Not quite Friday Funny– “Fakegate”

Josh from CartoonsbyJosh.com writes:

Another ‘Gate’ – but this one turned round and bit the owner.

Leo Hickman and co at the Guardian thought they had a bona fide leak of incriminating

information on the funding of climate skeptics by the Heartland Institute.

Two problems, the funding turns out to be rather small beer, especially in comparison to the vast sums of money paid to promote Climate Change Alarmism. Secondly it looked like the funds were going to fund scientists and with another trenche for a website to explain climate science research.

Hardly a surprise, and not exactly incriminating. It is what the Heartland does after all.

Third problem. The most incriminating document was a fake.

So now it has become know as Fakegate. Ouch.

Great comment by Lucia here, summary and comment by Judith here and lots at

BishopHill, here, here and here, and WUWT, here and here, and even one at Roy Spencers.

And here is the cartoon:

josh_fakegate

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APACHEWHOKNOWS

Who amoung you will cast the first hocky stick is broken joke.

A physicist

Sites like SkS already have abandoned the HeartlandGate story to cover a science-first story. And that (IMHO) is what WUWT should do too.
Because at the end of the day, it sure ain’t the quibbling and the “gotchas” that count … what counts is the strongest skeptical critiques of the strongest science.

I can never tell Black from Mann from Schmidt. In real life, I mean 😎

Will Nelson

Nice Josh. We need to see you syndicated in the Sunday Comic Strips. Right above or in replacement of Doonesbury.

Ken Hall

I hope that the BBC sack Richard Black. He is a competent advocate who could write for the Guardian, but an impartial, truth seeking, honest journalist worthy of the BBC? Not even close!

Stacey

Leo Hickman can give it but can’t take it. Question his ridiculous assertions regarding Global Warming and in steps the censor.
Comment is Free if You Agree.

Dave in Canmore

Thanks Josh, humour is the best way to deal with this nonsense.

Otter

‘what counts is the strongest skeptical critiques of the strongest science.’ ~A Fizz
‘what counts is the strongest skeptical critiques of politicized, Weak science.’
There. Fixed it for you.

Stacey

“The problem with Mr Black is he is a campaigning journalist who does not understand that if he wantshe to campaign and assist the green gravy trainers then The BBC is not the place. With regard to funding has not the BBC just apologised for broadcasting environmental programmes sponsored by members of the green gravy trainers.”
I have just posted this on Black’s propaganda blog at the BBC. Just thought I would remind him of the corruption at the BBC which they have recently apologised for.

Magoo

James Delingpole has pitched in too with a supporting article:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100137840/fakegate/

Paul Westhaver

Look what happens when you aren’t paying attention. I have been busy the last few days and missed the continuity of the the Faked heartland document….. I don’t quite get it yet., but it looks like the BBC used faked evidence?… catching up on the thread here….A summary would be helpful…. not sure who faked it…

kim2ooo

Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
February 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm
I can never tell Black from Mann from Schmidt. In real life, I mean 😎
————————-
I have tried to get people to post Mr Mann pictures upside down 🙂
Good cartoon, Josh!

Justthinkin

“Ken Hall says:
February 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm
I hope that the BBC sack Richard Black. He is a competent advocate who could write for the Guardian, but an impartial, truth seeking, honest journalist worthy of the BBC? Not even close!
Ahhhhhhhhh Ken. Could you please leave a link to ONE impartial,truth seeking,honest journalist worthy of the BBC? (and if ur post is sarc,sorry for missing it.long day)

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm
Sites like SkS already have abandoned the HeartlandGate story …

Now, that is funny!
When the information is too phoney for SkS, you know it’s bad.

Greg, from Spokane

Magoo says:
February 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm
————————————–
Thanks for the Delingpole link. I love the way he writes:
“I know this is going to come as a major shock to the kind of foam-flecked, cerebrally-deficient eco-zealots who scrawl in red crayons for DeSmog blog or earn lavish salaries as propaganda shills for the Grantham Institute or fester at the Guardian’s environment pages…”
“£234 million in Britain alone? And still these junk-scientist doom-mongers can’t manage to amass sufficient evidence to win an argument against a handful of ill-funded bloggers. Says it all, really.”

AnonyMoose
sceptical me

All this free and extensive publicity for WUWT and the Heartland Institute.
It’ll Be interesting to see how the site visit numbers pan out. Tipping point…………..

