astroturfing

Energy and Corporate Trade Associations Spend $1.4 Billion on PR Campaigns

Read time: 3 mins
American Petroleum Institute: Men sitting on a bench

Originally posted on Climate Investigations Center.

How much money have the fossil fuel industry’s powerful trade association allies spent to convince the American public that its products are beneficial and necessary — and to stymie progress on climate change that could harm its financial interests?

To find out, Climate Investigations Center researchers analyzed the public relations expenditures of these trade associations going back to 2008, using data from publicly-available federal Form 990 tax records. The expenditures provide unique insight into fossil fuel trade association priorities and the willingness of public relations firms to represent socially harmful industries.

Entergy Poised to Get Green Light for Gas Plant Despite Role in Paying Actors in Astroturf Campaign

Read time: 7 mins
Protesters of the proposed Entergy New Orleans gas plant at a city council meeting

Updated 2/22/2019: On February 21, after over two hours of testimony mostly against Entergy’s proposed gas plant, the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously  to let the company keep its permit despite the paid actors scandal, clearing the way for the project to proceed. 

Sparks flew at a New Orleans City Council’s utility committee meeting on Valentine’s Day, compelling the committee to delay voting on a resolution that would scrap plans to rescind the permit for Entergy’s proposed $210 million natural gas power plant in exchange for a $5 million fine.

The contentious permit was awarded to Entergy, which provides power to the city, on March 18, 2018, but the city council's third-party investigation of Entergy found the allegations that the company took part in an astroturf campaign to influence the vote for its proposed New Orleans East gas plant to be true. The investigation concluded that the company was responsible for hiring paid actors, who were wearing t-shirts supporting the plant, to fill council chambers and speak in support of the project.

This 1980 Shell Chemical Company Publication Outlines Plans to Create 'Grassroots' Campaigns

Read time: 5 mins
Shell TREND publication article

Originally posted on Climate Files.

This 1980 edition of TREND, a bimonthly Shell Chemical Company (Shell) publication, featured a series of articles on issues concerning the company, including: “Emerging techniques for effective corporate response to public issues,” the Chemical Manufacturers Association “Communication Action Plan,” “Individualism,” “Gasohol,” “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on OSHA’s Benzene standards,” and “Chemical feedstocks from synfuels.”

Fake Grassroots Campaigns Deserve Uprooting

Read time: 4 mins
Patch of astroturf on real grass

AstroTurf looks and feels like grass—in an all-too-perfect way. But it’s not grass.

Now the well-known artificial turf’s brand name has taken on a new meaning, referring to purported “grassroots” efforts that are actually funded and supported by industry and political entities.

Big Oil’s 'Explore Offshore' Propaganda Is Corporate Ventriloquism

Read time: 4 mins
Offshore oil rig

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

A couple of weeks ago, Reuters reported on a new effort by the American Petroleum Institute: Explore Offshore. Its goal is “to convince Hispanic and black communities to support the Trump administration’s proposed expansion of offshore drilling.”

Per Reuters, a key part of the American Petroleum Institute's (API) effort to convince minority communities to support a product that disproportionately hurts them is through a series of op-eds. Media Matters took a look at the pieces that have been published so far, and surprise! They’re misleading. They can’t even get the API talking points (which are going to be biased) right, as one API stat about economic benefits of drilling was exaggerated “by a factor of 20.”

Under Scrutiny for Astroturfing Campaign, Entergy Takes Heat for Missed Clean Energy Goals and Power Outages

Read time: 8 mins
Site where Entergy Plans to build a natural gas power plant in New Orleans East

At a June 28 meeting, New Orleans regulators put the city’s public utility Entergy in the hot seat over increasing power outages and slow progress on clean energy goals. City councilmembers showed little patience for the embattled company, which currently is under investigation for its role in paying actors to show support for its proposed $210 million natural gas power plant, approved by the council on March 8.

Company Behind Proposed Natural Gas Power Plant in New Orleans Tied to Astroturfing Campaign

Read time: 5 mins
Protesting Entergy's New Orleans natural gas power plant

Entergy New Orleans, the company that recently won approval to build a controversial $210 million natural gas power plant in the city, confirmed that actors were paid to show support for this project at public meetings. Though Entergy claims it was unaware of the situation, a public relations firm it hired had paid freelance actors to testify in favor of the project at public meetings. 

Inside the Coal Industry’s Rhetorical Playbook

Read time: 8 mins
Advertisement saying coal is clean and carbon neutral

By Steve Schwarze, University of Montana; Jennifer Peeples, Utah State University; Jen Schneider, Boise State University; and Pete Bsumek, James Madison University.

If citizens have heard anything about the upheaval in the U.S. coal industry, it is probably the insistence that President Obama and the EPA have waged a “war on coal.” This phrase is written into President Donald Trump’s energy platform, which promises to “end the war on coal.”

New Gas Industry Astroturf: Landowner Advocates of NY Buses Activists to Albany Pro-Fracking Rally

Read time: 5 mins

A pro-fracking rally held on Oct. 15 in Albany, NY was described by about a dozen local media outlets as a gathering of roughly 1,000 grassroots activists from all walks of life.

All came out to add their voice to the conversation regarding the extraction of unconventional gas from the Marcellus Shale basin in New York state. But the marchers weren't concerned landowners worried about losing their water supplies or property values. Their demand: to lift the current moratorium on fracking, which was prolonged by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 30.

One rally attendee, Doug Lee, described the ongoing fracking moratorium as a “communist act” to the Albany Times-Union. Another described anti-fracking activists as “well-funded and organized activists masquerading as environmentalists, who often do not need to make a living in our communities.” Republican Sen. Tom Libous, observed that Hollywood stars Mark Ruffalo and Debra Winger weren't on the scene, telling them to “Stay in Hollywood. We don't want you here.”

Unmentioned by any of the news outlets that covered the event was a crucial fact: these weren't actual “grassroots” activists, but rather astroturf out-of-towners bused in from counties all across the state. Their journey was paid for by the legitimately “well-funded” oil and gas industry, which raked in profits of $1 trillion in the past decade

According to the Associated Press, the pro-fracking rally and march were organized by a brand new front group called the Landowner Advocates of New York formed in the immediate aftermath of the recent Cuomo decision to stall on opening the fracking floodgates.

FreedomWorks

FreedomWorks

Background

Read time: 25 mins

Pages

Subscribe to astroturfing