acts, and persists in his/her/their deadly activity (there is even a phrase in latin for this cases:” errare humanum est, perseverare est diabolicum”)

    Now, it is obvious that several degrees of man-made Global Warming will not kill thousands, will not kill millions, it will kill BILLIONS of people!

    Not a single mass murderer (not even Hitler or Stalin), not a single global war, not a single pandemic infectious disease (like plague in the mid-1300 or avian influenza in 1918-1920)could be even close of being so deadly!

    The only thing that could rival the deadlyness of the coming man-made disaster is a kilometer-sized asteroid hitting the Earth, triggering a global firestorm that will cause a natural version of the “nuclear winter” scenario …

    An asteroid impact, if known with decades of advance, can be prevented by shifting gradually the asteroid path (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) What the polluters are doing (and their ideologues supporting) is just right taking an asteroid and putting it on a straight course of collision with the Earth to extract precious metals from it in the decades before the impact.

    This is beyond insane, but is the most accurate analogy in paleontological terms.

    Dear anti-science, anti-humanity, anti-life, anti-people polluters and deniers, if you want to talk about mass murder, please take a look in front of a MIRROR!

  102. Makan says:

    It’s clear that HL is being pushed further and further to the right, as evidenced by their latest stunt with the Chicago billboards.

    They’re moving further to the margins and closer to irrelevancy.

  103. Makan says:

    Can we please stop calling HL a “a libertarian think tank funded by major corporations” and call it “an extremist false science group funded by fossil fuel interests”.

  104. Snapple says:

    Actually, I don’t think Charles Manson ever discussed global warming, although he did write on environmental issues.

    As for terrorism, Dr Gleick has written about water and terrorism.

    I expect that Dr. Gleick’s research is respected by the National Intelligence Council–the people who really are responsible for protecting us from terrorism.

    Real experts on national security respect climate scientists and scientists who study environmental issues like water.

  105. fj says:

    With this bizarre behavior are we beginning to see true coffin nails in the entire climate change denier sham?

  106. Bernard J. says:

    Personally, I’m disappointed to see that Heartland pulled the advertisments.

    With a clever countering publicity campaign and some tight scientific input (of the real sort), Heartland’s nonsense could have been used to catapult the denialist motivation and tactics into the harsh glare of public scrutiny.

    Many sleepers might have been awakened…

  107. Anne van der Bom says:

    I’m 100% with you on this one chrisd.

    Leaving out some of the ‘details’ creates just the kind of half truths that the science disinformers like so much. I’d rather not see ThinkProgress go down that path.

  108. Bernard J. says:

    Don’t forget – half of the US population is of below average intelligence…

  109. Bernard J. says:

    And didn’t the Heartland ‘Institute’ sqeal like a stuck pig when Peter Gleick dug deep to expose their propaganda machine…?

    Gleick must be feeling rather vindicated now.

  110. Anne van der Bom says:

    What are you suggesting here?

  111. Bernard J. says:

    There could be the makings of a successful documentary here…

  112. BBHY says:

    Yup, even the most notorious psycho mass murderers have the presence of mind to believe in science, and the deniers are a couple of ranks below them.

  113. fj says:

    There’d be nothing better than these posters become mainstream media viral.

  114. fj says:

    With reactions like:

    We Need You!

    Join The Denier Sham

  115. fj says:


    Deny the Truth!

  116. Martin Vermeer says:

    >>The words “climate change” don’t appear in the manifesto, nor are there references to “global warming” or “carbon.”<<

    But Joe, 'greenhouse effect' appears twice — in very matter-of-fact contexts both. Apparently he wasn't even aware that it was something you could disbelieve in.

  117. Joe Romm says:

    Yes, he mentions them in passing. His lengthy manifesto is hardly a major — or minor — advocacy piece for concern about warming.

  118. Libel says:

    Ah, the lose associations and broad generalizations of the right wing. They call us all Nazis/socialists/communists and this some how surprises you?

  119. Leif says:

    Reality bites in many ways. Nature is red in tooth and claw…

  120. Mike 22 says:

    At first glance I thought the billboard read:


    and Ted K was the poster child for Heartland staff.

    How much does it cost to rent a billboard?

