Nazis at Heartland? But that’s NOT why they fired half the staff

  • Published on March 17th, 2020

Recently, the Heartland Institute fired nearly half its staff, according to reporting by Alex Kauffman of HuffPost. According to Kauffman, the organization’s (former) events coordinator Nikki Comerford said that “Heartland is broke” because president “Frank Lasee spent all of our money in six months including the savings.”

Climate denier Heartland Institute's Greta Thunberg substitute, Naomi Seibt

By Climate Denier Roundup

Heartland responded to the report with a press release about the “reorganization,” promising two new initiatives “to counter the global alarmist Climate Delusion.”

What might these initiatives be? Well we have ideas, but first, let’s see if we can figure out who Heartland cut.

Looking at the staff page now and comparing it to an archived version, we have some clues.

Changed or updated employee pages include:

While president Frank Lasee still has his bio page up listing him as president, he no longer appears in the list of staff, along with a handful of others whose bios haven’t changed, but who no longer appear on the main staff page.

One of those people is Tiffany Taylor, apparently an “associate policy analyst,” who no longer appears next to her father James on the staff page, where she was added some time between December of 2019 and March 1st but has since been removed.

Speaking of young women with politically-connected parents who have been hired by Heartland in the past few months, we suspect that one of their new initiatives will focus on Naomi Seibt.

As we’ve noted before, Heartland doesn’t seem bothered by their Anti-Greta’s anti-Semitism, so it will probably keep promoting her despite photos showing her marching alongside Neo-Nazis at an anti-abortion rally in 2018. And judging by the replies to her recent tweets, it certainly looks like someone’s paying for bots to elevate her.

If Seibt giving a fresh face to old myths is one of Heartland’s new projects, what’s the other? Judging by a Heartland press release posted on WUWT (complete with tracking links so Heartland can see how many clicks its employee Anthony Watts drives), and a much more reliable story from InsideClimate News, its new initiative looks to be a new website: ClimateAtAGlance.

The site offers short summaries of denier positions – just another convenient repackaging of basic and well-worn myths, from the consensus (which relies on misleading and debunked interpretations of outdated AMS surveys) to hurricanes (main point being the logical fallacy that the existence of past hurricanes means current ones aren’t influenced by climate change) to Watts’s personal hobby horse, the long-debunked myth that the Urban Heat Island effect is actually what’s causing temperatures to appear to be rising.

The site is the opposite of Skeptical Science, a volunteer-driven effort established over a decade ago to provide concise and easily understood rebuttals to common denier arguments. If anyone is curious about rebuttals to Heartland’s “new” content, they can just go see how SkS debunked any of these theories the last dozen or so times someone brought them up.

So in addition to hiring a young woman with ties to Neo-Nazis, Heartland’s paying Anthony Watts, who the press release notes “played a key role compiling the summaries,” to copy paste together old and already-debunked blog posts in an attempt to replicate the success of a longstanding and volunteer-run effort.

With a hiring record like that, no wonder it’s running out of money!

(Crossposted with DailyKos.)

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