Maddow on Bonner and Adfero's Astroturfing for Coal

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On her show last night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow lambasted the latest coal lobby astroturf campaign for using generic clip art stock photos for their FACES of coal campaign. I guess the coal lobbyists behind the campaign couldn’t find any real people willing to pose as pro-coal cheerleaders and instead had to rely on stock photo stand-ins instead.

This story was first uncovered by the hardworking folks at Appalachian Voices who are fighting to save the mountains of Appalachia from the hugely destructive and toxic industry process of mountain top removal.

Maddow also gave a quick shout-out to DeSmogBlog on her show presumably for our work to uncover the high-powered Washington, DC public relations company, Adfero Group, that appears to be working behind the scenes on the FACES astroturf campaign. 

Brad Johnson at the WonkRoom reported yesterday that Adfero Group also has significant ties to the Republican Party.

Here’s a quick transcript of Maddow’s comments where she compares the FACES campaign to the recent Bonner and Associates fake letter scandal, calling them both the “most blatant fake grassroots corporate PR effort ever”:

Maddow: When the coal industry stole letterhead from the NAACP and used it to write letters to Congress to make it look like the NAACP was against cap and trade political science textbooks across the country had to be scrapped and re-written to account for the new, most blatant fake grassroots corporate PR effort ever now they’ve topped even that.

Eventually we’ll just scrap political science textbook altogether and just send everyone to advertising school instead.

Maddow should be congratulated for keeping on the astroturf story while most of her peers at other major TV outlets have ignored it. It is important that this undemocratic practice continue to be dragged out from the backrooms and exposed.

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Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmog. He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning. Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks. Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder. Prior to DeSmog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health. In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications. Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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