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?


$4. gas is inevitable anyway. So is $5 before too long. In Vancouver we were up to $1.50 l at one point before the recession (summer of 08) which translates into $5.67 US gallon. Saying gas is going to be at $4 is at least as honest as saying it’s only going up 20 cents.

Gas is low today because of the recession. When the economy heats up - gas goes up past $4 and beyond pretty quick.

I just paid $1.11 l which is $4.10 usg … and it’s still cheap if you ask me.

… just checked - gas is $3.35 in at least 1 station in LA and $3.49 at one place in Alaska. - again - thats recession pricing - it won’t last

20 cents is a ridiculous figure. It goes up that much when somebody from OPEC sneezes

… but anyway that’s not really the point. The concern seems to be that there is a top down organizing of employees to express opinions and these citizens are supposedly being misled by their higher ups - well if thats true, then these citizens are to blame for being sheep - it’s the internet age. These citizens can research the issues for themselves before they jump in.

When your going up against the government and the media, and there trying to detract people from buying your commodity, it’s reasonable to threaten to raise your price. And didn’t the Bamster himself say “energy prices will necessarily skyrocket.” So the question is, does skyrocket mean that the prices are gonna go up really high?

OK I’m seeing a good example of contrarian obfuscation here. Sure gas will hit $4.00. But you know and admit it’s not because of Waxman Markey. If you guys had the vaguest idea of “thinking” you’d be at a loss and probably have nothing better to do than get back to your job. But then I guess this is your job and the only reason you do it it because nobody would pay you to look at porn and poker sites.