International Journal of Inactivism (now supplanted by Decoding SwiftHack)


The three core principles of global warming inactivist PR

Filed under: Barack Obama,PR shenanigans — stepanovich @ 11:27

cite as: F. Bi. 2009. The three core principles of global warming inactivist PR. Intl. J. Inact., 2:23–24

Michael Tobis says,

  • Some unknown number of people […] have been paid as their professional field of concentration to argue against the scientific consensus [that global warming is a real and serious problem which must be tackled]. They pretend to be honest inquisitors but they are polemicists. […]
  • Members of the scientific community are reluctant […] to get very good as polemicists. The professional defenders of climate science are far less equipped for the debate.

Actually, it seems to me that polemics aren’t the game any more. The new game that the inactivists are playing is a very simple one, based on three simple core principles:

  1. Noise.
  2. Noise.
  3. Noise.

From the lists of “500 scientists” or “650 scientists” or “31,000 scientists”, to Tom Harris’s campaign of “information sharing” and “coordinated local activism”, to Frank Luntz’s exhortation to “say it again, and then again and again and again and again”, to Francis Manns insisting in 87 places that “Water vapour is the most important green house gas followed by methane”, to the Heartland Institute offering free catered food to people affiliated with right-wing think-tanks, to their self-admitted “viral marketing campaign” for their ‘conference’ using a YouTube video… all these efforts are geared towards one general direction: making more noise.

Alas, even though noise-making is a largely mechanical and straightforward process, overcoming this noise is a different matter, partly because the noise tends to be injected into places which also have actual content. Now, when it comes to noise, the way taken by the Obama campaign, and the new Obama administration, seems to have been to construct their own noise apparatus (albeit one with more scruples!). While this approach has been proven to be quite effective, I still have some reservations about its long-term ramifications, and in any case I’m not sure that the “good guys” have used it to its maximum potential. (If, say, the Center for American Progress organizes an international gathering with boatloads of freebies, will it make the Heartland conference look like a picnic? Just a thought…)



  1. This could be the most important web site on the Internet today. If I could just fully understand why.

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 2009/02/21 @ 06:20 | Reply

  2. Richard Pauli: I’d love to know in greater detail what you mean. šŸ™‚

    Comment by frankbi — 2009/02/21 @ 06:59 | Reply

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