  121. Lionel A says:

    Following on from my comment in a post above about high profile outing of the ‘scientists’ who suck at the Heartland teat there is this mention of a UKIP (UK Independence Party) operative in a recent Guardian article:

    You also have to wonder if any of the scheduled conference speakers are now having doubts about whether they want to be associated with Heartland. One person who is on the list to speak is Roger Helmer, a British politician who has attended previous conferences. Having recently left the Conservative party as an MEP, the prominent climate sceptic is now the UK Independence Party’s spokesperson on industry and energy.

    Earlier, I sent him an email with a link to Heartland’s poster campaign press release and asked him: “Will you now be reconsidering attending in light of this new poster campaign for the conference? Do you approve of or condemn the poster campaign?”

    He confirmed he was still attending, adding:

    I am delighted that the Heartland campaign for the Chicago climate conference has succeeded in its purpose and attracted the attention of the Guardian. I urge Guardian readers to attend the conference if they can, but failing that, to follow it on the web.

    I simply have nothing further to add.

    The Guardian had an interesting piece about Roger Helmer which almost suggests that Heartland got their idea of using billboards from him.

    UKIP it should be noted has another person of interest on their team, note the colours of the furniture on the UKIP page.

    So, I do have something to add, Helmer’s response sums up UKIP nicely – if Monty Python was still having episodes written there is plenty of material in this farce.

    I doubt if the likes of Watermelon Delingpole will be deterred as such seem to have little real self awareness and of how they are viewed by the sane and informed.

  122. dorlomin says:

    Well that worked out a lot better than I expected. I expected to post up that link as a little reminder about how Mr Watts runs his blog. Sloppy and with no regard for who he is giving a platform too.

    But Mr Watts seems to have taken exception to one comment on another blog and instead handed me a rather nice gift.

    rather than the fact that once I learned more, I found them offensive and immediately deleted the story. It was my mistake for not checking sources further.

    One quick google suggests the only people who ran the story were the BNP (so he is admitting he did not check for a second source on the story) and he is admitting he did not check who was issuing this story.

    He has basically admitted he does not bother checking what he posts on his blog.

  123. Chris Winter says:

    I was thinking in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars, but a little research (afterward, drat) showed the cost to be quite a bit less. A 48×14 foot billboard costs $1,500 to $30,000 per month (per a major billboard company) — the price no doubt depending on the complexity of the sign and the location.

    That’s for a standard sign. I don’t know the rates for electronic billboards.

  124. S. Anderson says:

    $200 for the day’s worth of billboard.

  125. David Goldstein says:

    AN IDEA: Use the same billboard (if it is available) with the same phrase ‘I still believe in global warming. Do You?’, along with pictures of, say, Bishop Tutu, Stephen Hawking and Colin Powell. Get it up right away-like this week if possible. An article quoting the Heartland Institute spokesperson said it was a 1 day fee of $200 for the digital billboard. Wonder if that is true?

  126. Mark Shapiro says:


    Correct, extremely important, and almost always overlooked. Thank you for this observation.

  127. ltr says:

    I had no idea that these people were purely evil. Sorry to have been naive. I thought there were a very few evil individuals in such groups, but now I realize the entire institution was evil.

  128. ice9 says:

    I made a few changes to their advert:


  129. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There will be no ‘pivot’. The bedrock reality is that the fossil fuel interests, valued at twenty-five trillion in assets in their accounts, are reduced to zero value by the only action that could avert climate destabilisation disaster-the rapid decarbonisation of our civilization. This pretty odious campaign is standard operating procedure for the Right, and there will be far worse to come, bet on it. In recent times the rhetoric of the Right directed against environmentalists in this country has been increasingly hate-filled and extreme, and is being egged on by a Rightwing hate media that has lost all restraint. The latest Rightwing regimes elected in the states immediately on gaining power begin to attack and destroy environmental protections, even those introduced by their own parties decades ago. It’s a familiar process-where the Right cannot get its way, 100%, they grow more belligerent and violent, and that, I’m certain will be the next stage. Not the murderous violence of assassination and ‘disappearances’ that environmentalists suffer in Colombia, the Philippines or Cambodia etc, but the state violence of repressive laws, and, I would expect, ‘green terrorist’ provocations leading to a ruthless crackdown.

  130. J Bowers says:

    The Unabomber talks about the ‘greenhouse effect’, but his views seem more in line with Roy Spencer’s than with James Hansen’s.

  131. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He loved Mozart, too. Out goes Wolfgang.

  132. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Absolutely correct, I regret to say.

