A stark mug shot of domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski briefly took center stage in the increasingly ugly debate over climate change Friday as the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank funded by major corporations, launched a billboard campaign equating people convinced that global warming is real to the convicted killer.
“I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” read big orange letters next to the Unabomber’s infamously grizzled face on an electronic billboard along the Eisenhower Expressway outside Chicago, the Heartland Institute’s home.
The billboard went live Thursday afternoon. But by 4 p.m. Eastern time, an outcry from allies and opponents alike led the Heartland Institute’s president, Joe Bast, to say he would switch off the sign within the hour.
“The Heartland Institute knew this was a risk when deciding to test it, but decided it was a necessary price to make an emotional appeal to people who otherwise aren’t following the climate change debate,” Bast wrote in an e-mail to some of the institute’s supporters, explaining his decision to end the campaign.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), scheduled to headline the Heartland Institute’s annual conclave of climate-change skeptics this month, said through a spokeswoman that he “will not participate in the upcoming climate-change conference if the Heartland Institute decides to continue this ad campaign.”
You read that right. With Sensenbrenner up for re-election like the rest of the House, not even he's willing to go to the mat for the Heartland Institute if they're openly calling global warming proponents terrorists. Apparently that's actually a step too far for these groups.