Heartland's Billboards and Joe Romm's stunning hypocrisy

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 04, 2012

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 jlakely@heartland.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.”.


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:

Heartland Institute launches campaign linking terrorism, murder, and global warming belief – Capital Weather Gang – The Washington Post

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.

Twitter / @eilperin: In new ads, the Heartland …

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.

Ugh. Ugly.

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:

dorlomin says:

Is this a good time to remind everyone of when Watts was posting the UK neonazi party, the BNPs, opinions on climate change?

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.


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John W

Bad move by Heartland. Now it makes them look like they are playing climate games. Stick to the facts and science!


OH heartland, what have you done ?
It’s like a friend who gets drunk at a party and pukes on the hostesses dress.
He’s still a friend , but …….


What were Heartand thinking of ? Can someone ask them? This is in very poor taste irrespective of what the ‘other’ side does..


“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.”
I’m so relieved to read this. I couldn’t agree more. This is just an awful idea, poorly conceived and guaranteed to do nothing but inflame. It doesn’t even make any sense…


Aww. That’s really nice of them… not.


This is a foolish choice by Heartland. It reduces their seriousness in my eyes, and I am a donor to Heartland. I urge them to end this immediately.
As to Romm’s hypocrisy- what else is new? Romm has never not been a loud mouthed jerk or a hypocrite.


Wait a min…………….
I was told that Heartland was a highly skilled and highly paid…..
…oh nevermind

Paul Westhaver

Glad to see that Romm circulated the billboard advertisement equating warmists to criminals. [snip] They lie about the climate. They commit science fraud. (Peter Gleick, Michael Mann, Phil Jones…)
Good on Romm for letting the other world…. his world…..look in the mirror for a few seconds…. hypocritical though it may be.


Are we sure gleick didn’t do a few more things on the side, while he was posing as a member of the board?
All joking aside, someone at Heartland made a serious mistake. The warmists are doing all they can to scrub their own extreme idiocies, re: ‘No pressure,’ from the internet, but they will hang onto this one tooth, appell and nail.

Osama believed in AGW – and he blamed AGW on the US:
…causing ZT to divine Osama’s urban heat island effected hiding place: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/29/strange-but-true-bin-laden-on-global-warming/#comment-303133
…but as yet no reward paid to ZT 🙁


I think this is really stupid they should withdraw it immediately. The alarmist will be jumping all over it it amazes me.

Ethically Civil

Sorry. That’s just unwise and sophomoric. The fact that Torquemada believed in God doesn’t impeach the work of Billy Graham or Mother Theresa.


Sad to see Heartland has sunk to Romm’s level. This is the sort of thing that almost justifies Gleick’s actions. I do hope Heartland, despite their frustrations, will get back to sound science.


I was going to make a donation myself, but this is just so poorly done it makes me wonder if they’re to be trusted. Jesus. We’re getting to be no better than the other side. I feel sick.

David, UK

Focussing on the Heartland’s billboard itself: I can’t understand the thinking behind this. Heartland have had the indisputable moral upper hand ever since Fakegate (and long before that in the eyes of many of us). And then they go and do this? I mean! Gleick would have happily faked up a story like this. Talk about own goal.


I come across dorlomin quite a bit on the Grauniad`s CiF page. He is, indeed, a coward.


BIG mistake by Heartland, just plain stupid. I hope that tank has not run out of ‘think’ because up ’til now I had a lot of respect for them. The pro/anti AGW ‘debate’ is getting crazier and I would love to know what muppet thought billboards like that were a good idea.


