Enviros Rally Around A Podcast Designed To Out Supposed Big Oil Propagandists

From The Daily Caller

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Chris White Tech Reporter

January 30, 2020 3:39 PM ET

A popular podcast purporting to reveal the supposed propaganda propping up the oil industry is part of a journalism project designed to prod major media outlets into painting climate change as a crisis.

“Drilled” is depicted in the media as a podcast pursuing objective journalism that seeks to unmask what its host Amy Westervelt calls the public relations ploy driving big oil. But the podcast is also part of Covering Climate Now (CCN), a project some media outlets believe lacks objectivity.

Westervelt announced Drilled News in January, a reporting project run by her podcast network, Critical Frequency. Drilled News’s about page discloses the site’s participation in CCN while noting that the website brings together reporters who make their work available to news outlets.

The former environmental reporter has contributed work with The Guardian and The Washington Post, among other national newspapers, according to a Jan. 27 report from E&E News. The “Drilled” podcast itself is plowing through its third season, the report note

The third season looks “at how the fossil fuels industry leans on two levers to delay action on climate change,” Westervelt told E&E News, referring to what she believes is the oil industry’s layers of propaganda. “The first lever is pro-fossil fuel propaganda, and the second is climate science denial.”

Westervelt said the fossil fuel industry is fine-tuning its “propaganda machine.” Her group’s role in CCN comes as journalists consider making climate advocacy part of their mission.

CCN’s founders kicked off the project in April 2019 and announced in May of that year that they would ask partners to devote a week to climate-related news, starting in September 2019. The project was organized in part by Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), a nonprofit representing professional journalists.

The effort’s target was the lead-up to, and coverage of, the U.N. “Climate Action Summit,” held Sept. 15-23.

The Nation environmental correspondent Mark Hertsgaard co-founded the project under the assumption that modern media were not only underreporting what activists call the climate crisis but are also giving too much air time to the fossil fuel industry.

Most legacy media are unwilling to break away from the idea that journalism should not advocate for a position, according to Hertsgaard. (RELATED: Exclusive: Inside The Media Conspiracy To Hype Greta Thunberg)

“The New York Times is not on there, The Wall Street Journal is not on there, The Washington Post is not on there,” Hertsgaard said in a September 2019 podcast with Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of CJR. Hertsgaard was referring to the major outlets that did not contribute content to CCN.

“This has an aroma — in their minds — of activism,” Hertsgaard continued, explaining why the big three legacy outlets preferred not to join. He and Pope noted Covering Climate Now intends on breaking up that perception by wrapping climate coverage in the blanket of science rather than politics.

Neither Drilled News nor Covering Climate Now responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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February 1, 2020 6:12 am

No link to “Drilled”?

Reply to  _Jim
February 1, 2020 1:03 pm

While Amy Westervelt’s schtick on this is sorta new, what she actually purports to expose turns out to be a totally unsupportable accusation dating all the way back to 1991 that’s enslaved to worthless ‘leaked memos evidence’ which supposedly indicts skeptic climate scientists of industry corruption. I covered that back in December 2018 at my GelbspanFiles blog. Please see:

“Put all your Eggs in the ‘Reposition Global Warming as Theory Rather than Fact’ Memos Basket”

Robert B
Reply to  Russell Cook
February 1, 2020 1:28 pm

You should write it up again for a post here. It’s amusing.

Reply to  Robert B
February 1, 2020 8:55 pm

Thanks for the kind suggestion! Alas, I need an Exxon brothers-funded staff to free me from other obligations bogging me down, so that I’d have the time to write such things. Meanwhile, technically a ‘Westervelt / Drilled Part 2 is here http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=8116 , and don’t get me started on Covering Climate Now’s founder Mark Hertsgaard, which did appear here at WUWT as a guest post reproduction from my blog piece: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/11/23/mark-hertsgaard-is-back-again-covering-climate-now/

February 1, 2020 6:32 am

“The project was organized in part by Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), a nonprofit representing professional journalists”

There it is!
Columbia University again!
There is something about Columbia.


Reply to  chaamjamal
February 1, 2020 6:54 am

Columbia – Columbus? Any connection? That they would not deny?

Reply to  chaamjamal
February 1, 2020 9:28 am

They operate from the assumption that CO2 emissions by man drive the climate. Not only can CO2 not warm the climate, but it cools it, as indicated last week by NASA. The junk science of their assumptions are can be disproven in multiple ways. However, they never question the science and progress with their agenda for suppressing dissent and supporting the human world’s destruction. Nice people. We should make them sanitary engineers and let them cleanup the world at a realistic level.

It is amazing to me how they can devote so much energy and focus on ways to squelch dissent and never ask why there is dissent that, although no supported as much as them, is so effective. It never gives them pause.

