In which the discredited global-warming-denying conservative “think tank” Heartland Institute presumably took a look at the pantheon of lowly, shameless far-Right demagoguery, scratched its chin, and figured, “Fuck it, let’s show these amateurs how it’s really done”:
That’s not a fake, nor is it a poe. (After all, even satirists have a sense of self-restraint and basic human decency.) Nor is the Unabomber alone in representing global warming believers; other billboards reportedly feature Charles Manson and Fidel Castro, with potential future mascots including Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters in 2010). Because if they believe in something, then it must be wrong, whatever it may be, and anyone else who share the same select beliefs must be wrong. And bad. Very bad. Enough to merit being compared to terrorists and mass murderers. Or something. (Also, they appear to have forgotten about Hitler. ’Cause at this point, why the hell not?)
It’s funny; as much as there is to denounce about this latest horrendous campaign, there’s frankly little that actually needs to be said – though not that it’s prevented approximately half the Internet from collectively blowing a gasket these past few hours (see Phil Plait’s post for a few links of many). And to really clinch the whole thing, get a load of the Heartland Institute’s own shameless rationalizations for pulling such a stunt:
The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.
That’s just one snippet from the veritable avalanche of denialist bullshit they call a press release. And after only 24 hours (albeit 24 too many), they’ve decided to pull the plug on this “experiment” with some more written manure [my emphasis]:
“This provocative billboard was always intended to be an experiment. And after just 24 hours the results are in: It got people’s attention.
“This billboard was deliberately provocative, an attempt to turn the tables on the climate alarmists by using their own tactics but with the opposite message. We found it interesting that the ad seemed to evoke reactions more passionate than when leading alarmists compare climate realists to Nazis or declare they are imposing on our children a mass death sentence.
We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.”
It’s telling that they simply declare that they “got people’s attention” – without mentioning how it was in the form of universal disgust. And I love how they claim that this hateful tactic was a response to being called some mean names on the Internet. “Trollzor called us buttfaces on Facebook, so we’re gonna go ahead and put up billboards equating global warming advocates to terrorists!” That’s not even thin skin anymore; it’s pure insanity.
More comments offered by Heartland CEO Joe Bast:
The Heartland Institute knew this was a risk when deciding to test it, but decided it was a necessary price to make an emotional appeal to people who otherwise aren’t following the climate change debate.
A “necessary price to make an emotional appeal”? Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly the kind of message you want to send to those who aren’t intimately aware of the climate change “debate”: “Hey, folks, we don’t have any real leg to stand on, so we want you to know those who think global warming is real are just like bin Laden.” Not to mention, again, not only the complete lack of recognition for how terrible their choice of ads was, but the gloating admission that they knew they were being complete fucktards and just ran with it.
I’m with Ed Brayton. Yanking the billboards isn’t enough, not with this kind of brazen assholery. Heartland wanted to some attention, so let’s give ’em some – in the form of a major-ass boycott.