Joe Bast responds to Dr. Judith Curry's post on Heartland

From Lucia’s blog, by Josh of course, click for story.

Joe Bast is responding to: Heartburn at Heartland Posted on May 24, 2012by Judith Curry

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Received via email:

Dr. Curry,

Thanks for reproducing in your recent post my account of the left’s attacks on our scientists and donors. It’s a story that isn’t getting nearly enough attention in the blogosphere. I’m disappointed, though, that you also reproduced, at length and even endorsed, the lies and distortions written about us by Suzanne Goldenberg. A simple call or email to me or Jim Lakely would have given us a chance to correct her many misstatements.

I won’t ask for a correction or apology, but please understand that …

(a) Concerning ICCC-7, we set a record for the number of cosponsors (60), 12 speakers asked to speak after only 2 withdrew, and the mood was decidedly upbeat. Opponents (including “Forecast the Facts” and Occupy Wall Street) promised to disrupt the conference and failed utterly – fewer than 50 people showed up for their rallies. Those who did show up wore boots on their heads and refused Christopher Monckton’s invitation to debate.

(b) You didn’t see many new faces on the program because 50 warmists invited to speak refused to show up, and we had set aside space on the program for them. I’ve said after nearly every conference since the 3rd one that “this is probably our last conference,” and I’ve made a fundraising pitch, because the ICCCs are expensive and I suspect they are subject to the law of diminishing returns, but we keep doing them due to popular demand. Stay tuned for news about ICCC-8.

(c) Concerning Heartland’s financial health, we’ve raised more money since the Fakegate incident than in the previous 11 months, and are on track to double our income this year. We’ve doubled the number of current donors since February. With only one exception so far, the donors we’ve lost either didn’t give in 2011 (or even in 2010) or have agreed to fund spin-off organizations we are creating, such as the R Street Institute, so the result is no net loss of our effectiveness, and actually an increase.

(d) The campaign against our directors and donors being conducted by “Forecast the Facts,” 350.org, and Greenpeace – not by “anonymous individuals” as you strangely suggest – in fact is unprecedented because it could not have occurred had not Peter Gleick stolen and revealed our donor list. But we are obviously well on our way to building a new and much larger donor base that is “Greenpeace proof.”

(e) Our PR response to Fakegate has been called “brilliant” even by the folks at DesmogBlog. History will record it as another major scandal that helped bring down the man-made global warming movement. But the MSM and environmental groups doubled down on their strategic mistake, understanding that the only way to prevent Fakegate from “becoming another Climategate” is to take down Heartland and its network of scientists and donors. Their tactics compelled us to match their intensity.

(f) I am not surprised or disappointed that you and other bloggers disapprove of our tactics. It is simply not your role in the controversy to be aggressive or controversial. But it is ours.

(g) The billboard, which cost $200, generated more than $5 million in earned media so far, and that figure doesn’t include television, radio, and tens of millions of page visits and online commentaries. Was the MSM coverage overwhelmingly negative? Of course. How could it be otherwise? There has been no positive coverage of skeptics since Fakegate broke, none at all, and reporters have made it clear that they will not report the debate fairly, so there is no longer any point in trying to appeal to their ethics or honesty. Thanks to the billboard, 37 million Americans now know that the debate over climate change continues.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Jim Lakely if you have questions or suggestions.

Joe

Joseph Bast

President

The Heartland Institute

One South Wacker Drive #2740

Chicago, IL 60606

Web site http://www.heartland.org

Support The Heartland Institute today!

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FYI, I can back up point (b) from personal experience, he said the same thing last year. Also I’ve seen the list of people invited who declined to join the debate. You’d think that if we were as wrong and as stupid as they claim, it would be easy to just show up and slaughter us intellectually, but for some reason they don’t want to even try. – Anthony

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Kurt in Switzerland

Thank you for posting this, Andy (and Judith Curry).
But the Billboard with the Unabomber was a mistake. Utterly tasteless. Accomplishes nothing besides further polarizing. Is that what you want? Really?
It would be far better to focus on the apparent unwillingness of the AGW movement to agree to a debate.
Kurt in Switzerland

Good for you.
I’m afraid that even Judith Curry will not be able to change the facts,
which will become apparent soon
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here

better get yourself an extra cloak..

