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Washington Post: Snark Posing as News August 31, 2009

Posted by Morgan in astroturf, climate bill, Katrina.
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WaPo Front page

The Washington Post claims Big Oil and Coal are the flashy players in the climate debate, easily outmaneuvering the stuffy, boring environmentalists. link

Hey WaPo: there are some glaring contradictions here.  You used this photo precisely  because it looks flashy.  I mean, it certainly doesn’t relate very closely to the article’s content.  Oh, and look at the flashy and hard-hitting RePower America ad at the top of the online post.

Big Coal hands out T-shirts while climate activists stop coal blasting using their bodies like at the ongoing tree sit.  Big Oil has company management instruct employees to attend ‘rallies’ (company picnics) while 12,000 young people scrape together funds to attend the largest climate conference ever in the US.

I risked arrest last week, along with 8 other young people who are motivated by terrible consequences of climate inaction.   It wasn’t just for the sake or risking arrest itself, but to make a flashy and bold statement that even the snarky Post couldn’t help but use.  Look at more photos here – they’re beautiful.  Where are the pictures of those great ‘free lunches’ the coal industry hosts?  There aren’t any here because they’re boring pictures of folks who are more interested in a free lunch than climate policy.

And yet in this same article, it implies the actions of environmentalists are “sedate”.

David Fahrenthold, you should know better.  You’ve reported on API’s astroturfing strategy, and you’ve kept readers informed about the repeated findings of forged letters to congressmen.  (But in the future, David, look a little closer at who said what.  Don’t take Jack Bonner’s word for it that his company was taking care of a fraudulent practices on their own.  It smelled like BS from the start.)

Big Coal and Oil have the money.  We know that.  They’re profiting on the destruction of the planet at an accelerating pace, and they have hundreds of millions to throw around to influence politics.  We all know that influencing politics means getting your story into the media – that means you.  It doesn’t look to good when a lobby effort that spends (how many?) millions on PR and media relations gets a reporter to write exactly what they want.

How about this for a story: young people and concerned citizens, fighting a well-funded and well-organized foe, with little help from the fickle mainstream media, use creative and hard-hitting tactics to enact bold climate policy.  Sounds like something I want to read about.

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1. Wonk Room » The WonkLine: August 31, 2009 - August 31, 2009

[…] The Washington Post argues that “environmentalists are struggling” getting climate legislation passed. The climate activists photographed for the article respond, “It doesn’t look too good when a lobby effort that spends (how many?) millions on PR and media relations gets a reporter to write exactly what they want.” […]


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