Reply to  Charles Higley
February 1, 2020 9:59 am

“Not only can CO2 not warm the climate, but it cools it, as indicated last week by NASA. ”

I missed that – can you provide a link?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
February 1, 2020 11:37 am

CO2 influences temperature in 2 ways. The first that we are more familiar with is when a molecule of CO2 absorbs a photon of IR and then transfers the thermal energy to another molecule in the atmosphere through a collision. The second is the reverse, a molecule of CO2 absorbs energy from another molecule through a collision, then radiates that energy away as a photon of IR.

Which happens is primarily determined by the average density of the atmosphere. In the upper atmosphere, the time between collisions is much longer than the time it takes a molecule of CO2 to radiate away a photon.

In the lower atmosphere the first reaction predominates and CO2 warms the atmosphere.
In the upper atmosphere the second reaction predominates and CO2 cools the atmosphere.

Reply to  MarkW
February 2, 2020 1:11 pm

MarkW – Thanks for the explanation. However, I was looking for a reference link to the NASA article.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
February 13, 2020 8:21 pm

Retired_Engineer_Jim February 1, 2020 at 9:59 am

“Not only can CO2 not warm the climate, but it cools it, as indicated last week by NASA. ”

I missed that – can you provide a link?


Already published in WUWT:



Gerry, England
Reply to  Charles Higley
February 1, 2020 10:40 am

The Left is always correct, Charles. And never apoligises for anything its misguided and ignorant policies do to people.

Jeff L
February 1, 2020 6:48 am

Now that is funny!
And how many have they “outed”?
Zero, you say? Perhaps because there are no “big oil propagandists”?
Wacky is as wacky does.

Reply to  Jeff L
February 1, 2020 6:57 am

“When you need an enemy, but none exist.”
– Strawman

Reply to  Jeff L
February 1, 2020 7:43 am

According to them, everyone who disagrees with them is being funded by big oil.
The fact that you can’t actually find any evidence of these payments is just proof of how deep the conspiracy goes.

John Garrett
February 1, 2020 6:52 am

Mark Hertsgaard is a malcontent, a scientific charlatan and an outright fraud. He may have a diagnosable anxiety disorder.

His father was a news reader in Baltimore who was notable for his bizarre ideas.

February 1, 2020 7:01 am

“…breaking up that perception by wrapping climate coverage in the blanket of science rather than politics.”

Impossible. Contradictory. If they are advocating the conclusion that climate change is a destructive, nigh end-of-the-world scenario, then it is pure advocacy and they will cherrypick whatever science supports their position.

John Bell
February 1, 2020 7:10 am

I always wonder what these climate crusaders want the average citizen to do, while the crusaders daily drive and fly and heat and cool and turn on the lights, it is all so hypocritical.

February 1, 2020 7:11 am

re: “The Nation ”

Oh. The commie rag. (Hurricane) Katrina VanDenHueval (sp?) of The Nation used to be the token commie on ABC’s “This Week” with former Bill Clinton advisor George Stephanopolis (sp?) hosting (and before that, Christiana Amanpour (sp?)). Katrina was one committed commie, too. I enjoyed seeing her get enthusiastically ‘wound up’ on an issue!

February 1, 2020 7:42 am

One thing I’ve noticed with all conspiracy nuts. Lack of evidence is just proof of how strong the conspiracy is.
In this case, the fact that the major media outlets aren’t supporting her, is proof that they’re part of the conspiracy.

Reply to  MarkW
February 1, 2020 7:49 am

Recall the immortal words of Vic LaRocka RIP (callsign K5KNH):

. . . . “Conspiracy theories are the favored tools of the weak-minded.”


February 1, 2020 8:09 am

JOURNALISM ABANDONED ==> The Columbia Journalism Review has not only abandoned journalism itself, but it has created an anti-journalism cabal to promote Climate Alarmism.

A National Narrative for Media on Climate Change

Climate Catastrophe News Cabal Ramps Up

Insidious betrayal of all that journalism once stood for.

John Garrett
Reply to  Kip Hansen
February 1, 2020 8:27 am

It is appalling. It is a violation of every single ethical tenet of honest journalism.

I cannot express just how enraged I am by the undisguised, brazen attempt to produce outright propaganda.

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.”

Reply to  John Garrett
February 1, 2020 10:15 am

How does one go about having a journalist’s or a broadcaster’s license revoked?

Reply to  Sommer
February 1, 2020 11:39 am

There are no journalism licenses. Thank God.
Broadcaster licenses are managed by the government, so the only way to lose one is to say something the government disagrees with.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
February 1, 2020 11:12 am

Kip, across the entire US, there is an insidious betrayal of all that universities once stood for. Columbia is merely on the leading edge.