Judith Curry must be feeling a lot of pressure to return to the dark side as the AR5 propaganda is spewing out.

GoodBusiness

NICE POLITE ANSWER MR. BAST, YOU DID YOURSELF PROUD – Keep fighting for all of us that desire good fact based science on all items before we destroy our economic base in America like the EPA – Endangered Species Act did with our raw material through value added manufacturing sector. Cutting 5 million blue collar middle class manufacturing and mining jobs.

Latitude

“Thanks to the billboard, 37 million Americans now know that the debate over climate change continues.”
….and that’s all folks
Thanks Joe!

D. J. Hawkins

Kurt in Switzerland says:
May 25, 2012 at 9:46 am
Thank you for posting this, Andy (and Judith Curry).
But the Billboard with the Unabomber was a mistake. Utterly tasteless. Accomplishes nothing besides further polarizing. Is that what you want? Really?
It would be far better to focus on the apparent unwillingness of the AGW movement to agree to a debate.
Kurt in Switzerland

So, $5 million in earned media is “nothing”? Besides, when the other side is engaging in trench warfare, it’s time to ditch the Marquess of Queensbury rules.

I got a response from the press complaints commission in the UK about Suzanne Goldberg’s latest piece:
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/suzanne-goldberg-guardian-journalist-tells-lies-about-fake-gate-and-the-heartland-billboard/

I hadn’t seen Judith’s post. I can’t imagine what was going through her head to think that CAGW info in The Guardian (of all places) was factual.

Luther Wu

Kurt in Switzerland says:
May 25, 2012 at 9:46 am
Thank you for posting this, Andy (and Judith Curry).
But the Billboard with the Unabomber was a mistake. Utterly tasteless. Accomplishes nothing besides further polarizing. Is that what you want? Really?
It would be far better to focus on the apparent unwillingness of the AGW movement to agree to a debate.
Kurt in Switzerland
______________________
Not nearly as tasteless and polarizing as a billboard featuring All Gore…
Is the debate not already polarized?
There’s more than one way to flush out a Burner Brownshirt.

Kurt in Switzerland

Latitude:
More like this, “Thanks to Peter Gleick’s misguided zealotry and subsequent fall from grace, Heartland had a unique opportunity to capitalize on public consternation and indeed sympathy. Sorry, the 37 m Americans were already watching from February onwards! Unfortunately, this potential for a continued outpouring of good will was squandered by running a tasteless ad campaign comparing proponents of AGW with the Unabomber.”
Good that Bast pulled the billboard after a day, and understandable that he was caught up into the fistfight in the first place. Too bad he doesn’t just leave well enough alone and write it off as poor judgement in the heat of battle.
Two wrongs really do not make a right.
Kurt in Switzerland

If the billboard’s ‘message’ would have been headlined [i.e.] with:
”We don’t do ads like this:…”, there would certainly been mostly/only positive reactions…
Go figure… 😉
Brgds
//TJ

Curiousgeorge

This is one of the reasons they have changed the topic – again. Climate change and it’s predecessors have been thrown under the bus and replaced with saving species. This will be the theme for Rio+20. Obama just made note of it also.
Apparently some of the better known skeptic’s will be “Occupying” the festivities. Should be fun. 😉
UN says case for saving species ‘more powerful than climate change’
http://www.climatedepot.com/a/16005/Time-for-Next-EcoScare-Obama-follows-lead-of-green-movement-and-demotes-global-warming-UN-now-says-case-for-saving-species-more-powerful-than-climate-change

