Mark Mathis

Mark Mathis

Credentials

  • B.A., Broadcast Journalism, The University of New Mexico (1985). [1]

Background

Mark Mathis is the president of Clear Energy Alliance (CEA), a company that produces videos and documentaries promoting fossil fuels and comparing climate change to Y2K. Mathis is a former TV news reporter and anchor. [2]

In 2005, Mathis founded the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE) and testified before Congress “on the dangers of anti-energy extremist groups.” CARE is a 501(c)(3) public charity with a Section H Election, allowing it to lobby legislators. The group has portrayed solar energy advocates as “Gang Green,” and in 2006 claimed “Scientists cannot even agree whether there IS a global warming trend at this time, much less agree to its cause.” [3], [4]

Mathis has also done consulting work for the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico, starting in 2003, where he “educated himself on oil and natural gas as well as other energy sources” and “became greatly concerned about the nation's energy needs, and the fact that many organizations are actively trying to shut down the production of several domestic energy sources.” [5]

Expelled Controversy

In 2012, Mathis reportedly introduced himself as the producer for Rampant Films in an email inviting several prominent scientists to participate in a film called Crossroads. A number of those contacted, strong critics of creationism, argued that Mathis had misled them into participating in a documentary eventually entitled Expelled without explaining the film defended intelligent design. [6]

A number of reviewers including USA Today have described the film as “propaganda” while the Anti-Defamation League released a statement criticizing the film for misappropriating the Holocaust: [7], [8]

“The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory,” the ADL statement read.

“Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler's genocidal madness.

“Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.”

The Guardian reported in 2007 that Richard Dawkins was among atheists who claimed they had been tricked into appearing in the film. “At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front,” Dawkins said in an email to The Guardian[9]

Some reported that while Mathis claimed they switched to the “Expelled” concept for the documentary later on, the domain name “expelledthemovie.com” was registered at the beginning of March 2007 while no similar domain appeared to exist for Crossroads, suggesting that the original title had been planned all along. [10]

The Lennon family also sued the producers, Premise Media and Rampant Films, for playing fifteen seconds of the song “Imagine” without permission or copyright. Premise Media Holdings later filed for bankruptcy and auctioned off its rights to the film. [11]

Stance on Climate Change

June 7, 2018

Speaking on Bulwark's “Oil and Gas Industry Leaders” podcast, Mathis claimed “we have no idea” what impact fossil fuels have on climate: [12]

“I'm not here to say, you know what? Ah, oil, natural gas, coal. I don't think it's really having anything at all to do with the climate. I don't say that. I think, uh, I think it probably does have some impact. How big is that impact? We have no idea. None.” 

Mathis went on to claim that, even if we did know the impact “which we don't, and I doubt we ever will,” that the planet has “amazing adaptive abilities” and that there isn't an answer on what to do: 

“How would we—if we decided if we actually did know, which we don't and don't doubt we ever will—how much of an impact these hydrocarbons are having on the planet's climate? Overwhelming whatever adaptive ability, which the planet has amazing adaptive abilities. Okay, well then what could we do? What should we do? What will we do? And the answers are pitiful. 

“They're either a terrible sell on something that is completely impractical or a complete ignoring of the issue. It's like, oh, well we just have to. We just have to get off these things [fossil fuels].”

March 2018

Mark Mathis compared climate models to fortune tellers in a Clear Energy Alliance video, listing off a range of unrelated computer models (for elections, hurricanes, and stock markets) as evidence that climate change models are unreliable: [13]

“Does it make sense that we should spend many trillions of dollars based on a collection of ones and zeroes that are essentially no more than rough guesses?” Mathis asks in the video.

“With these great gaps in human understanding of the climate, how could we possibly expect long term computer climate models to be any more reliable than a fortune teller?” [13]

In a Tweet promoting the video, Mathis wrote “The misdirection & misinformation spewed by climate alarmists and 'clean energy' politicos is non-stop”: [13]

2016

In his 2016 film, Fractured, Mathis declared: [28]

[01:02:12] “I'm not denying anything. Most scientists will tell you humans are having some impact on the climate. I don't think that's really much of a debatable issue. I, I don't deny that, but the question is how much of an impact are we having? There's the greenhouse effect. I don't deny that. That's real. There's the fertilizer effect, which is that additional amounts of CO2 caused plants to grow more quickly. I don't deny that, and then there is the energy effect, the way that we can use energy to suit the environment to our needs. I don't deny that. So what am I denying?

