Blog Archive

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Heartland Institute: Hey Kids, Have a Smoke and Denial

Heartland Institute: Hey Kids, Have a Smoke and Denial

by Scott Mandia, "Global Warming: Man or Myth?" blog, February 16, 2012
As has been widely reported in mainstream media and the blogosphere, a person calling himself “Heartland Insider” leaked internal documents that apparently show that Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank, has engaged in an anti-climate science campaign targeted at the adult general public but also toward undermining the science education being provided to our K-12 school children.  Although many of us have known for a long time what Heartland has been up to, these documents are still quite a smoking gun.
This blog post will present you with a way to voice your concern about Denialgate.
First and foremost, please read super-sleuth John Mashey’s expose on Heartland Institute that was posted at DeSmog Blog yesterday.
In this document John Mashey shows how Heartland Institute’s Joseph Bast staunchly defended “Joe Camel,” the infamous campaign to addict younger children.  Heartland got tobacco funding for many years, along with a Philip Morris Board member.
Heartland's President Supported Joe Camel
As described in the Joe Camel Wiki page, [emphasis mine]
Internal documents produced to the court in Mangini v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, San Francisco Superior Court No. 959516, demonstrated the industry’s interest in targeting children as future smokers.[5] The importance of the youth market was illustrated in a 1974 presentation by RJR’s Vice-President of Marketing who explained that the “young adult market . . . represent[s] tomorrow’s cigarette business. As this 14-24 age group matures, they will account for a key share of the total cigarette volume – for at least the next 25 years.”[6] A 1974 memo by the R. J. Reynolds Research Department points out that capturing the young adult market is vital because “virtually all [smokers] start by the age of 25″ and “most smokers begin smoking regularly and select a usual brand at or before the age of 18.”[7]
Now we find out that Heartland Institute is engaged in subverting our children’s education.  As reported in The New York Times today (and by many others – see links at end of post): [emphasis mine]
Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars.
The documents, from a nonprofit organization in Chicago called the Heartland Instituteoutline plans to promote a curriculum that would cast doubt on the scientific finding that fossil fuel emissions endanger the long-term welfare of the planet. “Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective,” one document said.

Heartland did declare one two-page document to be a forgery, although its tone and content closely matched that of other documents that the group did not dispute.In an apparent confirmation that much of the material, more than 100 pages, was authentic, the group apologized to donors whose names became public as a result of the leak.
Do You Want Heartland Institute to Do This to Your Child?
Do You Want Heartland Institute to Do This to Your Child?
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Heartland has tried to sabotage our children’s educationSee this DeSmog Blog post about The Skeptic’s Handbook.  Heartland Institute printed 150,000 copies for distribution across the US including 850 journalists, 26,000 schools, “19,000 leaders and politicians.”  In fact, one of my colleagues here received the mailer. (A better handbook that promotes accurate science is John Cook’s The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism.)

You should also see this brilliant post at ClimateSight which shows how Heartland Institute has used the same tobacco industry playbook to undermine climate science education.

I could go on with examples of how Heartland Institute is playing fast and loose with the truth but now it is time to send a message.

  1. Contact the IRS and ask them to investigate Heartland Institute and The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) run by S. Fred Singer, who is also on Heartland’s payroll. According to John Mashey’s detailed reportthese two organizations may have violated their tax-free status. You can send it online and John Mashey’s PDF document has information that can be easily pasted into your letter. Be sure to include the link to his report. It took me five minutes to complete the online fillable pdf form. Print and snail mail it to IRS in Fresno, CA.
  2. Contact your elected officials and tell them that Heartland Institute is undermining our children’s health and education and an investigation is warranted.
  3. Download Heartland’s 2012 Fundraising document and refer to Table 8 which shows major funders. Consider sending a letter to these groups questioning them on why they send funds to an organization like Heartland Institute. Remind these companies that there is no guarantee that their donations will not be used to confuse our children.  I have listed contacts for a few of these companies below:

No comments: