Most Popular Post of 2015: “Thanks Dr. Evil! Fossil Fuel Propaganda Misfire Goes Viral”
December 30, 2015
Every once in a while we can pull back the curtain and get a good look at the evil elves and Madison Avenue Orcs deployed by the fossil fuel barons. Look hard, climate deniers. This is the man pulling your strings.
Posted by a front group called the “Environmental Policy Alliance”, this corporate forged “viral” video popped up a couple days ago. Had to check and make sure this wasn’t a joke, but it’s real.
Check out the video above for the hilarious/bad caricature of Bill Mckibben, and for the ‘fossil fuel” girl friend, who I guess is supposed to be attractive, but unfortunately for the producers, looks disturbingly like “Mr Hanky” of South Park fame. The piece is getting a lot of views, but maybe not for the reasons the client hoped.
Big Green Radicals is a front group operated by the PR firm Berman & Co. Berman & Co. operates a network of dozens of front groups, attack-dog web sites, and alleged think tanks that work to counteract minimum wage campaigns, keep wages low for restaurant workers, and to block legislation on food safety, secondhand cigarette smoke, drunk driving, and more.
Big Green Radicals describes itself as “a project of the Environmental Policy Alliance (EPA), which exists to educate the public about the real agenda of well-funded environmental activist groups” according its website. “The EPA receives support from individuals, businesses, and foundations.”
Richard Berman is the type of corporate hit man that Aaron Eckhart played in “Thank You For Smoking” – amoral, vicious, and dishonest. PR guys like him usually don’t make the headlines, preferring to remain the man behind the curtain – but a few months ago he showed up in the New York Times, because recommendations he made in a presentation were so vile and offensive that even members of the oil industry audience were disgusted.
If the oil and gas industry wants to prevent its opponents from slowing its efforts to drill in more places, it must be prepared to employ tactics like digging up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, a veteran Washington political consultant told a room full of industry executives in a speech that was secretly recorded.
The blunt advice from the consultant, Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, came as Mr. Berman solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance an advertising and public relations campaign called Big Green Radicals.
The company executives, Mr. Berman said in his speech, must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public because “you can either win ugly or lose pretty,” he said.
“Think of this as an endless war,” Mr. Berman told the crowd at the June event in Colorado Springs, sponsored by the Western Energy Alliance, a group whose members include Devon Energy, Halliburton and Anadarko Petroleum, which specialize in extracting oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. “And you have to budget for it.”
What Mr. Berman did not know — and what could now complicate his task of marginalizing environmental groups that want to impose limits on fracking — is that one of the energy industry executives recorded his remarks and was offended by them.
“That you have to play dirty to win,” said the executive, who provided a copy of the recording and the meeting agenda to The New York Times under the condition that his identity not be revealed. “It just left a bad taste in my mouth.”
Speaking of bad taste, “60 Minutes” profiled Berman as an attack dog for the purveyors of poisonous junk food, and he was proud enough of that to post it on his own Youtube channel, below.
Berman was paid well by Philip Morris (PM), which stays in business only by addicting people during vulnerable adolescent/young adult brain development, so they can be lifeshort customers. Berman has worked for companies that privatize the profits and socialize the costs. He attacked fine scientists like Steve Schneider (Stanford) and Stan Glantz (UCSF).
Following is a small sample from the instructive Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. Philip Morris was quite friendly to Berman, responding quickly with money, at least $600K + ($200K + $200K + $500K) + $350K + $300K = $21.5M in 4 years.
“We have been looking for a consultant who is both a hospitality industry insider as well as a legislatively astute individual . We believe we have found a worthy candidate who can help us to test these waters and ultimately succeed in achieving our goal.
Rick Berman …General Counsel to The American Beverage Institute (A.B.I). The ABI is an organization of restaurateurs and beverage industry leaders whose goal is to inform government officials and the public on issues involving adult beverages.The primary issue of the ABI is opposing the lowering of the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level.” (more praise for Berman)
“… I’m hopeful that your company will be able to make a contribution of $500,000 to help us continue our education program on behalf of the hospitality industry and the public consumer.”
And it’s not only the Oil industry that is repulsed by Berman. His own son has some choice things to say.
2009 background story in PRWatch:
Rick Berman’s son, David Berman, is a 42-year-old singer-songwriter who, since 1989, has been the front singer for a popular New York City indie rock band called the “Silver Jews.” Over the years, the Jews have developed a loyal following, but on January 22, 2009 David Berman stunned his fans by posting a note to an online message board announcing that after all these years he was leaving the Silver Jews. The reason? His father, Rick Berman.
In scathing language, David disclosed to his fans who his father is, and how leaving the band related to his father’s work. David wrote,
“Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:
You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons. My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.
An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical mother******* son of a bitch. (sorry grandma).
You can read about him here:
… A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.
He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We’ve been “estranged” for over three years.
Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.
He is a union buster.
When I got out of college I joined the Teamsters (the guards were union organized at the Whitney).
I went off to hide in art and academia.
I fled through this art portal for twenty years. In the meantime my Dad started a very very bad company called Berman and Company.
He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.
He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.
His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.
He helped ensure the minimum wage did not move a penny from 1997-2007!
The worst part for me as a writer is what he does with the English language.
Though vicious he is a doltish thinker, and his spurious editorials rely on doublethink and always with the Lashon Hara.
As I studied Judaism over the years, the shame and the shanda, grew almost too much. My heart was constantly on fire for justice. I could find no relief.
This winter I decided that the SJs [Silver Jews] were too small of a force to ever come close to undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused. To you and everyone you know.
Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you.
I’ve always hid this terrible shame from you, the fan. The SJs have always stood autonomous and clear.
Hopefully it won’t contaminate your feelings about the work … In a way I am the son of a demon come to make good the damage.
Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world.
But there is the matter of Justice.
And I’ll tell you it’s not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns.
There needs to be something more. I’ll see what that might be.
David’s powerful note provides insight into the tortured feelings David has endured as the son of the Lobbyist from Hell. We well agree that Rick Berman is guilty of shamefully obstructing public health and working to crush those who care about public welfare, clean air, the environment, animal rights and other causes. For any normal father, this public note would be excruciatingly painful. For all we know, it might be for Rick Berman, too. But will the pain of this note be enough to change him?
We hope David’s public expression of his feelings about his father’s work will make Rick Berman think about what he is doing to society, if not his family. If it isn’t, well then David, we are on your side and are willing to help you in any way we can.
Obviously, a despairing son is not enough to touch the heart of this unrepentant fossil fuel propagandist.
Look long and hard. These are the people I started my blog to counteract. They are funded with millions of dollars earned by the destruction of the planetary life support system. I don’t have that kind of funding, but we are making an impact, the curtain is being pulled back, and we’re no longer on the defensive.