Seeking Suckers for Photo-Op

If you can’t find anyone to support your cause, no problem! Just open the pocket books of your billionaire progenitors and hire someone to support your cause.

Apparently unable to find real activists, the coal industry paid astroturfers $50 to wear pro-coal t-shirts at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing yesterday.

The EPA hearings, held yesterday in Chicago and Washington, D.C., were focused on the agency’s first-ever carbon standards for new power plants. The industry has adamantly opposed these standards, as well as standards on mercury — a pollutant that even Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) admits is harmful. [...]

In a Craigslist ad found by the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago, a coal group promised participants $50 to “wear a t-shirt in support of an energy project.”

How many of those who participated do you suppose even fully understood what it was they were representing?

Very few I would assume, but on the other hand, perhaps we should feel sympathy for them, because only someone who is desperate would protest in favor of Big Coal for the promise of $50 and lunch, and there are a lot of desperate people out there today. And that may be what Big Coal was relying on — that people would respond because they need the money.

The cynicism involved here is beyond description.

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  • TVGugs

    Yeah, that’s what’s at play here. We should absolutely be saying that it was unethical for the coal company to come up with this scheme, but I would definitely refrain from criticizing the people who took the money. I’ve been unemployed since January, and before that I worked seasonal part-time at Target; if my local utility company promised me $50 cash and a free lunch to sit through a town hall meeting wearing a stupid t-shirt, I’d take it in a second.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      Yeah, I know a few people who feel the same because they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The Coal Industry knows how desperate people are and that is despicable.

      • TVGugs

        Thanks for trying to email me. However, I’ve changed email addresses, and won’t be checking my Yahoo mail anymore. Please send the message to jgugarty@gmail.com, and update your contact information for me as necessary.
        Thank you very much!

  • RS Janes

    This kind of despicable thing has been done for decades, the most notorious recent example is the ‘Brooks Brothers Riot’ in Miami-Dade County to stop the Florida recount in 2000. (They were all staffers of Republican politicians pretending to be average FL voters.) More recently, the ‘crowds’ at Tea Party events and Dem town halls were packed with GOP staffers and party hacks, Koch bros. employees, and people from the health insurance industry, disguising themselves as ordinary ‘grassroots’ people angry at Obama’s health care bill. If we had a functioning media that did its job (need I go on?) …

  • https://www.facebook.com/danah.gaz danah gaz

    I’d have taken the $50, worn the pro-coal tee and split the dividends with a friend who was willing to stand next to me wearing an “I’m with stupid –>” shirt.