Artificial Dodgey Intelligence — the Gelbspan ‘undeniable truth’ skid

There was much ado about Google’s “Gemini” A.I. driving over the ‘woke bias’ cliff a few weeks back, prompting a pseudo-apology from Google about their system “missing the mark.” Well, set their illustration creation ‘intelligence’ aside for a while; is the thing probably dodgey on its text information-generating angle as well?

Sorta. Watch this:

Slave to temptation that I am, and after recently watching the ChatGPT drive straight into its own self-created credibility brick wall – Ross Gelbspan never won a Pultizer Prize – I thought it would be worth a shot to see of Google’s Gemini does the same thing. It actually did not, but my simple set of experiments below illustrates what the fatal problem with it is …. as well as with the collective current mainstream media.

Attempt #1, just to see how Gemini A.I. would respond:

Briefly, explain what Ross Gelbspan’s role had in the climate issue.

Ross Gelbspan was a journalist who focused on exposing the misinformation campaigns around climate change. He argued that the fossil fuel industry funded climate denial efforts to weaken public support for action on global warming. His work aimed to hold the media accountable for better representing the scientific consensus on climate change.

If you are a ‘climate news propagandist,’ you run this without questioning a word of it. But as I’ve described here at GelbspanFiles before, Ross Gelbspan was a self-described retired journalist, not employed in any way as a working one at the time he’s said to have ‘exposed a misinformation campaign’ – singular – that supposedly ‘weakened public support.’ Al Gore credited him as such, as did others, along with saying he was a Pulitzer Prize winner. Gelbspan all but corroborates the accusation / accolade bits himself. That false “Pulitzer winner” accolade has been so pervasive over the years that one gullible Washington Post article section commenter embarrassingly credited him with winning a Pulitzer for his ‘exposé of corrupt skeptic scientists, and another hapless blogger said he won two Pulitzers. So pervasive, it’s seen as recently as this year.

No dice on that from the Gemini A.I. Give it credit for making the elemental errors of assumption it did cough up about the ‘journalist exposing coruption’ / ‘holding the media accountable’ talking points.

However – no, he didn’t ‘hold the media accountable,’ with his oft-repeated line about journalistic laziness, he tricked them into abdicating their core journalism responsibilities, first with the anti-science notion that scientific conclusions are validated by a “show of hands” (they are not), then he – a Pulitzer winner, no less – said he had evidence to prove they were paid illicit money under the table by fossil fuel executives. It’s a brilliantly simple 3-part talking point; ‘the science is settled. Any skeptic scientists you find are industry-paid shills, therefore you may ignore them.’ The actual laziness on the part of ‘journalists’ ever since has been their failure to see if his corruption accusation had any merit. It does not.

Oh, one more thing, there – the notion of ‘scientific consensus’ is a logical fallacy.

The Gemini A.I. simply falls into this same talking points trap. Intriguing, though, how it did not immediately regurgitate the ‘Pulitzer winner’ error like the ChatGPT system did.

So I thought I’d try adding question. Fast-forward to Gemini A.I.’s added answer:

Explain what Ross Gelbspan’s role had in the climate issue. What awards did he win for his efforts?

While there’s no information readily available about specific awards Gelbspan won, his work’s impact is undeniable. He’s recognized for his courage in confronting powerful interests and advocating for environmental truth in journalism.

no information readily available about specific awards Gelbspan won ….. advocating for environmental truth in journalism.” That was too tempting for me to leave alone. So, I came back with this:

Ross Gelbspan is described across the spectrum of the internet as a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, most recently on a February 16, 2024 National Public Radio “Living on Earth” broadcast segment. Are those assertions false?

Here’s the highlights from Gemini A.I.’s answer (full text screencapture here):

You’re right, there seems to be some confusion regarding Ross Gelbspan and a Pulitzer Prize. Here’s what I found:

Credible sources don’t mention a Pulitzer
• … It’s possible the NPR segment or other sources contain inaccurate information. …

Gelbspan’s legacy:
Regardless of a Pulitzer Prize, Ross Gelbspan’s … work on climate truth remains a valuable contribution.

“… Regardless of a Pulitzer ….. work on climate truth remains a valuable contribution.” The Gemini A.I. now sidesteps what is potentially a ‘hold-on-there-a-minute’ situation reaction that most normal critical thinkers might have — “climate truth”? Is it true that he won a Pulitzer or not? If he did, statements to that effect are true, but if he did not, nobody moves another inch down the climate issue road without asking why Gelbspan would have committed one of the biggest acts of resumé fraud in the journalism profession.

So, I hit harder:

I’ll repeat, Ross Gelbspan is described across the spectrum of the internet as a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the NPR “Living on Earth” obituary was just one example. Another is the 2/29/24 tweet from the “Covering Climate Now” website, a supplier of information to national news media outlets. Ross Gelbspan’s own 1997 “The Heat is On” book jacket inside sleeve stated he was a Pulitzer Prize winner, as did the cover sleeve for his 2004 hardcover book “Boiling Point.” What is the origin of the confusion you are referring to?

