Tom Harris, if you aren't familiar with him, is a paid shill of the fossil fuel industry and it's his job to place anti-science pieces in as many news media outlets as possible in a campaign to undermine climate science. Harris has a long resume of association with the fossil fuel and tobacco industries, which he tries to hide, but the Internet doesn't forget and his track record is well documented. You can read about Harris and his record at TomHarrisPaidShill.
Harris placed one of his misinformation pieces in the Duluth New Tribune, a news media that is an unfortunately friendly place for the anti-science crowd. In this letter to the editor, Harris proposed that scientific theories are nothing more than opinions. Interestingly enough, the original letter has disappeared but was at this link here (in case it reappears at some future time). You can read the response Terry and I made here.
If you read our response, you'll be able to see just how fraudulent Harris' claims are and readers responded accordingly. Here is one response. Sure enough, when Harris was challenged, he ran and called in Russell Cook to do one of his attack pieces. Read it here. In case it also disappears, I've made a copy of it for future reference.
Russell Cook is a hatchet-man for the Heartland Institute who gets paid thousands of dollars to obsess over Ross Gelbspan. Gelbspan was an accomplished reporter and won the Pulitzer prize while with the Boston Globe, but he has since retired. [CORRECTION: Gelbspan conceived, directed and edited a series of articles in the Boston Globe that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984. But, he was not named on the prize.] Today, he writes an occasional blog post. So, Cook is either obsessed with a retired guy or a blogger. Take your pick. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on Cook. My first run-in with Cook was several years ago when he made a poorly-disguised threat on this blog to sue me if I didn't stop criticizing the Heartland Institute. I showed it to two lawyers who both agreed it was an effort to intimidate me. He picked the wrong guy. I not only laughed at him, but begged him to sue me. I still am. It would be so much fun to get him in court. He quickly backed down and claims I over reacted. Again, two lawyers agreed with me.
One of Cook's traits in his attacks is to simply proclaim nothing is evidence until he says it is. If he doesn't like the facts, he merely declares they aren't facts and moves on. In this way, he creates an alternative universe where he's always right because he says so. For example, examine his latest letter in the Duluth News Tribune in response to the letter of July 5th which criticized Tom Harris.
In the first line, Cook states, "Letters like the one July 5, "Don't believe climate deniers," that describe cataclysmic-sounding situations as evidence of the certainty of man-caused global warming..." Wait a minute. Go back to the July 5th letter and show me where the author describes "cataclysmic-sounding situations" anywhere. The fact is, she doesn't. She references some events that are actually occurring and suggests the deniers are creating an alternative universe (they're good at that) that could be disastrous for us in "25 to 50 years." That's it. If she isn't making those claims, then why is Cook? Maybe it's to attack the author of that letter and make it sound as if she doesn't have any credibility.
But, he continues with, "...are often livid at the mere mention of famous-name climatologists and climate-denier organizations which doubt it." Wow! Twice in just the first line! Once again, the author of that letter said NOTHING about being 'livid' and Cook provided NO climatologists who doubt it. One of the things people like Cook hate is the fact that essentially every climate scientists in the world who is active in the field acknowledges manmade climate change is real. This has been firmly established by multiple studies, including by the deniers themselves. Read about it here. So, we know why Cook didn't produce the names of any of these "famous-name climatologists." It's because he can't.
I think you probably already see the pattern of the Harris/Cook tag team. But, let's continue.
Cook goes on to claim there is no evidence that the fossil fuel industry has been funding the anti-science community to protect it's profits.
Far worse, there's been no media revelations about Exxon or any other fossil-fuel industry being caught with secret material proving it conspired with "industry-bought scientists" to create and orchestrate a deception campaign where all agreed to spread lies and fabricate reports to the public in order to save the profits of the industry.Really, Russell? Do you expect anyone to believe that? At least, anyone who isn't in your alternative universe? Let's see, try reading this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this. Just for starters. And, by the way, this evidence includes internal documents from the Heartland Institute detailing their efforts. These documents were so damaging Heartland threatened to sue anyone who posted the documents and then, when they couldn't get them removed, changed strategies and claimed they were fakes, despite the fact that they were received directly from Heartland. Additionally, word analysis showed they came from the same source as other Heartland documents.
Of course, Cook will just tell you this isn't evidence. Welcome to his alternative universe.