Tell Us How You Really Feel, Big Oil

Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported Friday, and we didn't want it to escape mention:

A new campaign ad that features the "Flat Earth Discussion Group," cheese by-products and a man with a sock puppet takes a humorous look at Colorado's fracking battle, but some voters aren't laughing.

The Environmental Policy Alliance launched the 60-second spot this month as a way to counter what it says are are false claims from "radical activists" about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an issue that has dominated Colorado's political landscape for almost two years.

But in hyper-educated Colorado — which ranks second in the nation per capita for the number of people with college degrees — will the ad backfire? [Pols emphasis]

Because the oil and gas industry has–pardon the pun–money to burn on promoting its agenda, we expect them to shovel every kind of media at Colorado voters for as long as their risk/benefit equations make it gainful. This ad is a lesson in the need to better prescreen the concepts their media department/consultants/meddling executive directors hatch in a moment of heady, undisciplined groupthink. You've been to those meetings.

Meetings where they hatch really bad ideas.

You see, outside the world of the oil and gas industry's vast payroll and legions of politicos and PR firms in their orbit, a large percentage of perfectly reasonable, well educated people have legitimate concerns about drilling–especially now that "fracking" has brought drilling to places it previously was not, residential areas unaccustomed to industrial activity. These are not people who want to ban the practice of fracking outright; but they are persuadable that the industry's invasive status quo, sometimes in neighborhoods like their own, is not satisfactory.

And this ad more or less insults them all.

At the end of the day, the purpose of paid advertising is not to make the people who already agree with you chuckle, it's to persuade persuadables who have not yet decided. This might be a good video to play at oil and gas industry trade conferences to lighten the mood or whatever, but for the purpose of reaching the middle-road segment of Colorado voters who could decide the fate of local control ballot initiatives this November, it's misguided enough to significantly backfire on its creators.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    I dunno.  If fracking hurts sock puppets, isn't the future bleak for Moddy, AC and their ilk?

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    There is no "proposed fracking ban", and no fictional flat earth clubs proposing one..There are not 110,000 jobs at stake. There are not 68,000 jobs at stake. There are about 30,000 jobs directly tied to oil and gas production in Colorado. From the 2012 Leeds School of Business study, "Assessment of Oil and Gas Industry", table 10, page 12:

    To get to the 68,000 number, one has to count "indirect: and "induced" jobs – basically anyone who has to say the words "oil" or "gas" in the course of a day's work.  As in, "Check your oil?"  "We're designing a pipeline for gas", "Would you like to see the Oil Futures report?"

    All of those people will still have (or not have) jobs, independent of what Coloradans decide to do to limit the power of oil and gas production to screw up the air, water, and community health in communities unfortunate enough to sit on top of oil and gas. i


    • Ralphie says:

      Yeah, but they've framed it that way and then ran a lot of ads.  They now own the rhetoric.

      • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

        Unfortunately true.  Because environmentalists could not come together with a unified message, and were too late getting off the mark. We allowed Jared Polis to be vilified, and called "selfish" for contributing his own wealth to this effort, and we got splintered into an ideological spectrum of groups, all competing for dollars. 

        The "local control" movement got sidetracked into some hippie "sovereign citizen" bullshit. Evironmentalists got territorial, and worked against each other promoting their own little preferred ballot initiatives,  and now  several may get on the ballot, but they will need to be "harmonized" legislatively so they work together.

        I have hopes that 88 and 89 can still do some good. I volunteered to circulate petitions, but safe.clean.colorado doesn't follow through with volunteers – all they want to do is ask for money. Probably, they're paying circulators in northern CO. 

        There is also a class action lawsuit in the works against the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. Unfortunately, this is also full of "sovereign citizen" rhetoric, like the right wing anti-government militia movements. I don't know enough of the law to evaluate it on its merits.  I don't know what the effect of the judge's decision striking down the will of the voters for a moratorium on fracking in Longmont will be on the initiatives, if passed, or the lawsuit.