@Kurt no it wasn’t, it was an excellent idea! More please Heartland!
If it makes one person wake up to this scam, to see that we are killing the future of humans on this planet due to disastrous laws banning something that actually feeds us then it is well worth it! We now cannot afford to be polite and nice anymore, they have been pushing and pushing this nonsense for too long… we need to start to fight fire with fire and show those that don’t know, or don’t care, just how important it is that we halt this now!
Energy Bills are being based on this rubbish as we speak, we no longer have time to sit back and be nice!
‘The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.’ – Albert Einstein

Curry has finally got off the fence and nailed her colours to the mast. Personally, I’m not too surprised at what they were …
Pointman

Kurt: “But the Billboard with the Unabomber was a mistake. ”
No. It was accurate. There are very, very crazy people supporting AGW at the very top.
“David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change.”
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=290513
Humans are maggots.

More or less crazy than the Unabomber Kurt?

“Accomplishes nothing besides further polarizing. Is that what you want? Really?”
(ignoring the $5 million in earned media, and DJ Hawkins pointed out)
Yes, actually. This is now a binary political fight – there is no middle ground anymore, there is no hope of achieving any kind of “consensus” with our opponents. There is only the sorting of the two opposing sides and then the fight to see who wins, and who loses. That’s what this game is about now.
I see you’re Swiss, it’s kind of like what the EU has to decide right now – they either have to start up the Euro printing presses to bail all the debtors out and keep Greece in, or they have to defend the currency and throw Greece out. The middle ground is gone, there is no “3rd way” in between those two very hard choices. It’s either / or, and all the wishing in the world won’t change that.
We are in a fight where one side is right, and one side is wrong. That’s where the polarization comes from.

pokerguy

I’m a big fan of Dr. Curry and was quite surprised to see her treat The Guardian and DeSmogBlog as credible sources on her blog, I’ve got to say as a possible defense, I’m not sure she even realized how partisan they are. There’s almost a kind of naivete about her. In any case, I’m glad to read your post Joe B.. I do think you guys made a mistake with the billboard, but it wasn’t fatal by any means. Keep up the good work. In fact, I plan on making a modest contribution in the next few days….

Spartacusisfree

Have you not heard of gumboot diplomacy?

Kurt in Switzerland

DJ Hawkins: if “$5M in earned media” means the same to you whether that “earned media” is net negative or net positive, then you have a point. But Bast’s Billboard gave the likes of the Guardian’s Goldenberg the opportunity to portray Heartland as a lowlife organization, about to be abandoned by corporate interests. Good that he set the record straight for readers of Judith Curry’s post (as well as those on WUWT), but don’t expect the MSM to correct any misrepresentations.
My advice for Joe Bast: focus on the science and remain civil, while reminding those sitting on the fence about the unwillingness of the AGW movement to debate.
Kurt in Switzerland

Bill Parsons

Thanks to the billboard, 37 million Americans now know that the debate over climate change continues.

In his speech to Heartland, Czech President Vaclav Klaus points out that the warmists have recently toned down their strident attacks, pronouncements and catastrophic predictions. For good reason, he therefore, thanks Heartland

…for keeping the global warming issue alive. This is an important achievement in a moment when it has already become half-forgotten. It has not happened accidentally, it was and is planned. It is a part of a carefully prepared tactic of global warming alarmists how to – once and for all – win their case. In the past two decades, they tried to do the opposite. They wanted to be as loud as possible to arouse our fears, now – when the whole issue becomes more and more suspicious – it is in their interest to stop any public discussion. This is the reason why they try to pretend that “the science is settled”, that the debate is over. We should not let them do it.

