Exxon Apologist Attacks Hoggan Campaign to Clean Up PR Industry

Wed, 2007-07-18 14:05Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Exxon Apologist Attacks Hoggan Campaign to Clean Up PR Industry

When Alan Caruba read the text of James Hoggan's recent speech to the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), you can almost imagine a little flash of recognition as Caruba concluded: “That Hoggan guy: He's talking about ME!”

As it happens, Mr. Caruba, it's nothing personal: Jim had never heard of you before seeing your snarling response to his CPRS talk. But it's no wonder if you thought you recognized yourself in Jim's condemnation of tawdry public relations practices.

Hoggan's speech (available here ) is a critical look the shoddy spin that is giving the public relations industry in Canada (and probably in the U.S.) such a bad name. In challenging his colleagues to raise the bar, Hoggan used the climate change debate to illustrate how far that bar has dropped. Certainly, frequent DeSmogBlog readers will know how many examples there are of self-interested PR that is deceptive, misleading and ultimately dangerous.

For instance, Hoggan criticizes Exxon Mobil for funding think tanks that deny the science of climate change - think tanks like the American Policy Centre, for which Caruba spent 10 years as the director of communications.

It's interesting, though, that Caruba makes no effort to defend the think tanks or to address the specific public relations tactics that are so common to the climate change disinformation campaign. Instead, he spends most of his creed screed denying once again that the climate is changing or that humans are involved.

Caruba ends by asking:

So, whom do you trust? Jim Hoggan? Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi? Governor (Arnold) Schwartzenegger? Al Gore? Do you really believe that “Live Earth” concerts have anything to do with science? I recommend you trust your own common sense.”

Flattering as it must be to be included in such a list, Jim Hoggan might make two points. First, the list of people who agree that climate change is a pressing concern also includes an overwhelming majority of the best scientists in the world, all the major countries' scientific academies and, for that matter, more than 140 countries that signed on to the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It hardly appears sensible, after that, to buy into Caruba's very “common” logic.

Previous Comments

There’s a typo in there. But I’m commenting because I wanted to share this phrase I read somewhere – I can’t remember where right now – because what you wrote about where the bar is set reminded me of it: “It’s like watching people try to limbo with the bar buried two feet underground.”

Great column by Caruba! Thanks for publishing it.

How refreshing to read something from a layman who, unlike Hoggan (who merely parrots the idiocies Lefebve and Suzuki) has obviously taken the trouble to study the contovery.

I’ve read it, too, Zog. And as a scientist in a different field, I think it sucks big time. I’ll go into detail regarding why I think so if I have to, but I have some important things to do. I’m requesting that you give me a couple of examples that show Caruba is not just parroting AEI et al’s talking points. If it’s so “obvious” that he’s studied the controversy, then you should easily be able to find some original (and CORRECT!) synthesis in his essay. As for Hoggan, did you even read his speech? It has his original research in it. How could he parrot that? I suspect you’re just ignorantly cheerleading. I’m kind of hoping you can surprise me.

Don’t get your hopes up, consider who you are talking to.

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