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.”
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.