Add another vote to the ‘really dumb idea’ column…

Shouldn’t the ‘full up’ Warmista’s (Hot-stas?) know who they have ‘driven’ (read that ‘influenced’) with their CAGW drivel (Hansen and his coal ‘death’ trains for instance) over the years?
(I think HI may have just done that …)
BTW, for anyone still interested at this point, here is their rational: http://climateconference.heartland.org/our-billboards/


Thankyou for writing this paragraph;
“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.”
The issues pertinent to any PR campaign are
Is it true?
Is it effective?
Don’t run the campaign if the answer to either question is ‘No’.
This Heartland Institute campaign is ‘true’ because it is factually accurate, but it is unlikely to be effective because its extremism is not likely to interest the uncommitted. Indeed, the campaign’s extremism is likely to repel the uncommitted (as the AGW-alarmist ‘red button’ video repelled all except the alarmists).
It is foolish to spend money on a campaign which is likely to have the opposite effect to that which is intended/desired.


Heartland have behaved like a bunch of poisonous clowns on this one. The first time I heard of them was on CiF when the Grauniad were tripping over each other to be the first one to shoot themselves in the foot over Gleickgate.

Bill Illis

Its just in poor taste and it is also irrelevant who believes or doesn’t believe in global warming.

John West

I think billboards of astronauts saying something like:
“Global Warming? Probably.”
“Man’s Fault? Doubtful. “
“Catastrophic? NOT.”
Would be better.

Don Keiller



A dumb move, but funny in a, we can be just as crass and stupid as you, type of way…


I still support their broad goals, but Heartland just blew the advantage they gained form Gleick’s scam.
I told the Heartland people I know exactly this in no uncertain terms. I urged them to take these billboards down, NOW, and to apologize for lowering themselves to the same level as Romm, gleick, 10:10, gore, hanse, Mann, ettc.
Sadly they make a good point about terrorists and tyrants, but they are way past inflammatory and prejudicial. And this reduces the sympathy they deserve for what Gleick (and pals) did to Heartland. this could hurt them financially more than what gleick could have dreamed of in his fakegate.

Brad R

“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. ”
Thanks for saying this; I agree. The last thing you want to do, when you have the moral high ground, is to give it up. Sure, the alarmists are in no position to complain, what with “deniers” and all…but now *we* are in no position to complain about *their* invidious comparisons. A bad move by Heartland, on many levels.


If those of us who are interested in preventing the Marxists from destroying civilization “stick with the science” we will loose. Exposing the true nature of the greenies is the only weapon we have. Hopefully the very few who’s brains are still capable of some function will see that they are nothing but tools of evil people out to enslave mankind.


Heartland’s justification for this ill-conceived direction can be found here:


Wrong approach. The public needs real information, not a list of the nuts that support CAGW. Give them some comforting facts.

Doesn’t it make you want to get out your checkbook and send more money to the Heartland stinktank? Science by political consesus = Mutual-inter-assumptive confabulation.
Who gives a rip who believes it or not? That’s not science, but religion. The important questions should be who’s doing real science? And what have they found that can be proven?

Michael F

Argh. After actually doing a lot of good by giving a platform for open debate, how could Heartland do something this foolish? Irrelevant to the debate (which we have long tried to keep focused on the science), foolish in its presentation and all around damaging to what they claim they support.
I would really like to hear what committee thought this was a good idea or who greenlighted this. They let the Poli Sci majors out the bar again it looks like.


Politicaly correct, isn’t always right. I believe Heartland has a point, global warming is the belief of mademenn and human haters.


Heartland you had it made with fakegate, and now with cagw crowd having a much bigger pr, you guys blew it bigtime.

I’m sure there are equally odious people who are skeptics on CAGW. But this would be equally irrelevant to the issue.
HI has jumped the shark on this one.


LOL – what makes any of you holy people think science decides the issue? Out here its all about propaganda and as any good strategists will tell you once the war is joined then all the fancy science has fallen to AGW propaganda as if it didn’t exist. Ask the Nazis how propaganda works or the communists – masters of propaganda all. There’s nothing pure about AGW, never was. And if we’re going to play with the big boys then get down in the trenches. Trillions of dollars spend by governments world wide wasn’t based on hard science – that was based on a long campaign of leftist newspaper, television, government paid lobbyists and climate “scientists” who played the propaganda game better than any of us.