“I'm denying the boogeyman that's been put out there by people chasing their own agendas and that's what climate change, global warming, that's what it is.

“Who's in denial here? The people who say we can get along as we have today by him fully embracing renewable energy and dismissing coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power.” [28]

March 13, 2012

In an interview at The Texas Tribune to discuss his movie, SpOILed: [14]

“Personally, I think the issue of global warming or climate change gets far too much press,” Mathis said. “Why are we devoting so much discussion about an issue that, No. 1, we are uncertain about? I think we have to concede that there is great uncertainty.”

Key Quotes

August 31, 2018

CEA produced a video featuring Mathis, alleging that the American Lung Association was spreading “lies” about the air quality in Pittsburgh. [27]

“[T]he American Lung Association is lying. That’s right. I said it. They’re lying,” Mathis said. “The people of Pittsburgh have put up with this nonsense from the ALA for far too long, and it’s time it stopped.”

June 26, 2018

In a CEA video criticizing solar power, Mathis declared: [29]

“Who cares about the financial health of big, faceless power companies? We all should. If there aren’t enough traditional power plants to meet peak demand, the lights go out.”

June 7, 2018

Mathis claimed that coal and oil are cleaner forms of energy than renewables, in an interview with Bulwark's “Oil and Gas Industry Leaders” podcast: [12]

“So clean energy would be actually […] It would be oil, gas, coal. Coal, 'dirty coal.'” Mathis continued: “A really truly clean energy source will make the environment cleaner than if it weren't being used. Well, if we weren't using oil, if we weren't using natural gas, what would we be using?”

April 13, 2018

Mathis supported then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, calling for Donald Trump to “stand by his man who is under assault on bogus spending charges”:

January 2018

In a January 2018 Clear Energy Alliance video, Mathis criticized lawsuits brought forward by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland California against large oil companies. Mathis described them as a “money grab.” [15]

“The city lawyers from San Francisco and Oakland are clearly using global warming as a pretext to extort money from oil companies. It’s a nuisance lawsuit and hopefully the courts will treat it as such,” Mathis said. [15]

2016

The following are some notable quotes excerpted from Mathis' film Fractured: [28]

[14:25] “Green is not the right term to describe nature, the right color for nature is red. Nature is vicious. It's mean. Nature wants you dead. It wants to eat you. It wants to kill you, freeze you, boil you, and what we do is we use energy to protect ourselves from mother nature, mother-in-law nature, if you will.”

[24:03] “I define clean energy as something that is producing significant amounts of power to run human societies and they make the environment cleaner than if they were not being used. And under that definition, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, hydro, they're all clean. Solar and wind, dirty.”

[25:01] “It's hard for me to understand how any person who calls himself an environmentalist could be an advocate of wind power because of the massive amount of environmental damage that's done.”

[43:49] “This idea that hydraulic fracturing is polluting, groundwater is untrue. There's not a single documented case of hydraulic fracturing polluting ground water.”

[58:59] “Consensus is not science. Consensus is a tool to suppress opposition.”

[01:00:26] “The 97 percent number is a myth that has been perpetuated through the rule of repetition. Nowhere near 97 percent of scientists believe in catastrophic man caused climate change.”

[01:06:54] “The environmentalist movement is structured to appear as if it's a grassroots movement, when in fact it's run by a group of extraordinarily wealthy elitists and even foreign governments to manipulate the public's opinion about energy and environmental issues.”

[01:10:22] “Environmental groups need an apocalypse because it puts them in the position of being the high priest that defines the problem and then brings the solution.”

[01:30:31] “I'm so offended by the environmentalist racket because it's inherently pessimistic. Human beings are the enemy. We're the bad guys. We should feel bad about ourselves and how we use energy in our lives. We're being lied to or being propagandized by language. People are trying to guilt us into thinking about our lives in a way that is wholly unhealthy. That's no way to live.”