Reply to  Pat Frank
February 1, 2020 3:33 pm

Not just the US Pat, Australia has the same problem. The only thing that young people are learning these days at university is how to get a job in their area of interest, majoring in leftist propaganda.

February 1, 2020 8:10 am

Here’s an article about it from the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)…


Climate Liability News recently announced that its closing its doors and folding itself in with the Drilled podcast and Heated newsletter to launch a combined “news” platform, Drilled News. While Drilled News’s website provides no information about its funders, nonprofit status, or founder, an investigation by Energy In Depth (EID) reveals that this new media conglomerate is likely the work of Richard Wiles, the man behind the numerous, seemingly independent branches of the climate litigation movement.

The EID investigation also reveals that the Drilled podcast, billed in recent glowing profiles as an objective purveyor of truth, is in fact nothing more than an arm of the leading advocacy campaign to promote litigation against energy producers.

Who is Richard Wiles? A Quick Refresher

As EID has previously reported, Richard Wiles is the executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), a project of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD). CCI has been at the forefront of the public relations campaign propping up the public nuisance climate litigation movement, from putting up billboards and social media, to hosting  numerous events. CCI even hired a lobbyist to arrange meetings between city officials and plaintiffs’ attorneys and submitted an amicus brief in support of an ongoing climate case.

Wiles is also the founder of Climate Central, a Rockefeller-funded organization whose research on the impacts of climate change is cited in the lawsuits filed by municipalities against energy producers.



Richard Wiles has a long history of attempting to circumvent transparency. He has attempted to hide CCI’s involvement in Drilled and CLN, failed to adequately register CCL as a nonprofit, and even dodged questions about CCI’s funders when pressed by reporters. As Drilled News attempts to consolidate these media platforms under a single brand, it’s unsurprising that Wiles and CCI are absent from the website. As these platforms continue to grow their following and influence, it’s critical that reporters and the public alike demand transparency from this new organization.



Reply to  David Middleton
February 1, 2020 11:01 am

“However, Wiles said the MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Tortuga Fund and Patagonia Inc. were among the organizations that helped fund the Center for Climate Integrity study.

Wiles’ “Drilled” and CCN are just another example of the GreenSlime billionaires leaving their slime trail of money behind them for the climate rentseekers to collect as their pay for propaganda. The only green in the climate scam is the color of money.

February 1, 2020 8:57 am

It’s always been a mystery why the global warming fruitcakes decide to attack oil. Until cars go electric , there is an indispensible demand for oil based fuels. Also aircraft fuels. Also plastics, lubricants and tire manufacturing which willl still be indispensible after the fleet transforms to electric. Global warming alarmists are illogical all the way around.

Reply to  ColMosby
February 1, 2020 10:10 am

The technology is getting there. A solar-powered aircraft already flew around the world in about two years, comfortably beating Magellan’s 3 year journey in 1519.

edi malinaric
Reply to  Curious George
February 1, 2020 1:53 pm

Current sailing technology has allowed wind driven yachts to achieve a crewed non-stop circumnavigation in a fraction under 41 days (Francis Joyon – 30m trimaran IDEC 3)

Even more impressive is the solo record – only 18 hours longer (Francios Gebhardt – 30 m trimaran MACIF)

cheers edi

Reply to  edi malinaric
February 1, 2020 4:11 pm

These guys are openly cheating, using the Suez Canal as well as the Panama Canal. Still, hats off.

Reply to  ColMosby
February 1, 2020 11:23 am

From the 1980’s until about 2010, the projections of Peak Oil were everywhere. The Climate Scammers pushing their renewable energy schemes were banking it. Peak Oil was to be a fait accompli as conventional petroleum reserves wouldn’t keep up with growing demand, thus oil prices were assumed to be skyrocketing well beyond USD$150/bbl by now.

Thus it was high oil prices and the free market were going to drive the economics to renewable energy and a natural adoption of EVs. Oil and the fuels from it were going to be increasingly unaffordable to the middle class, while the rich elites were always going to be able to afford whatever they needed.
The entire genesis of the Climate Change scam was built centrally around this premise of Peak Oil and skyrocketing oil prices.

The Black Swan they didn’t see coming (by definition of what is a Black Swan) was the fracking revolution unlocking tight oil formations below the conventional oil and gas source formations. Oil prices now remain historically low compared to inflation. And no one in the oil industry is trying to invoke projections of peak oil in the era of improving fracking technology continuing to unlock more and more unconventional petroleum and natural gas reserves, not just in the US, but globally.