Andy W

A Phys is right when he says we should ignore the ‘gotchas’, but….
…this is more than that. This whole incident shows up three things that are core to the whole debate. Namely:
1) eco-zealots are not afraid to fake things when it suits them
2) the AGW media are quite happy to jump on anything that supports ‘The Cause’ before they have checked any real facts
3) The Heartland documents demonstrate how tiny sceptic funding is compared to the billions thrown at the AGW camp. It gives a lie to the ‘Big Oil Funding’ claim that is so central to the Greenies attempts at smearing sceptics.

The biggest thing that annoyed me was the outrage over companies trying to fend off climate change legislation. What did the hippies expect them to do?
“Any political effort to address climate change, cap and trade for example, is going to result in higher costs for businesses. It is only reasonable that the affected industries would lobby to fend off climate legislation. If I ran a business and the federal government wanted to restrict my output and charge me for their labor, I’d fight back, too.”
http://www.policymic.com/articles/4290/not-problematic-that-climate-change-skeptic-heartland-institute-took-donations-from-microsoft-and-gm

Beesaman

Black of the BBC is already trying to bury the story under others on his BBC blog:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents/richardblack/

Markus Fitzhenry

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm
Sites like SkS already have abandoned the HeartlandGate story to cover a science-first story. And that (IMHO) is what WUWT should do too. Because at the end of the day, it sure ain’t the quibbling and the “gotchas” that count … what counts is the strongest skeptical critiques of the strongest science.””
Gotcha, your strong science over at SkS says;
“So when you hear or read anywhere or are told by anyone that ‘warming stopped in (insert preferred date)’ the simple, observed fact is that it hasn’t stopped warming! It’s just that much of the warming has been happening somewhere else recently.””
Their strong science says, we can’t find heat in the Atmosphere where Co2 is the driver of warming, so it must have gone into the Oceans, where there is no Co2.
Ha Ha Ha. How do you expect sceptics to critique such nonsense.

JamesD

Paul, Quick summary —
1. Evidently someone (the Hoaxster) called Heartland claiming to be a boardmember and got a secretary to email copies of board meeting documents. It appears 8 documents were sent. The documents were mundane meeting items like funding and budgeting.
2. The Hoaxster pulled out certain projects in the budget and forged a 9th document about Heartland Strategy. Embedded amongst the true parts were rather funny items like convincing teachers not to “teach science” and “undermining” science.
3. The Hoaxster sent all nine documents to DeSmog blog amongst others. Leftist news agencies (Guardian, BBC, NYT) ran with the story without verifying authenticity, zeroing in on the more fanastic parts of the Heartland Strategy document. And of course a gaggle of CAGW hoax blogs have run with it.
4. Heartland reviewed the documents and stated the Heartland Strategy document is a fraud.
5. Review of the fake document shows it was scanned, thus removing pertinent meta data which the other 8 documents contain (creation date, author, file location) as they are still in their electronic format. The scanned fake document has its own metadata showing it was scanned at a location on the West Coast where Heartland has no offices.
6. One budgetary item (confirmed by Watts) shows that they have worked with Anthony to fund his project to create a new web service to present in graphical form data from the NOAA database. So far $44,000 has been raised from a donor to fund his project. Watts states he initiated this project and contacted Heartland for help in funding. Total estimate cost for the project is $88K.
7. Some blogs are insinuating that Heartland is funding the WUWT blog, but review of the leaked budget does not show any money allocated to WUWT.
This appears to be blowing up in the hoaxsters faces and is getting the name “FakeGate”, though I prefer “Protocals of the Elders of Heartland Institute”.

biddyb

“A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm
Sites like SkS already have abandoned the HeartlandGate story to cover a science-first story. And that (IMHO) is what WUWT should do too.
Because at the end of the day, it sure ain’t the quibbling and the “gotchas” that count … what counts is the strongest skeptical critiques of the strongest science.”
I don’t agree. If WUWT and others don’t rebutt this stuff then those who push the lies will claim that it is all true. Sometimes you’ve got to fight back as well as covering the science stories. Look at the flak Anthony had from the visiting trolls, who, I am glad to say, seem to have been chased back under the bridge, tails between their legs (do trolls have tails?). And if Anthony et al don’t fight back then Black of the BBC gets away with the rubbish he spouts, misleading those people who do not follow this and other sites as avidly.
I am appalled at the treatment Anthony has received. The poor guy hasn’t even got started on the project, a simple project to display the data that the US taxpayer funded mob can’t be bothered to do. Keep going Anthony – I’m sure they’re just trying to grind you down – remember the popularity of your site!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says: February 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm
I can never tell Black from Mann from Schmidt. In real life, I mean 😎

MannBlackSmith.
Explains a lot.

