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Friday, 31 October 2014 05:22

PR Advocate for Fracking Urges a Dirty War Against Environmentalists

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atoxiclie(Photo: Bill Baker)

Rick Berman a DC PR guru of the dark side has fought - for millions of dollars in fees - against "animal activists, labor unions and even Mothers Against Drunk Driving" (among other groups working for positive change). Now, according to BloombergBusinessweek he's selling his "attack and discredit" services to the fracking industry.

As BloombergBusinessweek reports, a tape of Berman's remarks to representatives of the fossil fuel industry at a Colorado gathering was secretly recorded and leaked to the press. His comments confirm that the perpetrators of global warming want to hear the advice of the Dick Cheney of public relations who does the unseemly work for predatory corporations. 

As the tape of Berman's recent remarks reveals, advocates for a healthier and more just planet should be aware that they are facing an opposition that plays dirty pool:

 “You can either win ugly or lose pretty. You figure out where you want to be,” Rick Berman told the Western Energy Alliance....“Hardball is something that I’m a big fan of, applied appropriately....”

“Think of it as endless war,” he said....

“Fear and anger have to be part of this campaign,” Berman told them. “You have to get people fearful about what is on the table...."

Fear has become the go-to emotion to manipulate the population of the United States, particularly in a post-9/11 world. After all, it has been fear that has been the priming powder for US military adventurism since the attack on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon. The threat of actual terrorism has shifted to the terrorization of the US public by its own government, particularly during the Bush administration.

As has been seen by the trembling of US news consumers about Ebola, fear is a powerful motivating factor that subverts rational public policy and distracts attention from the more pressing threats to the well-being of the country.

An essential ingredient in Berman's tactics is preserving the anonymity of funders, he told the Colorado fossil fuel representatives:

As he has in previous drives against raising the minimum wage or tightening rules to curb drunk driving, Berman said he would run the campaign for fracking through nonprofit entities. Because U.S. law allows nonprofits to keep the source of their funding secret, it’s not clear which companies or individuals are funding these various campaigns.

“What people always want to do is they want to know who funds me so they can attack the funder,” Berman told the Western Energy Alliance, when asked by an audience member which companies were backing him. “We run all of this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors.”

This allows oil companies engaged in greenwashing to appear to be advocating in a civilized fashion while funding nefarious campaigns against those who oppose fracking and laws and initiatives that would limit it.

Of course, the same anonymity is guaranteed donors to non-profit "issue" groups that have been unleashed since the Citizens United decision, dumping tens of millions dollar into campaigns - particularly on behalf of Republicans who would further deregulate corporations and Wall Street.

It's a perfect storm of pernicious cash-infused efforts to subvert rational discussions of pressing issues by playing on people's emotions. The Koch brothers exemplify this tumultuous upheaval of democracy in a buyer's market, along with the likes of Rick Berman, when it comes to undermining the common good.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.