October 3, 2011

Mathis described why he made the film spOILed in an interview at Farmington Daily Times: [16]

“There has been a string of films that have tried to portray oil and gas and other energy sources as bad. This is the first film that questions the premise […]

I would describe it as first, a pro-truth film. The truth is that fossil fuels are wonderful […] We're not addicted [to oil]; we're spoiled. We're spoiled by these resources like oil and natural gas that have given us this incredibly high quality of life.”

“Addiction is something that ruins your life,” Mathis said. “Does oil ruin your life? Oil is your life.”

August 5, 2011

Via Twitter:

Key Deeds

May 9, 2019

Mark Mathis, representing the Clear Energy Alliance, signed on to an open letter organized by the American Energy Alliance designed to fight against an electric vehicle tax credit. [36]

The American Energy Alliance has organized a coalition to proclaim in one unified voice that there should be no expansion of the misguided electric vehicle tax credit,” Thomas Pyle wrote in a statement, quoted at The Daily Caller. There is no question that the electric vehicle tax credit distorts the auto market to no gain.” [37]

According to Pyle and others who signed the letter, electric vehicle tax credits “overwhelmingly benefit the rich.” DeSmog's Koch vs. Clean project has systematically debunked this, among other well-rehearsed talking points and misinformation put forward by industry about electric vehicles. [37]

The letter cites research by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a group that has received over $600,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from “dark money” groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund

March 31, 2019

Dallas News commented on a video that Clear Energy Alliance and Mark Mathis had released in June 2018 entitled “Solar Value Eclipse” that portrayed renewable energy sources as “a privileged part-timer who arrives late, does work others could easily do, and then leaves while everyone else is working full tilt.” The video also references a report by the industry-funded Institute for Energy Research. [34], [35]

The article notes that CEA has it “backwards” when it assumes that, without traditional power plants and with a switch to renewables, there will be no one to provide energy during peak demand. [34]

“The fact that renewable generators only produce power during part of the day does impose a cost, but not on consumers; these costs fall on renewable generators themselves. For power companies that produce during peak periods, this lapse in production on the part of renewable generators represents a profit opportunity. Indeed, despite a rapid growth in renewable generation in Texas, electricity prices have fallen further than those in any other state and reliability remains high.” [34]

February 19, 2019

According to Facebook's archive of political advertising, Clear Energy Alliance launched a series of ads criticizing aspects of the Green New Deal that would push for measures to combat climate change. [31]

“Even attempting to implement the Green New Deal would be incredibly disruptive and unimaginably expensive—not to mention impossible,” some of the ads read. [31]

January 11, 2019

Clear Energy Alliance's Mark Mathis appeared in a video about the “yellow vest protests” in France. [30]

“This is inevitably what happens when democratic governments with socialist programs mature,” Mathis claimed in the video. 

“The protestors could see right through Macron's carbon tax on motor fuel as just an excuse to raise money while claiming he was doing something noble about climate change.”

Mathis then discussed the appearance of yellow vest protests in Canada:

“These protestors are unhappy about carbon taxes, illegal immigration, wasteful government spending, and policies they say hurt the oil industry, which in turn hurts them.”

Mathis does not mention criticism the yellow vest movement in both countries has faced due to fringe elements. In Canada, fringe members of the group have reportedly made death threats against Prime Minister Trudeau. [31]

The yellow vest movement in France has also been equated by some with anti-Semitism. In Edmonton, Canada, a group of Yellow Vest protestors were reportedly joined by members of the anti-Muslim group Wolves of Odin. [32], [33]

November 2, 2018

In a Clear Energy Alliance video, Mathis promoted work by the fossil-fuel-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute's Chris Horner to allege a “frightening scheme” of supposed “activist donors” behind an effort to hold large oil companies accountable for damages relating to climate change. [17]

August 7, 2018

Mathis spoke at the Heartland Institute's “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018) in New Orleans, Louisiana. [18]

