Mark Hertsgaard is Back. Again. “Covering Climate Now.”

Reposted from The Gelbspan Files

Similar to the February 2015 resurgence of Kert Davies, a long-time promulgator of the ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists’ accusation, enviro-activist writer Mark Hertsgaard has returned in zombie-like fashion, once again illustrating his very old one-trick pony narrative about ‘Big Oil financing a disinformation campaign to undercut the certainty of man-caused global warming.’

Let me first set up how the resurgence of Hertsgaard pertains less to the global warming issue and much more to the decline of objective, fact-based news reporting in recent years: To document the sheer overall bias of the PBS NewsHour on the global warming issue, I’ve been copying their online transcript links / key words of their global warming discussions and their significant mentions of the topic into my mega-file collection. Their September 18, 2019 discussion about rising temperatures affecting lobster industry included the following striking declaration:

It is part our series on the Leading edge of Science and our contribution to Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 300 news outlets to enhance coverage of the climate story.

Naturally, the NewsHour can’t be on any ‘leading edge’ of climate science if they ignore the existence of science-based opposition to ‘settled conclusions’ about man-caused catastrophic global warming. Problematic as that already is for their journalistic credibility, now they were compounding it by joining in with whatever this new “Covering Climate Now” collaboration was. Considering how there’s been increasing accusations about fossil fuel industry-orchestrated propaganda activity from far-left environmentalists, and how it’s increasingly obvious that accusations from the far-left are psychological projections of the activity they apparently engage in, I simply dismissed this declaration as likely being an effort to feed outright propaganda talking points on ‘settled climate science’ / ‘industry-bought skeptics’ to mainstream media news outlets like the NewsHour.

But I didn’t look into who was running “Covering Climate Now.”

That small mystery for me was cleared up on when I read WUWT’s November 20, 2019 reproduction of a Daily Caller article about “Covering Climate Now.” Surprise, surprise, its co-founder is Mark Hertsgaard.

That Mark Hertsgaard, the 1997 New York Times book reviewer of Ross Gelbspan’s “The Heat is On,” where he managed to include — within one sentence of each other — both the false accolade about Gelbspan being a Pulitzer winner, and the false claim that Gelbspan unearthed the “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” ‘leaked strategy memo’ phrase (which subsequently became so widely spread as evidence of skeptic climate scientists engaging in a pay-for-performance disinformation conspiracy  arrangement with fossil fuel executives that it’s currently used in global warming lawsuits …. but hold that thought for a moment).

Investigators need only go straight to the Pulitzer organization itself to prove that Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer.

Investigators need only go straight to Hertsgaard’s April 22, 2019 Columbia Journalism Review announcement about the formation of Covering Climate Now to see how Hertsgaard himself disproved his own old assertion (and Al Gore’s, for that matter) about Gelbspan being the first to expose this so-called ‘leaked memo.’

Hertsgaard didn’t just mention that “reposition global warming” memo once, he did it twice, with Gelbspan’s name mentioned in between for good measure, but only regarding some ancillary tangent about where the focus of the scientific debate should be.

Strangely throwing Gelbspan even further under the bus about who first obtained that ‘leaked memo set’, Hertsgaard said the following in connection with his first mention of the strategy phrase:

… the fossil-fuel industry .. relied on the same public-relations strategies and tactics .. that Big Tobacco used. The goal was to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact),” in the words of a corporate planning document leaked to the Sierra Club.

That’s a massive problem. The 1991 NYT article was the only one to ever attribute the possession of that leaked memo set to the Sierra Club. As I detailed back in 2013, the Sierra Club has never trumpeted their role in this seemingly hypercritical documents revelation.

Who the initial recipient was for this alleged strategy / audience targeting leaked memo set becomes exponentially more troublesome when you see that Al Gore quotes the audience targeting part of the memos in his 1992 Earth in the Balance book and says the memos were leaked to his Senate office from the National Coal Association.

Most problematic for all who are enslaved to that strategy / audience targeting memo set: it was a rejected proposal for the 1991 Western Fuel Association “Information Council for the Environment” “(ICE)” public relations campaign; the strategy goal and targeting goal were never used and suggestions about ICE names were unsolicited and not followed. The set cannot therefore be usable as evidence proving any fossil fuel-orchestrated disinformation campaign existed, but that’s a whole other story.

