Energy

Attack of the Living Front Groups: PR Watch Offers Help to Unmask Corporate Tricksters

front groupsFake "grassroots" groups have started springing up like toadstools after a rain, and this time they're coming at us from every angle: they're on TV, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube: "Americans for Prosperity," "FACES of Coal, "The "Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights," "Americans Against Food Taxes," the "60 Plus Association," "Citizens for Better Medicare," "Patients First" ... It's making our heads spin! Issues affecting some of the country's biggest industries, like health insurance reform, a proposal to tax sodas and sugary drinks, and the FDA's possible reconsideration of the plastic additive Bisphenol A, have boosted corporate astroturfing up to a dizzying pace. With all these corporate fronts coming out of the woodwork, how can citizens tell true grassroots organizations from corporate fronts operated by highly-paid PR and lobbying firms? Here are some tips to help readers spot this kind of big-business hanky-panky.

Any Way the Wind Blows at Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick UK counts among its clients Viking Energy, a company "seeking to build a 153-turbine wind farm in the Shetlands." But the PR firm's chair of public affairs, Jonathan McLeod, recently launched an anti-wind power campaign, using his Weber Shandwick email address.

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Industry Says Green Is Bad for the Environment

We must destroy the environment in order to save it, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's new campaign against government oversight and what it calls "green tape." "We cannot mandate excessive reductions in greenhouse gases, fuel our future and apply green technologies if we don't address the green tape, excessive permitting requirements, and activist opposition," complained Chamber vice-president for environment, technology and regulator affairs William Kovacs.

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CoalSwarm a Nerve Center for the Green Energy Movement

The San Francisco Chronicle's website profiled "Ted Nace, director of the CoalSwarm website and an important part of the anti-coal movement that has been in the news in recent weeks." CoalSwarm is a "nerve center," a partnership with the Center for Media and Democracy within the

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