Smoke, Oil and Mirrors (How To Make A News Commercial)

Posted on January 29, 2013


I love oil in all it’s forms.

I totally do, I love gas in my car, I love electricity, I love the petrochemicals in my plastic bottles and cups and utensils and of course in all my household electronics from TV to coffee maker. I love, love, LOVE the oil in my asphalt roads (who wants a bumpy ride on a gravel or dirt road, am I right?), the oils used to make my shampoo and the delicious oil that coats my Tylenol and Advil pills. I gots mad love for the oil used to make my clothes and the oil in my son’s toys.

But I don’t love being deceived.

And natural gas? Shoot! Man, I shore wouldn’t wanna live with out it, hot water, hot clothes from the gas dryer, hot… well, heat from the heater in the wintertime.  Natural gas vehicles, gas grills, you could say natural gas kicks some serious as… well, you get the picture.

But I don’t being lied to.

I love the jobs the oil and natural gas industry provides my home state of Louisiana. I think the industry should do more to protect the environment and I wish all Louisiana citizens were treated by oil companies the same way they treat all Alaskan citizens, but I’m still grateful for the jobs they create and what they mean to our economy.

But I really don’t like business advertisements masquerading as news stories.

Like this one from WBRZ TV in Baton Rouge –

I’m on twitter where among others I follow Louisiana television stations and WBRZ retweeted one of their reporters yesterday, @MikeSteeleWBRZ – who said this, ‘Louisiana is ready for a 2nd industrial revolution according to industry experts. 30,000 new jobs for BR and Lake Charles. @WBRZ at 6pm

I was curious, sounds amazing, 2nd industrial revolution you say?

But being a natural born skeptic I had a sneaking suspicion, something was rotten in Denmark as the kids say.

So I asked Mike, via twitter ‘I bet these are all right wing think tank ‘industry experts’, the Tax Foundation, US Chamber of Comm, am I right?

He replied, ‘No. It’s an LSU energy study

(I ‘tweeted’ Mike Steele twice more, you can see the whole exchange here)  –

So an LSU study is the basis for the 2nd Industrial Revolution story? Sounds impressive, unbiased, academic analysis, but I wanted more information so, employing my crack investigative team (that’s how I refer to Google) I found this little article from the New Orleans Times Picayune –

This article sites some pretty incredible numbers too, 219,000 new jobs added between 2011 and 2019, 26.7 BILLION $ in economic output.

But, of all the articles I found related to this LSU energy study, and my Google investigators uncovered several, the Times-Pic story was the only one that disclosed this little fact – ‘The study entitled “Unconventional Resources and Louisiana’s Manufacturing Development Renaissance,” was released Tuesday and sponsored by the American’s Natural Gas Alliance and the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.’

Oh. So the American’s Natural Gas Alliance and the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association paid for the LSU study. And who exactly are they? 

According to their website – the America’s Natural Gas Alliance exists to promote the economic, environmental and national security benefits of greater use of clean, abundant, domestic natural gas.  We represent 27 of North America’s largest independent natural gas exploration and production companies and the leading developers of the shale plays now transforming the clean energy landscape.

According to their websiteThe Louisiana Oil & Gas Association boasts a membership of over 1600 independent producers and service companies who have stepped forward to support Louisiana’s oil & gas industry and actively promote their own business interests. LOGA is a working organization, working for you! LOGA’s achievements help the entire oil and gas industry in Louisiana – not just our membership. LOGA is your advocate in the state of Louisiana, The Energy State!

Those sound an awful lot like political lobbying organizations to me, how bout you?

On the A.N.G.A. website I found this page – – where the A.N.G.A. extolls the virtues of natural gas by ‘a diversity of authors’ and cites among others this little report from, you guessed it, LSU – U.S. Manufacturing Rebound Fueled by Affordable, Abundant Natural Gas Resource by David E. Dismukes, Professor and Director of Policy Analysis, Center for Energy Studies, Louisiana State University

But for some reason the A.N.G.A failed to note they sponsored, they PAID FOR THE STUDY!

The Louisiana Oil & Gas Association goes one step farther, in a brilliant example of the corporate tail wagging the energy industry dog, – – Don Briggs, President, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says this:Dr. David Dismukes, a Ph.D. at the Center for Energy Studies at LSU, released a study recently with specific numbers about the future of our state. He said that the “abundance of natural gas resources has led to a virtual manufacturing renaissance in Louisiana where, to date, some $62.3 billion in new capital investments have been announced.” Dismukes goes on to say that resulting from the natural gas induced projects, over 214,000 thousand jobs and more than 9 billion dollars in increase wages will likely result over a 9-year period.’

What Don fails to mention is how the organization he leads sponsored, they actually PAID FOR the study he is citing, presenting as evidence that the businesses he represents are in fact, spearheading a ‘2nd Industrial Revolution’.

A boney-fide college professor says so and we should know, after all we paid him to say it! 

So I love oil, I love natural gas, I love energy sources that don’t originate in the Middle East. I also love energy jobs for my fellow citizens and I simply adore the positive effects oil and gas have on our state’s economy.

But I don’t like being lied to, and I really don’t like, I mean I truly despise marketing plans masquerading as news stories.

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