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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate