We’re researching mis- and disinformation!!” Says a Research Group Unquestioningly Regurgitating Mis- and Disinformation

Just sayin’ – anytime a person or group with a significant amount of prominence in the climate issue regurgitates ye olde “reposition global warming” memo set as ‘smoking gun’ evidence to supposedly prove the existence of industry-orchestrated disinformation campaigns, it’s an instance that should trigger other prominent people with a significant amount of investigative authority to look deeply into the instance and what or who prompted it. Why? Because those supposedly ‘leaked industry memos’ were actually an unsolicited subset proposal comprised of operations goals and alternative names that were never used – I’ll reiterate that a little farther down in this blog post. The memo subset is literally worthless as evidence of energy company disinformation campaigns.

By this late date in the history of pro-global warming people citing those memos, this specific accusation tactic looks like nothing more than a one-trick pony that’s perhaps made available somewhere in a prepackaged template for influential accusers to hurl.

Witness the latest two separate examples of really clumsy regurgitations of that memo set within just this current month of September, falsely said to be the operating instructions for the 1991 “Information Council for the Environment” (ICE) public relations campaign.

The 9/1/22 instance within a supposedly “peer reviewed” science journal paper is what I featured at my 9/26/22 WUWT guest post dissection of that paper. One of the alleged sources the paper’s authors relied on and were thankful for was a 2017 Energy and Policy Institute report authored by Dave Anderson. In direct connection to that paper, Anderson essentially hyped his association with it at his own 9/23/22 E&PI page written by one of his staffers which falsely ties the never implemented “reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” strategy goal to a never-published “Chicken Little”newspaper ad and a never-used alternative name for the ICE campaign. At the time I screencaptured that E&PI page, it had a sidebar 9/27/22 Facebook announcement with that same “Chicken Little” image. This simply reinforces that Dave Anderson – from 2017 to June 2022 to the present time – apparently still does not have even a good handle on what the actual name of the ICE campaign was.

That’s particularly embarrassing for him, a johnny-come-lately in 2017 within the whole quarter century lineage of regurgitations of accusations about those memos.

But wait, there’s more, another barely two weeks-old separate bungled instance similar to above-noted “peer reviewed paper” / Dave Anderson situation.

An elemental question about this ‘coincidence’ arises:  are these inept regurgitations truly unrelated with their ever-increasing enslavement to a single ‘documents’ source, or are they and previous instances in the last several years all connected in any highly suspect larger effort of placing this same old accusation into the public arena?

Just askin.’

The other newest regurgitation comes in the form of the 9/15/22 “Climate Change Denial & Skepticism: A Review of the Literature” ‘paper’ by a single author, published online at the Media Well organization, a place that apparently deems itself to be a curator of research and news on dis- / misinformation. Among its three staffers is the author of the above ‘paper.’

The irony about this Media Well situation concerns what the author says in her paper, specifically her core assertion about ‘evidence’ which supposedly proves disinformation campaigns exist within the fossil fuel industry:

The most developed body of research concerning climate denial focuses on the conservative foundations and carbon-intensive industry actors involved in its production. For example, the Information Council for the Environment (ICE) was created by the National Coal Association, the Western Fuels Association, and Edison Electrical Institute. In the 1990s ICE’s campaign goal was to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact),” a goal which continues today (Oreskes 2012)

How many things are disinformation in just those two sentences? Let me count the ways:

1. The ICE campaign itself did not deny climate change, it’s goal was to question particular claims about human-caused global warming while offering additional information from skeptic climate scientists’ assessments to show the public that there was another side to the issue.

2. Give the “researcher” author of this paper credit for having the full ICE name written out correctly. However, it was created by the Western Fuels Association, period. The Edison Electric Institute – no “al” in the second word of their name – provided initial polling data (very likely from a subcontractor polling group) to WFA and one more thing, seen in item #4 below, but otherwise took no part in running the campaign. The National Coal Association may have contributed some funding for the campaign, but otherwise did not get involved with the campaign.

3. The ICE campaign wasn’t simply some untraceable, vague event “in the 1990s.” What little the public saw of its newspaper ads and radio ads in three small cities happened between May 12, 1991 and May 29, 1991. That’s only 18 Days. So as to avoid any doubt about the time frame, the author could have more accurately began her sentence with, “For just over 2½ weeks in May 1991, …”

4. The ICE campaign did not have the goal to reposition anything. That specific strategy goal was part of an unsolicited memo subset proposal about alternative names, strategies, and specific audience targeting they sent to WFA which WFA rejected outright and never implemented.

5. The goal cannot have possibly continued no matter what spin is put on it because the entire unsolicited proposal ended up in WFA’s trash.

6. The “Oreskes 2012” goes to this page, of Media Well’s homage to Naomi Oreskes’ “Merchants of Doubt” “2011” book …. which was actually published in May or June 2010 (depending on whether Amazon or GoogleBooks is correct), and which contains exactly zero references to the “reposition global warming” phrase or the Western Fuels Association. Thus there is no possible way that “Merchants of Doubt supports the assertion that a goal falsely attributed to the ICE campaign is seen in any kind of current goal to reposition anything.

Keep going in that paragraph, and it is seen that the authors offer one other bit of major disinformation, namely that the coal industry knew that burning fossil fuels caused global warming, and that in 1982 Exxon knew the same …… despite the fact that global cooling was all the rage in the 1960s, just as it still was in the early 1980s.

What the collective “Media Well” group does – perhaps to the fatal detriment of its 100 year-old parent group – is reinforce how one of the hallmarks of the enviro-left is their psychological projection.

What this “Climate Change Denial & Skepticism: A Review” ‘paper’ does is reinforce that after over 31 years and uncountable numbers of regurgitations, the accusation that ‘Big Coal & Oil pays skeptic climate scientists to spread disinformation’ is no more than a really worn out one-trick pony.

Or, to use the latest trendy vernacular that the mainstream media doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about, “a one-horse pony.”