Major embarrassment for Joe Romm, and DeSmog and their unthinking fans.
In the hours after the ClimateGate emails were released, skeptics asked about their authenticity (as we are wont to do). In the hours after the Heartland Documents (including at least one complete fake) were released, the commentators on the other side did not even ask (just as they uncritically accept any weak report in favour of their pet theory).
They leapt to their defamatory conclusions in a smear-fest. At least one person out there has probably committed a criminal act. The rest are guilty of small brained unskeptical blind hatred, defamation, and ignorance. And will any of them apologize? I’ll be shocked if even one has the decency or manners.
We should not allow them to forget it. DeSmog=DeSmear. They are a group happy to promote lies with no compunction. They are not interested in the truth, just in the PR. Oh the fool journalists who think the paid hacks at DeSmog ever had anything to say on science that was not biased or deceitful. Richard Littlemore, where is your apology? Instead, knowing the document is faked, he continues to promote it. So does Brad Johnson, and Joe Romm.
Their attitude to the science is just the same to their attitude to falsified documents. They don’t care. They were all happy to trumpet an insider leak, yet none of them admit they were wrong, or showed poor judgment when it turned out the documents were obtained through trickery, deceit and malicious misbehaviour. Shame, they only had to email Joe Bast to ask. Even the most minor effort to get to the truth is too much to expect.
As it is, if any of the rest is accurate, it only shows how effective Heartland is on a shoe-string budget. (See my post yesterday to see how petty the money is. Logic-gate: The Smog blog exposes irrational rage. Innumeracy. And Heartlands efficient success.)
In the end, if they had evidence to convince us, they wouldn’t get so excited about the smears.
PS: Heartlands full response.
FEBRUARY 15, 2012 – The following statement from The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more information, contact Communications Director Jim Lakely at email@example.com and 312/377-4000.
Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.
The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.
Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.
One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.
We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.
The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.
How did this happen? The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.
Apologies: The Heartland Institute apologizes to the donors whose identities were revealed by this theft. We promise anonymity to many of our donors, and we realize that the major reason these documents were stolen and faked was to make it more difficult for donors to support our work. We also apologize to Heartland staff, directors, and our allies in the fight to bring sound science to the global warming debate, who have had their privacy violated and their integrity impugned.
Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.
But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.
Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.
The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.
UPDATE: Anthony Watts discusses the document that Heartland describes as fake, finding that it is scanned with different software to all the others, on a different date, with sloppy standards of editing. DeSmog had this document for only one hour before posting it, without checking with Heartland. It appears to have been created on the west coast of the US, but Heartland have no offices there. I do hope they can find the person who created it.
Andy Revkin (NYT) blogged about the documents very quickly, without checking, and has written an email to Craig Idso admitting that the doc might be fraudulent. That things are “wacky”, and he will wait til the dust settles…
FakeGate: Thanks to Dellers