ClimateWire published a truly amazing story about Heartland-Gate Friday, “For Heartland board, failed climate attack was a surprise.”
On the surface, it is a CYA story where members of the Board assert they did not know in advance about Heartland’s now widely condemned campaign to compare climate science believers and reporters to mass ‘murderers and madmen’.
But what the story actually does is confirm that the Board stands behind Heartland’s ongoing smear campaign — since Heartland hasn’t backed off any of its hate speech or apologized for the original ad.
I should say the remaining Board, because as the story notes:
Another director, Robert Lamendola, resigned last Friday because of the ad, according to sources. He’s a senior adviser for Renaissance Reinsurance, which terminated its relationship with Heartland over the billboard after giving the organization $407,000 during the past two years.
Every other insurance company and trade group supporting Heartland also cut ties with the group….
Indeed, we learned last week that the insurers expressed “disgust and shock” over the campaign. And just this afternoon, news broke that Eli Lilly, BB&T and Pepsi will no longer support the Heartland Institute. That brings the number of companies dropping Heartland to 11. According to Forecast the Facts, more than 150,000 citizens have weighed in against the organization’s messaging strategy.
So while most folks are abandoning Heartland or condemning its actions, here’s what we learn about the Board:
According to three people with knowledge of Heartland’s campaign, the surprise ad comparing Unabomber Ted Kaczynski to advocates of reducing greenhouse gases prompted a sudden conference call last Friday between the board and the group’s president, Joe Bast. The call occurred hours after the electronic billboard became active Thursday afternoon. The ad was canceled before rush hour Friday.
One director on the 14-member board disassociated himself from the failed campaign when asked whether he was comfortable with the message of the highway advertisement….
“Since the billboard thing happened, we’re on the same page moving forward,” said the board member. “Whatever Heartland is saying at this point, I think we’re all in concert with.”
The remaining Board is on the same page with “whatever Heartland is saying at this point.” That’s really a bombshell because Heartland’s website makes clear:
- Heartland refuses to apologize for the billboards.
- Heartland is saying now exactly what they said before the billboard was taken down — some of the most extreme speech ever seen from a global warming denial group, including this absurd assertion, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”
Since the Board has apparently endorsed it, Heartland’s detailed rationalization for its campaign is worth quoting at length once again since it is so self-discrediting for the whole organization: