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.
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.