  133. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Ted Kaczynski was, in my opinion, absolutely correct in his opinions, and absolutely incorrect in his methods. Blowing up people, even those engaged in far more destructive activities than those Kaczynski targeted, is wicked and practically counter-productive. The Unabomber was a propaganda gift to the Right, and Kaczynski’s Manifesto, although spot-on in its understanding of the destructiveness of industrial society, was never going to cause a leap in human understanding. Kaczynski simply over-estimated his power to influence those less intellectually gifted than he.

  134. Ray Kondrasuk says:

    When I graduated from high school, Bernard, the principal came over after the commencement ceremony, put his hand on my shoulder, and said “Ray, I want to thank you for being one of those making the upper half of the class possible.”

    I was so proud! ;)

  135. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    With recent developments in genetics, particularly in epigenetics, can we expect a neo-Lysenkism to rear its head some day? Pity about Vavilov, though.

  136. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    For the first time, average IQs are falling in the West, and the evidence of the consequences is pretty ubiquitous.

  137. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    We are not talking of ‘minds’ here. The target audience is the Dunning-Krugerites where fear, greed, ignorance, resentment and paranoia energise various reptilian reflexes, conditioned by a lifetime of brainwashing by the Rightwing MSM hate machine. These people have been trained to viscerally despise ‘greenies’ so reject anything associated with them, without recourse to cognition. When they hear the tocsin, they salivate without thinking.

  138. MorinMoss says:

    Joe, what happened to the post about the Norway mass murderer, Anders Breivik’s view on global warming?
    I believe it was published last July.

  139. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Creatures acting in this manner have, in my opinion, quite clearly been driven insane by hatred of environmentalists. The situation in Australia is the same, where the hatemongering reaches new depths every day, led by the Murdoch hate press. Recently Bob Brown, the Greens leader, appeared on TV, to answer questions. The audience had, naturally, been stacked with Rightwingers, and when a couple of the younger ones, and one older codger, asked their questions, they were clearly riven with hatred. The younger ones could scarcely control themselves, and were trembling with the effort to control themselves. Brown behaved well, although you could see that he sensed the atmosphere, and was a little more combative than usual. This cannot end well.

  140. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Please lay off Fidel. Under Fidel Cuba became the only country in the world assessed to be ecologically sustainable. Moreover its doctors treat tens of thousands of the poor in numerous countries for free. Compared with scores of real tyrants installed and maintained im power by the USA over the decades Fidel is a veritable saint.

  141. J Bowers says:

    Heartland say it cost $200 a day, in their non-apology attacking “alarmists” for… ummm…. thanklessly insulting Heartland over the billboard*.

    (* No, you cannot make this stuff up)

  142. MarkfromLexington says:

    Sorry. I meant to type Heartland Institute. Here’s the link with the Heartland Institute document listing their supporters.

  143. Rakesh Malik says:

    “Creatures acting in this manner have, in my opinion, quite clearly been driven insane by hatred of environmentalists.”

    More precisely, because of greed.

    Their greed requires energy scarcity. Energy scarcity requires a dependence on hydrocarbons, because they control those.

    If we environmentalists have our way, we’ll have a society based on clean, renewable energy, and with plenty of energy for everyone. If that happens, the oil empire that is essentially owns the US Federal Govt would crumble.

    Gene Roddenberry was smarter than many give him credit for. In his premise, the basis for the money-free economy of the Federation was unlimited energy, ending our dependence on the oil barons, and allowing us to move forward into the future and start exploring space.

    It’s idealized, but that doesn’t make it any less appropriate.

  144. Rakesh Malik says:

    This isn’t so far different from the way that, say, the Taliban recruits…

  145. SqueakyRat says:

    If only the BNP was pushing this “story,” where did Whutts get it?

  146. SqueakyRat says:

    Do they really give money to everyone? Do you think, say, the Ford Foundation has this problem? Or the National Endowment for the Humanities? I assure you they don’t give money to everyone who applies for it.

  147. SqueakyRat says:

    Wow, what cave did you emerge from?

  148. Anne van der Bom says:

    Must-read post on this from Tamino.

    “If we pressure Microsoft to “pick and choose” which non-profits get the benefit and which don’t, either they’ll end up making rules and regulations which will eventually disqualify worthy recipients (a bad thing), or they’ll just abandon the program all together (a worse thing). And if we, the advocates of global warming action, actively criticize Microsoft for doing nothing more than giving away free software to all nonprofits, no questions asked, we end up looking like jerks. Rightfully so, in my opinion.”