Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.
Australian blogger Joanne Nova has written an essay on the violent 10:10 video released by a UK green group on the first day of October. (Due to the time zone difference, I first blogged about it here in Canada on the last day of September.)
Nova doesn’t pull her punches. She refers to the video as a “colossal PR disaster,” a “spectacularly awful” mistake, an example of “PR-poison,” and the “Marketing Disaster of the Century.” (Incidentally, some of the most interesting media coverage has come from the marketing press – see here and here.)
Titled Mystery Solved: Why the PR Hacks Exploded Their Own Credibility, this essay attempts to answer the question many of us asked reflexively: What were they thinking? How could “supposedly PR savvy people” with “red carpet careers” have considered this video to be in any way appropriate? Remember, the plan was to show the 4-minute flick in cinemas prior to the main attraction.
More than a hundred people must have been involved in writing the script, recruting the celebrities, casting the extras, securing the locations, orchestrating the filming, managing the special effects, editing the footage, and then packaging and promoting the end product. What kind of bubble must all of these people inhabit that it occurred to none of them that they were, to borrow Nova’s phrasing, “publicly fantasizing about being inhumane tyrannical murderous thugs”?
Her essay has been published in an easy-on-the-eyes 7-page PDF format by the Science and Public Policy Institute in Virginia. (Friendly tip: If you’re printing it out, skip page one. It’s a toner hog – and is really just a cover page.)
Nova says the video attracted “negative press all around the world.” This is true. But it’s also true that, like Climategate a year earlier, much of the media studiously ignored this story – not to mention the public outcry it generated.
In many media markets, the 10:10 video doesn’t exist. The controversy never happened. Even with the help of Google’s impressive news search tools, I’ve managed to locate only two Canadian references to this video. Peter Foster wrote a blog post about it in the business section of the National Post on October 6th. It appears that, a day later, the same text (minus the awesome graphics) was published in the print edition – again, apparently, in the business section.
When you read Nova’s essay about what this video tells us about the psychology of some high-profile environmentalists, I implore you to think about this fact. As far as 99% of Canada’s media is concerned, a spectacular own-goal on the part of the green movement didn’t even happen. Canadians who know about this video likely heard about it via other information sources – blogs such as this one, non-Canadian news outlets, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Gee, I wonder why newspaper readership keeps shrinking.
If you missed it at the time, my coverage of Splattergate is listed here.