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Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science …”

February 15th, 2012 · 20 Comments

An anonymous leaker sent a number of climate-science related bloggers/blog sites a trove of internal documents from libertarian Heartland Institute. While the material points to many nefarious Heartland Institute efforts, such as supporting undermining of Wisconsin’s public education, the most extensive material is about Heartland’s heartless efforts to foster disinformation about climate science, to undermine Americans’ access to accurate information, and to weaken America’s K-12 science education.

In what looks almost certainly to be backed by focused group testing, the made public K-12 climate disinformation strategy targets “dissuading teachers from teaching science”. Here is the key paragraph from the (now-disputed) heartless “climate education” plans

Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. To counter this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms. We are pursuing a proposal…to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools…[this] effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.

Yes, the heartless Heartland Institute plans to spend significant sums of money to develop an anti-science curriculum to foster confusion about climate change in line with Luntz’ political guidance to use ‘climate change’ because it fosters uncertainty about the state of climate science and will undermine efforts to act to mitigate climate change to help us avoid catastrophic climate chaos. Let is be clear that Heartland isn’t interested in honest examination of science (after all, why would Heartland’s Climate Change wiki be closed to actual science if they were interested in truth?) or fostering an educational system that better prepares American students for the science-related challenges and opportunities that will dominate the 21st century. No, in support of polluting interests, the Heartland Institute’s climate strategy is targeted at “dissuading teachers from teaching science”.

“Dissuading teachers from teaching science …”

It is hard to imagine a worse objective or more heartless for anything claiming to be an educational initiative.

While there is much to be learned from this Valentine’s Day breaking DissuadeGate data dump from within the science denier world, among the items of real interest in this Heart-Less Valentine’s Day news item: an anonymous lover (”Anonymous Donor”) of the Heartland Institute’s efforts to infect America’s youth with anti-science syndrome. One person, according to the (now disputed) January 2012 Heart-less Climate Denial Strategy document (pdf), provides over 20 percent of Heartland’s entire budget with plans to increase that funding;

Our climate work is attractive to funders, especially our key Anonymous Donor (whose contribution dropped from $1,664,150 in 2010 to $979,000 in 2011 - about 20% of our total 2011 revenue). He has promised an increase in 2012…”

Yes, in addition to the significant Koch-otopus support ($100,000s per year plus access to Koch’s secret cabal of right-wing funders), Heartland’s heartless disinformation efforts targeting the undermining of America’s science education with promotion of anti-science syndrome are funded anonymously. Hmmm … Don’t you want to know who is trying to manipulate your child’s education to support their financial interests?

UPDATE:

Disclaimer: The Heartland Institute is now claiming that these documents have likely been altered or faked.

I can not prove that these documents are real or fake. As possible, I will pass on information that comes along about this. (DeSmogBlog has commented on this.) Have a look at the documents and make up your own mind.

Let us be clear, however, that the Heartland Institute has been engaged — systematically — in demeaning climate science and sowing confusion as to the science.  This, sigh, fostered credibility as to the document release along with the delayed responsiveness to numerous media requests for comment.

And, for a moment, let us consider what The Heartland Institute argued related to the criminal theft of material from East Anglia University (e.g., re ClimateGate):

“The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians, and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinions about global warming to stop and reconsider their position. The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions, and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is new and real evidence that they should examine and then comment on publicly.”

UPDATE TO UPDATE: At Mother Jones, Kate Sheppard has a Heartland fundraising letter building on this situation. Internal Heartland Institute Email Blasts “Lamestream Media” for Climate Leak discusses the leak and Heartland’s claims / statements.

It’s worth noting that Heartland didn’t seem to mind when emails between climate scientists that were stolen from a server, made public, and lied about on the internet—either the first or second time it happened. It’s only now that that type of behavior is “just despicable,” a “violation of journalistic ethics,” and a criminal offense.

Now Heartland [is] using the incident to fundraise, according to an email to donors obtained by Mother Jones on Wednesday night. The email complains that “scores of bloggers and left-wing activists and their pets in the lamestream media” are posting and quoting the documents. It also asks for donations to the organization’s legal defense fund to fight “false and defamatory” stories. And it apologizes to funders whose names were made public by the incident: “We promise anonymity to many of our donors because nobody wants the risk of nutty environmentalists or Occupy Wall Street goons harassing them. We know that privacy is important to you.”