In my opinion, the billboard did a service, and should be redeployed at some point prior to the presidential election. The issue is of course divisive, but as Bast observes, the delicate sensibilities of warmists are not a top priority right now. More important is getting rid of Obama and the highly destructive policies of global warming that he has endorsed. Obama should be forced to reiterate his positions on green energy, and on the money he’s gambled – and lost – on renewables. The billboard just flushd them out of hiding.

ilma630

No doubt the pro-CAGW protagonists will now try to attack heartland based on the “massive big-oil funding of $5m”. Let them, screech and wail, but good to see the work growing in strength an vigor.
As for “aggressive”, facts don’t need to be aggressive. Assertive, maybe. A strength is to underplay the aggression, and present a calm, composed and rational persona as demonstrated by Lord Monckton’s numerous examples. Being calm, unruffled and sticking to the data-based facts is more likely to upset the doom-sayers than anything. The more you doggedly stick to the data & facts, the more intense and angry they become trying to deflect you away from it with red herrings, ad hominem attacks, appeals to (false) authority, etc. etc. because they can’t answer. You just have to stick with it. Also, focus on the people who suffer from their policies, as they will focus on Gaia, i.e. it is the earth that serves man, and not man the earth, as this is where the assertiveness can reap rewards. Push the questions on suffering back on them, pick a few core examples, cheap electricity to enable mass improvments and develop sustainable businesses for example, and keep probing, probing, probing.
As for the MSM, just bypass them. Use all the internet tools and channels available against which they have no defence. If billboards, then fine, go for it.
I just wish I could have been at ICCC-7, but maybe next year.

I support WUWT and Heartland financially. Just those two. For their size and shoestring budgets, they are David to the mainstream’s Goliath. So I put my money where it will get the most bang for the buck.
• • •
[Also, I attended the Conference and picked up some “Peter Gleick/Fakegate” and Heartland’s “Don’t Tread On Me” T-shirts. If anyone would like one, send your name & mailing address to my throwaway email acount: themistocles2010-2020 at yahoo.com. State your size. Offer good until my supply runs out.]

woodNfish

“reporters have made it clear that they will not report the debate fairly, so there is no longer any point in trying to appeal to their ethics or honesty. Thanks to the billboard, 37 million Americans now know that the debate over climate change continues.”
It is good to know that Joe Bast is not wearing blinders as so many skeptics do. I am very happy to learn how successful the billboard was and I hope Heartland will do the rest of them. Please put one on Rt. in New Hampshire just north of the MA border Joe.

BargHumer

A good response, and I wish Heartland well. Thanks for the online presentations.
The end does not justify the means re: the billboard saga. It seems like it was a knee jerk reaction that was out of character, though it was understandable under the circumstances. I hope lessons will be learned from it rather than just taking an arrogant “it was right” kind of stand. It takes a long time to build up credibility and only one second to lose it.

GeoLurking

Not that it matters that much, but I also believe the billboard to be highly accurate and appropriate.
When you are dealing with religious zealots determined to destroy society at any costs, they have to be met with at least the same level of effort. To do anything less strengthens their resolve and is seen as a self justification.
Nah… That billboard was right on the mark.

Jeff

wws, Switzerland is in Europe, but not in the European Union (probably a good move on their part). Unfortunately, the (unelected) folks in Brussels will probably find a third way, even if
it’s just waiting things out….
The sad part about the billboard is that the point was valid, but the people it was aimed at
are probably a little too thick to get it (considering that they have their wagons circled
around “consensus”)…

Like Anthony, I remember Joe Bast saying “this might be the last ICCC” at Washington last year. Anthony and I might have been at the same table. IIRC, Bast went on to note he would be spending a lot of the July 4th holiday talking to donors and others for money to pay the bills for that conference. He also noted they knew it would be a money losing proposition from the outset and that they kept the registration fee low to help keep attendance high.
He also wondered if there was as much of a need for future ICCCs, as the previous ones did a good job of getting skeptical scientists together (see Bill Gray’s essay about Heartland wherever it is), and providing interested media a chance to learn about the other side of the issues.
I didn’t make it this one, in part because I’ve learned a lot from the two I’ve attended and in part due to schedule conflicts. However, I’m glad to hear there might be an ICCC-8.