I agree with biddyb. You can’t let blatant falsehoods go unchallenged, because the media routinely uses them to fool people, or at least promote their agenda with one-sided reporting.

EternalOptimist

Apologies if this has been mentioned before, or covered. (too much material to read, and not enough hours in the day)
This whole story seems to be about nefarious shadowy puppetmasters trying to manipulate the blogosphere.
Even the usual suspects in the MSM (Black) are talking about mr Watts Blog.
maybe we should take note of a seismic shift here, away from the ‘old’ MSM and towards the ‘new’
the blogosphere

A physicist

It’s easy to check that the “HeartlandGate” stories on SkS and RealClimate never did contain any personal criticism of Anthony, and moreover, the whole story “HeartlandGate” is falling off their front pages.
Right now, the lead RealClimate story speaks out *against* harassment and *against* death threats, and the lead SkS story focuses on concrete energy balance issues in the deep-versus-shallow ocean.
These seem like appropriate stories to me. So it’s hard to understand why WUWT is doing more than most web sites to keep the “HeartlandGate” story alive.

trbixler

Thank you Anthony. Make a donation to Anthony, I know it will not make up for the funding imbalance but it will help.

kim2ooo

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm
It’s easy to check that the “HeartlandGate” stories on SkS and RealClimate never did contain any personal criticism of Anthony, and moreover, the whole story “HeartlandGate” is falling off their front pages.
_________________________________
Why was an unverified story there in the first place?

trbixler

The local red times chimes in. Notes that the smoking gun doc may be faked but goes on to say could have been real. Ah tabloid “truth”.
“Climate change doubter Heartland Institute documents leaked”
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-climate-deniers-heartland-institute-documents-leaked-20120216,0,3932985.story

M.Hulme

JamesD – you suggest that a ‘hoaxster’ sent documents to DeSmugBlag. There are other opinions on the web suggesting that the documents originated at DSB.

Blue Sky

What would be wrong with Heartland funding skeptic sites? I don’t get it. Apparently it’s a big deal by the way Watt and others are acting.
Where are Skeptic sites supposed to get funding? The Agw people get millions from supporters. Nobel prize!

kim2ooo

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm
It’s easy to check that the “HeartlandGate” stories on SkS and RealClimate never did contain any personal criticism of Anthony, and moreover, the whole story “HeartlandGate” is falling off their front pages.
————————————-
They would still be drooling on themselves – if they weren’t shown-up as incompetents that jump on anything they think promotes their “cause”. THEY’VE BEEN OUTED – They did it to themselves.
SURE…they now want to move on…just like you wish us to do.

nc

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm
“It’s easy to check that the “HeartlandGate” stories on SkS and RealClimate never did contain any personal criticism of Anthony, and moreover, the whole story “HeartlandGate” is falling off their front pages.”
Of course it is falling off their front pages, the daft are totally embarrassed and want it to go away as fast as possible. It is totally disadvantages for the likes of SKS, RC and others of their ilk to leave it up.

kim2ooo

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm
It’s easy to check that the “HeartlandGate”
—————————–
BTW I don’t believe you are being quite honest calling these “HeartlandGate” …If I remember correctly, John Cook titled it “Dinialgate:” in the first page – though knowing how he changes peoples comments etc….????

Kaboom

Anthony must feel a bit like Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters: “He slimed me.”

