From Gmail to Global Warming Skeptics (With a Single Click)

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global%20warming.jpgUpon logging into my Gmail account this morning, what should I find in the “sponsored link” spot above my inbox but the following message:

“Global warming is not a crisis! Gore won’t debate.”

Intrigued, I clicked on the link and found myself at the website of the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank whose mission is “to discover and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.”

The site is full of all sorts of treats, including a video clip from Hannity & Colmes in which a Heartland Institute senior fellow (pricelessly named James Taylor) trots out all the usual flimsy climate-change-is-a-hoax arguments. Also featured on the site is the Global Warming Test. The first question: “Global warming is a real phenomenon: Earth’s temperature is increasing.” True or false? (False, obviously. “Don’t panic when you hear global alarmists warning the Earth may have warmed almost 1 degree in the last 200 years,” the answer reads. “Although this still hasn’t yet been proven, it is in fact exactly what should be happening if everything is normal.”)

According to SourceWatch, the Heartland Institute has ties to the tobacco industry. The group has also received contributions from ExxonMobil (MoJo included them in our list of think tanks in bed with ExxonMobil in 2005).

As a longtime Gmail user, I’m used to weird ads. (Just today, in fact, an e-mail from a friend about a Halloween costume was accompanied by an ad for a company that makes diapers and clothes for pet birds.) But Global Warming Heartland is not funny-weird, it’s irritating-weird. I’m left wondering how exactly the Google ad process works—and what keywords in my e-mail could possibly have invited the Heartland Institute to perch above my inbox.

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WE'LL BE BLUNT

We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

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