What people think about the Heartland leaks

The blogosphere is all ablaze, but I did a Scientific Test: I asked my fellow workers at lunch (including one who regularly picks up septic titbits plucked off the wub). Only one had even heard of the affair, and even he wasn't really sure what was going on.

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Lawson has lots of rich friends, does he not?
I don't think the funder's identity matters much.

What really matters is GWPF's charity status. For a laugh, see GWPF charity page, which I've had bookmarked for nearly 2 years.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 22 Feb 2012 #permalink

No surprise there. You need a real PR operation and televised echo chamber to make that kind of a difference. The hacked emails had that. This didn't.

Well, despite Revkin's best efforts, the media coverage of l'affaire Gleick has been a bit of a damp squib. Even the NYT buried the news story deep inside (on A16).

Re Heartland itself, I think enough information has gotten out to make them the focus of much greater ongoing interest from the media, starting with the AD and leading into JM's stuff. They are far from reaching their peak news value.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 22 Feb 2012 #permalink

The Graun's been giving it quite a lot of coverage, with
featuring on p. 20 of today's paper edition, the International section so doesn't get as much attention as domestic politicking. Heading in the paper version:
"Hero or villain? Row after activist duped libertanian group."

Of course other papers are much more excited by some 'Gers scandal.

And I asked my crew what they thought of David Cameron and, similar to your example, nobody had ever heard of him. Not sure what that proves.

It should not be surprising to any of us in the scientific community that those outside the community do exactly what we do, e.i. strategise about how to publicise scientific achievement or lack of achievement. One of the most prominent popularisers of recent times, Richard Dawkins (no relation to Richard Swinburne), is probably the first name people in the Heartland think of when they think of the word "science." And his official position was Professor of the Public Understanding of Science in the Queen's England. So, Heartlanders might wonder - why can't we also be professors of the public understanding of science?

So, as long as there is freedom of speech, there will be freedom of strategy and freedom of popular literature. Not sure how we should navigate these waters!


I'm not surprised most people are unaware of the whole thing, but give it time.

If you googled 'Heartland' a couple of days ago, you got about 15 different hits in the news section, most blogs (plus the BBC and Guardian online). Yesterday, it was up to 145, with some starting to make into print (although mainly the Guardian). Now its 240, with more appearing on paper. Certainly its spread to the Telegraph (online, and actually pretty sane, which is more than you can say for the comments), and Daily Mail Online (the article isn't as bad as you'd think, although the Climategate stuff is all there, and the last two comments are really good). The rightwing papers are going to try to bury it, but wait till its on the 'Today Programme'.

I think this is going to be a slow burn, and Glieck has made it more difficult for Heartland to say the original document is a forgery. Steve has it right, there is a lot of stuff for the MSM to get their teeth into. The tobacco money is going to be awkward to explain away, as is the 'charity' status. And WattsUp has lost some of its shine.

You can practically hear the bleeping as various donors backup from their support (the fact that they tended to chuck in cash for particular projects shows that Heartland really is 'pay to play'), and JM's research shows what can be done with good old investigation of the paperwork that is publically available.

Its a shame that Nigel Lawson does not have to reveal the source of the GWPF's funding, but this does not mean that its over. Not only can there be an appeal, its also clear that, like Heartland, they probably have something to hide , and the Charity Commision knows who the donor is. Perhaps someone is going to leak it?

The judge said that GWPF wasn't influential enough.. thats got to hurt!

GWPF: I also through "tell us who the donor is" was just a step towards "and why exactly is this a charity?"
After all, Lawson has rich friends, any of whom could have funded.

But see GWPF Charities page, which I bookmarked almost 2 years ago after advice from Brit friend.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 22 Feb 2012 #permalink

Iâve several gadgets set to lists five headlines (havenât a clue by what criteria theyâre selected) in a tab on the browser. Yesterday the one for Foxâs site, had this story briefly No. 5, but it was gone when checked back a few hours later.


For comparison, Spencer and Braswell on publishing in Remote Sensing, got a day or so on the gadget and higher billing. For the following few weeks, I saw a fair number of comments at the local paper's cite that included the line, "Did you see the NASA report" included as an intro to yada, yada, yada, and Gore is fat.

By WhiteBeard (not verified) on 22 Feb 2012 #permalink

@ 7 MikeB

Echoes of the 2009 Climategate coverage, if I recall correctly. Took a while for it to go mainstream while the blogosphere was ablaze discussing it (quote mining it, to be more accurate). Now that Indur Goklany's receiving the scrutiny of legislators, it may get more legs in the MSM.

Hearings will be interesting! And Andy Revkin will have to cover them, even if they are not on Drudge.

I wonder if the Commons Science Committee could do the same thing for GWPF. If nothing else, there would be much spluttering in the Daily Telegraph. Of course that seems unlikely, since we can't even get Andrew Landesly to release the report on what might happen when the NHS bill goes through. lets hope for someone to start leaking...

> if it's not on Drudge (and it hasn't been), it doesn't exist.
> Posted by: Andy Revkin

How about a tabulation--topics you've covered, vs. topics Drudge has mentioned?

It might show up some interesting holes in what exists.

Been away from the web a bit, so the PG affair hit me all at once. Whom the gods destroy, they first drive to madness seems to apply. JA's colorful descriptive certainly does. Once again, an unyielding aversion to introspection leads to self destruction.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 23 Feb 2012 #permalink

Somebody's been sifting through the stuff.
A snippet from http://www.republicreport.org/2012/nytimes-okeefe-compare/ (hat tip to DeSmog, and no, it's not a science blog, it's a politics blog):

"... After sifting through the files, Republic Report found other examples of corporate puppetry, including information that showed that the Heartland Institute worked with Comcast lobbyists to develop pro-telecom industry policy, as well as evidence that the group accepted money from a major health insurer while denouncing consumer safeguards, like the ban on discrimination against those with preexisting conditions.
The leak has sent shockwaves; and now Heartland is deploying an agressive public relations campaign to influence media coverage of the scandal. ...."

So Comcast is represented on the board too? (These guys say yes.)

On Heartland's board of directors is a Mike Rose of Philadelphia. And "[Heartland]...does talk about doing âconcerted outreachâ to âbusinesses with financial interestsâ¦in cable and internet tax and regulation issues (with [senior Comcast government liason] Mike Rose).â"

From LinkedIn, Comcast lobbyist Michael C. Rose was based in the Greater Philadelphia Area from December 2007 â February 2011.

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 09 Mar 2012 #permalink