Anti-Science Heartland Institute launches murderous billboard campaign

By: Angela Fritz , 04:40 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012

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How low will the Heartland Institute go to shame climate change "believers?" Very low, it appears. In it's most recent billboard campaign, which is running in Chicago, Heartland, an anti-science organization famous for climate change denial, compares those who accept climate science to mass murderers, like Charles Manson and Osama Bin Laden.



The Heartland Institute is a conservative public policy "think tank" based in Chicago, Illinois. It claims to conduct research on things like healthcare, tobacco, and global warming, but is known for fabricating results to support its clients' bottom line. The institute is probably best-known for its work with Philip Morris in their mission to question the science connecting second-hand smoke and health risks, and to lobby against public health reforms. The New York Times describes the Heartland Institute as "the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism."

The Guardian broke this murderous billboard story this morning, and calls it "quite possibly one of the most ill-judged poster campaigns in the history of ill-judged poster campaigns." You might actually recognize this tack from the meat industry's "Hitler was a vegetarian" campaign, which suggested that only fascists don't eat meat. (By the way, we don't suggest you give up meat to reduce your carbon footprint, just be smart about the meat you eat!)

In Heartland's description of the billboard campaign, they say:

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.

But let's be clear, thousands of scientists are not the "radical fringe." Over 95% of actively publishing climate change scientists agree that:

• The earth is getting warmer,
• The warming is due to human activity, and
• If greenhouse gas emissions continue, the warming will accelerate

So, does this billboard convince you otherwise?

Update: 1:30pm ET

Jocelyn Fong from Media Matters writes:

I asked Heartland spokesman Jim Lakely today to clarify which of the following is the position of his organization:

• The planet hasn't warmed in recent decades
• The planet has warmed but humans didn't contribute to it
• Humans contributed to warming but it's not a crisis

His response: "Heartland doesn't take official positions." Lakely forwarded my question to James Taylor, Heartland's senior fellow for environmental policy, who said "The best way to summarize the issue is that global warming is not a crisis." Taylor wouldn't say manmade global warming doesn't exist, even though the billboards and the accompanying press release make that very claim.


Update: 4:30pm ET

Brian Vastag, Science reporter for the Washington Post, has tweeted:

"Heartland Institute's President Joe Bast says they are taking down the Ted Kaczynski global warming billboard. Details to come."

From the Washington Post:

4 p.m. update: Heartland Institute President and CEO Joe Bast has issued the following statement:

We will stop running [the billboard] at 4:00 p.m. CST today. (It’s a digital billboard, so a simple phone call is all it takes.)

The Heartland Institute knew this was a risk when deciding to test it, but decided it was a necessary price to make an emotional appeal to people who otherwise aren’t following the climate change debate.



Angela

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48. Scannit
12:34 PM GMT die 10o May, anno 2012
You have to wonder what goes through the minds of the people who
actually produce something like this: -Link-

You know there had to be meetings and strategy sessions on something as involved as this.

And the mess they leave behind for us to clean up: -Link-

AGW website would never do something similar: -Link-

Who tried to make it disappear from the web: -Link-

And the analogies to history: -Link-

And the Lies: -Link- (Hint: scroll down to question/answer 6)

Racist people: -Link-

Deliberately exaggerating the evidence to get the public stirred up: -Link-

We need to do something legally: -Link-

Get them fired: -Link-

Nuremberg type trials: -Link-

Yup, despicable....
Member Since: May 10, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
47. BaltimoreBrian
08:14 PM GMT die 08o May, anno 2012
Wow Dr. Fritz I can't believe Heartland did that. Seriously NO ONE in their PR department thought comparing global warming scientists to the Unibomber was not a good idea?

I look upon Heartland no differently than the scrapings under my boots after I've stepped in something nasty.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8558
46. presslord
07:36 PM GMT die 07o May, anno 2012
Diageo bails on HeartlandLink
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
45. Patrap
07:55 PM GMT die 06o May, anno 2012
..you gotta right,

..to fight,

for da plannnnnnnnnn-et !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
44. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
07:54 PM GMT die 06o May, anno 2012
all i have to say on the matter is

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

..............................Arthur Schopenhauer
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53535
43. pikecreek
11:57 AM GMT die 06o May, anno 2012
Amoeba, you write, "(t)he similarities between these writings and those of present-day American propagandists, on both sides of the political spectrum, are striking" (emphasis mine). Please tell me what you've observed on the left that is remotely equivalent to the propaganda factories such as Heartland, AEI, Heritage, etc.. I don't think you'll find one.
Member Since: November 14, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
42. theamoeba
01:17 AM GMT die 06o May, anno 2012
Quoting SayNoToTea:
all too common now is the far rights villianizing and dehuminizing those that disagree with them.