In comically ironic fashion, “Merchants of Doubt” book author Naomi Oreskes declared in her October 29, 2019 Senate hearing appearance that fossil fuel interests employ “zombie denialism, in which old players and arguments reappear in new forms.”

Pure psychological projection on her part, inadvertently proven by the April-to-present reappearance of the otherwise circa 1997 / circa 2006 / circa 2013 old player Mark Hertsgaard.

No matter where anyone looks in this collective angle about the necessity to investigate and prosecute the fossil fuel industry for spreading disinformation, the narratives collapse, and it becomes ever more evident that the enviro-activists pushing this unsupportable accusation are the people who need to be investigated and potentially prosecuted.

But far more important than a call for that investigation, is a call into an investigation of the traditional mainstream media regarding why MSM journalists express no concern about myriad obvious faults with the blatantly false accusation ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists’ accusation, and why they express no concern about efforts disguised as journalism which are plainly a propaganda campaign playbook effort designed to reinforce the idea of ‘settled climate science’ and ‘industry-bought skeptics’ as an unquestioned, established news item.

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November 23, 2019 6:14 pm

Charles, I have a list of NGO’s income for 2018. Send me your email and I will send it to you. The numbers are staggering.


“Historical empathy is never a certainty and ahistoric fecklessness is never dead.”

Anonymous Heins

Joel O'Bryan
November 23, 2019 6:56 pm

As I wrote about on my last comment on “Covering Climate Now,” its website acknowledges a major (probably only) funding with this statement on theri About page:
‘Covering Climate Now is made possible by a generous grant from the Schumann Media Center.”

The Schumann Center MC has had a its President Bill Moyer snce 1990. If you know anything about Bill Myer is that he is about as Left-wing activist fake journalism as it comes. Moyer used to run a 1 hour segment on PBS every weeknight. It was so heavily biased that the Bush Jr Admin forced PBS to investigate his lack of balance. And Bill Moyer’s fingerprints are all over this Covering Climate Now fake journalism.

Thus stuff from Covering Climate Now is just more hack Leftist propaganda being funded by Old Money where Hard “hate America” Leftists were allowed to take over its governance after the original philanthropists were dead or senile. John Schumann, Sr would probably be quite upset if he’d seen how this is being run in his name. And his wife (Florence Ford) who outlived him, and was the real source of money (she was an IBM founder’s daughter and heiress.) turned it over to Commie Moyer a year before she died at age 99 in 1991. Commie Moyer is little more than a smooth-talking Con-man who connived an uber-rich elderly widow to gain access to her philanthropy.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 23, 2019 7:40 pm

Bill Moyers was President LBJ’s Press Secretary. The Wikipedia article on Bill Moyers (sorry I left off the s from his last name in the above comment) has this statement about Moyers and how Barry Goldwater, the Conservative Republican running against LBJ in 1964, felt about Moyers”

“[Press Secretary to LBJ] Moyers approved (but had nothing to do with the production) of the infamous “Daisy Ad” against Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential campaign.[13] Goldwater blamed him for it, and once said of Moyers, “Every time I see him, I get sick to my stomach and want to throw up.”[14] The ad is considered the starting point of the modern-day harshly negative campaign ad.[15]

As the 28 year long President of the Schumann Media Center and thus the guy writing the paychecks for Mark Hertsgaard, Bill Moyers track record is clearly now 5 decades of this kind of trash campaign journalism production against conservatives and anything the Left doesn’t like. For them it’s “Truth be damned.” Just like the smear of Barry Goldwater with the Daisy Ad in 1964, Moyer is the Face of modern smear journalism.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 23, 2019 7:52 pm

note: I forgot to include the “close blockquote” html code after the “[15]” above.
Everything after [15] are my opinions about Hertsgaard likely being Moyers’ paid mouthpiece, and not from the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Moyers. (Which you can find on your own if you can stomach reading about Moyers time at PBS as a hack, smear journalist.)

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 23, 2019 8:08 pm

I should also not that the Left/Democrats/Socialists are planning a similar ad campaign to the Daisy Ad against Trump next year.

Remember Obama’s 2008 infamous:
“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” bogus schtick line?

The pre-game Set-up being run by Democrats with Oreskes testimony and now Hertsgaard lies makes it clear where they are going with their coordinated smear and lies campaign for 2020.

