Alex Constantine - February 4, 2010
By Alex Constantine
This morning, I received the usual denier's bilge response from "PolicyWatchdog," defending the tobacco- and petroleum industry-funded spin doctors at the Heartland Institute against George Monbiot's Guardian exposures of the climate-denial industry (here):
Your accusations against The Heartland Institute are misleading at best, or intentionally dishontest?
I can't speak for George Monbiot, but fascist propagandists with mega-millions in corporate funding are constantly projecting their flagrant dishonesty on the media. This charge of "dishonesty" comes from a professional confabulator who takes money from Big Tobacco to claim that second-hand smoke is non-toxic. The Heatland Institute (from Sourcewatch) is for, among other things ...
- "Common-sense environmentalism", such as opposition to the the Kyoto Protocol aimed at countering global warming.
- Genetically engineered crops and products.
- The privatization of public services.
- The deregulation of health care insurance.
The Heartland Instute is against
- "Junk science" (science that that could indicate a need for regulation).
- Tobacco control measures, such as tobacco tax increases (the Institute denies the health effects of second-hand smoke).
The Institute's indictment of Monbiot continues:
The Heartland Institute received the funding you cite from ExxonMobil over a period of nine years, during which period the organization’s total budget was nearly $17.5 billion. Heartland hasn’t received funding from the company since 2006.
Thank you for the confirmation. Nine years of funding from Exxon-Mobil - this has absolutely no bearing on Monbiot's accusation: "The Heartland Institute is a lobbying group which has received $676,000 from ExxonMobil."
But the Exx0n-Mobile ties to the Institute transcend financial contributions. Walter F. Buchholtz, an Exxon-Mobil executive, has served as Heartland's Government Relations Advisor, according to Heartland's 2005 IRS Form 990, pg. 15. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2005/363/309/2005-363309812-0295fbb2-9.pdf
And according the the Exxon-Moblie Secrets website, "the Heartland Institute created a website in the Spring of 2007, www.globalwarmingheartland.org, which asserts there is no scientific consensus on global warming and features a list of experts and a list of like-minded think tanks, many of whom have received funding from ExxonMobil and other polluters."
No "dishonesty" here ... it's all Heartland's. Maybe it's in the next sentence:
And what evidence do you have that The Heartland Institute is a “lobbying group”? You may not understand this, or even care, but that’s a serious charge against a tax-exempt organization that does not lobby. You’re coming very close to libel.
This refutation should have been sent to the Washington Post. because the newspaper reported on June 18, 2009, re the Heartland Institute: "Think Tank Reverses Course on Climate Lobbying": "When the Heartland Institute ... sponsored a conference of climate change skeptics in D.C. earlier this month, it directly contradicted the group's assertion that it was not attempting to influence policy in Washington as stated to CWG only three months ago. It also signaled a willingness on the part of climate change skeptics to exert renewed influence in Washington as Congress considers expansive climate change legislation. Up until this latest conference, Heartland had maintained that its sponsorship of the "International Conferences on Climate Change" was not aimed at lobbying Washington. But the Institute's stated purpose for the June 2 conference was "to expose Congressional staff and journalists to leading scientists and economists in the nation's capital" who "support the view that global warming is not a crisis and that immediate action to reduce emissions is not necessary. ... " http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2009/06/the_general_purpose_of_this.html
Also see: Inter Press Service English News Wire, 4, 2008 (IPS/GIN) -- "Climate change deniers descended on New York ... conference organized by the Heartland Institute, a right-wing lobby group ... "
Also, "Corporate-funded Lobbyists Aimed to Sabotage Johannesburg Summit," Africa News, 8/19/2002
Where-oh-where is the "libel?" It's in a paid far-right propagandist's disingenuous denials - an attempt to discredit Monbiot and global warming activists with an ersatz rebuttal - but this is what we've come to expect from fringe "intellectuals" of the fascist right.
PS: For more on the Heartland Institute and global warming: "The Well Disarmed Skeptic - How Climate Change Denialists Use Front Groups to Lie About the Science" and for more background, cf. "The Heartland Institute and the Academy of Tobacco Studies"