Into this reality now steps the #ExxonKnew gambit and other litigation efforts to both feed a hungry army of bloodsucking lawyers while simultaneously making oil more expensive. They are now going directly after the oil companies to try to extort massive amounts of money from them for “mythical climate crises.” And in the process, those settlement windfalls would be accruing the ambulance chasers-litigators and the various governments (US states AGs in the case of #ExxonKnew) participating in the shake-down.
On the other side of settlement equation, the oil companies as a result of many tens of Billions in forced pay-outs would simply have to pass along massive prices increases via the price of oil and the products made from them.

So where Peak Oil failed to deliver the Climate Change Golden Goose energy restructuring for the Green Slime, they have had to invent (and fund) a new effort to effect the same outcome. It is no coincidence that the founding/start date of these outlets coincides with the failure of Peak Oil and the rise of the fracking revolution. CCI and the Columbia Journal Center are now simply propaganda outlets funded by the GreenSlime, and they are just one of many outlets around the Western world now being run in this effort.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  ColMosby
February 3, 2020 3:47 pm

“Until cars go electric ,”

So never, then? Cars won’t be “going electric” until they can draw electricity from roads or roadside/overhead infrastructure (think something like railroad catenary/overhead wire). Don’t hold your breath.

John F. Hultquist
February 1, 2020 9:58 am

I’m looking for the documentation that shows the cabal of media and activists, and Columbia University do all of there activities without use of carbon-based fuels and products therefrom. When they have reduced their “demand” to zero, the supply-side will take care if itself.

February 1, 2020 10:36 am

More nonsense.
The report of “billions of fossil fuel funding against climate change” turned out to be over a period of 30+ years. Even disregarding that the numbers derived from the entire PR budgets of the fossil fuel companies, the annualized spend is still less than the WWF, EDF, NRDC and Greenpeace annual budgets alone – much less the NOAA budget. While the entire NOAA budget isn’t devoted to climate partisanry, a significant part is and the overall annual budget is on par with the entire fossil fuel spend over the entire 30+ year period.
Has anyone ever seen a Chevon, Exxon or other “fossil fuel” company ad – on TV, in print, heard on the radio, seen on the internet – supporting denialism or even skepticism? I sure haven’t.

Roger Knights
Reply to  c1ue
February 1, 2020 2:07 pm

“The report of “billions of fossil fuel funding against climate change” turned out to be over a period of 30+ years. Even disregarding that the numbers derived from the entire PR budgets of the fossil fuel companies, the annualized spend is still less than the WWF, EDF, NRDC and Greenpeace annual budgets alone ….”

I bet they attributed the entirety of donations to conservative think tanks and foundations as being devoted to the climate change issue, ignoring all the other issues such entities advocate about, which amount to 75% to 90% of their expenditures. This is the typical lie-by-omission that those propagandists never refrain from, although it’s been pointed out to them many times.

Clyde Spencer
February 1, 2020 10:43 am

“… the public relations ploy driving big oil.”

However, the drug cartels do quite well without MSM advertising or public relations. It is the demand for something that rewards the suppliers. This is something that the likes of Amy Westervelt doesn’t understand. She should contemplate this while driving home from work.

February 2, 2020 2:24 am

Big Oil propaganda currently is facade of being green. Exxon commercials of algae biofuel. BP commercials advertise their wind farms, and if the wind isn’t blowing, they can provide backup energy from their clean natural gas turbines. Watching these commercials influence ordinary people to think low carbon business is a significant part of Big Oil, which it is not.

February 2, 2020 3:54 am

might be time Big Oil had a go at big Green?
a simple ad pointing out the daily products from our carpets upards every home uses that come from oils processing
its damned hard to afford anything NOT synthetic really for furnishings etc the pc phone shoe soles specs etc
even the toothbrush makeup remover etc
tell itlikeit is and upset them no end.
might be easier to just show a home and have the viewers try n spot the NON oil items really.

or show the REAL output from solar/shredders and then a power required to make steel/aluminium for the engine parts the leccy cars require;-) and carbon fibre/glass for panels. etc

Rudolf Huber
February 3, 2020 2:50 pm

Alarmists don’t even conceal their agenda anymore. Every aspect of life must be tightly controlled and anything anyone does, thinks or says must meet the approval of the new gods. Oh, you lack the imagination of what that could look like once it works as intended? Just take a peek into North Korea. That’s what it takes. Because people want to live and people with wishes and ambitions pollute the planet so those need to be suppressed. I just don’t think it’s going to get that far. People already start to feel the effects of this on their lives. Less money and higher costs. That’s not going to square for long.

Johann Wundersamer
February 13, 2020 8:56 pm

The new libdems’ horizon is ‘de profundis’.

Their desperate uphill fight getting ever nastier and – dangerous for both sides.


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