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Heartland Republicans call for Heartland investigation

February 18th, 2012 · 4 Comments

From 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, after the fold), they emphasize the need for conservatives and conservative institutions to engage in truthful discussion of climate science issues  and a move away from anti-science syndrome “as William F. Buckley once said, “Conservatism implies a certain submission to reality.”"

While Heartland Institute has threatened legal action against those who even comment on the material that Heartland emailed to an unknown recipient and the two pages (out of 100) that Heartland claims is not theirs, these Republicans emphasize that

Such heavy-handed posturing should not dissuade journalists and commentators from thoroughly covering the leaked documents and reporting on the efforts of Heartland and others to manufacture a scientific controversy about climate change where none exists.

They also contrast Heartland’s outrage at the rays of sunshine lighting their internal budget and other documents with their gleeful embrace of the theft (and selective/misleading quoting) of East Anglia University emails:

Heartland’s moral outrage about leaked documents this past week was glaringly absent following the 2009 release of hacked climate scientists’ e-mails that was dubbed “climategate.” In fact, it fully participated in a media campaign that misrepresented the e-mails and raised unfounded questions about scientists’ integrity.

Note that these Republicans do not see Heartland Institute, who they do praise for some of its activities (”While Heartland has done commendable work in other policy areas, such as risk management …”), as a real think tank since as they state that “Heartland [is] a PR and lobbying organization”.  This perspective, enlightened by the leaked documents, have led to complaints to the IRS about Heartland’s tax free status due to its lobbying activities.

They lay out how Heartland has worked to foster false uncertainty over climate science in the American public and how this merits attention in the public to the same extent that “ClimateGate” received (far) too much attention from Faux News to the front pages of the nation’s newspapers.

Heartland’s strategy, and its reliance on funding from individuals who have a vested interest in undermining climate science, must be brought to the public’s attention to at least the same degree as the so-called “climategate” emails were. The opinions and knowledge of far too many Americans remain influenced by erroneous reporting about the content of those e-mails.

The Heartland documents detail plans to prevent earnest scientific research and opinions other than their own from gaining public exposure. They even go so far as to gin up a science curriculum designed to “dissuade” public schoolteachers from teaching science—a shocking plan to undermine education and turn our public schools into mouthpieces for agenda-driven propaganda.

After complimenting Heartland (as above) for other issues, they lay out their problem with Heartland Institute’s climate science work

its climate operation has become a public relations servant of special interests—sowing confusion, misrepresenting science, and spreading distortions that pollute what should be a robust, fact-based debate about climate change.

Let’s have a public debate that is based on truth, not truthiness, with a sound basis in science rather than the propagation of skewed “sound science”.  This is a perspective that the vast majority of Americans would likely support.

Honestly, I agree with these Republicans:  conservation is inherently conservative.  Conserve one’s options to the future — whether it be in terms of fiscal resources (avoiding budget deficits) or physical resources (emphasize efficiency over extraction, to keep those resources around to help meet future requirements).  As they put it as to Heartland’s (and too many so-called conservatives’) approach to climate science:

That’s not conservative. As William F. Buckley once said, “Conservatism implies a certain submission to reality.”

Climate change is an opportunity for conservative organizations to actually be conservative, by acknowledging facts and laying on the table conservative policies for dealing with the climate issue.

This is far from the first time that these Republicans have spoken out against efforts to deceive their fellow Americans and the need for reality-based policy discussions.  Sadly, theirs is a voice that is ever more lost in the wilderness that is threatened by Republican anti-science syndrome suffering anti-environmentalism.  We should hope for a return to a time when such thinking and voices are a serious element in the political discussions and policy constructs of one of the major American political parties.

As it comes to the heartless Heartland documents, these Republicans call on Heartland to prove their assertions about the documents and that, in the absence of such proof, journalists give serious attention to scrutinizing them with appropriate reporting.

If any of the released Heartland documents are not authentic, Heartland should be able and willing to provide solid proof. If, as the evidence seems to indicate, the documents are real, the media has an obligation to report on the plans they describe and their troubling implications for a democratic society.

From: Jim DiPeso [xxxx@rep.org]
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 7:51 PM
To:xxxx@rep.org
Subject: Heartland Climate Operation Deserves Scrutiny

xxxxx
______________________________

__
February 17, 2012

Contacts: David Jenkins, 703-785-9570; Jim DiPeso, 253-740-2066

Heartland Climate Operation Deserves Scrutiny

After a recent leak of internal Heartland Institute documents describing a purported campaign to sow doubt about climate change science, Heartland claimed one of the documents might be fake, threatened anyone who even comments on the leak with legal action, and vowed to seek compensation for damage to its reputation.