The writings of Josef Goebbels and other propagandists, Nazi (far right, of course), Communist, and etc., are freely available online, for example at http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/. The similarities between these writings and those of present-day American propagandists, on both sides of the political spectrum, are striking. And terrifying. I consider them to be essential reading, and the sooner the better, lest we prove, once again, that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
Member Since: November 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
41. guygee
08:46 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
(Off-topic comment removed and sent to WUmail, sorry.)
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3148
40. Skyepony (Mod)
08:15 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
I can see why Microsoft is trying to quickly distance themselves. The petition is on..Sign it here. A month or so ago a similar petition got Chevrolet to stop funding Heartland.

A comment there about the taking down of the billboard~ President Joseph Bast wrote, "We do not apologize for running the ad."
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 162 Comments: 37813
39. SayNoToTea
07:55 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
First, I think making a statement was a wise decision on their M's part but I think they should fire their publicist. Wouldn't it have been clearer if they had said, "the software donated to heartland was available to most Non-Profits regardless if we agreed with teir posistions or not and we are glad to announce many, etc..etc..
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 80 Comments: 235
38. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
07:41 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
New post today on DeSmogBlog about Microsoft's statement regarding the Heartland billboard campaign.

"The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign."

But he went on with this unconvincing dodge:

"Heartland did participate in our global software donation program in 2010, as did thousands of other nonprofit organizations. It’s important to point out that hundreds of environmental and conservation groups also took advantage of the same program, and received over $13 million in free software to pursue their missions."
37. SayNoToTea
06:32 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
The biggest problem though is not that this is unusual anymore, but all too common now is the far rights villianizing and dehuminizing those that disagree with them. Here is an example from a blog on this site. I've omitted their name and deleted the old definition but I highlighted their posted definition.

(bloggers name witheld)

Liberalism, Definition

(Omitted for space)

New, Updated, Simplified Definition:
Of Satanic origin; Pure Evil.
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 80 Comments: 235
36. guygee
03:59 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
Quoting theamoeba:
[...]
I say Heartland wins this round.
Not really, I think it is the case that everyone loses in the near future if we do not radically alter our behaviors and our economy. "Heartland" will suffer too, in fact they will be among the worst hit. "They manufactured the rope to hang themselves" will be the epitaph for their demise.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3148
35. Bogon
03:02 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
I look at the sign in #26, and I wonder what emotional association the casual viewer will take away. Will they think Unabomber when they look at global warming? Or will they pair that face with the Heartland Institute?

Heartland.org must be getting desperate. The evidence in favor of global warming is everywhere.

Oh, I suppose we could take a charitable point of view. Perhaps Heartland is celebrating the one thing that Kaczynski got right. :o)
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3690
33. presslord
01:33 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
The scariest thing about this is that, at some point, a group of well paid, college educated adults were sitting around a table in a conference room somewhere and said "Hell, yea! This is a great idea!! Let's do this!!!"
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
32. presslord
01:28 PM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
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.

As outrageous a the billboard is...the press release is worse....it's just untrue...

I've met Jeff Masters...he doesn't strike me as a murderer, tyrant...or a madman.....although he is quite tall....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
31. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
05:27 AM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
Microsoft!

What the hell are Melinda and Bill thinking! They have have become such great philanthropists, I can only imagine they were duped in some way to provide financial assistance to this crackpot organization.





Quoting angelafritz:
The list of companies that have supported or currently support the Heartland Institute is pretty astonishing (these are just a few, obviously):

Anheuser-Busch
AT&T
Comcast
Eli Lilly & Co.
General Motors
Microsoft
BB&T
PepsiCo, Inc.
Time Warner Cable
ExxonMobile
Pfizer
Philip Morris
Wal-Mart
Member Since: February 15, 2006 Posts: 297 Comments: 279
30. MariettaMoon
03:39 AM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
The Heartland Institute makes me want to throw up.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
29. theamoeba
02:58 AM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
If he is, Presslord, he comes cheap.

We the People have helped to create this situation by pushing lots of people who do not have independent wealth into the sciences, and then denying them the public purse for their efforts.

Without the ability to be disinterested, scientists have nothing to offer society - and only the financially independent can afford to be truly disinterested.

Practically every university scientist has to - has to - find non-university monies to pay his salary, never mind conduct any research, and We keep shrinking (relative to costs) the available public monies for this purpose.

What's left are private monies - and the Faustian bargains that come with them.
Member Since: November 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
28. presslord
02:46 AM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
I'm pretty sure this guy is a Heartland Institute Science Consultant
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
27. theamoeba
02:44 AM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
Hmmm ... 26 comments on this blog.