Heartland aims, shoots…and hits itself in both feet.
This is incredible; they were winning by being squeaky clean and above the alarmist fray. Someone with clout tell them to remove it immediately with a big hands up and an admission that it was thoroughly ill conceived.


Just so shallow and down in the gutter, no different to pop stars appearing at politicians conventions or the argument it’s true because there is a “consensus”.

just dumb… utterly polarising (just preaching to very extreme members of the sceptic tribe)
very very dumb
(like 10:10) how could the not predict how it would be perceived and used.. Peter Gleick becomes a hero. Michael Mann, gets to say I told you so about Heartland, twitter frenzy about this about, a) how dumb Heartland are do this, b) this is what sceptics are like..
If Heartland are watching, pull it down now, and apologise, without reservation to ALL the sceptics (and everyone else) for doing something so dumb. Did they not see this is what Romm did with the Norwegian Killer..
Have I said it alllready..
I’ll say it again, dumb, offensive and polarising. Utterly counterproductive


Great, this garbage today and the ” connect the dots ” 350.org garbage tomorrow 🙁


Anonymous posting is not cowardly. That would be like saying that soldiers are cowardly because they wear camoflage. There was a time when it was actually considered cowardly to take off your red coat and put on camoflage. It was thought that a brave man didn’t hide, he stood up tall out in the open on the battlefield, instead of hiding behind a rock. But then people realized that if your goal is to protect your life and your freedom, you have no responsibility to make it easy for the bad guys to kill you. If you don’t care about proving your bravery, particularly because going into battle at all is proof enough, even with camoflage, then you are more likely to accomplish your goal with camoflage.
When posting about a controversial subject, anonymity gives some protection against retaliation. Valuing protection is not cowardice any more than camoflage is. It is just good sense. You wear a seatbelt, not because you’re scared or cowardly, but because it gives some protection.
On the other hand, if you are going to make slanderous factual assertions not based on the public record, or certain other nasty behaviors, then it may be appropriate for people to know who you really are so you can be held accountable .


I think the idea of billboards is great. We NEED to get the attention of the masses.However, I agree that a billboards more like John West proposed would be better. It seems most of the oblivious “sheep” out there have lost interest in global warming and they need to be re-engaged. The Obama administration, thru the EPA, contrary to what most people think, is still aggressively instituting the global warming agenda and it needs to be reversed. If we want an America that is still a world power and a leader in technology development we have to reverse course. We definitely need to get the majority of the people to wake up to what is happening and billboards would be a great way to bring it back to the forefront.


As a member of the English Defence League I know what it’s like to be smeared with the same brush as Anders Breivick because of a tenuous connection. I wonder if Wikipedia and Medal of Honor, which Breivick also cited, will receive the same treatment? Personally I think not.

It is not the way for science and or a civilized society to move forward.


Stunningly stupid.

Luther Bl't

IMO the UNO/Warmistas are guilty of institutional racism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism – “Institutional racism is the differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society.”
Now consider the Rio 1992, UNFCCC, and Kyoto Protocol – due to (a) the risk of CAGW, (b) the Precautionary Principle means that (c) only ‘carbon neutral’ sustainable development is to be allowed in the future, so (d) currently rich nations must curb further growth by (e) replacing traditional energy sources with ‘renewable’ energy, and they must also (f) levy ‘carbon’ taxes on their citizens to be transferred (g) via the UNO and subject to a ‘handling charge’ to (h) poor nations as compensation for the lack of goods, service, and opportunities – that is to say, the institutional racism – which they will have to endure in the future in order to be compliant.
Find a ‘watermelon’, and observe the reaction to this argument.


I see the warmists are howling with rage, they obviously are the type of people who can dish it out but not take it…

Jay P

It’s the true face of Climate Skepticism folks. You make make your bed, you gotta sleep in it.


BIG mistake Heartland, take them down and apologise

[snip. You know why. ~dbs, mod.]