Craig Moore

Fakegate reminds me of this:
A BBC TV journalist is interviewing a elderly former Polish fighter pilot.
Interviewer: So Mr Stanczewski, I understand that in 1943 you shot down five German aircraft in a single engagement. Could you tell us what happened?
Polish Fighter Pilot: Well we were flying at 20,000 feet when we spotted five Fokkers flying along below us. So we dived down and I aimed at one of the Fokkers and fired a burst from my machine guns right into him and he exploded. Then I saw that one of the Fokkers was on my tail, so I pulled round in a loop and got behind him, and fired and he went down on fire. I looked around and saw two Fokkers attacking my squadron leader, so slipped in behind them, and fired, and that was another Fokker going down in flames. The other Fokker tried to get away from me, but I got right up behind him, and blasted him with my machine guns and turned over and exploded. There was only one of the Fokkers left now, and he was trying to get away, but I flew up behind him, shot – bang, bang, bang – and he blew up too!
Interviewer: I should point out for the benefit of the viewers at home, that the Fokker was a type of German aircraft used in the war.
Polish Fighter Pilot: No, no, no – these fokkers were Messerschmitts!

Dan in Nevada

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm
“It’s easy to check that the “HeartlandGate” stories on SkS and RealClimate never did contain any personal criticism of Anthony, and moreover, the whole story “HeartlandGate” is falling off their front pages ….. it’s hard to understand why WUWT is doing more than most web sites to keep the “HeartlandGate” story alive.”
Let’s see now. I make up a bunch of shit about somebody. I get found out and now the whole world knows what a devious, underhanded jerk I am. Hmmmm…. do I continue to repeat what everybody now knows to be untrue or do I try to change the subject? Got to think about that one.

Thanks Josh!

Gary Hladik

AnonyMoose says (February 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm): “Remember ‘Fake but Accurate’?”
I thought Dan Rather was retired. He’s working at The Guardian now? 🙂

Just a reminder for some posters here concerning the shock revelation of how much funding the Heartland Institute receives… This information could also have been obtained by going to the Heartland Institute website and clicking on the “About [Us]” link at the top of the page.

Gary Hladik

Lucy Skywalker says (February 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm): “MannBlackSmith.
Explains a lot.”
The funny part is, they’re totally serial. 🙂

John F. Hultquist

A physicist says:
February 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm
“So it’s hard to understand why WUWT is doing more than most web sites to keep the “HeartlandGate” story alive.

Let me take a WAG: Because someone started a smear campaign designed, apparently, to paint Mr. Watts as an evil-doer associating with evil-doers who get funds from evil-doers. I might have missed a fine point or two there, but you can reword your question and maybe I can be more direct.

> Evidently someone (the Hoaxster) called Heartland claiming to be a boardmember and got a secretary to email copies of board meeting documents. It appears 8 documents were sent.
I think you will find 7 documents were sent – this is partially speculation, but as regards the form 990, while apparently a genuine doc, seems to have been acquired separately:-
1. It predates the board meeting,
2. It was IMHO unlikely to have been a topic of discussion at the board meeting
3. It was IMHO unlikely to have been part of the board pack of documents, so would not have been forwarded as part of the board package to the imposter asking for it to be resent.
4. Could easily have been added (along with the fake strategy memo) to a package of genuine documents.
Oh, and BTW, was already in the hands of at least one warmist (he made a public post saying so) on or about 12th of January – i.e. prior to the board meeting.

A scientists

A physicist says:says:
“So it’s hard to understand why WUWT is doing more than most web sites to keep the “HeartlandGate” story alive.”

John F. Hultquist says:
Let me take a WAG: Because someone started a smear campaign designed, apparently, to paint Mr. Watts as an evil-doer associating with evil-doers who get funds from evil-doers. I might have missed a fine point or two there, but you can reword your question and maybe I can be more direct.

John, with respect, citation please? To the best of my knowledge, not even one science-minded weblog has “started a smear campaign designed, apparently, to paint Mr. Watts as an evil-doer”. Indeed the scientific community traditionally is circumspect and sober-minded, and scrupulously avoids the kind of allegations whose existence your post alleges.
And rightly so.

D. King

If you’re going to fake stuff; why stop at the data? 🙂

Paul Westhaver

JamesD, Thank-you for the summary. I didn’t think the perp got fingered.
Nice detective work guys!!
That will teach the liars not to make little lies… stick to big ones like AGW.

The 990 was just something else the imposter/leaker/hacker had, and I was unlikely to be part of the board documents.
He probably downloaded it from heartland’s website, since they published it at
http://heartland.org/media-library/pdfs/2010-IRS-Form-990.pdf
And then added to the board documents, along side the fake, when he sent out his little package to 15 bloggers.
Because a 2010 tax return document – the 990 form in question – has absolutely nothing to do with the 2012 budget.