Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Is The Federalist running a Koch-funded smear of the Pope?

Yesterday when I was reading through Joy Pullman's embarrassingly ill-informed attempt to lecture the Pope about Christianity, I noticed her affiliation with something called The Heartland Institute. The name rang a bell, but I didn't put two and two together until this evening:
In late April, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, a free-market group that serves as a hub of skepticism regarding the science of human-caused global warming, sent a delegation to the Vatican. As a Heartland news release put it, they hoped “to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science: There is no global warming crisis!”
Pullman may be a "research fellow" in "education", but it's worth noting that education is a primary target for Heartland's climate science denial agenda. And leveraging their team's access to other media platforms is an explicit part of their M.O., as revealed in documents leaked in 2012:

Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house experts (e.g., Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets...Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important...Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences ...
So, shadowy lobbying group implementing an aggressive and secretive PR climate science denial campaign through surrogates in the media. You'll never guess who funds them!

The Heartland Institute is connected to the Koch brothers and their network of right-wing donors. In the past, the Institute has accepted $40,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation and $62,578 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. Both organizations are members of the Koch Family Foundations. 
No need to suggest an explicit quid pro quo here, though that wouldn't be surprising. Pullman has used The Federalist to pander to her patrons before, and it will almost certainly happen again. It's good business, after all.