Before the Heartland Institute decided to alienate even right-wing denialists with their OTT billboard campaign, they were already in kind of hot water — some of their internal documents had come to light, and the light was not flattering. Climate scientist Peter Gleick admitted to obtaining the documents under false pretenses, which absolutely scandalized Heartland, whose policy on document-stealing is “it’s only fine when we or our friends do it.”

Since then, Heartland’s defense has rested mainly on this chain of logic:

  • Gleick is a terrible person who should  never have stolen those secret documents that were OUR PERSONAL PROPERTY and SECRET.
  • And anyway they aren’t ours at all and are total forgeries.

Gleick has already apologized for misrepresenting himself to Heartland in order to get the documents. But Heartland has continued to insist that he also forged one of the memos (conveniently, the one that made it look the worst). Well, he didn’t. An investigation has revealed that Gleick didn’t forge diddly-squat so shut up.

We expect this to get exactly as much coverage and attention, and have just as much long-term effect on the conversation, as the multiple investigations clearing the “Climategate” scientists of all wrongdoing charges. In other words, Heartland supporters — of whom there are fewer and fewer, thank god for small favors — will keep howling “forgery” and thinking they won.