The Heartland Institute clearly thought it had come up with a clever idea. The right-wing group, which is fiercely opposed to combating the climate crisis, thought it'd be clever to put up billboards showing "some of the world's most notorious killers," including "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, who accept climate science.
The idea, apparently, was to push a child-like logical fallacy: if a killer believes in scientific evidence, you shouldn't. Of course, by that logic, if a killer believes 2 + 2 = 4, the conservative organization would presumably encourage you to reconsider arithmetic.
The Heartland Institute's stunt certainly generated attention, but nearly all of it was from those marveling at how ridiculous the group has become. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), a conservative climate-change denier, said he no longer wanted to participate in the group's upcoming conference.
It wasn't long before the humiliated Heartland Institute decided to reverse course.
It seems that the ad campaign, sponsored by the conservative Heartland Institute, had bombed.
"We know that our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland's friends and supporters, but we hope they understand what we were trying to do with this experiment," the institute said late Friday afternoon said in a statement. "We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the 'realist' message on the climate."
The group added that the billboards were "intended to be an experiment."
The Heartland Institute considers it a successful experiment, because it got people talking, but since most of the talk was from those pointing and laughing at the strange organization, I'm hard pressed to see this fiasco as an triumph.