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Heartland Institute Document Leaker Comes Forward, Maintains Documents Are Real 442

Posted by Soulskill
from the having-a-conscience-can-be-inconvenient dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "Last week, an anonymous source leaked several internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a non-profit think tank known for anti-global-warming rhetoric. The leaker has come forward: Peter Gleick, scientist and journalist. In his admission, he cites his own breach of ethics, but also maintains that all the documents are real. This includes the potentially embarrassing '2012 Climate Strategy' document stating that Heartland wants to 'dissuade teachers from teaching science.' Heartland still claims this document is a forgery, but there is no solid evidence either way."
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Heartland Institute Document Leaker Comes Forward, Maintains Documents Are Real

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  • Let's see.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:30PM (#39114691)

    Who has MORE reason to lie about this?

  • Re:Let's see.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:35PM (#39114777)

    I'd say Exxon Mobil might be motivated to fund people to tell a few porkies.

    After all, if I was making over $40 billion a year and big fat margins, I could consider that throwing a few million here and there to pay some PR people to lie about climate change is a good investment. And being a fossil company, I wouldn't care, since I would already be an expert at liability-dumping in any case, so I would sleep perfectly soundly, knowing that the massive negative externalities my business is generating (and that I'm not paying for) won't be my problem until long after I'm dead.

    Nihilism, FTW.

  • I'm Confused (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:40PM (#39114851) Journal
    Either Gleick revised his post or Bad Astronomer got this one wrong. Gleick says he received the Climate Strategy anonymously:

    At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute's apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.

    It appears the rest are documents that he knows are official that he acquired deceptively in order to verify the anonymous document. My own personal hunch, as I first noted when this broke [slashdot.org], is that '2012 Climate Strategy' is a cheap fake thrown in with real documents. There is probably no way to verify this one way or the other but I don't think this summary or Phil Plait's blog posting adequately explain what Gleick did exactly. Here is one thing that is going for the validity of '2012 Climate Strategy' and that is if Gleick did not alter it then some of the sums and investments roughly match up with the budget document -- which caused Gleick to believe it is completely authentic. However, fiscal knowledge of the Heartland Institute might be more public than people think ...

  • Re:Fire him (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:47PM (#39114941)

    I hope Heartland go completely apeshit and try and sue him. Then they'll get destroyed in discovery.

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:55PM (#39115041) Homepage

    Oh yeah, these are the guys that told you cigarettes were healthy, and that there was no reliable evidence that they harmed people.

    Not really, they worked with Phillip Morris to spread material on the effects of secondhand smoke, which was questionable at the time they did so (they had long since stopped doing this before actual studies confirmed the effects). Every think tank ofcourse helps it's sponsors ...

    You need to keep history of something in mind. There's a history to every idea, as hard as that is to see. Until 1954, the official medical opinion on smoking itself was that it was healthy as well (there were suspicions from 1912 onwards). Even today I heard someone claim that smoking pot does not have worse health effects than tobacco smoke (think about it : no filters on the sigarettes -> you're actually inhaling burning leaves directly into your lungs which will never again come out. Healthy ? Of course not)

    This is still happening to other products too. E.g. soda is supposedly healthy (esp. soda with "added vitamin C" or some such. It's not healthy at all). And sugar-free soda is worse, again something often denied. Or another popular one, that TL lights are healthy and generally good, especially CFL bulbs. We all know you get headaches from them, they can induce epileptic seizures, and research confirms long-term health effects. But they're "better for the environment". I guess environment doesn't include people.

  • Re:Fire him (Score:5, Interesting)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:55PM (#39115045) Homepage Journal
    You appear to have answered your own question. Misrepresenting yourself as a specific person that you are not is generally not considered good journalistic ethics. It's okay not to tell them who you are, or not to tell them you're a reporter.

    Depending on state law, it might even be a crime. I doubt that, though, since I can't imagine Gleick is dumb enough to make a confession without at least checking with a lawyer first.
  • Re:Waiting.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:56PM (#39116005) Journal

    Don't you just love how they use the word socialism like kiddie fiddler yet socialism for the rich is EXACTLY what we have in the USA? What else would you call it when you privatize all the profits while making the losses public but classic Soviet style socialism?

    As for TFA frankly i would trust EITHER side of the debate to tell me its raining. on the right you have Shell and BP, neither one very nice, on the left you have the Rev Al Gore and his supporters who fart around in lear jets and motorcades while living like pigs in houses with indoor basketball courts while saying YOU dirty peasants need to pay to "save the planet". Well i say fuck them both, hell the ONLY one I would listen to for more than the time it takes to tell them to kiss my ass would be Ed begley Jr and that's because he isn't a hypocritical bastard like most of the "greenies" like Gore. he lives in a VERY modest house, recycles everything, drive a little electric car only when he can't ride his bicycle, the man walks the walk. But both Gore and BP are scammers of the highest order and anybody who listens to them is just being fleeced.