Meanwhile, the propaganda geniuses at Heartland have spread their message to millions in Chicago and billions across the world, and will use the hate from this campaign to fuel their image of martyrs to the cause.

The cause of stopping the evil liberal intelligentsia from preventing Joe Blogs from spending twice his annual salary yearly on the products of the megaconglomerates of his choice.

I say Heartland wins this round.

Member Since: November 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
26. SayNoToTea
02:07 AM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
Here is the sign, if it offends you take the time to write those companies that support them, detail your displeasure and name the company that you will be switching your business too.


Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 80 Comments: 235
25. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
01:28 AM GMT die 05o May, anno 2012
This is beyond the pale. It is hard to believe that the discussion of climate change has sunk to such a low level.

...and this group 'The Heartland Institute' is considered a "charity" by the U.S. government for tax purposes?

I guess that means I can create an organization proposing the world is flat and pocket the money from all those willing to donate to the proposition of such.

Wow, that's a nice tax shelter concept!
Member Since: February 15, 2006 Posts: 297 Comments: 279
24. CaicosRetiredSailor
11:51 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
....Heartland is (for now) a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity in USA.

http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.c om/files/%281-15-2012%29%202012%20Fundraising%20Pl an.pdf lists folks who got tax-write-offs for funding Heartland.

As a reminder on 501(c)(3):

http://www.desmogblog.com/fake-science-fakexperts -funny-finances-free-tax PDF p.8:

(quoting http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rp_1986-43.pdf , Rev. Proc. 86-43, 1986-2 C.B. 729 )

%u201CEducational Purpose%u201D section:

%u2018SEC. 3. CRITERIA USED TO DETERMINE WHETHER ADVOCACY BY AN ORGANIZATION IS EDUCATIONAL %u2026

.03 The presence of any of the following factors in the presentations made by an organization is indicative that the method used by the organization to advocate its viewpoints or positions is not educational.

1 The presentation of viewpoints or positions unsupported by facts is a significant portion of the organization%u2019s communications.

2 The facts that purport to support the viewpoints or positions are distorted.

3 ==> The organization%u2019s presentations make substantial use of inflammatory and disparaging terms and express conclusions more on the basis of strong emotional feelings than of objective evaluations. <==

4 The approach used in the organization's presentations is not aimed at developing an understanding on the part of the intended audience or readership because it does not consider their background or training in the subject matter.'

Of course, given Heartland's ~20-year tobacco connection, I suppose nothing is surprising.

----------

above is from
http://hot-topic.co.nz/poisonous-heartland-twiste d-billboards/#comments
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6004
23. CaicosRetiredSailor
11:43 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
The Internet is on it.....

Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6004
21. guygee
10:28 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Quoting angelafritz:
The list of companies that have supported or currently support the Heartland Institute is pretty astonishing (these are just a few, obviously):

Anheuser-Busch
AT&T
Comcast
Eli Lilly & Co.
General Motors
Microsoft
BB&T
PepsiCo, Inc.
Time Warner Cable
ExxonMobile
Pfizer
Philip Morris
Wal-Mart


As with every action and event, first ask, cui bono?
Nice of them to give us a list.

The next very important question is cui malo?
It seems we will have to make our own list to answer that question.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3148
20. Birthmark
10:04 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Quoting EugeneTillman:


Paid by whom?

Watch or listen to the shows. Watch the ads especially. Jot down those companies' names. That'll be some of those paying.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
18. dogsgomoo
08:48 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
http://heartland.org/about/staff/4945

And just because I don't want to give them extra traffic:

Board of Directors
Robert J. Buford
Chicago, Illinois

Joseph Bast
Chicago, Illinois

Richard Collins
Indianapolis, Indiana

Paul Fisher
Chicago, Illinois

Dan Hales
Winnetka, Illinois

James Johnston
Wilmette, Illinois

Jeff Judson
San Antonio, Texas

Robert Lamendola
Cape May, New Jersey

Chuck Lang
Indianapolis, Indiana

Jeffrey Madden
Chicago, Illinois

Arthur Margulis
Chicago, Illinois

Mike Rose
Washington, DC

Harrison H. Schmitt
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Herbert Walberg
Chicago, Illinois

Relevant Senior Fellows
Dennis Avery
Director, Center for Global Food Issues

Craig Idso
Senior Fellow, Environment

Jay Lehr
Science Director

Eli Lehrer
National Director and Vice President

S. Fred Singer
Senior Fellow, Environment

James M. Taylor, J.D.
Senior Fellow and Managing Editor, Environment and Climate News
Member Since: March 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 316
17. OldLeatherneck
08:36 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Angela, my sincerest thanks for bringing the vile actions of the Heartland Institute to our attention. These folks along with FAUX NEWS and the AM Radio Talkers (Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity et. al.) are being paid millions to purposely keep their audiences ignorant. Speaking of conspiracies....this is the real conspiracy..."Keep the Masses Ignorant!!"

