For any of the folks at last week’s Heartland Institute climate conference (and any others I’ve contacted recently) who heard me say the worthless “reposition global warming” ‘leaked industry memos’ is the literal best ammunition that enviro-activist accusers have in their arsenal as evidence that the fossil fuel industry ran disinformation campaigns, that was no exaggeration. And as we all know, the primary hallmark of far leftists is the way they project their mindset onto the people they accuse of treachery, so when we see the Covering Climate Now group, a supplier of biased, one-sided climate info to 500+ news media outlets, publish a March 2 “FOX Doesn’t Just Lie About Elections” hit piece castigating the Fox News network with a subheadline that reads ….
The network is part of a climate disinformation ecosystem that journalism has to confront.
…. it is an arrow the size of Texas pointing to who it actually is who spews disinformation and who should be exposed for exactly what they are doing. Especially when Covering Climate Now feels totally compelled to support their accusation with ye olde “reposition global warming” memos that date all the way back to when the co-founder of CCNow first used them in a pure disinformation effort back in 1997. That’s how old this pathetic effort is, and why I put the comical “ye olde” modifying noun in front of those memos’ notorious name.
When it comes to disinformation, from elections to climate, arguably no megaphone has been louder and more influential than FOX ….
… says the CCNow piece at the top in what is largely a diatribe about a court system news item accusing Fox News personalities of boosting their ratings by lying about the U.S. 2020 presidential election results. Ratings = profits — hold that thought there on profits until the end of this blog post, I’ll point out how it is an example of enviro-activist psychological projection, too. Megaphone?? I’ve covered twice previously how that’s also pure psychological projection on the part of enviros. Meanwhile, questions about individual state election results are legion and deeply examined at great detail, not that the mainstream media wants the public to know about any of it, of course. But to see how CCNow steers straight into its own credibility brick wall, look how this piece suddenly twists their diatribe into a climate topic just three paragraphs later – no joke!:
While FOX is a primary driver of climate disinformation, it’s not alone. Over the last year, the use of terms like “climate hoax” and “climate scam” has surged online. The language and tactics are reminiscent of Big Oil’s early propaganda campaigns decades ago to deny the reality of climate change and “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).”
That is outright total disinformation, at several levels. First, Fox News is actually quite weak on putting out the science details from the skeptic side of the climate issue. FNC personalities such as Steve Hilton invite guests like Benji Backer to discuss how “climate change” is something which conservatives / Republicans can at least minimally agree is a problem to solve. I have yet to hear any of the personalities on FNC’s “The Five” offer any hint that they know skeptic climate scientists declare there is no climate crisis. Marc Morano of ClimateDepot has indeed appeared more than once on Tucker Carlson’s show, but the impression I get from Carlson’s own mentions of the climate issue is that he still doesn’t fully know how faulty the IPCC / Al Gore science is, and is totally unaware of how vulnerable the ‘crooked skeptic climate scientists’ accusation is to total collapse.
But the far bigger bit of disinformation in CCNow’s bit above is the implication that ‘Big Oil’ directed propaganda campaigns decades back to ‘reposition global warming.’ The oil industry did no such thing, and not a single accusation promulgator has any evidence that they did. The best these promulgators have that any fossil fuel company directed such campaigns is the worthless “reposition global warming” memos they’re enslaved to. By “worthless,” I mean that memo set was an obtusely worded proposal that was rejected by the coal industry group it was proposed to, none of it was ever implemented, either its top strategy or its illogical suggestion for targeting two narrow audience types, and it was unsolicited in the first place, including the alternate names suggested for the campaign.
When I say enslaved, I mean enslaved across the board. This CCNow piece is enslaved to those memos; nearly all of the current “Exxon Knew” global warming damages lawsuits ranging from Hawaii to Hoboken, New Jersey and Puerto Rico are enslaved to them; allegedly ‘peer-reviewed’ papers and other similar ‘research’ papers about what ‘Exxon knew’ are enslaved to them; books published just months ago with accompanying article fluff pieces are enslaved to them; as are mainstream media news reports within the last year.
Geoffrey Supran, the author of a barely over a month and a half-old supposedly ‘peer-reviewed’ paper seen around the world on what Exxon ‘knew’ about the harm of burning oil is enslaved to those memos, and has been ever since he led MIT’s divestment effort from fossil fuels.
Who is CCNow’s source for those memos and the implication that they were a sinister oil industry disinformation effort? CCNow’s link to that memo phrase is another brick wall they crash in to: it’s Geoffrey Supran’s 2019 “The forgotten oil ads that told us climate change was nothing” article in the UK Guardian newspaper, in which the “reposition global warming” memos are attributed (technically falsely) to the coal / electric public utilities industry. Read through that article too fast and miss those four words, and you’ll think the headline applied to the “reposition global warming” memos, too.
…………. oh, wait …. Supran co-authored that article with his boss, “Merchants of Doubt” book author / documentary movie star Naomi Oreskes. Put Supran under oath at a U.S. House or Senate investigation hearing or under oath during one of the “Exxon Knew” lawsuit trials, and I’ll wager that he will state honestly that he got his initial enslavement from nobody else but his boss.
Who is Oreskes’ source for the memos? She says the public relations campaign strategy memos / audience targeting memos (falsely attributed directly to the Western Fuels Association coal industry group), along with other WFA docs, are kept at the archives of the Washington D.C. office of the American Meteorological Society – in non-standard filing cabinets, no less. She’s stated that more than once. Dial up the AMS Archivist, and the person will say no such archives exist there. Who did Oreskes say alerted her to these alleged docs in AMS archives? Anthony Socci, a person said to be a direct associate – twice – of Al Gore back in 1991-’92.
