American Petroleum Institute Astroturf campaign: When Does "Spin" Become a Lie?

The New York Times added its voice today to those condemning the American Petroleum Institute’s Astroturf campaign to set up phony “citizen” protests that are actually populated by paid energy industry employees.

Beyond the fundamental duplicity of API’s actions, the NYT complains in its editorial that it finds some elements of the industry campaign “particularly annoying.” For example, API says the Waxman-Markey climate legislation will result in $4-a-gallon gasoline, while two very reputable analyses have said the bill will add, at most, 20 cents a gallon.

In a world polluted by some of the worst kind of public relations spin, people have grown too ready to accept this kind of dramatic overstatement as “part of the game.” Even the NYT finds this exaggeration merely “annoying,” even if particularly so.

We should be outraged. API is offering no rationale or justification for its overheated rhetoric. It has been challenged on this point and failed to come up with an explanation or analysis that support the $4 claim. And yet its campaigners keep saying that which is insupportable by evidence.

What do you call that - usually?

Verizon Wireless Joins Massey Energy To Celebrate Mountaintop Removal and Climate Change Denial

Verizon Wireless is facing intense criticism for its co-sponsorship of dirty coal company Massey Energy’s “Friends of America” rally this Labor Day weekend in Logan, West Virginia.

To give you an idea of how outrageous this rally is, note that the featured speaker is infamous global-warming denier Lord Christopher Monckton, and the emcee is none other than right wing machine-gun rocker Ted Nugent (who threatened to kill President Obama and Hillary Clinton).  Oh, and Fox News’ Sean Hannity will be there too for good measure.  The venue? A former surface mine, of course.

Astroturf-Busting Hotline Launched

Groups Seek New Evidence in Bonner Scandal

A coalition of groups, including some that were impersonated by coal lobbyists fighting against U.S. climate change legislation, have banded together in search of further evidence of wrongdoing in the ballooning fraudulent letter scandal.

Five prominent non-profits have launched the “Polluter Fraud Hotline” (1-866-363-4648), inviting average citizens or industry insiders to blow the whistle on any deceptive or illegal tactics that big polluters and their lobbyists are using in opposition to clean energy legislation.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW), National Wildlife Federation, NAACP, and Center for American Progress Action Fund and Sierra Club are also calling for Congressional action to ensure that this type of orchestrated deception of elected lawmakers never happens again.

Is ExxonMobil Really the "Green Company of the Year"?

We Really, Really Hope So

It was hard, at first, to know whether the Forbes headline was tongue-in-cheek: ExxonMobil: Green Company of the Year.

But the story seemed sincere. Exxon is finally beginning to invest in renewable alternatives, putting $600 million into algae farms that would turn sunlight into automotive fuel. And the company is putting more effort than ever into developing and distributing natural gas.

Gas (methane) is unquestionably “greener” than Exxon’s conventional oil products. As Forbes says:

“Per unit of energy delivered, methane releases 40% to 50% less carbon dioxide than coal and a quarter less than petroleum. Coal fuels half of U.S. power generation. Replacing all of it with methane would cut CO2 emissions by 1 billion tons a year.”

Of course, Exxon isn’t actually “replacing” anything. It’s adding significantly to the global capacity to generate more greenhouse gases, even if some of the increase will come at a slower marginal pace.

Public Support for Energy Bill Shows the Deception in Bonner Astroturf Campaign

A recent poll sponsored by the Center for American Progress goes another step toward revealing the duplicity of Astroturf campaigns like the one that Bonner & Associates was running while representing the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

The CAP poll shows that, in swing states, 63 per cent of voters support the climate change legislation currently being considered in the Senate. And yet the Bonner crowd was fomenting a “grassroots” campaign specifically designed to make it look like the public was taking quite a different position.

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