#28 Using the Heartland/Gleick story to teach critical thinking
My Reality Check Blog

Deconstruction
- This is a great story for teaching critical thinking cos the story deconstructs to be 180 different from the face value.

Analysis over 5 pages
1. Face value :"Anti-science agenda revealed: Heartland Institute out to warp ideas about climate change"
2. Tricks used in Activism PR
3. Let's see how Phil Plait Handled the Story
4. Detail : Glance at the DoubtfulNews Blog - weasel words emotional tone
5. Detail : Perspective : is big money from Big Oil ? No doesn't turn up to perspective test
7. PART III - After 6 days Peter Gleick confessed & a new story emerged
8. Did the Green Activist Media Correct their story ?
9. Why Was the Story Published in Such A strange Way ?
10. PART IV - Who is Preventing Debate ? Heartland prove PG had just refused Invitation to Debate
11. Many Green Blogs Dis-Credit Themselves - by saying "Gleick was right to lie for the cause"
12. Why Doesn't Gleick prove he's not a faker ?
13. Example of Taking "ownership" of Words
14. The Same Delegitimization Tactics Used Before
15. Links To More Info
16 What's Our Final Conclusion ?
First sight of an extraordinary story
- appeared on green blogs & was quickly cut & pasted into other blogs & media
- Anti-science agenda revealed: Heartland Institute out to warp ideas about climate change
"program ...effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science."

- To a lot of people since that story confirmed their own dogma they took it at face value & republished it all over the net.

- I came across the story through a blog
Some small rightwing organisation is going to take over the entire US climate change education curriculum & nobody can do anything about it ? really
Clue 1 : is this "Too bad/good to be true" ? ... YES that's the way it seems

- OK not takeover, but is it possible that a climate skeptic group is interested in getting climate skeptic materials into schools ? That part of the story rings true. It's so obvious it's described as a "Dog bites man" story. Do Greenpeace want to get their favourite issues discussed in schools ? They already do get their stuff into schools.

- I didn't really even read it the first time, as there are a couple of other quick clues :
Clue 2 : weasel words in the title e.g. "Anti-science"
Clue 3 : an emotional tone.
That doesn't disprove, but they are signs of activist PR

- Perspective - the first figures I came across were like $4.4m annual budget. The hypothesis doesn't sound right, as the eco-charities must have like 50 times that budget each.

- So it's not impossible the story isn't true, but I had 3 big clues it wasn't.

- I have a fourth technique - keep an open mind & wait. You don't have to rush to a judgement as usually there is confirmation over time.

- After a couple of days of waiting a new story seemed to emerge with first Heartland going on record as saying that the quotes all come from one document that isn't genuine, it's a forgery. And then Peter Gleick made a confession that he had phished the other documents, but someone else had sent him the other. Note his confession didn't say that anything about the last document being surely genuine also.

- Lets first look at some of tricks used in Activism PR

Tricks used in Activism PR
Beware : We are being spun.
- These days most extraordinary news stories originate from very clever PR spin from left or right wing PR agencies - so we have to learn not to take things at face value.

- SIGs aim to take control of the "debate"
- They do this by not just reporting facts, but rather creating a narrative''

Tricks they use to Frame the debate.
- appeal to emotion
- photos - ugly smokestacks and nice polar bears.
- Certainty with no sense of doubt to get you to take it at face value
- Simplicity (complexity denial) : in reality for complex issues there are a broad spectrum of views, but one way to get people to your point of view is first convince them it's a 2 sided argument then convince them the other side is evil.

- Create a False dichotomy i.e. "The Good" (us) & the evil. Then name calling gives others a negative label, then we can say "Look they are evil .. You can't be with them ... so support us"
- The Claim the Middle-Ground Trick : In many normal situations there are a broad spectrum of views from zany right wing to zany leftwing, but after a false dichotomy is created that perception of "middle ground" disappears. Opinions which would formerly have looked extremist somehow look mainstream ... maybe there due to element of "well they are on my side so that must be true" Just like in anything the psychological manipulation technique of Anchoring may happen accidentally or by manipulation to fix your perception of what is "normal".

- Claim ownership of words so they used for what you want them to be not just what they normally used to mean. These become weasel words which are then used in to create False dichotomy & label anyone who disagrees with you as "evil".
e.g. "Denier" : Not just a different opinion on a spectrum but a "denier" paradoxically denying people the right to call themselves the more honourable word "skeptic"
- This trick is "monstering" ..just like when you need to sell a product, but have a weak case you focus on an evil opposition e.g. bleach & germs more on monstering

- Note how "Green" & "natural" vs "chemical" are used in a similar way ...(In reality all things are chemical & food which are called natural ..say butter involve a lot of processing by man)
- "Nuclear" was turned into a dirty word as well - "NMRI was simply renamed MRI dropping the "Nuclear"

- Also note how name calling first disarms others from pointing out you are guilty of the same crime you accuse. So saying "it's all very simple" is complexity denial and saying the science is settled" is denying people the right to debate.

Now having successfully claimed "denier". They are attempting to claim the word "Science" itself for themselves. They've come up with the word "anti-science" as a smear as part if their false dichotomy game : But surely in reality the world is a spectrum not a black/white - Science does not mean only 1 lifestyle solution. & anyway you might aswell label them as "Acti-Science" for Activism Science - More on these word tricks

Activism Tricks continued :
Delete/ prevent skeptical comments on blogs/websites
- I note that while skeptical websites don't seem to delete most warmist posters, Green Activist blogs/websites almost always don't allow comment or delete any skeptical comments and that includes the environment sections of the Guardian & BBC etc.

- Defend your argument by attacking first. Note how all this aggression puts people disagreeing with their view of "catastrophe is certain" on the backfoot. The debate should not be about Heartland's science, but rather whether IPCC models work now that warming is marginal and nothing like what the IPCC models predicted. That is what we should be talking about.

- Sums it up you are allowed to go into a school & say "There is a strong possibility that by the end of the century the sea level will have risen by 100m" as an Australian broadcaster often does, but you are not allowed to put a contrary view.

- Can You Trust me ? Or am I attempting to manipulate you by claiming that there is a false dichotomy, when in fact it's a Yes or No answer?

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