Believe it or not, lots of us at NRDC read the Wall Street Journal every day.
So, imagine our shock when we saw a full page ad calling us out as job-destroying Big Green Radicals in that august paper this morning. For grins and giggles, we popped online to see who was responsible. We were less surprised to see that the "group" involved, the “Environmental Policy Alliance” (or…“EPA”… get it), is also running three other campaigns similarly lashing out at conservation groups like Trout Unlimited, LEED standards for buildings and…the real EPA. All four campaign web sites are populated with clearly false propaganda and almost no information on who is paying for them…
…but we were able to dig up some details that point to who is responsible.
“60 Minutes” called him “Dr. Evil” (and apparently plenty of others do too).
This looks like classic Berman & Co. stuff; a DC public affairs firm owned by lobbyist Rick Berman, which has represented the tobacco industry and other big business clients. It also operates dozens of front groups, web sites, and supposed think tanks. As it turns out, “Big Green Radicals” shares an office address with Berman & Co. and “Environmental Policy Alliance” is a project of the “Center for Organizational Research & Education,” which just so happened to have changed its name this past January from the “Center for Consumer Freedom,” which has been a well-known Berman front.
They are also known for front group work opposing minimum wage increases, food protections, etc. And given the new campaigns they are pushing out this week, it looks like Berman & Company just signed some Big Polluters as clients.
So, why dignify juvenile PR tricks and a site is riddled with errors (they didn’t even get our name right, initially calling out the National Resources Defense Council…we are the Natural Resources Defense Council...which I guess they figured out, as its been updated) that give a clear sense to the accuracy of information therein? Or the laughable implication that somehow the budgets and influence of the “Big Green Groups” rivals the fossil fuel industries—which are among the most profitable in human history—mentioned in the campaign?
Well, this shoddy work is sadly representative of what will be coming at the press and public in droves soon. In 2010, climate denial groups received $1.2 billion. That’s nearly doubled since 2003. And with sweeping climate change action coming this summer, you can expect that tab to get even bigger as the fossil fuel industry tries its darndest to push back.
So…we’ve been telling reporters to consider their sources. NRDC has been around for decades. We cite our research. We sign our names on our materials. Reporters should expect that from everyone they cover.