        This battle is messy, and will continue to be so. I'm afraid that it will take a horrible environmental disaster tied to fracking or oil and gas production to shift the narrative, and I'm not sure that will do it. 

        I'd like to do a video project, just to interview ordinary people affected by fracking, just to get their stories out there. I think it would make a difference. Don't have time, don't know where to start. 

        • Sunmusing says:

          This is a group on the  Westernslope who are not "fringe"…good folks, who are about protecting other resources other than oil and gas…

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            I'd say almost all of these groups are composed of good people with great intentions, and a common mission: to preserve the natural environment and the health of the people and animals who depend on it. 

            But why, with all of this energy and money and good intentions, could we not have had a unified agenda and some common goals? We would have been unstoppable. 


            • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

              We can still win this thing, mama.

              The keys are credibility and visibility…just keep telling the truth.

            • VoyageurVoyageur says:

              There are good people on BOTH sides, MJ.  My brother-in-law and nephew work in the gas industry.  They don't have horns or a tail and only eat small children on special occasions.  They help replace the real villain, Big Coal.  And they are better stewards of the environment than some ranchers and farmers I know.

              • ct says:

                It’s not the individuals working to put food on their tables, V.  It’s the industry basically having all the power in determining, when, how and where this activity occurs.  Shame on you for conflating it as such.  Seriously.  It’s  a policy issue not about your friends or others that are worse stewards.  It’s about regulating a highly impactful, often toxic, always industrial activity in residential areas, around water sources, in wildlife habitat etc.  

                • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                  It's very much about good people supooting families   and building jobs,  unless your SUV runs on solar power, you benefit from their work.So dial back the demonizing and look for comprimise, as the guv rightlt did.

                  • ct says:

                    Its also very much about concentrations of VOCs and other toxic compunds next to people's homes and schools; industrial traffic through downtown; over 1 spill (reported) each and every day in the CO gas patch, a number of whcih pollute both ground- and surface-water as per the COGCC. Who did I demonize?  


              • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                I know that there are good people on both sides of this issue. There are people who will choose to sell mineral rights and to allow fracking in their communities.

                There are many more who are not given a choice,  and they should have one. That was what "local control" was about before it became "My municipality is a law unto itself".

                Probably. 88 and 89 will be on the ballot. They already have more than enough signatures, just need a comfortable margin. Backers of thee initiatives will need to find ways of getting a message out which does not further polarize the debate, but brings people together around commonalities. 


  3. ZappateroZappatero says:

    The ad repeats information thrown out by Tea Party/Republican/Consevative sock puppets on the many (probably close to 100) radio stations in the state whose primary purpose is to make money while lying to its direct audience. 

    To say all these false facts are "are the air" is a gigantic understatement and almost no amount of scientific data will change any of these peoples' minds regarding fracking, air pollution, water issues, nor even science in general. 

    Just ask AC………sad

    The bigger question for me is how scientific minded people can counter the non-stop barrage of counter-intuitive info and outright lies repeated thousands of times daily on our airwaves?


  4. kickshot says:

    July 10, 2014  

    <a href="; target="_blank">…</a> 
    340 documented sources of information.


    A fully searchable, near- exhaustive citation database of peer-reviewed journal articles pertaining to shale gas and oil extraction is housed at the PSE Healthy Energy Library.1)
    Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Health Energy.



  5. IndependentProgressiveIndependentProgressive says:

    The Koch brothers, Adelson, Karl Rove, Club for Growth, AFP, et al., wonder why with all the millions and millions and millions of dollars they spend … why they still lose.

    Cynical, insulting, arrogant and condecending ads like this are why. 

    I recieved a robocall from some group called Udall-Lied last week and it was snarky, sarcastic, whiny, completely negative and had the exact opposite effect on me that it was intended to have (and I am not a Udall supporter).

    For people who claim to be fiscally responsible, they have terrible judgement about how to spend money to influence voters — probably their anger and frustration impairs their decision-making ability — not the kind of folks we want responsible for government budgets.

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