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Preview: DeSmogBlog - Jim Hoggan

Jim Hoggan


Fifth Estate Slams the "Denial Machine"

Thu, 16 Nov 2006 19:19:13 +0000


CBC's news magazine show the fifth estate slammed Dr. S. Fred Singer and company out of the park last evening with the “Denial Machine”, a 40-minute documentary that gave context to the current climate change debate. Reporter Bob McKeown walked the well-trodden path connecting big tobacco to a group of unsavory scientists and fake grassroots organizations that the cigarette companies hired to deny the link between tobacco and cancer.

Now those organizations and scientists - and Singer is a perfect poster boy - have turned to taking money from ExxonMobil and other energy companies in return for denying the human causes or likely effects of climate change.

Much of the show goes over ground that will be familiar to frequent DeSmog readers, but it was particularly interesting watching a smirking Singer talk about the utter contentedness with which he cashed the last big cheque from ExxonMobil - even as he claimed ignorance of some of the other income he has enjoyed as a denier for hire. (“I don't remember.”) If anyone still believed the man had conscience (anyone else, I mean), that bit of television pretty much removed all doubt.

Follow the link. You can watch it on line.

Jim and DeSmogBlog hit the news (and the skeptics)

Wed, 01 Nov 2006 20:38:49 +0000


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Here is a Global TV newshour video clip of DeSmog founder, Jim Hoggan, explaining the PR movement sowing doubt on the realities of global warming.

Jim Hoggan at UWO

Wed, 25 Oct 2006 14:33:24 +0000

(image) Continuing with his speaking tour, Jim speaks today at the University of Western Ontario, in London, ON.

Western is a great university, with a highly regarded business school that pumps a lot of Canada's top executives out into the world. That's why I'm delighted that he's bringing the DeSmogBlog message to Western – because if we're going to bring about the change we need in this world, we need the leaders of the business community on-side. I hope that the ripples from this talk, and from our work with this site, trickle out and start to make people think differently.

Special thanks go to Amanda Grzyb in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies for organizing this event. We hope to see some readers there!

Jim takes the DeSmog message to Concordia

Tue, 24 Oct 2006 21:02:07 +0000

As part of a nine-stop University speaking tour, the founder of DeSmogBlog, Jim Hoggan, is visiting Montreal's Concordia University department of journalism today. Jim will be speaking on what else but the PR spin tactics being used to muddle the truth on the realities of global warming.

Highlights will no doubt include, some of the more notorious climate change skeptics, namely Tim Ball, Fred Singer and former RJ Reynolds medical “research” advisor Fred Seitz.

Many thanks to Professor Ross Perigoe at Concordia University for helping DeSmog make this event happen!

Who knows where Jim and the DeSmog caravan will turn up next!


Check "This" Out

Fri, 06 Oct 2006 20:13:13 +0000

It's been out for a couple of weeks now, but make sure you don't miss this article in “This” Magazine – a smart, thoughtful publication, grown locally up here in Canada.

It's a good primer to the way that public relations has been employed in Canada with regards to climate change. If you've been listening at all to the discussion north of the border, you've heard the phrase “made in Canada” a hundred thousand times. But did you know where that came from? It's a legacy of the Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions, which was a coalition manufactured in 2002 by National Public Relations, Canada's largest PR firm.
The Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions was a classic example of an “Astroturf” organization—a fake green group—set up by a PR firm to make it appear that an industry’s agenda has grassroots support. And while the coalition was short-lived, it did leave behind at least one thing besides its old and obviously expensive website: the super-sticky, media-friendly catch phrase “made in Canada,” a gift to Kyoto opponents who use it to frame their opposition in reasonable terms.
Sticky indeed… it's everywhere in Harper's government's rhetoric.

It's a great article and you should definitely give it a read if you haven't yet. My favorite quote, though, is from our very own Jim Hoggan, and right at the end…
Being against climate change is pretty stupid from a PR point of view. If you don’t want to end up looking like those cigarette executives standing in front of Congress a few years ago, telling us that there is no evidence that cigarettes cause cancer, don’t fight something that you are inevitably going to lose.
And there you have it, folks.

The DeSmogBlog is CanadaChanging

Tue, 25 Jul 2006 10:00:13 +0000

Be sure to head over to this week – they've got a whole “CanadaChanging” series going on, and it's full of interesting stuff.

Most interesting, of course, if we may toot our own horn, is the piece about what we're up to here at the DeSmogBlog.
The only answer, the DeSmog team decided, is to go after the credibility of those attempting to create confusion around climate change, something they have done with relish and great effect, doing investigations into the backgrounds of prominent skeptics, pointing out how often they are in the employ of industry, or lack climate credentials, or are known extremists ideologically (“some of these guys are very… unusual people, so to say”), and then sharing that information with the media through outreach and Google-bombing campaigns. They've been doing an increasingly effective job of destroying the credibility of denialists, helping to defang what may be one of the most morally criminal PR campaigns in world history.

