War on science: Coronavirus deniers continue to use the deadly climate change denial playbook

  • Published on April 27th, 2020

Deniers are, of course, keen to capitalize on the coronavirus crisis by attacking journalists and activists for talking about climate in relation to Covid-19. Steve Milloy, for example, made a list of tweets last week ranging from reporters talking about cleaner air and water as a result of the lockdown, to other reporters pointing out that isn’t a good thing to do, to the tweet from the racists posing as an XR chapter.

Coronavirus COVID19

By Climate Denier Roundup

Not only did Heartland turn that into a post for its website, but it even got Breitbart and FoxNews to pick up the listicle proving that… people are talking about the biggest news story of the moment. (No mention was made of the litany of ways the fossil fuel industry is doing way more than just tweeting to exploit the crisis.)

Heartland’s lazy list of “climate+corona” tweets isn’t all they’re up to though. Denial cartoonist “Josh” (who IRL is likely ”graphic facilitator” David Gifford) tweeted a somewhat-subtly-anti-Semitic comic showing someone celebrating “all the healing” of the Earth. (Remember: using humor or dog whistles to communicate white supremacy in a way that “the unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not” is part of the official neo-Nazi style guidelines.)

Similarly, Heartland’s Naomi Seibt continued her game of “I’m not touching you: anti-Semitism edition” with a tweet reminding followers that “This is NOT a coincidence. This is NOT unplanned. Keep your eyes open. Fight the INVISIBLE ENEMY. Protect your freedom to THINK.” Who might that invisible enemy be? One might think the virus, but the virus wouldn’t have its own plan, and it isn’t posing a threat to anyone’s “freedom to THINK.”

So WHO is the shadowy global network of sinister (((bureaucrats))) that can be blamed? Yes, WHO is. If you ask deniers, the World Health Organization, the UN body focused on public health, is apparently responsible for this crisis.

Last week, Matt Ridley wrote a piece in the Telegraph (unpaywalled at his website) blaming the WHO for failing to prepare for a pandemic because it was too busy “talking more about climate change, obesity and tobacco.” He concludes by chastising the organization for being “a bit obsessed with celebrities” because its president has written an op-ed with and tweeted about Lady Gaga. (The notion that a global health body shouldn’t do outreach with global superstars is echoed in a blog at the AmericanThinker…)

In addition to being a coal-owning climate denier, Matt Ridley is perhaps most famous for being responsible for causing England’s first bank run in 140 years, after his doomed embrace of subprime mortgages as chairman of Northern Rock Bank. To be fair to his expertise, if anyone knows the danger of turning a blind eye to the massive risks associated with a blind pursuit of profits, it’s the man who was a key trigger of the 2008 global economic crisis.

But he’s not the only one blaming WHO, of course. President Trump has also been trying to pass the metaphorical buck to the organization, while threatening to stop literally passing bucks by cutting funding.

We’ve yet to see if he will be successful in convincing Americans about WHO is to blame, but rest assured that he’s still trying to find every way in the world to help the fossil fuel industry.

In fact, he’s going even beyond that! While the residents of Earth are totally consumed by a global pandemic threatening to kill millions, Trump has his eye on more reasonable pursuits: making sure American companies can mine the Moon.

One can only imagine that during the meeting between Trump and Big Oil CEOs last week, they asked him how far he would go for the industry, to which he replied “To the Moon and back.”

(Crossposted with DailyKos.)

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