This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
Anonymous allegations are republished by an allegedly respectable website.
A reader has alerted me to the fact that a Washington, D.C. organization called the Government Accountability Project is bad-mouthing me. It says I’m part of the “global warming denial machine.”
I almost never respond to accusations of this kind. It’s time-consuming, draining, and distracting. I prefer to make a positive contribution to the world through my writing, and to let my record speak for itself. In the end, one must trust in the ability of the public to sort sense from nonsense.
In this case, though, I’m making an exception. So let’s start with some basics.
WHO AM I?
1. I am not a US citizen.
2. I have never held a government job (unless one counts part-time clerical work in libraries and hospitals during my teens and early twenties).
3. My journalism career includes four years as a columnist with the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper. I’m a former columnist and member of the editorial board of the National Post. My investigative work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines, and I am the author of three books.
4. I’m a longtime proponent of free speech, having joined the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in 1993, and served as a vice president from 1998 to 2001.
WHO IS SMEARING ME?
The Government Accountability Project (henceforth I’ll call it The GAP), says it helps whistleblowers “hold the government and corporations accountable.” That’s marvellous and admirable.
So why is this Washington-based organization trashing me – a journalist in a foreign country, who currently writes out of her home office and receives no regular pay cheque from anywhere?
Lamentably, the GAP has morphed into something rather different than what its name implies. The fine print on its website tells us:
As more attorneys joined the team, Government Accountability Project increased its litigation work, setting up its unique capacity to launch both political advocacy and legal campaigns. [bold added by me]
Political advocacy campaigns. Keep that phrase in mind.
The GAP now focuses its attention on six subject areas, including ding-ding-ding climate change. A section of its website therefore talks about sustainability and “the dangers posed by fossil fuel dependence.”
In other words, one arm of The GAP behaves like a politically-motivated, green advocacy group.
WHO REALLY AUTHORED THESE ACCUSATIONS?
In very large letters, the Government Accountability Project declares: Donna Laframboise recycles old attacks on IPCC. Holding a particular government to account is grand in The GAP universive. But blowing the whistle on a group of governments involved in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is villainous. Yeah, that’s coherent.
At the bottom of the page bearing that headline we see a September 2013 date. It turns out everything here was actually cut-and-pasted from a now defunct website called ClimateScienceWatch.org, which used to be run by The GAP.
Five-year-old content has simply been transferred from ClimateScienceWatch over to The GAP’s main website. In other words, The GAP’s remarks about me have been recycled – an activity its own headline suggests is contemptible. It’s all so confusing. Green activists vigorously promote recycling. Until they want to insult someone.
Unfortunately for me, The GAP’s main website exudes respectability. There’s an impressive logo, a muted palette, and a professional design. A reader in a hurry might well form the mistaken impression that I’m opposed to government accountability. In fact, I’ve spent my career striving to keep government institutions – including criminal and family courts – honest.
So what does The GAP actually say about me? Those first-published-in-2013 remarks consist of two parts. Here’s the introductory paragraph:
In a Wall Street Journal editorial on the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, IPCC critic Donna Laframboise sinks to the lowest common denominator of overused attacks. Repeated and unfounded attempts to taint the IPCC’s credibility should be seen as what they are: a distraction from the real issue – the science.
This paragraph is immediately followed by a 600-word “guest post by Climate Nexus.” Who is Climate Nexus? It’s yet another green advocacy group, funded via the Rockefeller Foundation’s billions. Correcting “misinformation about climate change” is part of its mission.
So that’s what happened here. The WSJ published my opinion piece and Climate Nexus produced a response, which was published by ClimateScienceWatch back in 2013. Today, that material appears on The GAP’s main website.
This response, please note, is unsigned.
That’s because Climate Nexus is essentially a PR firm devoted to squelching non-conformist climate views. Its employees police the boundaries of what journalists are allowed to say. Anyone who colours outside the lines is targeted, accused of sinking “to the lowest common denominator of overused attacks.” Whatever that might mean.
Climate Nexus personnel don’t take responsibility for their own words. The people who are cavalierly smearing me – a real journalist, with a real reputation – aren’t identified.
Five years later, we still don’t know who they are. These are anonymous accusers. Anonymous cowards.
To be continued… please see Refuting the Smear Machine – Part 1