The billionaire owner, Stanley Hubbard, has called global warming "the biggest fraud in the history of America," according to Rolling Stone. Dave Dahl, chief meteorologist at Hubbard's flagship station in Minneapolis, calls global warming a "political theory" adopted by scientists eager for grant money. Usually, corporate media do a bit better job of concealing their agenda by avoiding open sponsorship of disinformation specialists. So what's up?
At Media Matters, Shauna Theel writes:
Hubbard has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political candidates (most of whom are Republicans) both individually and through his corporation. He supported former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who denies man-made climate change, in the 2012 Republican primary for president. He was a major funder of a now-defunct group founded by Newt Gingrich that promoted increased extraction of fossil fuels. Hubbard has also told the Koch brothers, billionaire Republican donors who made their fortune in the oil industry, that they can "count" on him and attended at least one strategy conference run by the Kochs.At least one person who refused to go along with the fossil fools' charade, Lydia Kulbida, who was also pushing for unionization at WNYT television, was let go because she wouldn't toe the line of those who deny that human-caused climate change is happening.
Hubbard Broadcasting's flagship station, KSTP-TV, an ABC affiliate broadcasting on Channel 5 in the Twin Cities and surrounding area, has cast doubt on climate change by citing the Heartland Institute. In September 2013, the news station conveyed false balance by hosting Heartland Institute CEO Joseph Bast to cast doubt on findings from the "Intragovernmental [sic] Panel on Climate Change." KSTP did not give any background information about Bast, who claimed in the 1990s that smoking "in moderation has few, if any, adverse health effects." In 2008, KSTP reportedly aired a 10-minute video by the Heartland Institute titled "Unstoppable Solar Cycles" that espouses the long-debunked claim that recent climate change is being driven by changes in the sun. The station's chief meteorologist has also suggested that the sun, rather than human activities, is the primary driver of climate change.
Who knows whether Stan Hubbard is one of those deniers who does so out of aggressive ignorance or simply because he lines up with those who believe their profits depend on never-ending extraction and burning of fossil fuels and don't care about the damage this does. The denier camp is brimful of both kinds.
But, whether they're a recipient or a purveyor of scientifically illiterate disinformation, deniers are an endangered species. Because climate change isn't a fraud, isn't a liberal invention. It's happening. And, slow as the process may seem, it's going to kill off the dinosaur attitudes the deniers have employed for decades to block effective action to deal with the changes humans are causing to the atmosphere, oceans and the rest of our planet. Hubbard and Heartland and the fossil-fuel industry are losers. They just don't know it yet.