The Real ICE ads, Part 4: what the public actually saw in Flagstaff Arizona & Bowling Green, Kentucky

And now, the actual publicly seen Western Fuels Association “Information Council for the Environment” (ICE) newspaper ads that were printed in the Flagstaff Arizona and Bowling Green, Kentucky newspapers, which I suggested at the end of my October 8, 2021 Part 1 blog post that I needed to find. As usual, what I actually found within this latest exercise does not resolve and solidify widespread accusations that these newspaper ads are definitive proof of coal/oil industry-led disinformation campaigns, what I’ve found instead raises significantly more questions about the core clique of enviro-activists who’ve long promulgated the accusations.

Right off the bat, one of those questions specifically involves the way I can now state what the actual name of the Bowling Green newspaper is. It is not the Bowling Green Daily News. For many years, I only knew of two places where the newspaper was called that — one solitary reference within Greenpeace’s complete photocopies scan collection attributed to the ICE public relations campaign, and the other being “Merchants of Doubt” book author / documentary film star Naomi Oreskes, on page 141 of her ironically named chapter five contribution to the Howlett / Morgan “How Well do Facts Travel?” book where she describes details of the ICE newspaper ad campaign and its local effects …… and misspells the last name of the reporter she speaks about. In her notorious 2008 “You Can Argue with the Facts” Powerpoint presentation (reproduced verbatim recently by Desmogblog), she featured both of those references within a slide of each other, the latter of which only shows the Daily News part of the name and also shows the correct spelling of “Bauer.” In my quest to find every 1991-era newspaper containing “Information Council for the Environment,” I found David C.L. Bauer’s article in the Park City Daily News, which is still operating to this day in Bowling Green, Kentucky, “the park city.”

That search effort overall allows me to now show the exact four ICE newspaper ads as they appeared in both the Park City Daily News and the Arizona Daily Sun. Unlike my Part 1 blog post search for the ICE ads in the Fargo, North Dakota The Forum newspaper, where I was directed to ask for first-generation photocopies ultimately at the North Dakota Historical Society archives, the helpful archivist at the Park City Daily News noted that the newspaper still maintains microfilm archives, but then directed me to the Newspapers.com website (which looks to me like an outgrowth of Google’s halted newspaper scanning project), saying the scans there are “actually meant to be our replacement for microfilm,” and that the site has “a 7 day free trial. With that you could get the images for no cost.” I can’t afford the full subscription, so I’m taking advantage of that free trial offer. It yielded more than just the ads themselves.

First, the four ad versions that appeared at the Park City Daily News. My four links here are my own downloads that I’ve saved to GelbspanFiles for the first-time appearance of each ad version, which will make them accessible to anyone at any time. But anyone can see every single appearance of all of the ads by accessing the Newspapers.com website with either a trial or full subscription (just enter the search phrase of “Information Council for the Environment” in their search window, select the option to place quotes around those words, and you’ll see dozens of results filling pages this way).

For easy reference, ‘thumbnail’ views, followed by resizable PDF files:

The Park City Daily News (Bowling Green, Kentucky) 12 May 1991, “Kentucky colder”
The Park City Daily News 17 May 1991, “Frost line”
The Park City Daily News 24 May 1991, “Serious problem”
The Park City Daily News 29 May 1991, “How much (money bag)”

It was never a secret, by the way, who was behind this newspaper ad effort.

Next, the four ad versions that appeared at the Arizona Daily Sun. In my search within the Newspapers.com website, I found 15 separate links for the different days it was published, which was corroborated by a May 21, 1991 article at that paper – “Fifteen full-page, color ads … appeared in the Daily Sun alone.”

Arizona Daily Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona) 12 May 1991, “Frost line”
Arizona Daily Sun 15 May 1991, “How much (no illustration)”
Arizona Daily Sun 22 May 1991, “Minneapolis colder”
Arizona Daily Sun 24 May 1991, “Serious problem”

The supposedly sinister disinformation ICE newspaper ads have been referred to by enviro-activists ever since the 1990s. Even before the latest digital scan technology existed, newspaper copies were kept in microfilm archives at the newspaper organizations and at libraries local to those newspapers. It’s forgivable for politicians and enviro-activists not to go to the effort of tracking down full context, easily readable copies like these. Forgivable for self-described expert historians and highly praised journalists …. not so much. A person does not have to be a climatologist or even a rocket scientist to find out where they can be seen.

Why is it that for the first time in that entire span from the 1990s to my Part 1 October 8, 2021 blog post and this one here, that none of those accusers ever showed first generation clear copies in their full context, complete with page numbers and publication names / dates? I have nothing to hide — click on the above PDF file links and zoom in as much as you wish to see each page number and publication date, along with any other details. What’s missing?

None of the ads have the word “on” in the name “Information Council for the Environment.” Not a single one of those ads say they are the “Informed Citizens for the Environment.” Not a single one of them have the 701-746 phone number (toll-free or not), and none of them are the “Chicken Little” or “Doomsday canceled” or “Earth flat” versions.

Naomi Oreskes was essentially wrong, although mostly in a technical sense, when she wrote of the Park City Daily News as the Bowling Green Daily News both in her 2010 book chapter contribution, and again during a 2010 Australian TV presentation when she lamented how her material about the Western Fuels ICE ads didn’t make it into her then-upcoming “Merchants of Doubt” book.

Regarding her assertions that the the “Bowling Green Daily Newsarticle and the newspaper ads and the notorious “reposition global warming” memos and other Western Fuels Associations ICE campaign documents were archived in the American Meteorological Society’s Washington DC archives — to use the words of article writer / researcher Ron Arnold — her claim is disputed.

In Oreskes’ 2008 PPT presentation, she showed the “Chicken Little” and “Earth flat” ads (with their “Informed Citizens” labels) and spoke glibly about them (21:10 point in this video of her presentation), while claiming they were in the ICE newspaper ad campaign. As I have meticulously shown here, her claims are disputed.

As Ron Arnold also confirmed via interviews of former ICE / Western Fuels people for his 2016 “Oreskes Warps History” article, the collective proposal by the Edison Electric Institute to “reposition global warming” by targeting “older, less educated males” and “younger, lower-income women” was rejected outright by ICE / WFA people, and thus was never implemented. Therefore, Greenpeace’s / Ozone Action’s and Ross Gelbspan’s and Kert Davies’ and Al Gore’s claims surrounding the ‘cynical ICE campaign disinformation efforts’ are disputed.

Click on the PDF file links and zoom in as much as you wish to read the supposedly ‘deliberately disinforming’ text in the ads. Are there points within them that are debatable? Yes. Minneapolis might not actually be colder overall, perhaps due to the urban heat island effect. Were these ads a sinful attempt to spew lies, demonize the opposition, and shut down all debate on the topic? No. As two industry representatives clearly said,

… The key question is: Do we have a problem or not?…
… the public ought to be exposed to both sides of the global warming issue.

The claims that these ads are pure evidence of sinister disinformation campaigns are disputed.

And the people who have the most noticeable appearance of spreading disinformation while demonizing their critics as corrupt in order to shut down debate are those on the enviro-activist side of the issue.
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I’m not finished. Coming up in Part 5: “How long has this disinformation been going on?”