The true cost of advertising: a free press

November 11, 2009

Sitting in my inbox at this moment is a copy of a confidential email from the company Web Windows, promoting an advertising deal in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine. As you might expect, the company is keen to emphasise the high-spending profile of the Guardian readership: in an “uber cheap deal for an ad in the national press”, offering “incredible value for money”, the company promises to grant advertisers access to the magazine’s “1.4 million readers averaging extremely high household incomes”. “No longer the bearded lefties!” we are assured. “Guardian readers are an extremely desirable group of high spending consumers …”

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Keeping denial alive at the BBC: the falsehoods of Paul Hudson

November 5, 2009

Why is the BBC allowing a local weather reporter to turn its climate coverage into drivel?

Now published on Climate Safety.

Given the Telegraph’s position as one of the foremost bastions of spurious climate change coverage, it’s hardly surprising that the paper was quick to seize on a recent piece of misguided misreporting from the BBC – a repackaged blog post by local weather reporter (and now, apparently, the BBC’s “climate correspondent”) Paul Hudson entitled “Whatever happened to global warming?”. According to the Telegraph’s blogs editor, Damian Thompson, Hudson’s article “represents a clear departure from the BBC’s fanatical espousal of climate change orthodoxy”. “BBC executives”, he tells us, “have swung the might of the corporation behind that orthodoxy, often producing what amounts to propaganda.”

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Well, if E.on says it …

October 10, 2009


“Yesterday, the company quietly announced on its website that it was shelving the plans, blaming a dramatic fall in energy demand which it said made Kingsnorth redundant. It said it would reconsider in two or three years and could go ahead if energy prices recover. In the end, it was the recession, not government dithering or direct action protestors which killed off Kingsnorth. But politicians and the environmentalists played their part.”

Flights of fancy

October 8, 2009

I noticed this atrocious piece of aviation industry greenwash on the wall of a London underground station a couple of weeks or so back (actually it was the one posted in miniscule form here – but the message conveyed is much the same):

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Word gets around

October 2, 2009

The damaging disinformation recently put out by the IPPR continues to trickle steadily out into the public domain.  According to a recent story in the Financial Times:

“[One] study, by the Institute for Public Policy Research in London, found people were “tired and bored of hearing about climate change”, cynical about government motives in pushing for action on climate, and dismissive of “self-righteous” environmentalists.”

Indeed it did, in a literal sense – but which “people”? “People”, as in a broadly representative sample of the UK public? Or “people”, as in a sample of the most materialistic and consumer-oriented 10% of the population?

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New York Post gets the Yes Men treatment

September 30, 2009

From the Centre for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch blog:

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Greenwashing Government

September 28, 2009


Why has an international campaigning NGO just helped produce a piece of Government propaganda?

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Old lies finding new homes

September 27, 2009

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)’s latest podcast features a good short interview with Joseph Romm, formerly the Clinton administration’s Acting Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Energy, on the media’s handling of climate change. He talks a bit about this terrible recent story in the New York Times – which repeats the climate change deniers’ current favourite canard about recent stabilisations in global temperatures – and this piece of straight-up fossil fuel industry PR from Newsweek. A great, in-depth dissection of both of these stories is available on Romm’s blog, Climate Progress (here and here).

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Recent Guardian coverage

September 25, 2009

This story in the Guardian portrays China and India as stonewalling in current climate negotiations, with the US putting on the pressure to secure firm carbon reduction commitments. The crucial context has been excised, of course: true, Obama has promised an (inadequate) 80% cut by 2050; but at the moment, the only legislation the US has actually passed – the Waxman-Markey Bill – hit such a wall of political opposition from fossil fuel industry-subsidised politicians, including many Democrats, that it has been almost entirely neutered. As Nicholas Stern noted in his talk at LSE yesterday, the Bill now commits the US to bring its emissions to around where they were in 1990 by 2020. From the country with the greatest historical responsibility for the problem bar none, this is beyond weak. And it means that any pressure placed on the developing world has no force whatsoever. The US will not lead by example. As Stern put it, the real nub of the problem in getting an agreement lies in the developed world – not India and China.

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Misrepresenting Public Opinion

September 23, 2009

The IPPR’s spin on its latest report – echoed in the media – misleads the public, and damages efforts to mobilise action against climate change.

Now published on Climate Safety.

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