Obama's Former Communications Director Anita Dunn Pitches "Ethical Oil" Keystone XL Ad

Obama's Former Communications Director Anita Dunn Pitches "Ethical Oil" Keystone XL Ad
on

Ezra Levant is the man behind an attempt to re-frame the Alberta tar sands as “ethical oil.” “Ethical” – Levant’s deceptive public relations campaign argues of the tar sands “carbon bomb” – because it doesn’t come from the war-ridden and human rights-abusing Middle East. 

Now, the “ethical oil” campaign has a new backer: Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama and current Principal of SKDKnickerbocker, a public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C.; New York City and Albany.

SKDK – as covered here on multiple occasions by DeSmogBlog – does PR for Transcanada, the company behind the controversial Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline. Transcanada has paid SKDK – and by extension, Dunn – to place ads in strategic television and radio markets in the Washington, D.C. area. 

America imports millions of barrels of oil from the Middle East every week,” a narrator says in an ominous tone in the most recent ad, as images of violent protests in the Middle East blare across the screen. “But we don’t have to.”

The T.V. ad then switches to serene music and landscape views with pipeline stretched across it, alluding to “ethical oil” coming from Canada if the northern half of Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline is approved by both the U.S. State Department and President Barack Obama.

The radio ad – also singing the “ethical oil” tune – claims that building the northern half of the Keystone XL will create “over 40,000 good American jobs.” Independent studies point to it creating 35 full-time jobs and 3,950 temporary construction jobs

The New York Times explained that Transcanada paid Dunn and SKDK to place the “ethical oil“-style ad “to reach power players in Washington’s media market.”

Dunn’s husband is Robert “Bob” Bauer, President Obama’s personal attorney since he arrived in Washington, D.C. as a U.S. Senator in 2005; Obama’s election law attorney for his 2008 and 2012 electoral campaigns; former Obama White House Counsel during his first term in office and former Counsel for the Democratic National Committee. 

A decision on the northern half of the pipeline is not expected for months, yet one thing remains certain: the deceptive “ethical oil” meme and theme will pollute the airwaves throughout that time period, and it just found a new promoter in Anita Dunn. 

Photo Credit: White House Photo by Pete SouzaWikimedia Commons 

Obama's Former Communications Director Anita Dunn Pitches "Ethical Oil" Keystone XL Ad
Steve Horn is a former Research Fellow and writer for DeSmog and a freelance investigative journalist based in San Diego, CA. He currently works as a climate reporter and producer for The Real News Network.

Related Posts

Opinion
on

More proposed rules to fix a broken regulatory system are a distraction from the real issue of the government failing to hold the oil industry accountable.

More proposed rules to fix a broken regulatory system are a distraction from the real issue of the government failing to hold the oil industry accountable.
on

More than 40 cities have enacted bans on new gas infrastructure, but in the Pacific Northwest one company is trying a new tactic to head off climate policy.

More than 40 cities have enacted bans on new gas infrastructure, but in the Pacific Northwest one company is trying a new tactic to head off climate policy.
on

For nearly a decade, pipeline companies have relied on the contested Nationwide Permit 12 when their projects cross waterbodies in the U.S.

For nearly a decade, pipeline companies have relied on the contested Nationwide Permit 12 when their projects cross waterbodies in the U.S.
on

Campaigners say there is growing dissatisfaction among Barclay’s shareholders over the bank’s approach to climate change.

Campaigners say there is growing dissatisfaction among Barclay’s shareholders over the bank’s approach to climate change.