Democrats, no matter who they nominate from that ridiculous candidate clown bus, will try this same kind of “Daisy Ad” against Trump next year. That is, to claim he is an existential threat to the planet because he ignores CC and he is in with the fossil fuel companies. That Democrat (whoever he/she is) will “heal the planet” (Obama like) if America is willing to sacrifice its Energy Dominance and put itself as a servant to UN globalism failure.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 24, 2019 7:54 am

“Bill Moyer”, “Bill Myer”, “Bill Moyers”

Love your comments, Joel, but please take a little time to proofread before hitting post.

November 23, 2019 7:58 pm

For them it’s “Truth be damned.”

What bothers me is that they must know they are liars, right? Anyone with a conscience knows when they are making it up, even telling a white lie, something sometimes necessary to not hurt feelings still causes that pinch of the lie that bothers self-respecting people. Do these people not have the same brain function common to most?

I’d like to get a brain scan of Oreskes, for example. Her brain cannot be normal. Probably the same for Moyers.

Reply to  BobM
November 24, 2019 2:38 am

It doesn’t matter that they know they are lying. It doesn’t even matter that people know that they are lying.

What matters is how people act.

I have seen reasonably well educated and intelligent people assure me that such and such a product is better than another, never having heard of either, and discovered that they had never bought it, but had seen it featured on TV adverts, which they had forgotten. Or never been consciously aware of.

Climate change activists, by continual drip feeding lies to the public have convinced them that climate change is ‘fact’.

To claim otherwise is to be as much subject to an inquisition as any atheist in the late middle ages.

This is the post modern, post truth world: lacking any real appreciation of the nature of real science and the grounds on which it asserts its correlation to truth, the average person today thinks that science is whatever people in white coats tell him it is.

Not whatever stands up to scrutiny.

The masses are simply there to absorb whatever narrative the ‘hidden persuaders’ advance, buy whatever products are this years ‘kool’ and vote for whoever represents the interests of big money best, whilst ensuring transfer from the people to the corporates, by legislation.

Vassalage is now re-introduced by means of debt. The banks own your life and your house and you take service win a big corporate to pay off your debt.

The Socialist State is just another corporation that takes your money and gives a little of it back to you in the form of services you never knew you didn’t want, and wouldn’t need if you had been allowed to keep the money in the first place. This increases a feeling of dependency and lack of ability to actually take responsibility for your own life. All your problems are ‘global’ ones that can only be addressed by ‘world government’. And all were created by white men, so the suicide rate of young white boys is mushrooming.

And who runs and funds all the academic ‘experts’? Big State.

This is the socialist – or the liberal – narrative. The narrative of slavery. The ‘democrats’ never got over losing their slaves.

The fact that they are in total cahoots with the big businesses they affect to despise, should come as no surprise: In the game of hearts and minds, truth doesn’t matter. In the words of Al Gore, the secret is to tell the most convenient lie.

Those who frequent these vaunted annals who are of the Christian persuasion see this as an assault on goodliness and Godliness akin to the Antichrist. It is. I myself do not ascribe to the Christian narrative, but it is clear that the assault is on every cultural meme that has stood the test of time – i.e. the normal nuclear heterosexual marriage, and the, to-date successful, arrangement of sexual politics. The morality that allowed a global civilization to emerge, by making it inappropriate to beat up on each other, except in formalised wars. The encouragement and the deification of Success, of Heroes and Heroines, who by dint of extreme moral fibre and dedication succeeded in whatever it was and encouraged a culture of self reliance and not meek acceptance, is being dismantled by an unerring narrative of sheep like and zombie like docility.

What suits the liberal Big Statist, and the big corporations, is a captive market of mindless consumers, who accept what they are told, buy what they are told to buy and work for whomsoever is prepared to tolerate their inalienable lack of initiative.

The problem is, of course, that such people cannot actually – even if they rise to high positions in the oligarchy of elitism – actually exercise discretion about the narrative that they are using to fool the masses since they themselves are almost completely fooled by it too.

The men behind the likes of Goldman Sachs, or indeed the likes of George Soros, are not scientists. Nor do they have access to unbiased scientists: They employ the scientists who, in order to keep their jobs, tell them what they want to hear. Masters of the Big Lie, they have forgotten that truth actually exists.