Below is the wikipedia definition of Agnotology:

Agnotology (formerly agnatology) is the study of culturally-induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.

Member Since: May 2, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 180
16. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
08:33 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Update: 4:30pm ET

Brian Vastag, Science reporter for the Washington Post, has tweeted:

"Heartland Institute's President Joe Bast says they are taking down the Ted Kaczynski global warming billboard. Details to come."
15. presslord
08:31 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Not a woman to be foundLink
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
14. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
08:26 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
They list some folks here:
http://heartland.org/about
13. presslord
08:17 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Can you easily access the names of the Board members?
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
12. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
08:07 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
The list of companies that have supported or currently support the Heartland Institute is pretty astonishing (these are just a few, obviously):

Anheuser-Busch
AT&T
Comcast
Eli Lilly & Co.
General Motors
Microsoft
BB&T
PepsiCo, Inc.
Time Warner Cable
ExxonMobile
Pfizer
Philip Morris
Wal-Mart
11. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
07:59 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Quoting FatPenguin:
Hard to believe this isn't a fake. It's beyond absurd. It borders on pathological delusion worthy of quick trip to the hospital.


Yes, I waited to post this for a while this morning because I wanted to see if something would come out saying that Heartland was hacked (or something similar). I just couldn't believe it was real. But instead, we just got confirmation and support from the institute's spokesman.
10. FatPenguin
07:35 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Hard to believe this isn't a fake. It's beyond absurd. It borders on pathological delusion worthy of quick trip to the hospital.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 315
9. presslord
07:19 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
...and...it's also bigoted...as an argument can be made that they're making fun of someone with mental illness....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
8. auburn (Mod)
07:13 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
wow...unreal...
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 546 Comments: 50594
7. presslord
07:09 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Let's be real clear about what they're doing: Ted Kaczynski isn't just some amusing crackpot....He is a murderer. They are comparing our best and brightest science minds to deranged killers...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482
6. nrtiwlnvragn
06:28 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Saw this quote from Teachers Endure Balancing Act Over Climate Change Curriculum and could only shake my head.



James Taylor is a senior fellow at heartland.

JAMES TAYLOR, Heartland Institute: We have seen that soil moisture globally has improved. We have seen that droughts have become less frequent and less severe. We have seen expansion of forests. We've seen crop production reach record levels.

We've seen tornadoes and hurricanes -- to the extent that we can ascribe trends, we've seen that they have become less frequent and less severe. Across the board, we've seen that warmer climate, warmer temperatures have always benefited humans, and continue to do so.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11061
5. guygee
06:25 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Thank you for the startling update, apparently the bottom has dropped out from the previous lowest level that the denialist campaign will sink with their anti-science hysteria. I can only hope that most US citizens can see through the extreme illogic of "Heartland"'s position.

It seems that the denialists are becoming increasingly desperate as even the veneer of scientific plausibility slips away from their arguments, shot down one-by-one by the continuing scientific research and increasing evidence to the contrary.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3148
4. Angela Fritz , Atmospheric Scientist (Admin)
06:15 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
If anyone is in Chicago and would like to post pictures of the billboards, I'd love to host them here.
3. Neapolitan
06:13 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
One of the most reprehensible things I've ever seen--and goes to show in a very big way just how desperate the denialist crowd is getting. Temperatures refuse to go down as they've predicted; sea levels continue to rise; extreme weather continues to increase in severity and frequency; ice continues to melt; and so on. So now that they've clearly lost the scientific battle, and now that even the once-reticent public is finally starting to "connect the dots", the denialists have decided to turn things up a notch--or several--and go straight toward ad hominem propaganda.

Personally, I think it's going to backfire.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
2. Daisyworld
06:12 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Thank you, Angela, for pointing out yet another unjustified attack on climate science from the Manufactured Doubt industry. I've witnessed their billboards in my neck of the woods, too; one of which showing a man in handcuffs with the comment, "His crime? Turning the thermostat up to 70". I know free speech is a protected right, but when does it cross over into libel?
Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 855
1. presslord
06:07 PM GMT die 04o May, anno 2012
Thank you for this! The only way to make the rats run back into the dark places is to shine light on them...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10482

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Atmospheric Scientist here at Weather Underground, with serious nerd love for tropical cyclones and climate change. Twitter: @WunderAngela

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