Rather than offer its readers – again, 500+ news media outlets in the network it provides info to – crystal-clear bulletproof material proving ‘Big Oil’ is nailed to the wall concerning disinformation campaigns, CCNow presents a mess to journalists who could nail CCNow to the wall concerning that problem. If only the journalists chose to adhere to the basic tenets of journalism.
This isn’t the first time the CCNow group — or more specifically its co-founder Mark Hertsgaard — has falsely pinned the “reposition global warming” memos to the oil industry, however. As seen in his June 30, 2021 “The Climate Crisis Is a Crime That Should Be Prosecuted” piece, reproduced without question the same day by the UK Guardian,
Beginning in the 1990s, oil companies spent millions upon millions of dollars on public relations campaigns to confuse the press, the public, and policymakers about the dangers posed by burning fossil fuels. Their aim was “to reposition global warming as theory, not fact,” one planning document stated. Front groups and friendly politicians spread the companies’ lies.
News outlets, especially in the United States, swallowed and regurgitated those lies to an unsuspecting public.
Nice touch in that last sentence, which of course is psychological projection of where the real disinformation is found in the climate issue. His bit there was published almost five months before the Oreskes/Supran article, however. So where did Hertsgaard his claim about the “reposition global warming” memos that time?
Oh, how predictable. Kert Davies’ Climate Files website …..
Yep, that Kert Davies, who traces back to his days at Greenpeace / Ozone Action when Greenpeace had those worthless memos scans sourced from the Ozone Action group; Ozone Action being the place that was the first to prompt lasting, ongoing media traction for the memos, outright disinformation that it was, even when mentioned in generic form.
Who is Ozone Action’s source for the worthless memos? They – and Ross Gelbspan – ‘obtained’ them from somebody. They never say who, as though it’s some kind of state secret.
Meanwhile, Mark Hertsgaard is not just some random ex-journalist with a recent fixation on ‘covering just climate now.’ He is that Mark Hertsgaard, the one in 1997 with a gushing New York Times book review of Ross Gelbspan’s “The Heat is On,” complete with a quote of Gelbspan’s beloved “reposition global warming” memo phrase and praise of Gelbspan as a Pulitzer winner.
A double act of disinformation – Gelbspan didn’t unearth the memos, and never won a Pulitzer. Hertsgaard’s hugely suspect enslavement to Gelbspan doesn’t stop there, as I detailed in my November 22, 2019 blog post after seeing him and Covering Climate Now seemingly popping up out of the blue at that time.
Put Hertsgaard under oath at a U.S. House or Senate investigation hearing or under oath during one of the “Exxon Knew” lawsuit trials, and I’ll wager he will fold like a cheap suit on his source for those worthless memos and how he’s been enslaved to them all these years.
Then there’s that appearance of psychological projection I mentioned up at the top about profits & ratings. Think about this for a moment: Who is it in this climate issue that is entirely dependent on ‘ratings’ – scary scenarios, as the late Dr Stephen Schneider put it – as a means of grabbing public attention?
Mark Hertsgaard, among myriad others who’ve built careers out of accusing skeptic climate scientists of being paid industry money to deceive the public. The man would’ve had to continue doing actual reporter work, if he could muster it, had it not been for the opportunity to hitch his wagon to the star of Ross Gelbspan’s and Ozone Action’s beloved “reposition global warming” memos. Same applies to Ozone Action’s / Greenpeace’s John Passacantando and Kert Davies, the TV documentary show buddy team whose long-time association wasn’t disclosed to the public by the PBS Frontline program last year. Passacantando has been swimming in at least $16 million, if not more, after leaving Greenpeace, and it appears that Davies would have to go out and get a real job if it weren’t for Passacantando’s cash.
Geoffrey Supran said outright that he owes his existence to his boss. Naomi Oreskes’ entire second career is built on those memos – she would still be an inconsequential geologist professor without them, since her anti-science 100% science consensus paper is what put her on a first-name basis with Al Gore. Gore needed that paper in his 2006 movie so he could segue seconds later into using the “reposition global warming” phrase to compare skeptic climate scientists to ‘shill’ tobacco industry scientists.
Then there are all the others tied into the accusation of ‘crooked skeptic scientists’ – the entire Desmogblog organization that was built on Gelbspan’s accusation. Same for all involved in peddling and running the “Exxon Knew” lawsuits. Same for anyone who got jobs as the result of their PhD / Masters thesis being built on those memos. Same for Al Gore’s entire second career stemming from the news media never questioning his defamation of skeptic climate scientists, same for Ross Gelbspan’s, had his fellow journalists bothered to check whether his accusation actually held water, or checked into what he did to earn a Pulitzer.
How many multi-millions if not multi-billions of income streams in technical profits came into the collective climate issue because mainstream media journalists never checked into a ‘leaked memo set’ (where the main copy ended up in the trash of the group it was proposed to), which then led those journalists to unquestioningly dismiss “crooked skeptic scientists” out-of-hand?
When enough of the public sees that they’ve been fed constant disinformation about the climate issue by the very people decrying ‘fossil fuel industry-orchestrated disinformation,’ that’s when the tide will turn against what has been the actual threat to the well-being of the country this whole time: the egregiously biased mainstream media and the people who feed all the disinformation to them.