Memo to: the Koch PR team
Re: over-zealous PR unlikely to help your clients
Dear Koch PR team
It's good to know who you are now – thanks to a story over at Politico. But perhaps we can offer you a little bit of advice?
We note that you’ve been getting to work on your new Koch account, placing stories in the New York Times about funding cancer research and the like. (Good distraction tactics!).
We also note how active you’ve been on the Koch Industries, Inc Facebook page
We understand that the brief from the Kochs is to fight back against the terribly bad name they’ve been getting over the last year.
And while we know the Koch brothers fund the deniers (as documented in this Greenpeace report), we also know that they’ve made you go to great lengths to distance them from any involvement. Major fail for you then when Wikipedia found out that your web guys, New Media Strategies, had created sock puppets to edit out the links and banned them from the site. Ouch!
But did you take another step too far last week? A new post appeared on Koch Industries’ facebook page on 19 March saying:
“A Berkley scientist explains how activist scientists managed to "hide the decline" in recent global temperatures. "You're not allowed to do this in science," Richard Muller explains.”
ClimateProgress has unearthed what Muller is up to – he’s co-chairing the rather prestigious-sounding “Berkely Earth Surface Temperature Study” – another recipient of Koch Funding.
Seems the whole project is a ruse to challenge Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick findings from the early 1990’s – a challenge raised by the so-called "climategate" scandal. As Think Progress points out:
"why would Berkeley want to be associated with the Kochs?"
And why investigate the Hockey stick findings, which have been backed up by at least five other studies? The deniers have focussed on the Hockey Stick argument (that shows global temperatures spiking upward, like a hockey stick) as their benchmark for whether global warming is happening and whether it’s caused by human activities. But this is despite strong signals from different areas of science that all point in the same direction.
That’s the same Richard Muller who has, as Climate Progress points out:
"has actually worked to undermine credibility in well-established science.”
(Latest: Climate Progress has now discovered that the Berkley project is not turning out the way Muller and the Koch’s want it to go – turns out that their preliminary results show that the temperature records are dead right. Oops! Findings are summarised:
“We are seeing substantial global warming” and “None of the effects raised by the [skeptics] is going to have anything more than a marginal effect on the amount of global warming.”
The presence of Muller and climate-scientist-turned-denialist Judith Curry is bad enough.
But Haywood? Do you not know who this guy is? If ever there was a Koch-funded climate denial mouthpiece, it’s Steven F Haywood. He’s a fellow at four of the Kochtopus-funded think tanks. They’ve all had quite a bit of funding from your clients 1986-2009:
Reason Foundation ($2,536,521),
Heritage Foundation ($4,110,571),
Pacific Research Foundation ($1,515,800) and
American Enterprise Institute (only $150,000 from Koch but Exxon gave them $2.8 million).
So the total Koch money to Hayward’s groups is $8,312,892. Add Exxon’s $4,341,000 and that adds up to a massive $12.65 million of denial punch.
No wonder you guys were excited about linking to his piece. But was it wise? Does Koch really want to be openly associating itself with Hayward and Muller – and “climategate?” This is the first time we’ve seen such an open association by Koch to undermining the climate science. Very useful for us – but doesn’t this rather undermine the Koch’s ongoing denial that they are linked with these climate deniers?
And finally, while we’re discussing your Facebook page, another word of advice: if you’re going to promote stories that you’ve managed to place in blogs, perhaps drip them out slowly?
During the Wisconsin protests, Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group led the tea party in support of Scott Walker and Koch became a lightning rod for protestors. (Bet that got you going).
Nice work lining up all the bloggers to support Koch - but posting them all in one day on Facebook? Six posts in just a few hours? 4th March was a busy day for you. But seriously, if you’re going to go on the offense, maybe make it a little less obvious?
We know you must be paid an awful lot by this client – are they really getting their money’s worth? Or did you leave your Facebook promotion up to New Media Strategies?
Over the last couple days, the complimentary agendas of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker and Koch Industries to attack unions and state employees has been increasingly observed, explored, and revealed. Here is the condensed story of Gov. Walker’s and the Koch brothers’ union busting in Wisconsin, which will be updated as more relevant information surfaces:
- Koch Industries invests $43,000 in Gov. Walker’s 2010 election campaign, as well as donating $1 million to the Republican Governor’s Association, which in turn spends $3.4 million on attack ads against Walker’s opponents and another $65,000 on efforts to support Walker.
- Walker wins the gubernatorial race, and quickly cuts corporate taxes, benefiting large businesses in the state, including subsidiaries of Koch Industries.
- Advised by the Koch- and Exxon-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, Walker adopts the strategy of fabricating a budget crisis and calls for emergency mitigation. The state fiscal bureau denies this emergency, claiming the fiscal year could still end with a surplus, but Walker takes advantage of the crisis he created to strip labor unions of all bargaining rights except over salaries, which he plans to cut.
- Unions attempt to negotiate with Walker by agreeing to almost all of his concessions to avoid the loss of collective bargaining rights. Walker refuses. The only labor unions exempted from the law's attacks are those which supported Walker’s bid for Governor [video].
- Governor Walker’s bill includes a hidden provision to sell state energy assets to private contractors without legally mandated bids, opening up major opportunities for energy companies in a way that could provide less income to the state. Koch Industries happens to be a major energy conglomerate.
- Koch Industries watches as protests erupt over the serious threat of union disarmament, and Democratic legislators leave the state to stall the initiative. Americans for Prosperity (founded, governed and heavily financed by the Kochs) publicly backs Scott Walker.
Governor Walker threatens layoffs for 1,500 public employees by July, 2011, the Koch brothers are reminded of recently laying off 25% of their work force in a Green Bay Georgia-Pacific plant.