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writing for godot

Everyone Smokes

Written by John Glassco   
Thursday, 08 August 2013 06:27
The latest expertly crafted TV ad for the American Petroleum Institute (log on to learn more) involves the earnest, generic, blond haired, black suited, semi-professional looking woman striding across the giant map of the lower 48 states proclaiming that we have more than enough oil and gas for generations of Americans. She then drops her voice and shushes us so as not to wake the sleeping baby who appears next to her. The baby presumably represents their next generation of sound asleep oil consumers.

These ads, like most ads, naturally favor the company product and ignore any obvious opposing facts. The awkward omission from these ads is any hint of the negative effects of burning petroleum in the atmosphere. The industry has mostly avoided voicing of opinions concerning the alarming build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The one exception is to question the science. In fact, like the tobacco industry, they have deliberately obscured and discredited much of the science behind the environmental risks of burning petroleum through the denial by hired “experts” of their own. According to Wiki, a memo from the Petroleum Institute leaked a plan by a cadre of scientists who share the industries views of climate science to “help convince journalists, politicians and the public that the risk of global warming is too uncertain to justify controls on greenhouse gases.”

Industries typically use deceptive or evasive ads. If a new car model turns out to be a lemon, or if liquid rubber in a can fails to stop that leaky roof, let the buyer beware. However, the Petroleum Institute supports the exploration and exploitation of a public trust. The many millions of acres of oil and gas lease on public land and offshore, are applied for and granted usually on a first-come and first-served basis by agencies like the helpful Minerals Management Service of the US Government. This is the agency by the way, whose officials were found by an Inspector General’s investigation to be literally in bed with the officials of BP during the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010.

With deep pockets full of our hard-earned cash, the petroleum industry relentlessly works to influence the public with their skewed message. The Petroleum Institute remembers that due partly to the declining number of smokers, big tobacco eventually lost its PR battle with the public. Big tobacco has been back on its heels ever since. The officials of the petroleum industry will not face the same fate, because for now, everyone smokes petroleum. your social media marketing partner
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