The purpose of this event is to promote and expand energy freedom in the United States, as outlined in President Donald Trump’s bold America First Energy Plan, a proposal first released during the 2016 presidential campaign. The president’s plan marks a decisive change in direction from the Obama administration’s 'war on fossil fuels' and focus on the theory of catastrophic man-caused climate change,” the conference description reads[19]

He spoke on a panel titled “Battling Russia and America's Big Green Machine.” [20]

June 7, 2018

Mathis was a guest on Bulwark's “Oil and Gas Industry Leaders” podcast to discuss his work with Clear Energy Alliance. During his talk, Mathis claims climate models are unreliable, that CO2 is just a trace gas among others, and that we don't understand enough about climate to be sure of man-made climate change (see the myths Mathis references debunked here, here, and here, for example). [12]

“We don't understand most of these things and what their impacts are to climate, let alone CO2, a single one, one element of many elements, and we don't understand that. “
[…] 

“We don't know any of these things and yet the public is being told that computer modeling is science, and that we can project, we can understand this to such a degree that we know what the, what the climate is going to be 25, 5, 100 years from now. What? That is crazy talk,” Mathis said.

During the interview, Mathis said he was heavily influenced in his views about energy by Robert Bradley Jr., author of a book entitled Energy the Master Resource. Bradley, whose background is in economics, has also argued the science behind climate change is not settled. [21]

Other influencers he lists included publications by fossil fuel advocates Alex Epstein, Robert Bryce, and Michael Economides[21]

October 24, 2017

Mathis spoke at the LAGCOE conference in 2017. The event was “sponsored by Drilling Contractor from leaders in the onshore and offshore oil and gas industry.” [22] Drilling Contractor is the official magazine of the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

March 16, 2016

Mathis spoke at an Ohio Oil and Gas Association event, presenting on “Fractured: A Better Way to Think and Talk About Energy.” [23]

2011

Mathis released “spOILed,” a movie that has been described as a “love song to Big Oil.” When asked by The Texas Tribune in 2012 about his funding sources, Mathis confirmed they included representatives from the oil and gas industry: [14]

“I raised money from independent small investors, some of whom have interests in small independent oil and gas companies. These people were willing to put forth money to get this movie made because these are frustrated people. They’re very frustrated. They feel like they are misportrayed,” Mathis said. [14]

The film was represented by the public relations firm D.W. Turner, which also represents BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal, BP America, Chevron and others with energy-industry ties, Farmington Daily Times reported in 2011. [16]

March 8, 2006

Mathis was a co-signatory to a letter organized by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) among other industry-friendly groups supporting increased oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. [24]

Affiliations

Media

  • WestWave Films — Owner. [1]
  • Mathis Media — Owner (1994 – 2017). [1]
  • Rampant Films — Has introduced himself as a “Producer.” [6]
  • Premise Media Line Producer for Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. [6]
  • KOB-TV, KSBY-TV, WCB-TV, KTNV-TV, KOAT-TVReporter/anchor (1985 – 1994). [1]

Social Media

Publications

Pro-Oil Documentaries

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mathis has “written, produced and directed two documentary films on energy as well as written and published more than 100 Op-Ed pieces.” That includes Fractured— a documentary that claims terms like alternative energy, clean energy, mother nature, and fracking are “incorrect terms deceive the public about the essential nature of oil, gas, coal and nuclear power and cause people to believe in expensive, dangerous illusions.” He also produced spOILed, a film the Clear Energy Alliance describes as celebrating “the incredible lifestyle oil has given us.” [1], [25]

Other Publications & Media

In 2002, Mathis published Feeding the Media Beast: An Easy Recipe for Great Publicity. He has also served as a host on 106.3 KAGM talk radio with his wife, Dianne Anderson. [26]

Resources

  1. Mark Mathis,” LinkedIn. Accessed November 9, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  2. About CEA,” Clear Energy Alliance, Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/YeRE9

  3. The Power Line Volume 2 Issue 5 (April 2006), Citizen's Alliance for Responsible Energy. Archived December 4, 2015. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/dyih6

  4. Misconceptions and Myths,” Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy. Archived December 4, 2015. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/0iqdr

  5. About,” Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Archived June 23, 2006. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/peViO

  6. Questionable Interview Tactics,” Expelled Exposed. Archived July 30, 2012.

  7. EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED REVIEWS,” Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed November 9, 2018.