Noelene

I wondered at the stupidity of the global warmer supporters when they drew so much attention to the billboard. Didn’t they realise how much free publicity they were giving Heartland?
No doubt the tactic worked.
Parody of Churchill quote,coined by Anthony Eden:
“Never has so much been surrendered by so many, to so few.”
It’s amazing to think how much people have given up, or had taken from them in the name of climate change.
Personally I think the war has already been lost, and I am not talking about climate change.

cui bono

“Thanks to the billboard, 37 million Americans now know that the debate over climate change continues.”
Mm. Perhaps those of us outside the US are not as familiar (yet) with the concept of successful negative attack ads. I just thought the billboard stank, and was a gift to the warmistas. Sorry, Mr Bast.
One caustic, funny witticism can do more damage than a hundred snarky attacks. See Josh for examples.
And why have you replied to Dr. Curry by email here, and not directly on her blog?

Steve Oak

“If you look at the peer reviewed scientific literature, the debate is over.” Al Gore
The AGW proponents have long since left behind the possibility of engaging in intelligent consideration of scientific data.
“War is merely the continuation of policy by other means.” Carl von Clausewitz

EternalOptimist

Well done joe
I didn’t like the billboard, it was a bit naff and I thought it would alienate the ‘newly curious’
which is a crucial battlefield in my opinion.
Judiths post was worrying, but this response here is excellent.
well done , and good luck mate

jaypan

Judith Curry’s article is very disappointing, and Joe Bast’s response is a right.
I have not been disappointed about the billboard. It is a political battle and the other side tries as hard as they can. By showing simple facts in dramatic pictures, we do not fabricate anything, what is not true. When they scream, something was done the right way. Ross McKittrick should reconsider …

EternalOptimist

…continued
And HOW is one supposed to have a rational debate with an opponent who has a boot on their head ? We are more used to debating catastrophists who wear tin-foil helmets, or biscuit tins at least

Claude Harvey

“The billboard, which cost $200, generated more than $5 million in earned media so far, and that figure doesn’t include television, radio, and tens of millions of page visits and online commentaries.”
That billboard shocked many because it signaled that Heartland had allowed itself to be dragged into an advocacy mud pond. Once you’re in that pond, you can forget about regaining an image of “high minded seekers of truth for its own sake” and attracting those who abhor mud. When a $5 million return on a $200 investment becomes your sole standard of judgement, better get accustomed to the color “brown”.

Noelene

Kurt in Switzerland
Just between you and me,I think it’s gone way beyond the science.

Kasuha

I must say, however I didn’t like the Heartland billboard, they are right – there’s little point to be trying to be fair in a debate if the other side isn’t playing fair too. And it definitely got attention.
But I still don’t like it.

edcaryl

At first I agreed with Anthony that the billboard was in bad taste, but I have since changed my mind. The warmists really need to take a hard look in the mirror. Why do they not want to engage In a public debate? Because they know they cannot defend their position. It is as simple as that!

just some guy

Here’s a funny video of the guy with the boot on his head.

dave38

Spartacusisfree says:
May 25, 2012 at 10:33 am
Have you not heard of gumboot diplomacy?
now i have to clean coffee of my laptop keyboard and screen!

