USA Today and other papers quote biased Heartland Institute

Our media need to be slapped in the face with a skeptical fish.

USA TODAY “Balances” Hundreds Of Scientists With Fossil-Fuel Backed Group | Blog | Media Matters for America.

USA TODAY became the latest mainstream newspaper to incorrectly “balance” the views of the hundreds of scientists behind a major climate report with the the Heartland Institute, a fossil-fuel-funded organization that once compared those who accept climate science to the “Unabomber.” In an op-ed published by the newspaper Tuesday, the head of the organization portrayed outright falsehoods as simply “opinion” in order to dismiss the United Nations panel behind the report as a “discredited oracle.”

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), which convenes hundreds of top climate experts from around the world to assess the scientific understanding of climate change, stated in its most recent report that scientists are 95 percent certain that the majority of recent warming is manmade, or about as certain as they are that cigarettes kill.

Yet the head of the Heartland Institute, Joseph Bast, counterfactually suggested in USA TODAY that “we are no more certain about the impact of man-made greenhouse gases than we were in 1990, or even in 1979.”

Heartland Institute’s background is relevant, as much of the “evidence” that Bast cites in his op-ed came from his own organization — from non-climate scientists associated with Heartland, to a report published by the organization that includes authors that have been directly funded by the fossil fuel industry.

USA TODAY science reporter Dan Vergano suggested in a live chat about a climate change series that the newspaper would not cite organizations such as the Heartland Institute, stating it was mainly those who “know less about climate [who] still indulge in false balance.” Perhaps USA TODAY’s editorial page editors should meet with its own experts before doing just that.

The Heartland Institute is also the organization that had the ill-fated and mind-numbingly stupid campaign where they compared climate change proponents with killer Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber.

The Washington Post and Bloomberg News included quotes from Bast and the New York Times quoted a report backed by the Heartland Institute. None of these papers made it clear that Heartland was funded by the Charles Koch Foundation which gets money from oil production.

Heartland Institute’s bias towards the fossil fuel industry should be a huge red flag to anyone who wants to publish what they have to say about climate change in the science pages of their publication.

The LA Times has refused such editorials.

There is simply NOTHING doubtful about global warming and the cause of it as being man-made. The science is solid. Anyone who propagandizes the opposite view is a denier. The facts are facts. Shame on the media for letting this absurdity from the Heartland Institute continue. Honestly, this calls for ridicule at this point. It’s so contrived and ideologically driven.

You can’t get any more desperate than the Heartland Institute (Updated) | Doubtful News.

Tip: Brian Brown

  8 comments for “USA Today and other papers quote biased Heartland Institute

  1. spookyparadigm
    October 15, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    When I buy paper of any sort, I always check the label.

  2. Dale S
    October 15, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    MIT Scientist is very skeptical of what he calls the religion of climate change. I don’t consider him “stupid.” MIT scientist says new climate report is ‘hilarious incoherence’. Perhaps it is questionable.

    Read more:

  3. One Eyed Jack
    October 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Well, it didn’t take long for a denier to show up…

  4. RDW
    October 15, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    The science in regard to climate change is pretty straight forward and not all that complicated or difficult to understand. The best idea that I can come up with to help solve the problem would be to put large solar arrays in orbit, both blocking some of the light and heat from hitting Earth’s surface and collecting energy for use to work in space or to beam back to Earth. We could cure both the symptoms and the disease of our addiction to fossil fuels. If it were funded by governments and taxpayer dollars and not private individuals and corporations, energy would eventually be abundant, clean, and as close to costing nothing as a person might choose to imagine.

  5. neko
    October 15, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    OK, I know this is confusing, but after reading on the LA Times policy, they are not refusing editorials.

    They are refusing from climate deniers that make factually incorrect statements. That’s all. Not editorials. At least, as far as I can tell… I welcome correction here, honestly.

    Editorials are articles, specifically opinion pieces, by the senior editorial staff. They try to avoid factual errors there anyway… since it’s their own ideas. Unless it’s April 1st.

    From my understanding, there is no sign the LA Times won’t continue to publish Associated Press articles or their own articles that include the views of climate change deniers, even ones with factually inaccurate statements.

    I could be wrong, I don’t really know what the staff on the times intends, but I’ve never seen any promise to do more than chuck out letters with factual errors on climate change.

    Frankly the Times is getting a lot of attention for very little actual change. I think it’s a good step, but it seems like what they really promised, and what is perceived as the commitment keeps growing at every turn…

  6. Kathy Moyd
    October 16, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    My reading of their statement is that they consider the denying of human-caused climate change is in itself a factual error, so no additional factual errors are needed.

    The paragraph in which it occurred was on the page containing only letters to the editor. The paragraph was mostly about a different subject and the statement regarding climate deniers was in parentheses, as an example.

    I am a subscriber and I think their coverage has been very good regarding climate change.

  7. BobM
    October 16, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Dara O’ Briain on ‘balance’

    I don’t know if I’ve posted this linkup here before, because I have been pushing it a bit, but it is well worth repeating if so.

  8. JonK
    October 23, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Dale S. cites the hypotheses of MIT researcher, Richard Lindzen, one of a very small minority of atmospheric scientists who question some of the well-accepted mechanisms of global climate change. It is important to note that Dr. Lindzen does not dispute the basic mechanisms of climate change and indeed concurs with mainstream climate science that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose accumulation can result in rising climate temperatures and that its increases are largely due to human activity. He has gone so far as to call those who dispute these points “nutty”.

    Where Dr. Lindzen and mainstream climate science part company is his hypothesis that cloud cover will decrease as the world warms, permitting more infrared radiation to escape and counteracting the warming trend, essentially a negative feedback loop in a system containing many feedback loops. However, further research over the years by many other scientists has failed to support Dr. Lindzen’s conclusions quantitatively, and even Dr. Lindzen has conceded that his work contained “some stupid mistakes” (though he still sticks to his theory).

    It is true that Dr. Lindzen has extended a wager to other scientists that we just wait and see for 50 years, contending that the problem can be fixed then if he is wrong. However, virtually all climate scientists believe that in 50 years the problem will likely be irreversible by any reasonable means, at least before significant environmental and economic damage is done.

    The earth’s climate is a very complex system, with many feedback loops, both positive and negative. They key to a precise understanding of these interactions is quantitative and as yet out of our grasp. But it is hard to dispute the general conclusion of mainstream climate science. Unfortunately, those who wish to deny the reality and consequences of anthropogenic climate change tend to pick and choose which elements that will cite, excluding the majority of data. Dr. Lindzen’s work should not be ignored–but in fact it hasn’t. But it nonetheless fails to alter the general consensus of the growing global threat.

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