Such heavy-handed posturing should not dissuade journalists and commentators from thoroughly covering the leaked documents and reporting on the efforts of Heartland and others to manufacture a scientific controversy about climate change where none exists.

Heartland’s moral outrage about leaked documents this past week was glaringly absent following the 2009 release of hacked climate scientists’ e-mails that was dubbed “climategate.” In fact, it fully participated in a media campaign that misrepresented the e-mails and raised unfounded questions about scientists’ integrity.

Heartland, a PR and lobbying organization, runs well-funded campaigns that seek to persuade Americans that peer-reviewed scientific research regarding climate change is suspect and that the conclusions of such research should be ignored. Its efforts in the so-called “climategate” controversy were more of the same.

Subsequent investigations by independent experts, of course, showed that the sensational “climategate” allegations against scientists were groundless. The “climategate” brouhaha was a manufactured controversy—which, unfortunately, accomplished its goal of sowing public doubt and confusion about climate science.

Now the shoe is on the other foot, and if the leaked Heartland documents are authentic, they leave no room for interpretation.

Heartland’s strategy, and its reliance on funding from individuals who have a vested interest in undermining climate science, must be brought to the public’s attention to at least the same degree as the so-called “climategate” emails were. The opinions and knowledge of far too many Americans remain influenced by erroneous reporting about the content of those e-mails.

The Heartland documents detail plans to prevent earnest scientific research and opinions other than their own from gaining public exposure. They even go so far as to gin up a science curriculum designed to “dissuade” public schoolteachers from teaching science—a shocking plan to undermine education and turn our public schools into mouthpieces for agenda-driven propaganda.

While Heartland has done commendable work in other policy areas, such as risk management, its climate operation has become a public relations servant of special interests—sowing confusion, misrepresenting science, and spreading distortions that pollute what should be a robust, fact-based debate about climate change.

That’s not conservative. As William F. Buckley once said, “Conservatism implies a certain submission to reality.”

Climate change is an opportunity for conservative organizations to actually be conservative, by acknowledging facts and laying on the table conservative policies for dealing with the climate issue.

If any of the released Heartland documents are not authentic, Heartland should be able and willing to provide solid proof. If, as the evidence seems to indicate, the documents are real, the media has an obligation to report on the plans they describe and their troubling implications for a democratic society.

Jim DiPeso
Policy Director
Republicans for Environmental Protection
xxxx@rep.org<mailto xxxx@rep.org>
www.rep.org<http://www.rep.org>

________________________________

Republicans for Environmental Protection
Growing a Greener GOP From the Ground Up

971 S. Centreville Road, #139, Sturgis, MI 49091
269-651-1808 * www.rep.org<http://www.rep.org>

Tags: republican party

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Breaking Heartless-news for Valentine’s Day: “Dissuading teachers from teaching science …” // Feb 18, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    [...] Heartland Republicans call for Heartland investigation [...]

  • 2 Heartland Insitute gets mail | Open Parachute // Feb 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    [...] Thanks to: Heartland Republicans call for Heartland investigation. [...]

  • 3 Republicans for Environmental Protection vs. Heartland Institute climate disinformation campaign | Climate Science Watch // Feb 19, 2012 at 10:37 am

    [...] Adam Siegel posted on this on his get Energy Smart! NOW! Blog:  Heartland Republicans call for Heartland investigation [...]

  • 4 Sailor // Feb 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    “They even go so far as to gin up a science curriculum designed to “dissuade” public schoolteachers from teaching science”

    According to a fake memo

    [according to Heartland's statements]

    . wtf?

    The REF should not have used that word but this document is their material.

    Even if truthful, in terms of reflecting what the end result and objectives are of the Heartland Institute, since Heartland Institute is stating that this is not their document, REF should not have used these terms in something sent out Friday evening … especially because that word is not necessary to be able to lay out how Heartland is working to weaken the American educational system.

    Talk about honesty and ethics.

    Thus, you wish to focus on the single word.

    Why not “honesty and ethics” and deal with Heartland’s climate (mis)education plans.

    goal is to sow confusion among teachers and students about what the science of climate change actually says. This is a strategy familiar to aficionados of creationist rhetoric (as is the idea of “both sides of the science”), but more importantly to those familiar with the history of tobacco industry obfuscation. As a famous memo to the tobacco industry argued in 1969: “Doubt is our product.” Fewer people know that that line continues: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the best means of establishing a controversy.” (The link is more than rhetorical: Philip Morris gave significant funding to Heartland in the ’90s, and the same document lists Philip Morris parent company Altria as a major donor today.)

    Establishing a controversy and undermining public understanding of the body of fact on climate change are central to Heartland’s account of their new climate change curriculum, and long-standing keys to Heartland’s broader agenda.

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