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Heartland Institute unveils marketing campaign on Global Warming

Heartland Institute unveils marketing campaign on Global Warming

Free-market think tank The Heartland Institute has taken their policy insights one step further by securing a high-profile billboard on global warming:


According to Joe Bast, the Heartland Institute’s president:

The most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists….They are Charles Manson, a mass murderer; Fidel Castro, a tyrant; and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Global warming alarmists include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

The digital billboard, which was up for just one day along a prominent highway outside Chicago, was intended to both educate the public and draw attention to the think tank’s extensive work debunking global warming science:

This billboard was deliberately provocative, an attempt to turn the tables on the climate alarmists by using their own tactics but with the opposite message. We found it interesting that the ad seemed to evoke reactions more passionate than when leading alarmists compare climate realists to Nazis or declare they are imposing on our children a mass death sentence. We leave it to others to determine why that is so.

The Heartland Institute doesn’t often do “provocative” communication. In fact, we’ve spent 15 years presenting the economic and scientific arguments that counter global warming alarmism. No one has worked harder, or better, on that task than Heartland.

And the left is flinching already; the progressive Think Progress referred to the campaign as both “far-beyond-the-pale,” “offensive,” and a “gruesome failure.”

It is “heartening” to see The Heartland Institute think creatively about how to achieve their mission beyond white papers. Stay tuned for their upcoming Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (May 21-23).


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Ragspierre | May 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Wow! Thunk Progress REALLY has their knickers in a twist!


Telling the truth about the Collective is like pouring salt on a slug.

Exactly. Like.

You know you are onto the truth when Think Progress or any other (fill-in-the-blank) Progress site notices. They have a real problem on their hands right now as Global temperatures don’t don’t behave.

Don’t sell your parka.

stevewhitemd | May 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I live outside Chicago and used to live on the west side, so I know exactly where that billboard is. It’s high visibility indeed.

Very clever. The Left can’t stand ridicule (well, few can) so that’s what we need to do. Rush Limbaugh is the master, but we can all learn.

Falsifiability is, like, so totally overrated.

There is no need for over-the-top stuff like this when we are winning the argument on the ground. Heartland has been doing excellent work documenting the shift in scientific belief about climate change and the facts of the deceptions of the alarmists. Comparing the alarmists to Manson and the Unabomber is only going to turn off the average uninformed person and make them less receptive to our reasoned arguments.

I understand they are already canceling the campaign after Sensenbrenner told them he would not attend if it continued.

You don’t win popular support among the mushy middle and swing voters by throwing red meat to conservatives just to watch the leftists squeal, as pleasing as that may be to watch.

    stevewhitemd in reply to Estragon. | May 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Estragon, the problem with your approach is that it is, in effect, unilateral disarmament.

    The Left will not be nice, nor reasonable, nor understanding.

    There is always the danger that we will destroy ourselves as we destroy our enemies — worse yet, that we will become our enemies. I also recognize the danger of the “Reductio ad Hitlerum” argument made by Awing1.

    But right now, we are too nice. If the Heartland Institute billboard made some of the Left squeal, good. About time. It takes a balance of reason, decency, and cheeky, in-your-face argument to get ahead right now. We should be doing it.

I have the feeling that the Right is getting its act together, gathering its forces in a manner similar to the disorganized yet effective Tea Party movement. This makes me optimistic.

I hope they run the whole series, Manson, Fidel, etc. But how about the Borg? Programmed, assimilating, bots.

LukeHandCool | May 5, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Under President Obama:

At the beach, Julia playfully places a sandcrab on her daughter’s leg (the one planned parenthood did not help her to abort) and, as she pauses to smile at the word “Forward” she has written in sunscreen on her daughter’s back before rubbing it in, she ponders the future … how her daughter, Julia 2.0, will one day be rubbing government-bureaucrat developed SPF 25 Million sunscreen on her own daughter’s back (Julia 3.0) to protect her from the evil Republican rays of the Republican-wrought global-warming sun.

Under Mitt Romney:

Funding for education will be slashed leading many schools not only to cut core classes such as “The history of WWII, the War on Women II,” but also crucial classes in applying condoms and sunscreen.

It must be a success if the Left say it’s a “gruesome failure”!

Midwest Rhino | May 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I took the quiz on whether the statements were by the Unabomber or Gore … only got 58% correct.

That the UN and Gore and other “intellectuals” (like the unabomber), speak the same things … is no coincidence. They push the manufactured crisis narratives, leading some to profit and some to insanity. (and some to both?)

Lately we’ve been asked to swallow a lot of Orwellian narratives from the left … this message seems good. And the link has a very good debunking of most of the AGW talking points.

1. After some excellent posts that had me questioning my bias against marketing types, Anne came out with this post which is consistent with those prejudices.

2. From time to time I post my suspicion that, because reducing everything to raw emotion makes their job easier, political pros want to reduce politics to a screaming match between polarized factions of pavlovian crazies.

3. The validity of AGW alarmism has nothing to do with whether people I dislike are pushing it. Trusting that an oracle (or goreacle) is infallibly wrong is the same kind of magical thinking that trusts him to be infallibly right. Different color, same kool-aid.

4. Skeptic Ross McKitrick posts his letter to Heartland at Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit site:

I am absolutely dismayed. This kind of fallacious, juvenile and inflammatory rhetoric does nothing to enhance your reputation, hands your opponents a huge stick to beat you with, and sullies the reputation of the speakers you had recruited. Any public sympathy you had built up as a result of the Gleick fiasco will be lost–and more besides–as a result of such a campaign. I urge you to withdraw it at once.

