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Wed, 2014-04-30 13:38Guest
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VIDEO: Heartland Institute's Joe Bast Reluctantly Stands by Denial of Cigarette Smoking Risks

This is a guest post by Lee Fang and Nick Surgey, originally published on Republic Report.

Before the Heartland Institute became famous for its leading role in climate change denial, the group spent many years working to defend the tobacco industry. Just as the group is now known for its over the top attacks on climate scientists, Heartland once played a large role in criticizing public health experts and others calling attention to the dangers of cigarette smoking.

At a mining conference in Denver earlier this month, Republic Report spoke to the Heartland president Joe Bast about his past support for the tobacco industry. In an opinion column titled “Five Lies About Tobacco,” Bast once repeatedly claimed that health concerns regarding cigarette smoking were overblown and worth ignoring. At first, Bast denied that he had ever dismissed concerns about smoking and disputed the quote we read to him.

“In 1998, you wrote in a Heartland op-ed that smoking cigarettes has little to no adverse health effects,” we noted. “Do you stand by that?”

“No, I never wrote that,” replied Bast. “Why would I have written something like that?” Bast asked to see the op-ed, and promised to “contest” it.

Later, Republic Report returned and read Bast's op-ed to him.

Watch the video below:

Fri, 2012-11-30 10:50Kevin Grandia
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Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute's 5 Most Offensive Attacks On Science and Public Health

With the ultra-conservative Heartland Institute completely discredited in the US, they are taking their climate change Denial-a-Palooza circus act over to Germany this week.

The Heartland Institute has a long history of attacking conventional science on behalf of their corporate funders, whether it be the link between human activity and climate change or the link between cancer and tobacco smoke.

Covering Heartlands' activities over the last 7 years has been like watching a very, very slow train wreck.

Here's some of the highlights of Heartland's head scratchers:

1. Unabomber Billboard:

In May 2012, Heartland launched a billboard campaign comparing people who acknowledge the scientific reality of manmade climate change to serial killers like the infamous Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

There was a huge uproar over the ads, and while Heartland's president Joseph Bast thought it could help raise his organization's profile, there was instead a massive exodus of corporate funders.

Tue, 2012-11-27 13:13Kevin Grandia
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Denial-a-Palooza: Does German Media Really Believe There is No Link Between Cigarettes and Lung Cancer?

A US group called the Heartland Institute will be in Munich, Germany this week holding a conference that has become known as “Denial-a-palooza” where a small group of unqualified “experts” gets together to talk about their conspiracy theory that climate change is a “hoax.” This year, Heartland Institute is partnering with the Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) to host the “Eighth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC8)” November 30 - December 1.

Usually Heartland holds Denial-a-palooza in the United States, but I suspect the group is taking their event overseas where the media is less likely to know the long and sordid details of Heartland's other efforts to attack conventionally accepted scientific conclusions. Not to mention Heartland's offensive Unabomber billboard campaign and a long list of other outrageous stunts. 

Perhaps the Heartland Institute is banking on the German media's failure to Google search for evidence of the group's long history of attacks on science and efforts to confuse the public about climate change and an array or other threats to public health and the planet.

Mon, 2012-04-30 06:30Guest
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Heartland Institute Attacks Forecast the Facts, Denies Its Climate Change Denial

This is a guest post by Daniel Souweine, Campaign Director, Forecast The Facts

On April 24, Heartland Institute President Joe Bast issued an angry missive attacking Forecast the Facts, a new campaign that successfully petitioned automobile giant General Motors to end their financial support of Heartland earlier this month. In a 2,000-word screed, Bast defended his organization's efforts to disseminate anti-science propaganda to public classrooms and the general public, while making a number of wildly inaccurate claims about our group.

While much of what Bast wrote does not warrant a reply, we felt it important to address the most pernicious falsehoods, and also to remind Heartland's corporate donors exactly why support for the organization is so untenable (although Bast does an excellent job of that himself). 

The saddest and most offensive attack on Forecast the Facts is the Heartland president's suggestion that the more than 20,000 signatories of our successful petition to General Motors may not even exist, calling the petition a “fraud.” We stand by the validity of our petition one hundred percent. But even more so, we proudly affirm the existence of our members and their commitment to fighting climate change denial. The signers of the petition are real people with valid email accounts and sincere concerns that major corporations continue to support Heartland's climate change denial. (You can see some of their powerful comments here).

While Bast directs his venom at the everyday Americans who comprise the Forecast the Facts campaign, it's clear that his primary intent is to soothe the concerns of his corporate donors, many of whom are now reconsidering their support of his organization. If anything, his rant lays bare just how disreputable Bast is.

In a truly Orwellian turn, Bast vehemently denies Heartland Institute's climate change denial. (As a reminder for those less familiar with Bast, his primary focus before becoming a leader in the climate change denial movement was to question the links between smoking and lung cancer at the behest of Philip Morris, which remains a Heartland backer.) 

Wed, 2009-02-11 17:14Kevin Grandia
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A Climate Deniers take on Tobacco Smoke

It’s no secret that many of the people and organizations funded by cigarette companies to defend “smoker’s rights” and downplay the harmful effect of tobacco smoke have been involved in the energy industry-funded campaign to downplay the serious effects of climate change.

No group typifies this more than the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based “think” tank that simultaneously operates the “smoker’s lounge” and “global warming facts” sections on their website. The former arguing for “smoker’s rights” and railing on about the need for “sound science” on tobacco issues and the latter arguing that “global warming is not a crisis.”

It’s no coincidence that the Heartland Institute has also received funding over the years from companies that stand to benefit from delaying government regulation in the areas of tobacco and greenhouse gas emissions.

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