    Hell they have the one who cooked up credit default swaps [nakedcapitalism.com] aka housing market killers, working on their crap & trade scam! if THAT doesn't tell you its gonna be more rigged than a game of three card Monty I don't know what does! We should tell BOTH sides to DIAF, after all it'll be good for the environment wouldn't it?

  • Re:Waiting.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by microbox (704317) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:13PM (#39117025)
    Facts don't matter in American politics.

    The cowardly pundit will say Democrats do it and Republicans do it. This is true but banal. We could also say the Hitler and Lincoln were imperfect human beings.

    There is a whole new level of crazy that has gripped Republican politics, and it is really too bad. I would love to have seen John Huntsman do well in the primaries, or even see the Republicans field some accomplished credentials. (e.g.: Colin Powell would be more accomplished then the entire republican field put together.)

    Now we have the party of anti-science. We have Karl Rove eschewing the "reality-based community" which looks for solutions through judicious analysis. We have reactionary politics and faith-based righteous indignation. Somewhat ironically, Jesus preached love, not fear. And the christian right are driven by fear of all sorts of things -- mainly irrational.

    The republicans really need to remake themselves, but the Tea Party has been a step in the wrong direction. More fear and reactionary politics. It really is too bad.
  • Denialism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by microbox (704317) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:51PM (#39117419)
    Deniers always talk about popper, and science, and how they are the rigorous ones. They want falsifiable hypotheses, and when they get one -- they will argue black is white over whether or not it is falsifiable. They think they know more then the 1000s of /actual/ scientists who study the issue.

    It is denial, because it is a black and white issue, they are right, and there is an inability to cognitively represent any disconfirming evidence. They always see themselves as sane, and therefore people who disagree with them are: stupid, evil, or uneducated.

    Lord Monckton is at the zenith of climate change denialism. I honestly believe that he doesn't know he is just making stuff up. Vetren anti-science debunker potholer54 puts out a challenge to denialists: come up with ONE thing that Monckton gets right, that calls into question the IPCC's conclusions. To complete the challenge, you actually have to find Monckton's references, and assess that they really support what Monckton say.

    And this is the key sticking point. Denialists just believe anything they hear, so long as it confirms their biases. It is obvious that denialists doen't follow references, because of the absurdly high number of mistakes that are made.

    There is actually a slew of falsifiable hypotheses in AGW. All of them are very precisely defined and tested. An argument is built from 1000s of studies of more then 100 years of scientific research.

    Don't believe me? Crack open an IPCC report and actually read it.

    PS: Popper is not without critics in the philosophy of science, but that is another story.
  • by demonlapin (527802) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @07:42PM (#39117993) Homepage Journal
    But it also casts enormous doubt on the provenance of that document. You can say, with near certainty (assuming that Gleick isn't lying about not changing any documents) that all but one of the documents is a genuine Heartland document, because they were emailed to an account he controlled by a Heartland staffer. But that one document was supposedly received in the mail, with no return address, no identified author or list of recipients, not even a note to indicate why the possessor of the document was sending it to Gleick (and yet, as far as we can tell, nobody else). And it's the one that makes all the outrageous claims.
  • Re:Waiting.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Muros (1167213) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @08:26PM (#39118545)

    Solving the problem of climate change is really an economic growth opportunity. Really. Re-read. Don't dismiss. Think. We have a huge R&D investment opportunity, and new high-tech industries and products... and guess what... Europe and Asia may take it all.

    Economic growth is utter bullshit. Economists and politicians keep feeding us this rubbish about how much better off we are now than in the past, and how much better it can get. Sure, we have it better than people before the 60s. People in the 60s and 70s had it better than we do now, barring some minor quality of life improvements from better technology. But we have longer working hours, in families where 2 instead of 1 parent works full time. We have a degrading environment. We have inflation and massive public debt that, when you trace it back, is owed to people who rape the economy and pay our politicians to allow them to continue doing so. We have a world full of people who think CYA instead of thinking about getting shit done. Screw economic growth. I'd be much happier in a world without rip-off merchants, where people work for a decent living, and government spending was about the kind of cool shit they did before I was born, like going to the moon. Not wars designed to further line the pockets of already obscenely wealthy people, boosting population wide "economic growth" while having no effect on 99% of us barring a few extra coffins being shipped home.

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