This is, in system analysis terms, an unstable system. If there is behind the web of marketing and deceit real truth out there somewhere, sooner or later’ like the cat in the Matrix, something discontinuous will appear and people will realise that there is a truth, and it is not the credo of cultural liberalism

The fact that you and I are here, is part of that process.

I can look back on living more or less in the same place for nearly 70 years. 70 years of the most rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels in human history.

And yet ex of what the climate change narrative tells me, the weather and the temperatures outside are precisely as grey, cold and miserable as they were when I was a boy.

The thermometers at the local US/RAF airbases tell me its 8°C. The Meteorological office tells me its 10°C. According to their ‘models’.

I almost wish that climate change were real, because if there is one thing I am certain of, it is that the powers that be would be so unable to rise to the challenge of ameliorating it that we would see them go down in ignominy, as the people selected a different elite to run the world.

WWII and the cold war made real science and real technology that worked, important. Out of WWII came the jet engine, radar, microelectronics, the computer, space flight and satellites, antibiotics..

…And also mass broadcasting of propaganda, metadata analysis, and so on. The success of Goebbels was noted, and George Orwell worked for the BBC…

So here we are.

Will the blanket of lies persist until Western civilisation is so docile and compliant that it commits suicide? Leaving the barbarians to wander in the ruins of pats glory?
Or will some major event shake the masses out of their complacency in a series of ’emperors new clothes’ moments?

One thing is fer sure. Climate Change isn’t about climate change. Don’t waste your time poring over the data.

The real game is voluntary cultural enslavement.

November 23, 2019 8:12 pm

By strange coincidence, the guy who started the Exxon knew and the oil industry’s funding of climate denial was also a Gelbspan.
Ross Gelbspan.
Pls see

Reply to  Chaamjamal
November 24, 2019 9:09 am

Not a coincidence, same guy.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
November 25, 2019 10:30 am

Yes, but I’d dispute that Gelbspan is the creator of the more famous recent “#ExxonKnew” efforts, I think it might be a collaborative effort involving the somewhat johnny-come-lately Naomi Oreskes and others surrounding her. Gelbspan’s involvement goes clean back to when it was more trendy to accuse the coal industry of climate disinformation.

November 23, 2019 8:34 pm

The basic far left premise seems to be that corporations are inherently and unavoidably evil, therefore anything a corporation can do is evil by definition. The list is staggering: eat organic and stick it to big food, use homeopathy and acupuncture etc to stick it to big pharma, anti-vaxxers are far left, anti-GMO is far left, anti-nuclear is far left… and this is just the tip of the iceberg. If it’s connected to a corporation, it’s evil. And when you have an entire generation of people schooled in the notion that they reflexively *know* that [pick any subject] is tainted because corporation — i.e. it’s received wisdom and agreed and understood that corporations are evil — then it probably becomes easier to float completely nonsensical accusations like “big oil” and “big coal” have been swaying the rubes in flyover country to do stupid stuff like heat their homes and run their tractors using “big energy’s” poisons [like gas or diesel.]

When hearing the big energy accusations I always wonder how else does one power a tractor? Unicorn tears? Clearly, rube farmers avoid unicorn tear stations and zero point tractor engines because big oil has swayed them to use internal combustion, the evil bastiges.

What I wrote sounds absurd, and I apologise for that. But then again the notion that “big oil is paying big $ to dispute climate change caused by their products” which leads us to buy gas etc is simply insane.

November 24, 2019 3:15 am

A glimpse of the “progressive green” mindset was revealed during the recent BBC “documentary” (propaganda) programme about Climategate. I think it was Gavin who said something like “Berkeley Earth was funded by the Koch brothers, who wanted a different answer”. It appears to be beyond the comprehension of The Consensus Priesthood that some people may just want an answer they can trust.

Reply to  climanrecon
November 24, 2019 6:11 am

IMO anyone who trusts Koch brother funded research, e.g., Berkley Earth, is naive. They simply represent the (crony) capitalist arm of the same beast that fabricates a slightly different framing in order to accomplish, essentially, the same agenda.

