Unraveling anti-science noise machine Heartland Institute attached the name “Fakegate” to Peter Gleick’s unveiling of internal Heartland documents, the most embarrassing of which is disputed by them.
But daylight has not been good for the organization, as many corporations find the PR hit of being associated with the most rabid paranoiac views on climate science puts off their customers in a big way. Especially interesting has been the wholesale defection of the insurance industry.
The question of whether the disputed document was drafted by Gleick has been the centerpiece of Heartland’s attack. Hence their choice of the (from their point of view ill-advised) label for the event, “fakegate”. This was a self-imposed blow by them, of course. The more people hear “fakegate” in regards to climate controversy, the more the “climategate” meme is devalued. It’s a contemptible failure that the press allowed that name to get “legs”, but in its panic Heartland has wiped out much of their gains.
Anyway, contrary to HI’s dubious textual analysis, the Pacific Institute itself has apparently concluded that the disputed document is not a fake, or at least not one concocted by Peter Gleick.
At the time of Gleick’s amazing confession, many argued that something had snapped, and that Peter’s behavior was inexplicable, especially given that he was chairing the new ethics committee at AGU. I argued that his behavior was ethical on balance in the light of several beneficial outcomes, particularly the unmasking of Heartland as anything but an educational organization. I also argued that the outcome of the event could be good or bad contingent on subsequent events. Fortunately for all concerned, Joe Bast of HI followed on his mistake of calling the event “fakegate” with an even stupider move – the infamous unabomber billboard. There’s no doubt that this was an unforced error on Bast’s part. But the consequences to Heartland’s donor base would not have followed had Gleick not revealed them.
So far so good. Now it would be good if people’s attentions meandered toward the whole issue of “nonprofits” that serve entirely the interests of corporate and/or wealthy donors.
As a start, nonprofits should have to identify large donors as an ordinary aspect of business. Unrevealed donors, at the least, should get no tax writeoff. And we can thank Peter Gleick for the lesson.
As always, speculation on who wrote the document is encouraged. The more we talk about “fakegate”, the more attention goes directly to Heartland and not to the nonsense they are spewing.
Click for higher resolution
So. Fakegate. Fakegate, fakegate, fakegate.