Viral Denial: More Parallels with Climate Change…

March 17, 2020

It will never change. There will always be an audience that wants to be lied to, and someone willing to lie to them.

TPM Muckraker:

The same people who brought you climate change as a hoax think the same about the novel coronavirus.

A think tank influential in the world of climate science denialism pivoted in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic from its normal slathering of posts contesting the science of global warming towards something more current: contending that COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is no worse than the seasonal flu.

The group also is saying that the U.S. health-care system could cope with anything the coronavirus would throw at it.

The American Council on Science and Health has produced article after article pointing out that winter is a deadlier season than summer (“this may seem counterintuitive, given how much the media hypes summer heat waves”) and calling former Vice President Al Gore “demented.”

It’s been going on for a while. Back in 2005, the group published an article criticizing the “consensus science” of global warming, while in the late nineties the think-tank deemedworries about climate change “disputed hypothetical events.”

The group has had a variety of funding sources from over the years, including more than $900,000 from the right-wing John M. Olin Foundation and around $600,000 from the F.M. Kirby Foundation.

But apart from money sourced from the conservative donor network, what’s interesting about the think-tank is how it shifted so quickly to dismissing coronavirus as yet another example of junk science.

In the past six weeks, the non-profit has pivoted towards denying COVID.

The flu is “far deadlier” than coronavirus, reads one story. That echoes the remarks of another noted climate change denier, Rush Limbaugh, who compared the pandemic to the common cold. Another one claimed that the country’s health care system was ideally suited to handle the surge of a pandemic, noting that Ebola never spread widely in the U.S.

What’s extra notable about these writings is that their authors have been interviewedabout coronavirus in major, mainstream news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo News, New York Magazine, and others.

18 Responses to “Viral Denial: More Parallels with Climate Change…”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    How stupid can the human animal be? Do these fools think that the news out of China and Italy and Iran is all fake? That people are not really dying. If they had half a brain, they’d wait and see if it turned out to be less severe before they spouted their BS—–then they’d look better, if not good. In the face of the FACTS and how bad it’s likely to be, all they’re likely doing is destroying any credibility they may have had. The RWNJ’s are going to pay attention to truth once it’s THEM that’s dying,

    • otter17 Says:

      It may depend on the nut job if they are going to pay attention to the truth, though. There were extremists in the Axis power militaries of WWII who were more than willing to die for a leader or ideology. There may very well be a fraction of coronavirus deniers that will stick with it. That being said, there has been a shift in the herd in recent days towards a semblance of reality.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I wonder how many of these conservative/denialist think tanks get money from Russian disruptor trolls, or if they just stick with domestic money.

    • doldrom Says:

      No such thing. Another fake conspiracy story. There are no charges pending against any so-called troll farms.

      Did you know Western countries first thought up and implemented “hybrid warfare” and have thousands of people in specialized units trying to influence social media, etc., not that covertly, since the procurement and hiring announcements are out in public media?


      • So the group that benefited from the (known to exist) troll farms is not prosecuting them and probably couldn’t prosecute them as they are based in a foreign country

        Sur-prise – sur-prise

      • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

        Did you know Western countries first thought up and implemented “hybrid warfare” and have thousands of people in specialized units trying to influence social media, etc., not that covertly, since the procurement and hiring announcements are out in public media?

        The ironies abound: For decades, the CIA owned the company Crypto AG which sold encryption devices for which they had a back door. Then we learned how readily telecoms company shared their data with the US Gov. Later, Edward Snowden was considered a traitor for revealing how the NSA was spying on Americans.

        Now the US gov is in a panic that the naughty, naughty Chinese could use 5G tech to spy on US user traffic. So rich.

  3. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Katie Williams, what a hero. Not!


  4. It is a bit more difficult to deny a virus when it hits you.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      It is a bit more difficult to deny a virus when it hits you.

      But you could still live in blissful ignorance of how many people you may have passed it to.

  5. redskylite Says:

    I was wondering why people who try to belittle climate change, would also want to deny a novel virus outbreak that is causing the most disruption to communities and systems since world war two. While they may wish to keep fossil fuels alive for financial reward, I can see no gain for them in denying a medical fact. Np one will listen to them now for sure.

    My only guess is that they are worried that if politicians and public start listening and following trained medical professional expertise, they might start following other scientists who will advise them on how to tackle climate change.

    Their little closed dream world of denial is threatened with destruction by the reality and time frame of this immense and highly visible problem.

    We have no time for such ludicrous people. This will be their final undoing.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      “,,,,if politicians and public start listening and following trained medical professional expertise, they might start following other scientists who will advise them on how to tackle climate change”.

      Yep—-if you listen to some of the scientists, logic demands that you must listen to all the scientists. One of the only good things to come out of the pandemic may be just that—that climate change is taken seriously and climate scientists are brought front and center.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      I think you have far too little faith in people, especially their ability to compartmentalize and so continue doing completely contradictory things. They’ve been paying attention to science all along—munitions science, design science and engineering for cars, planes, boats, the warped psychological science of manipulation, physics used in computers, and a hundred million other applications we run across in our daily life. They’ve had no trouble rejecting the science on evolution, tobacco, climate, ecology, the study of other human behaviors that would have told them about the uselessness of bombing civilians, fighting against determined guerrillas on their home territory, trying to reduce the number of terrorists by killing them (especially by bombing)…

      Exactly the same geological science concept of stratigraphy that they reject when it proves evolution, they’re happy to accept when it finds oil.

      IOW, they’re quite happy to reject science that tells them what they don’t like or can’t abide, while accepting anything they can twist to confirm their narcissism* and feelings of isolation. None of our crises will end until enough people recognize our problems, from virus to war to poverty to fascism to climate, as essentially and deeply and completely psychological problems, and then begin to see both individual and collective psychotherapeutic treatment as the most crucial part of any solution to any of them.

      *those things include comfort and luxury

      They’ve already gone back to the 19th century

      • J4Zonian Says:

        End was cut off: ??

        They’ve already gone back to the 19th century to embrace coal, and reject Darwin and Wallace’s conclusions from observations of nature; no doubt there will be cults that come out of the 3 brother cults, that go back farther and reject Galileo, Copernicus, et al. They’ll want to preserve even more of their narcissism by once again imagining themselves at and as the center of the universe.

  6. doldrom Says:

    Maybe Americans have been so bombarded by fake new, manipulation by officials and trusted media, and bamboozled in general by PR and goal-driven communication, that a substantial portion has become permanently suspicious and will believe anything other than official narratives.


  7. […] via Viral Denial: More Parallels with Climate Change… | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  8. Jessie Carman Says:

    What a nation of spoiled brats we’ve raised.

  9. jimbills Says:

    ‘If I get corona, I get corona’: Miami spring breakers say covid-19 hasn’t stopped them from partying
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/19/coronavirus-spring-break-party/

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Brady Sluder has been on all the major news channels saying at a minimum “…if i get it, I get it—I’m here to party”. Note the initials of his first and last name.

      And this brings to mind that question often asked regarding taking action on climate change—“What have future generations ever done for us?”. For many of them, the answer is “not much”.


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