There's a reason reporters ask the other side's view on a matter. It reduces the number of silly mistakes that make it through into their reports (although plenty still make it). In Rebecca's report it might have been a good idea to check up what Heartland and Koch have to say. Rebecca:
The documents showed that most of the global warming denialism at Heartland was funded by a single anonymous donor, but there were also several large corporations listed as major donors as well, which I mentioned on the show. For instance one was oil conglomerate Koch Industries, which makes sense because they're well known into putting millions of dollars into lobbying for anti-science legislation and the like, because it directly benefits them ...
But according Heartland and Koch, the money put in to Heartland by Koch was not by Koch industries, and was not put into global warming denialism:
The Charles G. Koch Foundation does not fund our climate change efforts and did not contribute $200,000 to us in 2011. The foundation has issued a statement confirming that its 2011 gift of $25,000 – its first to Heartland in ten years – was earmarked for our work on health care reform, not climate. http://fakegate.org/bast-on-forged-memo/
... every fact in [the Heatland Climate Strategy memo] was in fact verified by the other [Heartland] documents
This is simply false. There were indeed many points in the Strategy memo which repeated (to cut and paste levels of accuracy) parts of the other documents which Gleick claims he sought to verify the Strategy document. But there are other points -- especially the claim mentioned above about the Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation which were not verified, and which Heritage specifically denies.
The president of Heartland has published a sentence by sentence analysis of this document in which he points out why it is a fake. He starts:
I say without qualification that I did not write this memo. However, some of the text in the memo was copied and pasted from or closely paraphrases the stolen documents, authentic versions of which I did write. http://fakegate.org/bast-on-forged-memo/
Rebecca goes on to uncritically repeat Gleick's claims about how he came by this document and then sought to verify it by his impersonation.
That is indeed one possible explanation that can fit the facts. Another would be that Gleick fraudulently obtained the real Heartland documents for other reasons and decided to 'sex them up'. There is no proof either way at this point, but it would seem unwise to accept Gleick's claims at face value. Especially as Heartland admits ownership of all the other documents, but not this one.
Especially as Gleick's purported attempt at verification commenced on the very same day he rejected an offer by Heartland for a debate on the basis that Heartland was insufficiently transparent about its funding arrangements. Perhaps this merely reminded him that he had already received the Strategy memo in the mail, and that he needed to verify it. And perhaps he felt that asking Heartland, with which he had been exchanging emails over the debate invitation, for its views on the document would not be appropriate for some reason.
Or, perhaps, Gleick simply made up the Strategy memo, incorporating at least one major error that any semi-competent organisation -- even a dishonent anti-science one -- would be unlikely to make.
A point on terminology. Rebecca also refers to Peter Gleick as the 'leaker'. As have much of the media. He was not, of course. He was the phisher. If I were to send, say, Steve an email in which I purported to be Evan and asked for the rude bits cut out of the most recent podcast, I'd be many things, but a leaker would not be one of them. Were Evan to access Steve's computer and get those same bits and send them to me, then he'd be a leaker.
Finally, I applaud Rebecca's very strong stance on free speech. I couldn't agree with her more. The way to fight lies, whether by Heartland or Peter Gleick, is to counter with truth. All too often truth doesn't win in the short term, but over the long term it seems to gain the upper hand.