  8. (Press Release). “Anti-Evolution Film Misappropriates the Holocaust,” Anti-Defamation League, April 29, 2008. Archived July 7, 2010. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/hqV53

  9. Dawkins rails at 'creationist front' for duping him into film role,” The Guardian, September 28, 2007. Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/vI5TJ

  10. Flunked, Not Expelled: Ben Stein Contradicts Mark Mathis,” The Austringer, April 12, 2008. Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/qGKWw

  11. Erik Kain. “Ben Stein's 'Expelled' To Be Auctioned as Premise Media Faces Bankruptcy,” Forbes, June 10, 2011.

  12. Mark Mathis on Oil and Gas Industry Leaders Podcast – OGIL037,” BULWARK’S OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY LEADERS PODCAST, June 7, 2018. Archived .mp3 on file at DeSmog.

  13. Computer Models & Fortune Tellers,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” March 20, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  14. Katie Galbraith. “Mark Mathis: The TT Interview,The Texas Tribune, March 13, 2012. Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/9SLlb

  15. CA Cities File Lawsuits Against Oil COs,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance, January 30, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 

  16. Chuck Slothower. “New documentary touts fossil fuels,” Farmington Daily Times, October 3, 2011. Archived October 5, 2011. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/eC53z

  17. Caught Green Handed,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” November 2, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  18. Speakers,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/mwtga

  19. About,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived July 23, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.fo/E4Gnt

  20. MARK MATHIS,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/3PTcN

  21. Robert Bradley Jr. “The Two Faces of American Capitalism” (PDF)The New Individualist, May 2008.

  22. LAGCOE 2017 SESSIONS,” www.lagcoe.com. Archived June 29, 2017, Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/fds8U

  23. OOGA 2016 Winter Meeting Preview,” OOGA.org. Archived June 25, 2016. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/iOMJU

  24. National Organizations Rally for ANWR,” anwr.org, March 8, 2005. Archived July 21, 2006. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/XMeRV

  25. Documentaries,” Clear Energy Alliance. Archived November 9, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/5bAhj

  26. Paul Krza. “KAGM-FM shuffles talk show host lineup,” Albuquerque Business First, July 20, 2005. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  27. Lung Association Lies,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” August 31, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  28. Mark Mathis (Writer and Director). Fractured (2016). West Wave Films [DVD]. On file at DeSMog.

  29. Solar Value Eclipse,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance,” November 2, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  30. Yellow Vest Protests,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Clear Energy Alliance. Archived .mp4 on file at Desmog.

  31. Stewart Bell and Mercedes Stephenson. “Facebook begins removing comments from Yellow Vests Canada group following talk of killing Trudeau,” Global News, January 9, 2019. Archived January 25, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/2CPRn

  32. Alexander Hurst. “The Ugly, Illiberal, Anti-Semitic Heart of the Yellow Vest Movement,” The New Republic, January 7, 2019. Archived January 25, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/xH1mI

  33. Kelly Weill. “The Far Right Is Trying to Co-opt the Yellow Vests,” The Daily Beast, January 8, 2019. Archived January 26, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/ZWVIs

  34. Josiah Neeley. “If fossil fuel is being out-competed by renewables, maybe the problem isn't renewables,” Dallas News, March 31, 2019. Archived April 3, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/GH9BK

  35. Solar Value Eclipse,” YouTube video uploaded by user Clear Energy Alliance, June 26, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  36. Dear Senator Grassley, Senator Wyden, Representative Neal and Representative Brady:” May 9, 2019. Retrieved from The Daily Caller.

  37. Christ White. “CONSERVATIVES WARN LAWMAKERS: TESLA’S TAX CREDITSOVERWHELMINGLY BENEFIT THE RICH,”The Daily Caller, May 9, 2019. Archived May 9, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/qzvF3

Other Resources