UPDATE5: 5/5/10:30AM Donna Laframboise pulls out of the conference.
Instead, those of us who had accepted Heartland’s invitation to take part in its conference found ourselves blindsided – a mere two weeks before the conference is set to begin – by a torrent of negative press. Suddenly, we were all publicly linked to an organization that thinks it’s OK to equate people concerned about climate change with psychopaths.
Blindsided is right. AFAIK, not one attendee was given the courtesy of weighing in on the billboard campaign beforehand, and if I had been given that courtesy my answer would have been a resounding NO. Instead, I believe we all got the notice after the fact.
UPDATE4: 7PM PST Heartland issues a press release ending the billboard
May 4, 2012 – The Heartland Institute has pulled its global warming billboard starring Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber whose manifesto expressed his belief in catastrophic man-caused global warming. The digital billboard ran for exactly 24 hours along the Eisenhower Expressway near Chicago in the suburb of Maywood, Illinois.
The following statement by Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast may be used for attribution. For more information, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-377-4000.
“This provocative billboard was always intended to be an experiment. And after just 24 hours the results are in: It got people’s attention.
“This billboard was deliberately provocative, an attempt to turn the tables on the climate alarmists by using their own tactics but with the opposite message. We found it interesting that the ad seemed to evoke reactions more passionate than when leading alarmists compare climate realists to Nazis or declare they are imposing on our children a mass death sentence. We leave it to others to determine why that is so.
“The Heartland Institute doesn’t often do ‘provocative’ communication. In fact, we’ve spent 15 years presenting the economic and scientific arguments that counter global warming alarmism. No one has worked harder, or better, on that task than Heartland. We will continue to do that – especially at our next International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago from May 21 – 23.
“Heartland has spent millions of dollars contributing to the real debate over climate change, and $200 for a one-day digital billboard. In return, we’ve been subjected to the most uncivil name-calling and disparagement you can possibly imagine from climate alarmists. The other side of the climate debate seems to be playing by different rules. This experiment produced further proof of that.
“We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters, but we hope they understand what we were trying to do with this experiment. We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.”
UPDATE3: 3:15PM PST I saw this private letter to Joe Bast earlier from Ross McKitrick, and I agreed with Ross in a reply. He has posted it on Climate Audit so I’ll share an excerpt here:
He wrote: “This kind of fallacious, juvenile and inflammatory rhetoric does nothing to enhance your reputation…”
“…hands your opponents a huge stick to beat you with, and sullies the reputation of the speakers you had recruited. Any public sympathy you had built up as a result of the Gleick fiasco will be lost–and more besides–as a result of such a campaign. I urge you to withdraw it at once.”.
UPDATE2: 1PM PST
From Joe Bast via email:
We will stop running it at 4:00 p.m. CST today. (It’s a digital billboard, so a simple phone call is all it takes.)
UPDATE: I’ve added a simple poll at the bottom to gauge opinion on this issue. – Anthony
There’s a disturbance in the farce. Tom Nelson captures these:
Do you believe global warming is real, poses risks to the environment, and needs to be addressed? The Heartland Institute, a think-tank based in Chicago which has promoted climate skepticism, wants you to know you’re in some sinister company.
In new ads, the Heartland Institute suggests only terrorists believe in the link b/w human activity and global warming: wapo.st/IOUuEI
Predictably, ThinkProgress/Climate Progress is all bent out of shape.
But Joe Romm and Brad Johnson (who now also runs “Forecast the Facts” to hassle TV weatherpeople) think nothing of making a similar comparison about “deniers”.
Speaking of “mass murderers and madmen”….
Romm of course will be unable to embrace his own hypocrisy, because he’s reportedly paid a six figure sum by the Center for American Progress to write the hateful detritus he produces daily.
That said, I’ll be blunt; I think Heartland’s billboard campaign is a huge misstep, and does nothing but piss people off and divide the debate further. IMHO it isn’t going to win any converts, and had they asked me I would have told them that it is a bad idea that will backfire on them.
Here’s what they have issued in a press release about it:
May 03, 2012
May 3, 2012 – 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.
Heartland’s first digital billboard – along the inbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) in Maywood – is the latest effort by the free-market think tank to inform the public about what it views as the collapsing scientific, political, and public support for the theory of man-made global warming. It is also reminding viewers of the questionable ethics of global warming’s most prominent proponents.
“The most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists,” said Heartland’s president, Joseph Bast. “They are Charles Manson, a mass murderer; Fidel Castro, a tyrant; and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Global warming alarmists include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).
Bast added, “The leaders of the global warming movement have one thing in common: They are willing to use force and fraud to advance their fringe theory.” For more about the billboards and why Heartland says people should not still believe in global warming, click here.
There’s more than enough climate ugliness to go around. Though, it seems harder and harder to find this ultimate warmist embarrassment.
Anybody that can help with Donna’s suggestion?
And there’s many more examples of climate ugliness from the left that we’ve seen.
On another note, the serially mendacious commenter known as “Dorlomin” left this comment over at the Romm shop:
I thought I should clear this up. First, “dorlomin” of course is all about smear, that’s his MO, and the MO of the many anonymous cowards who purvey such things without having any integrity or courage themselves.
Second, the simple fact is that I didn’t know about the association of the person making the claim that “Climate skepticism could soon be a criminal offence in UK
Third, when I learned who was behind the story, I immediately took it down because it was an inappropriate source, just like I don’t post videos from LaRouche and other fringe organizations.
Of course “dorlomin” and left foot forward would have you believe that I consort with these folks and have them over for drinks and dinner, 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.
“dorlomin” is of course playing the very hate game he rants about, and is hypocritically blind just like Romm. The only difference is that one is paid to produce propoganda and the other is a coward.
But will Climate Progress delete their offensive story about climate deniers and terrorists? Not likely, it would hurt their
sales figures image.
Note: multiple anti vote stuffing features are enabled in this poll. I’ve made the questions simple so that editorial bias in the questions is minimal.