From Gmail to Global Warming Skeptics (With a Single Click)

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global%20warming.jpgUpon logging into my Gmail account this morning, what should I find in the “sponsored link” spot above my inbox but the following message:

“Global warming is not a crisis! Gore won’t debate.”

Intrigued, I clicked on the link and found myself at the website of the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank whose mission is “to discover and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.”

The site is full of all sorts of treats, including a video clip from Hannity & Colmes in which a Heartland Institute senior fellow (pricelessly named James Taylor) trots out all the usual flimsy climate-change-is-a-hoax arguments. Also featured on the site is the Global Warming Test. The first question: “Global warming is a real phenomenon: Earth’s temperature is increasing.” True or false? (False, obviously. “Don’t panic when you hear global alarmists warning the Earth may have warmed almost 1 degree in the last 200 years,” the answer reads. “Although this still hasn’t yet been proven, it is in fact exactly what should be happening if everything is normal.”)

According to SourceWatch, the Heartland Institute has ties to the tobacco industry. The group has also received contributions from ExxonMobil (MoJo included them in our list of think tanks in bed with ExxonMobil in 2005).

As a longtime Gmail user, I’m used to weird ads. (Just today, in fact, an e-mail from a friend about a Halloween costume was accompanied by an ad for a company that makes diapers and clothes for pet birds.) But Global Warming Heartland is not funny-weird, it’s irritating-weird. I’m left wondering how exactly the Google ad process works—and what keywords in my e-mail could possibly have invited the Heartland Institute to perch above my inbox.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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