Some Unsolicited Advice to Heartland
Posted by Jeff Condon on May 6, 2012
It looks like I missed quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. Not only have I not been writing, I haven’t done any reading! Very unusual for me. I had to check if global warming was still happening, whether the sea still had ice and whether climategate 3.0 had broken out.
It turned out pretty much as before except for the Heartland institute exhibiting Gleick-like reasoning skill. WTF?! Hell, every time I turn around someone does something so rock bottom stupid that it is difficult to get your head around. Then I see people withdrawing from a conference over this and wonder why.
Here is how I see it. Heartland is a group, not an individual. A group will always have individuals which make mistakes. These things are correctable. Apologies and terminations/reassignments are in order but to chuck the message out over this stupidity, and it was spectacularly stupid, is silly. When I can make a better PR judgment than your hired PR professional, you need to hire a new professional. They took the dumb add down and issued an apology but I haven’t heard of any terminations yet. It is painfully obvious that whomever approved the ad. is completely out of touch with those who understand physics and still don’t see climate doom in our future. It is also obvious that they are unaware of the progress being made within the science.
Reality trumps all arguments.
My advice to Heartland is to first, improve the apology. Making mistakes will not hurt you when you admit them. Second, find new advisors who can detect something so blatantly extreme. Extremism is the shelter of the slow witted, and that was really slow! Third, recognize that your organizational message will only generate a specific amount of attention. If you are looking to grow your organizational cash beyond that limit by efforts other than content, it will absolutely fail in the scientific arena on which all sides of AGW are rooted. Keep the message reasonable in all cases no matter what the goals are and you will maximize your results.
Of course, I don’t run a non-profit but I did warn another one.
Ironically, I run a blog which is premised on venting. The difference is that this is for fun and I am not looking for a maximized result.