We've got an audio interview to go with this piece – the actual conversation between Alex Steffen (editor of WorldChanging) and Jim Hoggan, which will be posted here shortly. I'll update this post when I've got the link!

In the meantime, enjoy… and don't forget to check out the rest of their great coverage at WorldChanging. They've got a veritable treasure trove of stuff about climate change for your reading enjoyment, along with many other issues too.

UPDATE: The audio file can be found here.

Jim Hoggan on CBC Early Edition

Fri, 14 Jul 2006 04:07:34 +0000

For all of our Canadian listeners, Jim Hoggan will be on CBC Early Edition (image) tomorrow (July 14th) with host Rick Cluff at 7am (pacific time).

Topic: PR spin confusing the public on the issue of climate change.

Jim Hoggan and DeSmogBlog on The Tyee

Thu, 13 Jul 2006 16:09:50 +0000

Be sure to pop on over to The Tyee this morning, to read the front page coverage of the DeSmogBlog. It's a great piece resulting from a conversation that Jim Hoggan had with David Beers on June 13, 2006, talking about the PR industry, climate change, and the DeSmogBlog, among other things. You can listen to the actual audio interview here.

One great highlight, talking about why the scientific consensus isn't reflected in the news media:
[That] is a testament to the power of public relations. Most people have heard it said that you shouldn't believe everything you read in the newspaper. Well, let me tell you, if you've spent your time with PR people, you'd feel that very, very strongly. Most public relations people spend far more time on a story than a reporter can. And many of those stories, particularly as they relate to climate change, are manufactured, basically. There is actually a group of people who are out there trying to confuse the public about climate change, and they are very skilful at it. These people are good communications people.
The Tyee is a great source of forward thinking online journalism, based right here in Vancouver. Their site is also home to a buzzing community of people who comment on the pieces they write, so take a moment to check out the commentary as well… and maybe even contribute yourself.

The Global Warming Denial Lobby

Wed, 03 May 2006 18:23:51 +0000

We're delighted to see some media attention by our friends at The Tyee to the important issue of climate change and the PR pollution around the subject.  Check out Donald Gutstein's piece (reprinted below), “The Global Warming Denial Lobby”, where he discusses the schemes of climate change skeptics. Source: Donald Gutsein, The Tyee, May 2, 2006.The Global Warming Denial Lobby The people out to 'poison the debate on climate change.' By Donald Gutstein May 2, 2006 In early April, the Financial Post published a letter addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and signed by 60 “accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines,” as they describe themselves. They want Harper to begin a debate on the Kyoto Protocol. Begin a debate? What do they think has been happening since 1988, when US National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist James Hansen testified before the US Congress that he was “99 percent certain that global warming was here.” That statement has been subjected to extensive, prolonged and worldwide scrutiny ever since. The point of their letter is to deny “alarmist forecasts” of global warming and to attack “the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups” whose goal is to capture “sensational headlines.” The letter is classic climate change denial and among the 60 signatories – only 19 of whom are Canadian – are the most prominent climate change skeptics, as they are frequently called. The deniers' letter was followed two weeks later by one from 90 supporters of Kyoto. This group calls itself “climate science leaders from the academic, public and private sectors across Canada.” No foreigners, no weasel phrases like “related scientific disciplines” (economics? agronomy?). Their point? The evidence is conclusive that warming has occurred and most of it is attributable to human activity. These conclusions, they say, are supported by the vast majority of the world's climate scientists. Harper's assignment is to get on with developing an “effective national strategy” to deal with climate change. More debate or action? Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran seems to think that more debate is required. He did run the letter from the Kyoto supporters but accompanied it with an editorial attacking their credibility. Their crime is that some of them are federal government scientists and some have received peer-reviewed government grants. Therefore, what they have to say must be rubbish. The problem with libertarians like Corcoran is that they can be so blinded by their ideology – anything government does is bad – that they don't see the problems a powerful corporate sector can cause. Call it a case of libertarian looneyism. Funded by Exxon Mobil The 60 deniers had no Corcoran editorial accompanying their letter. A question Corcoran might have asked is how many of the deniers are funded by Exxon Mobil and the coal industry? It's a natural question to pose. The fossil fuel industry doesn't want mandatory limits on CO2 emissions because they would affect profits. It wants Canada and the rest of the world to do what George W. Bush did, establish voluntary standards and provide government subsidies to develop cleaner technologies. To update his knowledge on this issue, Corcoran could read the works of Ross Gelbspan, who has been covering climate change for more than a decade as a reporter for the Boston Globe. Gelbspan discovered in 1995 that some of the leading skeptics were funded by the coal industry. He wrote a book in 1997, The Heat is On, and runs the companion web site, The Heat is Online. Gelbspan's recent book is Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists and Activists are Fueling the Climate Crisis – and What We Can Do to Avoid Disaster. Corcoran could also check o[...]