Bruce Cobb
November 24, 2019 4:25 am

The biggest threat of all to the Climate Liars and the Big Clime Syndicate is of course, the truth. So naturally, they have to devise methods of attacking the truth and anyone daring to speak it. In a laughably absurd mangling of both truth and logic, they have come up with this notion that what they call the “denialist industry (or campaign)” is somehow magically funded by “Big Oil” (or “Big Fossil”), and that it is being operated by a small, cabal-like group, which has (again, magically) managed to sway a relatively small number of people mainly in the US to their side. It is akin to David, armed with just a slingshot were pitted against not one Goliath, but an army of them, and the Goliathan army complaining that David has an “unfair advantage”, being armed with naught but his slingshot and stones.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 24, 2019 7:58 am

See my WUWT guest thread, “Notes From Skull Island – why climate skeptics aren’t ‘well funded and well organized’”
If our side were well funded and well organized, as warmists charge, it would have the following 22 characteristics–which it doesn’t.

November 24, 2019 4:55 am

Would large payments to climate change sceptics not have to appear in the company’s accounts? Does no-one ask questions at the AGM about this? There surely must be some evidence of this funding apart from the odd leaked memo.

F.LEGHORN in Alabama
Reply to  Susan
November 24, 2019 11:48 am

Well I know my check is about 30 years late.

November 24, 2019 10:58 am

That Mark Hertsgaard, the 1997 New York Times book reviewer of Ross Gelbspan’s “The Heat is On,” where he managed to include — within one sentence of each other — both the false accolade about Gelbspan being a Pulitzer winner, and the false claim that Gelbspan unearthed the “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” ‘leaked strategy memo’ phrase (which subsequently became so widely spread as evidence of skeptic climate scientists engaging in a pay-for-performance disinformation conspiracy arrangement with fossil fuel executives that it’s currently used in global warming lawsuits …. but hold that thought for a moment).

Good God, could we compose a longer, more convoluted sentence!

I’m sure there’s some great insight in there, but the mental gymnastics one must go through to perceive it is a bit much. Here’s a thought: multiple, shorter sentences that transition smoothly into one another — I think it’s called a paragraph.

I stopped reading after that sentence, and I apologize for being a compositional snob.

I know, in the heat of putting words together, the flow can seem clear in your own mind, but think of a reader, reading something for the first time — write for an audience. Write, read, re-read, and re-read again.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
November 24, 2019 12:45 pm

Robert, I agree with you… you’re a compositional snob.

Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
November 25, 2019 10:26 am

Thanks for your support! Over the years of reading AGW material, I’ve been impressed with how good the writers are at their craft overall, and am constantly astounded with how utterly full of holes their material is. All I can say is that, given the choice between being what they are or being a writer in need of improvement who puts out essentially bulletproof details, I’d choose the latter any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
November 25, 2019 10:18 am

Not the first time I’ve been described as phrasing things lousily. But during the last decade of my focus on the fatal faults with the smear of skeptics, I have yet to encounter anyone who disputed the details I revealed. Friend, you are free to stop reading any narrative you find substandard, but I suggest you are doing a massive disfavor to yourself with the requirement that exposés must be written in impeccable English before you deem them worthy. If that’s the standard you live by, you’d be far happier in the pro-AGW side of this issue where killer editors like Ross Gelbspan are found, and where propaganda messages are submitted to focus groups to improve their effectiveness. Sorry my writing doesn’t measure up, but then it’s never been my intent to be a professional writer. This is a volunteer effort on my part, and if my writing style offends you, I will politely submit that you will display ignorance on the topic I cover when anyone ever asks you if there is any validity to the notion that skeptic climate scientists are paid oil money to lie — when you could otherwise respond with, “Oh, let me show you how that accusation only has one viable-looking source that turns out to be totally worthless, and how that accusation is pushed by a really small clique of highly influential enviro-activists.” Of course, you’d phrase that sentence much better than I did.

November 24, 2019 2:22 pm

The Sierra Club alone has a 100 million bucks a year budget.
“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
— Eric Hoffer

John Garrett
November 24, 2019 4:08 pm

Mark Hertsgaard is a reincarnation of Josef Goebbels.

Apparently, there are no qualifications or standards that need to be met in order to declare oneself a “journalist.”

Hertsgaard is the proof.

It is mind-boggling to me that Columbia Journalism Review and Hertsgaard can organize a cabal openly intended to violate every tenet of journalistic ethics— and not be widely exposed, reported and condemned for doing so.

It is an outright, brazen, formal effort by a large part of print and broadcast media to bend the news.

And you thought “journalism” was supposed to be non-partisan, honest and objective.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics clearly states,

…first and foremost:

“Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.”

And specifically directs journalists to:

Label advocacy and commentary.

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