This is remarkable. Very impressive reporting from Lee Fang:
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 [above]:
Fang's article caps Heartland's disastrous April.
Earlier in the month, Heartland rented space at the National Press Club for the launch of their signature tome of climate denialism, the NIPCC. Six reporters showed up. Five asked questions. The most respectful questions challenged the NIPCC's legitimacy and/or reliability. Several questions were thinly (or not-so-thinly) attacks on Bast's and Heartland's integrity. The event was scheduled for two hours. Bast stormed out after 45 minutes. You can find my report and video coverage of the event (including questions) at StarkReports.