Desmog: “Ross-who??” (Bury the Inconvenient Truths)

First, hat-tip to Marcel Crok at Climate Intelligence (CLINTEL) for bringing an 8/23/22 Inside Climate News article to my attention, “Experts Debunk Viral Post Claiming 1,100 Scientists Say ‘There’s No Climate Emergency’” which trashed CLINTEL’s 1100+ signatories World Climate Declaration. Mr Crok drew my particular attention to ICN’s labeling of the ol’ Desmogblog group as “an investigative climate research organization” and their supposed revelation of how CLINTEL “rehashes several well-known ‘climate denial’ tropes” and has “strong political, professional and financial connections to the fossil fuel industry.”

That’s rich, in more ways than one. As I noted in a GelbspanFiles blog post earlier this spring, one hallmark of enviro-activists is their phenomenon of psychologically projecting what they are as accusations of what skeptics of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) are. The only ‘rehashing of old tropes’ going on here is ICN’s rehash of an essentially 30 year-old accusation that any industry connections whatsoever completely taints what CAGW skeptics say. Their rehash was apparently fed to them by the disingenuously repackaged “Desmog” outfit, an organization self-described as a pure public relations people having no expertise in climate science, which was also self-described by one of its co-founders as being created entirely to expose CAGW skeptic scientists as industry-paid liars.

In case anyone forgets or is unaware of it, the other co-founder was not John Lefebvre (who served prison time for illegal internet gambling activity), he was only the guy who provided the cash to run it – Hoggan calls him his “founding benefactor.” The other co-founder, never named directly, was Ross Gelbspan.

Gelbspan said so himself, after the 8-second point of this audio interview conducted by an amateur interviewer (profanity alert within the first minute of that little story, where Gelbspan bizarrely could not remember Hoggan’s last name).

No exaggeration on my part about the other bits above. In my “James Hoggan’s Monster Journalistic Due Diligence Lapse” 2015 blog post, I covered how Hoggan openly admitted to not knowing a thing about climate science back when he created Desmogblog, but during the course of flying somewhere in a private jet, his reading of Gelbspan’s 2004 “Boiling Point” book all by itself was enough for him to form Desmogblog, so that it could expose skeptic climate scientist “liars.” That was not an isolated incident, he noted within one of his blog posts that Gelbspan was the inspiration for Desmogblog, while another book author said Desmogblog was built on Gelbspan’s work. Adding further insult to injury, climate scientist Dr Tim Ball’s 2013 WUWT guest post article about Desmogblog, “Public Relations (Spin Doctors) Deliberately Deceived Public About Global Warming,” featured a ClimateGate email (screencapture here for finding the specific text easier) from James Hoggan’s Desmogblog operations partner Richard Littlemore pleading to IPCC-associated Dr Michael Mann for science detail assistance, in which Littlemore confessed,

… I am out of my depth (as I am sure you have noticed: we’re all about PR here, not much about science.

Meanwhile, there’s more — a new wrinkle to the whole Desmog public relations effort. In my effort to provide info to CLINTEL’s Marcel Crok on how deeply the old Desmogblog has been infused with Ross Gelbspan’s influence (he, of the literally worthless “reposition global warming” leaked memo set, which Desmogblog worships, 2nd paragraph here), I wanted to include a link showing how Gelbspan was their star blogger from January 2006 to November 2010. I’ve mentioned it in my GelbspanFiles blog several times. But watch what happens when you click on the link I’ve long used:

The “blog” part of the url page address automatically disappears in a default to an altered address, where the page says “The page can’t be found.”

That result doesn’t just pop up for the earliest beginning-of-the-pile link for his Desmogblog posts, it is for his entire user account.

He’s now apparently persona non grata.

When you use Desmog’s search feature, placing his name within quote marks, you now get only ten pages of results, and when you click on an individual post he wrote, there is no longer a functioning bio page link for him.

When any new reader goes into Desmog today, if they do not know to search for Ross Gelbspan, they would never find him or find out anything about his background unless they accidentally stumbled across it in some really old reference or read really deep into pages like the “Information Council for the Environment” page, where they don’t even credit him for the one thing he’s most famous for.

The erasure gets one increment weirder when you drop the original full “” links – the one at the beginning of his blogging there and the one at the end into at the Internet Archive website. There, at least, they still function as originally seen, but with an added pair of lines, the first unmistakably in boldface print: “Access denied. You are not authorized to access this page.”

Why not?? Is his work at Desmogblog some kind of state secret now?

An overall pattern arises when non-biased, objective examiners look deep into these situations, wherever they arise. Notice what disappears:

• Desmogblog itself has disingenuously dropped the “blog” part of its original name. It was no more than an opinion blog for years, built on the meritless opinion that skeptic climate scientists were liars working under the directives of ‘Big Coal & Oil.’ It is absolutely not an “investigative climate research organization.”

• “Inside Climate News” is not what it claims to be. The proof of this is the current online version of a 2010 era ICN article about “Exxon Knew” lawsuits-pusher Matt Pawa, versus the original version …. where their name was “Solve Climate News.” One can make a fictional analogy to illustrate the magnitude of that problem, where anti-Zionists create an outfit called “Solve Israeli Conflict” which advocates for the elimination of Israel, that later realizes how damaging that label would be if they tried to pass themselves off as an objective new outlet, so they change it to “Inside Israeli Conflict.”

• Kert Davies’ “Climate Files” is not the unbiased research organization it claims to be, I detailed that in my October 27, 2017 blog post, but just like ICN’s disingenuous portrayal of Desmog in the article at the top of my post, the PBS Frontline program back in April, “The Power of Big Oil” offered its viewers an incomplete, disingenuous portrayal of Kert Davies while never disclosing what his true, highly biased history was against the fossil fuel industry.

• The “Climate Central” organization, as I detailed in a 2012 guest post at Steve Milloy’s site, was not what the PBS NewsHour news outlet portrayed it to be ….. and guess what else? They hid who their founder was.

One more thing, a major fault within the Inside Climate News hit piece against CLINTEL that reinforces what the overriding fault is with the collective supporters of CAGW: attack the messenger, not the message. The article attacks CLINTEL for its associations, not its message. The article attacks particular CLINTEL Declaration signatories for their ‘qualifications’ and their associations, but not the signatories’ message, which each person can very likely elaborate on at considerable length. If CLINTEL Declaration signer / Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever can be dismissed because he is not a climate scientist, then by default ICN can come down like a ton of bricks on Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore because he is not a climate scientist …. and ICN could then crucify Greta Thunberg because she is a high school drop-out. As is United Nations climate issue speaker Leo DiCaprio.

Don’t hold your breath for ICN to undertake that equal-time reporting problem.

I scrolled down through CLINTEL’s Declaration list of 1,107 signatories, I recognized a minimum of 40 signers (many of whom I’ve exchanged emails with) and can vouch for the level detail they’d provide because I’ve either seen their presentations in person, or via their online video presentations. Don’t expect ICN to objectively interview any CLINTEL Declaration signer to elaborate on what the faults are in the CAGW issue. ICN simply has no self-awareness that all they are doing here is ‘rehashing the same old trope’ talking point that’s long been aimed at the Oregon Petition Project, with its 31,487 signatories. Rather than outright dismiss CLINTEL’s Declaration as 1,000 people” vs “millions of scientists while also falling into the trap of the argumentum ad populum logical fallacy, ICN should undertake genuine journalistic efforts to find out how many more tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands – millions, potentially – of people with significant science expertise or science knowledge actually deeply question the notion that the science is settled on man-caused global warming.

Would they have to bury that result too, along with all these other inconvenient facts and inconvenient people who are undercutting their beloved issue?

Just askin’. When the whole CAGW issue falls apart, will ICN, the PBS NewsHour, and other so-called news outlets be able to defend how they only told half of its story?