A note

This situation clearly has some resonance and parallels with “ClimateGate“. Let’s explore, however, some differences:

1. Unlike the illegal breaking into East Anglia’s computers, the Heartless Valentine’s Day material does not look to have come from an outside theft but from an insider who has chosen, for whatever reason, to ‘leak’ the material (almost certainly without authorization) and be a(n anonymous) whistleblower.

2. Unlike the selective leaking of the stolen East Anglia’s email correspondance, the Heartless Valentine’s Day material has been, from the get go, put into public in its entirety — with any ‘cherry-picking’ of material that leads to misrepresentation easily discovered.

3. Unlike the stolen East Anglia’s email correspondance, the Heartless Valentine’s Day material are completed (formal) documents. This isn’t back and forth draft material between colleagues, engaged in what they saw as interactions with colleagues as they sought to figure out how to move forward, but the formalized results of drafts/etc … There is something quite different between one’s informal (midnight …) email and an institution’s formalized planning documents.

4. Sigh, unlike with the distorted coverage the stolen East Anglia correspondence with the RWSM machine (from bloggers to Hannity/Beck to Faux “News” to the RNC …) backing, we cannot expect that the nation’s “journalists” will give front page attention to this heartless effort advocating “dissuading teachers from teaching science”.

And, well, as for the motivation of the leaker — perhaps he (or she) was motivated, on Valentine’s Day 2012, by a love of the planet’s ability to support modern human civilization.

Discussions of the Heartless Documents


NOTE / COMMENT:

Clearly, my focus (and the primary portion of the material) is on Heartland’s heartless climate disinformation efforts. But, to reiterate, Heartland is involved in other things of concern / interest. For example, from the totally Heartless 2012 budget document, there is the $91,500 in the 2012 budget for “Operation Angry Badger”

OPERATION ANGRY BADGER
A research and education project built to take advantage of the public interest in
Wisconsin’s Act 10 generated by recall elections that could take place. Publications Dept.
budget includes printing and mailing three reports and brochures.

Hmmm … might this sort of activity (and information) attract the attention of ‘non-Green’-oriented commentators to help them understand how critical climate change and science can and should be in the political process?

Image note: Heartless, starring Jim Sturgess audience reactions:

Tags: 2008 Presidential Election · 2008 presidential campaign · 2012 Presidential Election · 746 · Abu Dhabi · Congress · Global Warming · advertising · climate change · climate delayers · energy efficiency · environmental · global warming deniers · government energy policy · skeptic

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Is Turnabout Fair Play? | Planet3.0 // Feb 15, 2012 at 9:41 am

    [...] UPDATE Feb 15: As is often the case with climate blogstorms, Adam Siegel is doing a good job of keeping up with fresh links at Get Energy Smart Now. [...]

  • 2 sailrick // Feb 15, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    for those not familiar with the global warming denial PR machine and it’s history, I recommend the following books.

    “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”
    by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

    “The Inquisition of Climate Science”
    by James Lawrence Powell

    “Climate Cover-Up”: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”
    by James Hoggan with Richard Littlemore

    “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”
    by Michael mann

    “Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change” by Clive Hamilton
    He outlines the decade-long, coal-industry funded campaign in Australia to deny climate science.

    “Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate”
    by Stephan H. Schneider and Tim Flannery

    “Global Warming and Political Intimidation, How Politicians Cracked Down On Scientists as the Earth Heated Up” by Raymond Bradley

    “Climate Change Denial, Heads in the Sand”
    by Hayden Washington and John Cook

    “The Heat Is On” and “The Boiling Point” by Ross Gelbspan

    “Censoring Science: the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of
    Global Warming” by Mark Bowen

  • 3 The real Climategate: Heartland’s hypocrisy on display // Feb 16, 2012 at 5:27 am

    [...] Siegel, Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science …, Get Energy Smart! [...]

  • 4 Heartland Institute: Hey Kids, Have a Smoke and Denial « Global Warming: Man or Myth? // Feb 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

    [...] Siegel, Breaking: Heartless news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading Scientists from Teaching Scien…, Get Energy Smart! NOW! Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr(”AdOpt”, “1″); GA_googleAddAttr(”Origin”, [...]

  • 5 #DenialGate – Get it All Here « Climate Denial Crock of the Week // Feb 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

    [...] Siegel, Breaking: Heartless news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading Scientists from Teaching Scien…, Get Energy Smart! NOW! Rate this: Share this:FacebookTwitterPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to [...]

  • 6 Climate Denial Funding Network Exposed - Page 3 // Feb 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    [...] Richard Littlemore | Heartland Confirms that it Mistakenly Emailed Internal Documents Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science … "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume Reply [...]