You know, I understand the upset and anger from the skeptics over the Unabomber ad. I sympathize with your position. It seems to lower us to the level of the AGW propagandists. It’s a fair concern. And one not to be dismissed lightly.
But I think it ended up being a brilliant propaganda move for our side. It was run for one day, right? And Heartland explained very clearly afterwards what the intent was. What the point was. And I think they made their point. Fabulously.
Has Heartland received a lot of negative press? Yup. Are they being branded as extremists and “haters”? Yup.
But how is that any different than what has already been happening over the last few years? Did the ad really make things any worse?
The world is filled with people looking for a reason to be upset. Filled with people looking for a reason to be outraged. Filled with people who absolutely know that they are our betters, and are willing, at the drop of the rhetorical hat, to let everyone know that blindingly obvious fact. Filled with people who are willing to use character assassination, legal loopholes, and outright theft to advance their “greater good.” Particularly the self-appointed guardians of Gaia. And their self-awareness and sense of irony is so profoundly lacking as to be non-existent.
Which was really the point of the ad. We have been demonized for years by these jackasses. Years. Our reputations have been trashed; our careers jeopardized; our families threatened; etc. We have been the butt of horrible jokes. We have been compared to Hitler, rapists, child murderers….
The Unabomber ad was a shot across the bow. Enough is enough. We have to start fighting fire with fire. Does that mean breaking the law, as they have managed to do on numerous occasions? No. Does it mean lying? Absolutely not. But it does mean, among other things, fighting the propaganda war that they started in a way that is effective. To “hit back twice as hard”, to quote one of their icons.
It’s time to shove their sh*t back in their faces. We are at war. AGW is just one of the fronts. But it is a critical one, as it involves so many huge international governmental agencies that would love nothing more than to collect yet more money and power to exert over all of our lives. The perfect vehicles through which the nannyists can accumulate more control.
Sorry for the rant. I hope you leave it up, Anthony. I think this is important, and needs to be said.
Repeatedly. We have to fight back. We have to be ruthless.

Nerd

I’m kinda shocked to see that Dr. Curry used Guardian and DeSmogBlog as sources. Does she even know anything about them?

Rhoda R

Noelene, after reading about Biffra’s Yamal data manipulations, I have to say that I don’t think it ever was about science.

jaschrumpf

When I was involved in the Creation – Evolution wars , we never ducked a chance to debate the C-ists. For good science to prevail one has to be willing to cover the same ground over and over again, like a teacher. It’s the only way to make sure the lesson sticks.

Rhoda R

nukemhill: Standing Ovation!

Mac the Knife

Kurt in Switzerland says:
May 25, 2012 at 10:37 am
“……..My advice for Joe Bast: focus on the science and remain civil, while reminding those sitting on the fence about the unwillingness of the AGW movement to debate.” Kurt in Switzerland
Kurt,
Have you provided any financial support to Heartland?
MtK

Shevva

You can’t really blame Dr Curry she does hang out in one of the most biased parts of US society, Academia.
Shame she did not have 2 minutes to send an e-mail though.

Vince Causey

Well, I have just changed my position. I said at the outset that the poster was a bad idea, would do more harm and opened the skeptics to ridicule. But Joe is saying it’s not about trying to win an argument – it’s about showing the world that the argument is still going on. People are still fighting, and where there is fighting, the public want to learn more.

Mac the Knife

nukemhill says:
May 25, 2012 at 11:39 am
“…….Which was really the point of the ad. We have been demonized for years by these jackasses. Years. Our reputations have been trashed; our careers jeopardized; our families threatened; etc. We have been the butt of horrible jokes. We have been compared to Hitler, rapists, child murderers….”
nukemhill,
Well said, Sir!
‘ I’m mad as hell… and I’m not going to take it any more!’
Does that about sum it up?
MtK

Mac the Knife

Mr. Joe Bast,
Thank You, Sir! Your response was eloquent, yet unambiguously direct. Well Done!
MtK

Kev-in-UK

Personally, I think Dr Curry is a little too ambiguous or non-commital with her stance. Obviously, there is probably a case for not wanting to bite the hand that feeds her (?) – but even so, I’d like to think any real scientist would rather starve (metaphorically speaking) than have their name attached to false or bad science. If we stick to straightforward scientific proof (of CAGW I mean) there should be no scientists on the alarmist side! Ok, the ‘fencesitters’ are perhaps more acceptable, as ‘some’ AGW is always possible BUT it is exactly these folks who should be shouting the loudest – instead of sitting in the wings with their heads down! It is ‘science’ that is being abused in the CAGW scam. For my money, anyone directly involved with perpetuating the scam should be dishonoured – for example, any scientist who has published works using the known sham data like Briffa’s Yamal stuff – they are a disgrace for NOT checking sources, etc, etc..
just sayin……