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Heartland Republicans: Investigate Heartland

Posted: 02/20/2012 4:02 pm

From the heartland, a group of Republicans have made an open call for a serious investigation of the leaked heartless Heartland Institute documents. In the press release (reproduced in full, absent specific contact information, here), they emphasize the need for conservatives and conservative institutions to engage in truthful discussion of climate science issues and a move away from anti-science syndrome

"as William F. Buckley once said, "Conservatism implies a certain submission to reality.""

While Heartland Institute has threatened legal action against those who even comment on the material that Heartland emailed to an unknown recipient and the two pages (out of 100) that Heartland claims is not theirs, these Republicans emphasize that
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.

They also contrast Heartland's outrage at the rays of sunshine hitting their internal budget and other documents with their gleeful embrace of the theft (and selective/misleading quoting) of East Anglia University emails:
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.

Note that these Republicans do not see Heartland Institute, who they do praise for some of its activities ("While Heartland has done commendable work in other policy areas, such as risk management ..."), as a real think tank since as they state that "Heartland [is] a PR and lobbying organization". This perspective, enlightened by the leaked documents, have led to complaints to the IRS about Heartland's tax free status due to its lobbying activities.

They lay out how Heartland has worked to foster false uncertainty over climate science in the American public and how this merits attention in the public to the same extent that "climategate" received (far) too much attention from Faux News to the front pages of the nation's newspapers.

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.


After complimenting Heartland (as above) for other issues, they lay out their problem with Heartland Institute's climate science work
its climate operation has become a public relations servant of special interests--sowing confusion, misrepresenting science, and spreading distortions that pollute what should be a robust, fact-based debate about climate change.

Let's have a public debate that is based on truth, not truthiness, with a sound basis in science rather than the propagation of skewed "sound science". This is a perspective that the vast majority of Americans would likely support.

Honestly, I agree with these Republicans: conservation is inherently conservative. Conserve one's options to the future -- whether it be in terms of fiscal resources (avoiding budget deficits) or physical resources (emphasize efficiency over extraction, to keep those resources around to help meet future requirements). As they put it as to Heartland's (and too many so-called conservatives') approach to climate science:

That's not conservative. As William F. Buckley once said, "Conservatism implies a certain submission to reality."

Climate change is an opportunity for conservative organizations to actually be conservative, by acknowledging facts and laying on the table conservative policies for dealing with the climate issue.


This is far from the first time that these Republicans have spoken out against efforts to deceive their fellow Americans and the need for reality-based policy discussions. Sadly, theirs is a voice that is ever more lost in the wilderness that is threatened by Republican anti-science syndrome suffering anti-environmentalism. We should hope for a return to a time when such thinking and voices are a serious element in the political discussions and policy constructs of one of the major American political parties.

As it comes to the heartless Heartland documents, these Republicans call on Heartland to prove their assertions about the documents and that, in the absence of such proof, journalists give serious attention to scrutinizing them with appropriate reporting.

If any of the released Heartland documents are not authentic, Heartland should be able and willing to provide solid proof. If, as the evidence seems to indicate, the documents are real, the media has an obligation to report on the plans they describe and their troubling implications for a democratic society.

As to why they wrote this press release, here is the explanation provided to me:

Our goal is simply to encourage an appropriate level of media attention to the tactics and plans of Heartland's climate operation in order to balance the scales a bit in light of the misinformation that is being spread about the so called "climategate" emails. Those who have heard that misinformation (and unfortunately continue to hear it from some outlets) need to hear about this as well in order to have a more complete understanding of the game that is being played.

For links to dozens of discussions of the heartless Heartland documents, see here.

 

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