Climate change deniers love to be (selectively) outraged (Greta vs Seibt)
Recently, deniers absolutely lost their shit when CNN put Greta Thunberg on a panel about coronavirus, hope and fear, to talk about the importance of listening to experts. They also attacked her for the recent news that she’s started her own foundation to give away the monetary prizes she’s won for her activism, including some coronavirus relief efforts specifically targeting at-risk youth. But you probably saw that already.
I am not an expert. I am an activist. The only people claiming that I’m an “expert” are those who are trying to ridicule me. My message has always been to unite behind the science and listen to the experts. 2/2
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) May 14, 2020
What you probably haven’t seen, is what’s new with the anti-Greta Naomi Seibt. Where Greta has built something to help lift up others, Seibt has gone in the other direction, with the launch of a new Patreon account, so that people can just pay her a €59/month subscription for her videos and “writing/journalism.”
Writing at JunkScience (Steve Milloy’s website, borne of early efforts to defend the fossil fuel industry) Christopher Monckton, the longtime climate denier, who once called for rounding up everyone who was HIV positive and quarantining them for life (seriously), explained that Seibt is in dire need of financial help because her YouTube channel was demonetized, and worse, she has been fined of about $400 dollars by the local Media Authority for promoting the Heartland Institute and attacking climate policies.
Given that he doesn’t provide links to any of the original materials, it’s hard to tell the difference between the dramatic hyperbole of Monckton’s writing — which is basically how an arrogant and lazy British person thinks a witty and brilliant British professor-turned-thesaurus-salesman talked in 1820 — and what’s actually happened here in 2020. But it sounds like the German state in which Seibt lives has a new law regulating media that lobbies for or against specific policies, and that includes some sort of product placement, which her videos apparently do.
According to Monckton, a man so dishonest the UK House of Lords had to send him a letter telling him to stop falsely calling himself a “Lord,” Seibt had three videos that ran afoul of the laws. But, he claims, rising to her defense, they didn’t really break the law, because the two of them that took a policy position didn’t mention the Heartland Institute, and then the one that mentioned Heartland didn’t advocate on policy. Therefore, he wrote in a letter to the media authority, it should pay Seibt $10,000 “for the distress and alarm” plus $2,500 in costs. (Weird that he says they should pay for costs, after telling readers she’s already “engaged a lawyer pro bono.” If the lawyer’s free, what costs are there?)
Now, given Monckton’s nasty habit of using flowery legal-sounding language in threatening letters about how he’s going to file a lawsuit, and then rarely following through (or losing them when he does), odds are slim he’s going to win Seibt that $12,500 as compensation for her suffering of… receiving a $400 fine and letter in the mail detailing how she’s broken the law.
But her decision to go the Patreon route, after not renewing her freelance contract with Heartland, is an interesting one.
Because while Monckton’s post is all about how people should give her money to fight this unfair oppression by the German government, her Patreon page has nothing about that, and is otherwise pretty barebones, with just a couple links to her YouTube videos and two sentences of boilerplate.
As a service designed for artists and other content creators to use their fan base to fund their work, with small $5 or $10 monthly subscriptions so that OnlyFans who are really dedicated get exclusive content or behind-the-scenes access. It’s like a monthly kickstarter or substack for YouTubers, comic book and art nerds or other diehard fans of niche subcultures.
So it’s a normal thing for someone who wants to make a career out of YouTube to start up.
That said, if someone had to distance themselves from a fossil fuel front group after getting a paycheck from them, and then decided not to renew their contract with a very public announcement on their YouTube channel, but they still wanted to get that money secretly, this would certainly be an easy way to do it. And what better way to reach prospective funders than at the blog created as a tobacco industry front group that now serves as a defensive mechanism for the fossil fuel industry, and nowhere else?
With Monckton’s post only a couple days old, Seibt already has enough patrons to provide the young high school graduate with zero formal journalism education or experience with nearly a $1,000 monthly salary for her videos and writing/journalism.
Which should be more than enough to cover her fine for promoting the Heartland Institute…
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(Crossposted with DailyKos.)