A Lesson in Critical Reading: Michael Barnard Deconstructs Deceitful Energy Journalism

As the planet smolders, the Amazon burns, and the Bahamas are in ruin, and as Columbia Journalism Review just launched a project called Covering Climate Now to hold media accountable for real climate coverage, Michael Barnard just posted a piece over on CleanTechnica that is a textbook example of critical reading.

His piece, Adventures in Anti-Renewables PR: North Carolina Solar Edition really is important reading for anyone concerned with investor-owned utilities and their bad-faith trickery to maintain their planet wrecking lust for profit. I’m not going to repeat or even summarize Michael’s great piece, other than to say it’s loaded with excerpts and “red flag” teachable moments that show readers what to ask and what to look for when reading what may appear at face value to be a credible publication.

Big investor-owned utilities are hell-bent to burn more fracked natural gas and coal and are willing to employ very sophisticated and expensive means of deceit to pacify the public. As a friend and economist told me a couple decades ago- “give me enough money and I can make you believe anything.” He used game theory to study corporate pricing theory but he may as well have been referring to utilities’ vast PR budgets used to deceive the public. Vigilant reading in these times is a must.

And by the way, speaking of influence spending, Duke Energy uses its own customers’ money to influence how its customers think, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. Illegal, unethical, and those customers are largely unaware that they are paying for political giving, PR and lobbying, which ultimately shapes their own knowledge and perception on an issue that is both existential and affects daily life.

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