Friday, August 14, 2009

Greenpeace Intercepts Rogue Oil Industry Correspondence

It's important that any organization, whether involved in international espionage or more subdued activities, be careful about what, and to whom, it emails. Such is the lesson learned today by the American Petroleum Institute (API) - the oil and natural gas industry's robust lobbying arm - when the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace purported to have intercepted an email from the API to it's membership. The three page email (below) describes the methods by which the API intends to oppose key climate-change legislation; at times the email even cites the results of public opinion surveys to corroborate the claimed effectiveness of a particular message or strategy.

The API and Greenpeace are mortal enemies. Therefore, we should probably assess this latest development with caution. For it's part, Greenpeace claims to not support the Waxman-Markey bill either - although their opposition stems from the group's feeling that the bill is too industry-friendly. Finally, I'd point out that this leaked correspondence directs API members to engage in what has become known as "Astroturfing" - a nearly worn out phrase intended to suggest that a forgery of a grass roots movement is at hand. In the health care debate, the left has continually accused the right of staging these AstroTurf protests; a claim that the right has both taken offense to and denied. Anyways, the emergence of actual proof that astroturfing is alive and well with the right wing may - just may - help to support liberal claims that the practice is more widespread, and is actually being used by opponents of health care reform. The process by which that occurs is obviously a "find an example and extrapolate to an entire population" procedure; not the most logically/empirically sound, but effective nonetheless.

*Research facilitated by InfoNgen

API Email to Membership Sphere: Related Content

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