Sharon Beder on Media
Climatic Confusion and Corporate Collusion:Hijacking the Greenhouse Debate, Sharon Beder Citation: This is an extended version of the article submitted for publication as Sharon Beder, – “……………..However, politicians in these countries have not been responsive to people’s concerns because of the success of industry lobbying and the confusion corporate-funded scientists, front-groups and think tanks are deliberately spreading.
As Ross Gelbspan stated in Harper’s Magazine the “confusion is intentional, expensively gift wrapped by the energy industries.” It is in this way that corporate influence goes far beyond the millions of dollars in campaign donations made by the fossil fuel industry to politicians and political parties………..
Fostering doubt is a well known public relations tactic. Phil Lesly, author of a handbook on public relations and communications, advises corporations:
People generally do not favor action on a non-alarming situation when arguments seem to be balanced on both sides and there is a clear doubt.
The weight of impressions on the public must be balanced so people will have doubts and lack motivation to take action. Accordingly, means are needed to get balancing information into the stream from sources that the public will find credible. There is no need for a clear-cut `victory.’…Nurturing public doubts by demonstrating that this is not a clear-cut situation in support of the opponents usually is all that is necessary.………………..
Perhaps nowhere has the fossil fuel industry been more successful than in Australia where the government presented fossil fuel industry’s interests as being synonymous with the national interest. In 1988 when the National Greenhouse 88 Conference was held in Australia there was unprecedented public interest in the issue. This has been systematically eroded through a well-orchestrated international campaign to portray global warming as little more than a theory that scientists can’t agree on. This strategy is aimed at crippling the impetus for government action to solve these problems, action which might adversely affect corporate profits.
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