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« Preaching to the unconverted | Main | Behind the lines »

The comedy of fakers

Hilariously, DeSmog appears to have decided to try to uphold the line that the fake Heartland strategy document is real. I'm struggling to keep my jaw off the floor.

In response, Anthony Watts has launched a crowdsourced textual analysis project to see if science will provide backup to Mosher's observations about the similarities between the literary styles of the counterfeiter and Peter Gleick. You can find out how to take part here.

It's a good idea, but I'm worried that nobody is going to be able to stop laughing at DeSmog for long enough to take part.


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Reader Comments (81)

The two versions of the faked document are from the same scan. The creation dates are the same. The second one is a MODIFICATION of the first in some way. Here is the XMP finger prints. I bolded the important dates. The <xmpMM:DocumentID> is the same, but the <xmpMM:InstanceID> changes. These are also bolded. And the change was done in timezone 8 (PST) or at least on a computer with its time set to PST.

There is a lot more information in the PDF, but I haven't had time to look at it.


<rdf:Description rdf:about=""
<pdf:Producer>EPSON Scan</pdf:Producer>
<rdf:Description rdf:about=""

<rdf:Description rdf:about=""


<rdf:Description rdf:about=""

<rdf:Description rdf:about=""


Feb 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Re: Steve

PDFs are not designed to be opened and changed. If you use a viewer and save it from the viewer then the documents meta data will not change. The viewer effectively saves the same document. Try it yourself.

Send yourself a couple of PDFs save them, copy them, print them, rename them and see if you can get both the modification and InstanceID uuid to change. I haven't found a way of doing this but you might be more successful.

You can see all the meta data with linux using the the following command:

pdfinfo -meta file

Feb 23, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

TerryS -
You're using a pdf viewer, perhaps Adobe Reader. Perhaps it's different if you're using Adobe Acrobat, which can generate pdf's.

Feb 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

"What Desmog and others are trying to do is drive the “truthfulness” of the memo so far into the psyche of their followers and the believers generally, that it won’t matter that it’s fake - and they are succeeding! Note the process of how Gleick is not only being forgiven for his lying but is actually becoming a positive hero because of it."

For those of you who doubt this, note that this is exactly what has happened with the original Hockey Stick. It will not die and there appears to be no penalty for singing its praises and booing those who insist it is wrong.

As with the HS, what Desmog and others are trying to do is not to drive its truthfulness into the psyche of believers but to drive it so far that it can forever be used to oust as EVIL DENIERS! anyone who questions it.

Feb 23, 2012 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Pedant-General

@TerryS "PDFs are not designed to be opened and changed. If you use a viewer and save it from the viewer then the documents meta data will not change. The viewer effectively saves the same document. Try it yourself."

PR types are more likely to have Adobe Acrobat Professional, I'd guess, which does allow PDFs to be created, modified, etc. I don't have it right now (so can't experiment with it) but I've used it in the past. I suspect that if one opened a PDF with Acrobat Professional and then did "save as" rather than simply closed it the meta data might change the "time modified"??

Not sure, just a guess, but there may not be more significance to "time modified" than that unless specific changes are noted. As Steve McIntyre says it may help to tighten pieces of the timeline....

Feb 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

The Big Bang Theory:

Desmog is just one facet of Vancouver based Hoggan & Associates, "An award-winning corporate communications and public affairs agency".

"At Hoggan we think of media in the same way we think about fireworks: we love them both, but we are conscious of the need to handle them with care and make sure nobody drops the match at the wrong time."

"Whether you are looking for media attention or managing a media maelstrom, we offer a full range of services, from generating news coverage in print and broadcast outlets around the world, to monitoring and managing ongoing media relationships."

" We make it our business to know all that we can about media outlets and the influential individuals within them, all in the interest of enriching your media experience and minimizing unhelpful explosions."


Feb 23, 2012 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBetapug

I think some people are according DeSmog Blog rather too much credibility in this episode.

Their whole modus operandi has always been at the gutter end of the blogosphere.

I think expecting any kind of normal journalistic standards from them is a waste of time.

Here's an interesting expose of the key players:-

Feb 23, 2012 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Chris, TerryS,

There is a very slight difference between the 2012 Climate Strategy and 2012 Climate Strategy (3).

I had them both open in a pdf viewing program and was comparing the text by clicking from one to the other and back quickly. On the second page the text that begins with "Funding for selected individuals ..." down to the line that reads "rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts)" has moved. Ever so slightly. If you look closely at the letters y, g and p in that last sentence you can see the difference.

I have no idea why this difference would occur.

Feb 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I've downloaded both copies of the 2012 Climate Strategy document with a file downloader (Net Transport) that gets the file date and time from the server where the file is hosted.