  • 7 Leaked Institute documents include plan for climate disinformation curriculum in schools | Climate Science Watch // Feb 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    [...] Adam Siegel’s Get Energy Smart!Now! blog:  Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day [...]

  • 8 Leaked Heartland Institute documents include plan for climate disinformation curriculum in schools | Climate Science Watch // Feb 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    [...] Adam Siegel’s Get Energy Smart!Now! blog:  Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day [...]

  • 9 Dave Burton // Feb 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    The “2012 Climate Strategy” document, which Heartland says is a forgery, is the one that the shocking quotes come from. I noticed several suspicious things about it:

    1. It refers to Heartland’s own position as “anti-climate.” But that’s a derogatory term which climate skeptic outfits never use to describe their positions.

    Agreed — along with the different electronic signatures (as per below), there are some odd elements …

    Question: do you think that any of the other material / documents does not come from the Heartland Institute?

    2. It’s written in the first person, yet there’s no indication of who wrote it. (Have you ever seen a memo like that?)

    Hmmm … yes … how many 1000s of memos have you read?

    3. The PDF is time-stamped with a Pacific Standard Time date & time: “2012-02-13T12:41:52-08:00″ (”-8:00″ means PST) But Heartland is in Chicago (two time-zones away), and none of its directors are in the Pacific time-zone. Most are in Illinois. None of them live anywhere near the Pacific time-zone. That makes it highly unlikely that a “Heartland insider” scanned it, as claimed.

    So it seems probable that Heartland is telling the truth [about this one document], and document is a (rather clumsy) forgery.

    Perhaps you should take time to read / consider the LA Times

    Heartland says that a document in the recently released mix, entitled 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy is a fake. But several of the key points the document makes are backed up elsewhere. Most notably, in a fundraising document, Heartland identifies one of its priorities as reshaping the discussion of climate change in classrooms.

    Is anyone surprised

    that people would believe a document was legitimate that fit so closely with an institution’s activities and rhetoric

    ?

    And, yes, the inflammatory phrase is in the disputed document — which is just two pages of over 100 pages posted sent to DeSmogBlog and many other organizations.

  • 10 Anti-Science Antics Exposed | Occupy Oregon // Feb 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    [...] Watts of the Watts Up With That? website. Naturally, the leaked documents have lit up the blogosphere, but none of the revelations are particularly surprising. The U.S. has a very successful and [...]

  • 11 Climate Scientist Empathy for Climate-Denier Heartland Institute’s travails … // Feb 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    [...] Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science … [...]

  • 12 Heartland Institute documents reveal strategy of attacks against climate science » Extreme Storm Central | Extreme Storm Central // Feb 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    [...] Idso, and Anthony Watts of the Watts Up With That? website. Naturally, the leaked documents have lit up the blogosphere, but none of the revelations are particularly surprising. The U.S. has a very successful and [...]

  • 13 Heartland Republicans call for Heartland investigation // Feb 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

    [...] Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science … [...]

  • 14 A brief guide to the scientific consensus on climate change | Hotspyer – Breaking News from around the web // Feb 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    [...] past week, one of the most insidious conspiracies to undermine public understanding of the facts about climate change finally was revealed. Some traditional media outlets responsibly reported the [...]

  • 15 A brief guide to the scientific consensus on climate change | TeaBaggers Of America // Feb 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    [...] past week, one of the most insidious conspiracies to undermine public understanding of the facts about climate change finally was revealed. Some traditional media outlets responsibly reported the [...]

  • 16 A brief guide to the scientific consensus on climate change - Online Political Blog // Feb 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    [...] past week, one of the most insidious conspiracies to undermine public understanding of the facts about climate change finally was revealed. Some traditional media outlets responsibly reported the [...]

  • 17 Heartland dirty underwear exposed - Page 16 - TheEnvironmentSite.org Forum // Feb 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    [...] the heartland, a group of Republicans have made an open call for a serious investigation of the leaked heartless Heartland Institute documents. In the press release (reproduced in full, absent specific contact information, here), they [...]

  • 18 America’s youth issue Heartland a plea to “Cease and Desist” // Feb 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    [...] Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science … [...]

  • 19 A Brief Guide to the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change | Planet3.0 // Mar 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    [...] past week, one of the most insidious conspiracies to undermine public understanding of the facts about climate change finally was revealed. Some traditional media outlets responsibly reported the [...]

  • 20 Heartland | Climate Etc. // Sep 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    [...] For background, here are some of the articles from the ‘green’ perspective that have been written on the topic (list pulled from getenergysmartnow): [...]

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