Back in 2015, if you’d searched YouTube for information about climate change, the videos offered up might have left you with a warped sense of the state of climate science and the degree of scientific certainty that people are heating the world’s climate, a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Communication suggests.
One of the most recent ads, titled “Crude Oil Exports and National Security” on YouTube, starts off with ominous music and asks, “Who loves the ban on U.S. crude oil exports?” The answer, says API, is “Iran and Russia, not exactly our best friends.”
In an embarrassing - and failed - effort to speak the hip language of youth, the Fraser Institute has launched a YouTube video dismissing climate change as a matter of natural variability, saying:
“The climate changes naturally; always has; always will.”
Obviously aimed at high school students (sample voiceover: “all because you ride the bus to school every day”), this seems to steal from the tobacco maker’s playbook for selling cigarettes to children.
ABC news is reporting that a popular YouTube.com video mocking Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, first purported to be created by a 29-year old, was actually created by the PR firm, DCI Group. ABC also rightly reports that the infamous climate change “skeptic” funder ExxonMobil is a DCI client. Coincidently, the DCI group is responsible for the creation of “Tech Central Station,” a forum for climate change deniers that just so happens to have received funding directly from Exxon for so-called “climate change support.”
Exxon denies they had anyting to do with the video and ABC reports a DCI representative as stating:
“We do not disclose the names of our clients, nor do we discuss the work we do on behalf of our clients.”
This is yet another in a long list of examples of underhanded PR spin being used to attack the scientific consensus on climate change - it is also an extremely amateurish and immature example of PR in general. DCI's unwillingness to disclose the client footing the bill for this sad little video means they're probably raring up for some damage control on this one. This is a bad PR move on the part of DCI, by covering up their client they are only drawing more attention to the story and making themselves and Exxon look all that more guilty.
Of course, questionable PR tactics by DCI are not surprising, when you consider that DCI's current CEO, Doug Goodyear, was also heavily involved as a PR consultant in RJ Reynold's efforts to manufacture a grassroots campaign against tougher tobacco laws.
I guess when it comes to PR and climate change, we just have to keep “smoking” these guys out of their holes. Sorry, bad pun, had to be done.