When we watch the news, we want to see credible, honest information about critical issues like our energy future. But the American Petroleum Industry (API) has other designs, shelling out massive amounts of cash on misinformation campaigns to sell the American public on the so-called wonders of natural gas.
Changing the Channel on Fracking and Natural Gas
Large companies have always supported TV programming through their advertising dollars. There’s no getting around the fact that networks rely on ads to bring us our favorite shows. Yet there’s a distinct difference between a company trying to sell us a new coffeemaker, and a company that gobbles up the airwaves to move the public towards its thinly veiled political agenda.
In 2012, API’s “Vote 4 Energy” campaign flooded the airwaves and social media, trying to sell the notion that natural gas is clean and abundant, and that supporting its development is as patriotic as civic participation. According to The New York Times, the industry spent more than $153 million in 2012 on ads promoting fossil fuels and knocking clean energy. By comparison, clean-energy advocates only spent $41 million on television and online advertisements.
This uneven messaging on TV and the Internet gives an unfair advantage to pro-industry groups, and prevents the American people from learning the truth about fracking and its impacts on our health and safety.