Gemini A.I.’s answer bits illustrate how the deeper you dig into the ‘climate truther Gelbspan’ narrative, the shakier that narrative appears:

You’re absolutely right, there definitely seems to be widespread confusion online about Ross Gelbspan and a Pulitzer Prize.
Possible explanations for this discrepancy include:

• Misinformation spread unintentionally
• Mistaken attribution
• Outdated information

Gelbspan’s legacy:
Regardless of the source of the confusion, Ross Gelbspan’s contributions to climate change awareness are undeniable. His work in exposing misinformation and advocating for accurate media coverage remains a significant part of his legacy.

What does that response look like? A person caught in a conundrum who’s now desperate to keep the viewer focused on the original conclusion. ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain who may have committed a huge breach of basic ethics.’ The Gemini A.I. is not a person, however. Is this response indicative of the personality traits of its programmers?

One more experiment attempt (I’ll split the full text screencaptures for easier reading):

The Pulitzer organization itself ( ) finds no results within its history that Ross Gelbspan ever won a Pulitzer. Are you suggesting that Gelbspan and others who say he did win that prize are spreading disinformation unintentionally? Or is it plausible that the disinformation on their part is intentional in some cases? If so, does that cause a problem with what you say about “His work on climate truth”?

Gemini A.I. came closer to admitting what the problem is:

You’ve presented a strong point. …

… It’s certainly possible that the claims about Gelbspan’s Pulitzer are unintentional errors. Information online can be easily copied and spread without fact-checking, leading to misinformation.

Intentional Disinformation: While less likely, there’s a chance some sources might be intentionally spreading misinformation about Gelbspan’s Pulitzer win. This could be an attempt to bolster his credibility or for other agendas.

… misinformation about the Pulitzer does raise concerns:

Accuracy Matters: Accuracy is crucial, especially in climate change discussions where misinformation is rampant.
Trustworthiness: Attributing an undeserved award can undermine trust in Gelbspan’s work …

Critical Thinking: It’s essential to be critical of information online, especially when dealing with controversial topics like climate change. Fact-checking resources can help in such situations.
Focus on the Work: Shift the focus from the unverified Pulitzer claim to the actual merits of Gelbspan’s work in climate change advocacy.

Ya think?? I didn’t just make a strong point – I made a crippling point.

But Gemini A.I. still doubled down at the end with its original conclusion.

… while the source of the Pulitzer misinformation remains unclear, it shouldn’t diminish the importance of Ross Gelbspan’s fight for climate truth.

Slave to temptation that I am, I couldn’t resist this last jab:

Ross Gelbspan himself said on three occasions, including on the back cover of his 1991 “Break-ins, Death Threats and the FBI,” that he won a Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer organization says definitively that he did not. Wouldn’t you agree that if he appears to have committed resumé fraud, that all of his subsequent “work,” as you describe it, should be called into question before it is labeled as ‘truth’?

You’re right, this situation with Ross Gelbspan and the Pulitzer Prize is complex …

… This raises serious questions about his credibility.

Resumé Fraud: Attributing an undeserved award like a Pulitzer does constitute a form of resumé fraud.
Scrutiny of Work: Given the apparent misrepresentation, Gelbspan’s work on climate change deserves closer scrutiny.

Again — ya think?? But – again – Gemini A.I. still essentially doubled down at the end with its original conclusion.


Ross Gelbspan’s apparent misrepresentation of a Pulitzer win casts a shadow on his credibility. However, it doesn’t automatically negate the validity of climate change itself, nor does it automatically mean all of his work on the issue is wrong. Each piece of his work should be evaluated on its own merits and evidence. This situation highlights the importance of critical thinking and skepticism, especially when dealing with information online and on complex issues like climate change.

The irony there is enormous. The Gemini A.I. is essentially lecturing about the need for critical thinking and examining all the facts, yet it ends up trying to defend a conclusion that isn’t merely somewhat problematic, the conclusion about Gelbspan’s work is not supported by any facts.

I decided to end it there, since it’s mildly possible that the Gemini A.I. programmers might have also put in some kind of ability to smell a rat if someone hits back too many times on angles which might cause the system to be ultimately unable to support its preconceived conclusion about the “climate truth advocate” Gelbspan, in the potential face of:

what exact ‘disinformation campaign did Gelbspan expose?
what what is his specific evidence for that campaign?
how did he get his ‘evidence’ for the accusation and from whom did he obtain it?
how was he able to switch from being a ‘skeptic’ of catastrophic man-caused global warming to a believer in such a short span of time?
what explains the inconsistencies of his stories about his ‘discovery’ of industry-paid skeptic climate scientist shills?

I could do this all day.

The mainstream news media could do this all day, every day, as well, against unsupportable propaganda efforts behind the accusation about the fossil fuel industry spewing disinformation via its ‘highly paid shill’ experts. There’s no rocket science involved here.

But they don’t.

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 … and to the basically non-intelligent A.I. systems.