2012 Climate Strategy.pdf is 98,857 bytes and appears to have been uploaded at 21:14:22 on 14th Feb.
2012 Climate Strategy (3).pdf is 98,879 bytes and appears to have been uploaded at 21:02:20 on 14th Feb.

Some peculiar differences if the software is doing what it says it is, and I have no idea what time zone it is working on.

Further to my earlier comment I made an animated gif to demonstrate the very slight difference (apologies for the poor quality) but it seems to have been something at my end because it no longer does it.

Feb 23, 2012 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I see that commentators here are giving Richard Black a (well deserved) kicking. But, as I pointed out yesterday (and, it seems, no one noticed), he made one perceptive point: he correctly quoted one of the Heartland documents as saying, re their proposed education modules,"whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy" and commented that "within science, the question is how much, not whether".

Here's an extract from Richard Lindzen's first slide yesterday:

Stated briefly, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing: it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes. [My emphases]

So Black was right and Heartland wrong.

Feb 23, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

A wonderful statement from the inimitable supremo of climate loopiness Greg Laden:-

As you know, there is much discussion about whether or not a "strategy memo" leaked from the Heartland Institute is a fake. We are told by a trustworthy source that this policy memo was leaked to him, and that he then tricked the Heartland Institute to supply him with additional documents....

Hey Ho

Feb 23, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

"Pound on the table"

Feb 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Robin --
Well, I would agree with you -- and Black, and Lindzen -- on those words. But I was listening to an interview with Joe Bast of Heartland which someone linked a day or two again. Bast described Heartland's position on global warming as follows (around 2:45 in the interview)

We believe climate has warmed in the 2nd half of the 20th century. We believe that there is probably a measurable human impact on climate, but it's probably very small. We think that natural forces probably overwhelm any impact that human activity can have. Computer models are too unreliable to forecast what the future might hold for climate. And finally, a modest amount of warming is probably going to be on net beneficial both to human beings and to the ecosystem.

It leaves me uncertain as to what the proposed curriculum would actually say. The "very small" part of Bast's statement and the use of "overwhelm" are warnings that it might focus on "whether", but the entire statement is more of a "how much" discussion.

I find it interesting that neither Bast nor Lindzen mention non-CO2 (or more broadly, non-greenhouse gas) anthropogenic effects in their summary statements. They [non-CO2 effects] are perhaps not quite the lightning rod which CO2 is. But I thought that they are significant enough to be mentioned.

Feb 23, 2012 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

" Anthony Watts has launched a crowdsourced textual analysis project to see if science will provide backup to Mosher's observations about the similarities between the literary styles of the counterfeiter and Peter Gleick...It's a good idea,"

So the feckless Watts though about the BEST project until it turned his assumptions upside down, and now he''s done it again.

Unleashed on the documents in question, the textual analysis software reveals the most likely "counterfeiter " to be none other than, wait for it, Joe Bast:

Feb 23, 2012 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

The loophole Bast seems to be trying to jump through is that, in Heartland's self definition, neither its officers or senior fellows are "staff members" - here's a fairly thorough examination of the matter :

One wonders what Ridley makes of all this.

Feb 23, 2012 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Especially given that what the Bishop deems '"a good idea", Watts' attempt to use textual analysis software to pin the 'summary' on Gleick , has backfired- the likeliest "counterfeiter" is Bast.

Feb 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell


If that's your idea of a "fairly thorough examination" of this matter.... <self snip>

I particularly enjoyed this bit of propaganda misdirection, coming at the END of your "thorough" analysis and still accepting a known fraudster's claim at face value:

"We don’t know who wrote the “climate strategy” memo, when it was written, where it was written, why it was written, or how it came to be mailed by postal service to Peter Gleick."

Feb 24, 2012 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil


That page appears to have been removed. They might have realised the legal consequences of spreading defamation and come to their senses.

I wish you would.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy


It's still there (as of this moment), the URL in Russell's post is bad. I didn't think to note this because when I found the error page I automatically checked at the home page and found it there.

I decline to link to it now, though, because I think it is garbage propaganda aimed at misdirection. Worthless to the discussion of real issues, but anyone can find it on that home page if they want to see it. Essentially it's a textual discussion of a Heartland presser without any context or analysis of much other relevant info, in order to give the impression that it is Heartland that is not coming clean about the fake "strategy" doc.

Sure, if one knows nothing about how the fake "strategy" doc came to light and how the focus came upon Peter Gleick, seemingly out of nowhere, then it might seem useful to pore over every "is" in a Heartland presser. It's a feeble attempt to shift attention away from Gleick and the Smog Blog.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

If anyone has missed the discussion at Powerline Blog, attorney John Hinderaker (one of the proprietors of Powerline Blog) has thrown down the gauntlet, with a very public invitation to legal battle:

Powerline Blog Accuses Peter Gleick, a "J'Accuse" Moment

Peter Gleick can either sue Hinderaker or else everyone can draw their own conclusions.