Strike the tone in your advertisements that you want people to use when talking about you. The fact that you need a lengthy webpage to explain the thinking behind the billboards proves that your messaging failed. Nobody is going to read your explanation anyway. All they will take away is the message on the signs themselves, and it’s a truly objectionable message.

You cannot simultaneously say that you want to promote a debate while equating the other side to terrorists and mass murderers. Once you have done such a thing you have lost the moral high ground and you can never again object if someone uses that kind of rhetoric on you.

McKitrick links to a similar sentiment by another climate skeptic.

5. You cannot simultaneously say that you want to promote a debate while equating the other side to terrorists and mass murderers.

Yes, I understand that the Left routinely does this, and that Obama does it in an especially sly and dishonest way.

I also understand, and remember, that Reagan never did.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to gs. | May 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    you may be right … but this is not a flame war inducing billboard, but a thought provoking one … though certainly “provocative”.

    The appeal of the left and AGW specifically, is largely emotional, but in a crazy way. I closely know a certifiable person, with a science background, that has tied her relevance in life to the AGW movement. Many non science types claim dominance over conservatives with this non scientific BS.

    Tying this “settled science crap” with crazy people, has more legs than one might think. It is not a coincidental correlation. That quiz demonstrates with global warming, that liberalism can be a disease of the ego. It requires denial of fact, and a certain manic personality.

    I can’t say if pointing out those psychological parallels will work, but it may be more rational than just inflammatory. Mocking the fallacies of leftist “science” seems like the Breitbart way. It may not have been PC to question Warren’s use of race … but it was effective and honest.

      Points taken, MR. I think I engaged with some of them in my response to Rags below. Also, you wrote:

      Mocking the fallacies of leftist “science” seems like the Breitbart way.

      In the world we live in, we cannot do without the Breibart way. I’m not one for winning debates on the merits…and then losing elections to demagoguery. However, IMHO the same institution (Heartland) cannot be Andrew Breitbart and, say, Freeman Dyson at the same time.

Ragspierre | May 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

gs, you are full of gas here!

Reagan appealed to people’s hearts ALL the stinking time! He was IRISH, for goooness sakes!

The Heartland people make no pretense at being erudite scientific experts. THEY do not have to pose as objective.

C’mon…!!! This is EXCELLENT messaging. Don’t be an Eeyore…!!!

    Rags, Rags, Rags…

    1. Reagan appealed to people’s hearts ALL the stinking time! He was IRISH, for goooness sakes!

    Reagan appealed to people’s better natures. That’s the point.

    2. The Heartland people make no pretense at being erudite scientific experts. THEY do not have to pose as objective.

    Actually, they do:

    Mission: Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

    Policy Advisors: Approximately 150 academics and professional economists participate in its peer review process, and more than 200 elected officials serve on its Legislative Forum.

    Discovery and development are harder than promotion, and have less immediate return, so Heartland’s lapse is not surprising. I hope but do not assume that they will return to the narrow gate and hard way.

    3. Don’t be an Eeyore…!!!

    By temperament I am a pessimist. Like my man Fred said:

    Therefore, since the world has still
    Much good, but much less good than ill,
    And while the sun and moon endure
    Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
    I’d face it as a wise man would,
    And train for ill and not for good.

    I heed his advice but am not guided by it (which I may come to regret) because by intellect I am an optimist.

      Ragspierre in reply to gs. | May 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      “,,,and promote,,,”

      THAT is the hardest of the three, and the most VITAL.

      “Vital”…as in LIFE.

      I make jury arguments as part of my living. I can KNOW that the facts and law favor my client, but unless I PROMOTE them, I leave court with nutin’.

      Breitbart. Remember! He didn’t just discover and develop. That would result in NOTHING GOOD, outside of his own enlightenment.

      He PROMOTED. Successfully, skillfully, and creatively.

        When the facts are not known or are “known” incorrectly (over-)promotion can have devastating consequences.

        IMHO we do not understand the dynamics of the atmosphere sufficiently to be confident about AGW one way or the other.

The left spews their hate and lies, but when the right tells the truth it is wrong? What have I missed?

Fantastic. Love it. In their faces.

golf clap.

I have to say I actually disagree with the billboard. It’s essentially a derivative of the “Reductio ad Hitlerum”, and such clearly fallacious reasoning bothers me. Encouraging guilt by association arguments isn’t good politics, unless everyone here is prepared for the inevitable “Timothy McVeigh was a registered Republican, are you?”

An amazing display of hypocrisy.

Let’s whip out the favorite Conservative line “what if the other side did it?” In this case I don’t doubt the more fervent regulars here would be spitting fury at the evil, slanderous moonbat liberals who always descend to the lowest level, instead of arguing the facts.

Unless one of “our guys” did it, in which case it’s “telling the truth,” or “speaking truth to power.” It’s ok then. The irony here is that I know liberal/progressives who reason (if I may misuse the word) exactly the same way, but in the opposite direction.

For those who think that billboard is acceptable, or the “truth,” or “fighting fire with fire” (or whatever rationalization you prefer) I suggest you look at that sign again, the look at how Tea Party members behave & speak in public, then look at the Occupy movement.

This crap has “OCCUPY” all over it.