Booming Industry and Coincidental Investments to Drive Dissent from the Public Square
Adds to donors directing paid-for journalism promoting paid-for academic work pushed by paid-for congressional investigation, aiding litigation campaign
A headline in “The Verge” — “Twitter bans ‘misleading’ ads about climate change” —announced the latest entry in a wide-ranging war against speech that challenges the climate political agenda. This comes on the heels of the orchestrated yet oh-so clumsy attempt by the Washington Post to “cancel” Alex Epstein (WaPo’s utter ham-fistedness drew such blowback that the editors left its planned “racism” hit to a smear merchant called DeSmogBlog).
Earlier moves in the campaign to control language in the public square were both ‘positive’ (funding it, and even compelling ‘confessions’ of sorts) and negative (censoring it). Now, coincidental campaigns have emerged, even among already hysterical establishment journalism outlets, to drop all pretenses and finish things out.
For example, earlier this year the Associated Press (AP) announced it would use some of the Hewlett Foundation’s $600 million commitment to underwrite the climate agenda to add an army of reporters specifically to pitch in with the media ‘narrative’ that everything is climate.
It is not difficult to find other, plainly ‘sponsored’ climate journalism. The AP’s reach for more and more helpful “climate journalism” is straight out of the classic trial film The Verdict, in which James Mason orders up news stories in the Boston papers to soften up the public and jury pool for demands made in an upcoming trial. Sidney Lumet included no regard for the apparently optional SPJ Code of Ethics, why should AP?
The plan is to persuade the reluctant masses where politicians and activists have failed, which is into assuming that all thinking people understand a ‘climate crisis’ requires massive governmental interventions, a la COVID. Indeed, one CNN producer was caught on camera by Project Veritas revealing the network’s plan to make climate “the next COVID thing” for the network, known for its consistency of message with other establishment media outlets from the New York Times to MSNBC.
Clearly, there is a massive new “investment” is underway by activist donors to sanitize media, social media and public discourse of political opposition to the climate agenda or speech that would tend to support opposition.
Well before Twitter outed itself, Google was continually tightening and refining its automated censorship of YouTube comments, preventing the dissemination of heretical thoughts by climate realists. Then it went further and demonetizedclimate dissent.
Around the same time, Facebook arranged for a not-so “independent fact checker,” Climate Feedback, to cancel climate dissent in the public square (specifically seeking to silence Stossel, Lomborg, Koonin, Shellenberger, and PragerU). Public institutions are providing most of the talent, so open records requests have show that Facebook directs the cancellations when posts become “insanely viral”.
Another consistent investment by the left to chase climate debate from tender ears is the CCDH, Center for Countering Digital Hate, adding climate to its repertoire of wrongthink.
Unsurprisingly, these two projects appear to be operating as complementary, if Bad Cop-Worse Cop actors.
A “year-long investigation” of opponents of the “climate” agenda, which also is being privately underwritten, is consulting with another recent entrant, called the Climate Science Social Network (CSSN). CSSN’s participants also appear to be releasing papers timed for use in the hearings. This group of academics organized out of Brown University operate out of many universities in the West, acknowledged on a webinar that part of the group’s funding comes from the Energy Foundation – a well-known multimillion dollar passthrough funding numerous anti-industry activist groups.
CSSN’s scope suggests an objective is to produce opposition research prettied up as academic research discrediting opponents of the “climate” agenda, at $10,000-$60,000 per academic research project according to Emails released under Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act — up from an original $30,000 ceiling. The group now has media “fellows” who receive a stipend, among freelance and other reporters (from, e.g., The Nation magazine).
It is ensconced in the campaign to silence opponents. In April 2022 CSSN published a paper co-authored by co-authored by Peter Frumhoff of Union of Concerned Scientists, “Identifying Gaps in Climate-Litigation-Relevant Research”, one of the Godfathers of using law enforcement to investigate political opponents of the climate agenda since at least 2012.
Emails obtained under public records laws reveal Frumhoff informing colleagues as early as July 2015 that, e.g., “Just so you know, we’re also in the process of exploring other state-based approaches to holding fossil fuel companies legally accountable – we think there’ll likely be a strong basis for encouraging state (e.g. AG) action forward and, in that context, opportunities for climate scientists to weigh in.” AG here stands for “attorney general,” Frumhoff having briefed state AG offices in recruiting them and co-hosted a “secret meeting at Harvard” Law School “about going after climate denialism—along with a bunch of state and local prosecutors nationwide.” Those AGs indeed led the initial US campaign of investigating and filing suit against hydrocarbon energy companies.
Even though some members advocate Marxism as a serious intellectual pursuit, publishing as
academic research manages to obscure what is little more than a sophisticated opposition research shop for a political campaign. Public records suggest CSSN as essentially a group that has been given quite a lot of money to produce academic paper-versions ‘Octopus’ chart.
This is a top-to-bottom effort to silence, or if necessary punish those whose speech stands in the way of the climate agenda: Climate Feedback is designed to be a rapid-response effort representing chin-stroking academics tut-tutting publications daring to publish dissent, and CSSN a longer-term project to produce oppo research as high-brow cancelation, and the group behind the recent Epstein smear, called “Documented,” occupies the gutter.
It may or may not be that there is an intentional campaign to ensure that, if any of the many “climate” lawsuits reach a jury, the citizens passing judgment will have heard almost nothing but alarmist assertions. The evidence would include claims that a stack of academic research
Whether this is yet another stage in the long march of climate litigation — like cultivating academics as surrogates and a briefing series for federal judges…on the plaintiffs’ case — that this broad effort is emerging in force at the same time suggests a deliberate effort to silence debate once and for all.