Feb 24, 2012 at 2:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

Thanks Skiphil. I shall take a look and then take a shower.

Interesting that Hinderaker has taken this position. It is a shame that our previously resident warmist with a brain, BBD, seems to have quit town. As I recall, BBD espoused a widely held warmist view that Soon & Balunias were guilty of taking Big Oil funding because the accusation was levied at them and they failed to sue.

Sauce for the goose....

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Since Scholars and Rogues<?I> fiskedf who's who at Heartland :

The comedy of bad scientific manners has since escalated to a new level of hilarity.

Yesterday the Bishop endorsed as "a good idea" Watts' call to use JGAAP Java textual analysis software to expose the supposed 'forgery' s author as "a good idea"

Today we see Shawl Lawrence Otto has done precisely that to all the documents in question:

Alas for the bouncing episcopal jaw, the stylometric stats reveal the likeliest author of the "forgery" to be, wait for it, one Joe Bast !

Try it yourself:

Feb 24, 2012 at 3:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Here's the preceding with the html cleaned up:

Since Scholars and Rogues</I> fisked who's who at Heartland :

The comedy of bad scientific manners has escalated to a new level of hilarity. Yesterday the Bishop endorsed as "a good idea" Watts' call to use JGAAP Java textual analysis software to expose the supposed 'forgery' s author.

Today we see Shawn Lawrence Otto has done precisely that:

Alas for the bouncing episcopal jaw, the stylometric stats reveal the likeliest author of the "forgery" to be none other than Joe Bast !

Try it yourself:

Feb 24, 2012 at 5:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell


The HuffPo piece describes an absurdly tiny sample. You pretend that he has run JGAAP with "all" the relevant documents, which is a patently ludicrous assertion when one sees that he chose 2 samples from Gleick and 2 samples from Bast.

Whether those few samples mean anything for analysis of the "strategy" doc or not, I don't claim to know. You should not pretend yet that it means anything, because you don't know either.

When we have a lot of relevant results to review, comprehensively compared and including many different writing samples from Gleick, Bast, and others, then there will be something to discuss.

Feb 24, 2012 at 5:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

A further (big) issue, potentially, is that much of the "strategy" doc is cribbed from the other docs not in dispute. It may well be that a substantial amount of text in the "strategy" doc IS from Joe Bast originally (I simply don't know), but that would not necessarily imply that the "strategy" doc is real as released to the public by Gleick. The words and phrases which jumped out at Mosher and others were admixed with facts and language from the stolen HI docs. Thus, while the JGAAP analysis may add to the discussions, it is far too early to judge whether it is relevant. Or even to know how one could know what it means. It may simply muddy the waters for any *honest* assessment, for those who are really interested in honesty and not propaganda.

Feb 24, 2012 at 6:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

One plausible explanation for multiple versions of pdf files with minor differences is that they are being generated using "print to pdf" rather than "save as pdf". This can end up with a pdf file ceated in one version of adobe being regenerated in another version.

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Jones

Gixxerboy, if you are nostalgic about BBD, you can find him/her at www.collide-a-scape, e.g. with more than 20 comments on this thread. To save you time, they can be summarized by: no-one has proved the fake memo is fake, even if its fake, its accurate, and the Heartland Institute is an odious stain on democracy. I find it hard to get too bothered about Heartland either way... but they are a useful Rohrschach ink-blot.

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Skiphil, I must defer to our host, who began this post thus :

"In response, Anthony Watts has launched a crowdsourced textual analysis project to see if science will provide backup to Mosher's observations about the similarities between the literary styles of the counterfeiter and Peter Gleick. You can find out how to take part here.

It's a good idea"

As Otto ran double controls on Gleick and Bast and included all of the Heartland documents in his protocol, it seems pusillanimous to deny Watts credit for an Own Goal worthy of mention in Climate Wars dispatches.

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Thanks Jeremy. I was wondering where BBD and Hengist might be.
I had hoped they might be unloading to their respective shrinks now that their World view had been so shockingly shattered.

No, seen through the prism of ecozealotry their path is clear. Fortify the spirit with a few rants in
the echo chambers before returning to regular trolling.

Feb 24, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

That power line article has got it bang on hasnt he? It was written for ABD swallowed by the liberal MFM hook, line and sinker.


Feb 24, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Whoops at 8:59 AM this morning: "its" should be "it's". At least I'm getting apostrophes not commas wrong (though I use a lot of the latter, too - and here some parentheses). Collide-a-scape is a weird site. It is not an echo chamber - some interesting people e.g. Nullius in Verba comment there a lot. Keith Kloor is very consensus oriented, and quite snarky about anyone he views as non-consensus, but he is quite tolerant of non-consensus commenters, has a degree of basic fairness to him, and a journalistic eye for a story.

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

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