How does a person distinguish between media-driven propaganda and what is happening in the real world? A comically failed protest yesterday at theHeartland Institute‘s Seventh InternationalConference on Climate Change (ICCC-7) provides a sharp and entertaining illustration.
The Heartland Institute, for whom I work, has brought climate change experts from around the world to Chicago this week to discuss global warming and its past, present and future impacts. Given that global warming alarmists almost always refuse to participate in such discussions and debates, ICCC-7 is dominated by scientists presenting evidence that humans are not causing a global warming crisis.
According to media coverage during the past few weeks, a tidal wave of opposition and outrage is building against the Heartland Institute and ICCC-7. If you are paying attention to the press, common folks have had enough of the “science deniers” (otherwise known as science professors at prestigious universities and researchers at places like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) polluting the public debate with inconvenient facts. Such outrage appeared to be building to a crescendo with the announcement that protesters from Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and several other environmental activist organizations would be descending upon the Chicago Hilton to protest and disrupt the climate conference.
Given the media reports of unbridled anger at “science deniers” at the Heartland Institute, and given that many of the groups announcing the protest were already in town with their extremist hangers-on to protest the NATOtalks (because we all know that freedom and democracy are wicked principles worth opposing at every opportunity), it seemed a cataclysmic showdown was in the offering.
Or so I thought.
Rather than providing a play-by-play narrative of the failed protest, let me offer the would-be protesters a few hints:
1. If you are going to unfurl a banner to protest something, don’t unfurl it from a window on the 20th floor of a hotel building. Almost nobody will notice it is there.
2. If you ignore my first piece of advice, write out your message in letters that are large enough to be read from 20 floors below. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? If you unfurl a banner but nobody can read it, have you lodged a protest?
3. If you make a banner and plan to hang it out the window of a hotel room, try to make the banner out of material strong enough to not break apart after 30 seconds.
4. If you bring together five or more environmental activist groups and publicly announce a joint protest to show the full force of public fury against a science conference, a free enterprise group or some other undesirable entity, try to show up with at least 40 protesters.
5. If you bring fewer than 40 people to a protest, you probably don’t want to chant “We are the 99 percent!” It simply makes you look foolish.
6. If there are 40 or less of you chanting in the street, and you really do comprise 99 percent, that means there are only 41 people in the world who agree with you, giving you the benefit of the doubt and rounding up the 99-percent figure.
7. When your protest leader is a troll-looking creature wearing a long, black rubber boot on his head and holding a megaphone with the self-identifying words “Vermin Supreme” written on it, you may wish to call off your protest after all.
The media tells us the general public is outraged and motivated to oppose sound-science groups like the Heartland Institute. Real-world observations, however, tell us such public outrage is a media-created myth.