Home » Columns »Sustainable Planet » Currently Reading:

Lobbyists

December 27, 2011 by Tony Noerpel filed under Columns, Sustainable Planet No Comments
noerpel150

“We are thoroughgoing liars, even to ourselves. Our most prized possession – language – not only strengthens our ability to lie but greatly extends its range.” Robert Trivers, The Folly of Fools [1]

In my November 13 article in the Blue Ridge Leader [2], I mentioned a pro-nuclear friend whom I had asked for information which might support the viability nuclear energy. At the time he had not delivered. Since then he recommended the World Council of Energy 2010 Survey of Energy Resources report [3] which is very useful, fact-based and loaded with content. The uranium and nuclear energy chapters were written by Hans-Holger Rogner, whom I’ve written about in prior articles and of whom I have high regard [4]. Not that I necessarily agree with him on any point but I do take his opinion seriously. I am preparing a few articles on his report chapters but it will take some time as research and fact checking is required. Rogner’s report is exactly the kind of information I was expecting from my friend. And it is exactly the kind of meaty information which is worth digging into. More recently, he sent me a link to a content free TV interview with a nuclear power industry lobbyist [5] with the comment: “This story will be of interest to you.”

I assume everybody knows that lobbyists are not hired to tell the truth. This is not to say that all lobbyist lie all the time but simply recognition of the fact that they are being paid to represent the views of their clients, regardless of truthfulness of those views. If they deviate from those views, they are fired. They are simply not at liberty to tell the truth. In the most egregious cases, no tobacco company had paid a lobbyist to tell the truth about the harmful effects of second hand tobacco smoke and the fossil fuels industry has not hired a lobbyist to tell the truth about anthropogenic global warming. To be fair, there is probably some selection process taking place where lobbyists with certain views find clients with similar views.

Last week I heard an NPR reporter interview two lobbyists about the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation being considered by congress. She introduced one of them as a lobbyist representing the motion picture industry, Motion Picture Association of America, which supports the legislation and the other as a lobbyist representing a group of large internet companies which oppose the legislation. Although the interview lacked a lobbyist or representative who reflected the possible impact of the legislation on the public, the rest of us, the 99%, it was a balanced and honest bit of reporting so far as it went. Pointedly, the interviewer did not bring up extraneous and gratuitous information about the lobbyists themselves, stuff that may or may not have been true about their pasts but is irrelevant to SOPA. The interview was about the pros and cons of the legislation and not at all about the lobbyists. Listeners were well informed that the two participants were lobbyists and nothing more nor less at the start of the segment and again at the conclusion. For more information on SOPA here are some links [6].

On November 12, 2011, NBC12 reporter Ryan Nobles interviewed nuclear energy lobbyist Patrick Moore, whose public relations company, Greenspirit Strategies, represents the Nuclear Energy Institute, which itself is a lobby company for the nuclear power industry. This interview is empty of content and is easily dismissed except that it is a good example of Trivers’ argument that we are thoroughgoing liars. Nobles introduction states “Patrick Moore is the co-founder of Greenpeace. He left the organization several years ago and now works in the search for “clean, safe and reliable” energy.” This is deceitful on several counts. First Greenpeace was founded in 1970 and Moore joined in March of 1971. He was not a founder and was apparently thrown out of the group acrimoniously in 1986 [7]. While fifteen years is a long time to be associated with Greenpeace as an activist, this was 25 years ago. Second, Moore is not working in the search for energy of any form, clean, dirty or otherwise. There are plenty of scientists and engineers searching for alternative forms of energy. Moore is not one of them. Moore is simply a lobbyist nothing more or less working to promote the views of his clients, who in this case happen to be the nuclear power industry. Third and most important, Nobles never mentions Moore’s lobbying activities during the interview and this is an unmistakable lie of omission. Viewers have a right to know this.

Nobles even adds unnecessarily, “you’re an environmentalist, correct?” This is a question Moore wisely doesn’t answer since he isn’t. Moore’s scam is to leave the viewer with the mistaken impression that he is. The way the interview was scripted easily leads a viewer to conclude incorrectly that “even some Greenpeace environmentalist supports uranium mining” which of course is not true. Nobles could have done a story on uranium mining in Virginia introducing Moore as a lobbyist associated with NEI and the interview would have been content free but at least on some level honest. Nobles could have followed that up with an interview of a real Greenpeace representative and that would have been content free but honest. Or Nobles could have interviewed them both together. That too would have been content free but vastly more entertaining. Had Nobles truthfully introduced Moore as a lobbyist representing the NEI, viewers would have been better informed as to why Moore was being interviewed in the first place. They would have been able to correctly dismiss the otherwise content free interview as just another nuclear industry hack who supports mining uranium, and so what else is news. Nobles is complicit in Moore’s dishonesty. Contrast Nobles shoddy calculated reporting with the more professional and honest reporting I referred to above on NPR.

What to make of Moore? Reasonably, we might conclude he is a scoundrel in the vein of Chris The Third Lord Viscount Monckton of Benchley, who is not a governing Lord as he portrays himself nor is he a scientist as he likes to pretend [8]. He is just another global warming denier using his title to pseudo-legitimize himself and his ridiculous arguments. Likewise, Moore uses his past relationship with Greenpeace to stimulate business for his public relations company and to green wash the activities of his corporate clients.

Moore may have at one time been an environmentalist but he is clearly not one now. We cannot bastardize the English language to the extent that we consider a global warming denier such as Moore an environmentalist. The blog Skeptical Scientist [9] does a very credible and thorough job of debunking global warming denier arguments both the vast majority, which are not scientific, and the small minority, which have at least some science content, i.e., have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I have made the claim that there is literally no scientific evidence to support global warming denial and an exhaustive literature search by Jim Powell, at Skeptical Scientists finds only 59 denier articles in the scientific literature. All of the arguments made in these articles have been satisfactorily shown not to be supported by any data and soundly refuted in the literature as part of the peer-review process, which is exactly how science works. Taking them all together the aggregate would not come anywhere near contradicting the anthropogenic global warming theory even if they were true anyway. Moore’s opinion is not simply inconsistent with environmentalism; it is entirely inconsistent with reality. To be fare, being so busily engaged in his lobbying activities, Moore has probably not had time to keep up with recent science, beginning with Joseph Fourier’s original paper identifying green house effect on the Earth’s climate, written in 1824 and of course everything else since [10].

While I appreciate my friend sending me the Rogner reference and am enjoying digging into that, I have no idea why he sent me the link to this Moore interview and why he thought I would find it interesting. As Trivers argues in his highly readable and important book, we are all potentially liars and we are surrounded by liars and evidence of a few more is hardly noteworthy. What saves us from self-deceit is science and our accumulated scientific knowledge as Richard Feynman has pointed out.

By the way, Trivers’ book is highly recommended.

[1] Robert Trivers, “The Folly of Fools, The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life,” Basic Books, 2011.

[2] http://brleader.com/?p=6535

[3] http://www.worldenergy.org/publications/3040.asp

[4] See my November 25, 2010 article http://brleader.com/?p=2425 wherein I reference Rogner, H. H., An assessment of world hydrocarbon resources, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 22:217-262, 1997.

[5] http://www.nbc12.com/story/16230121/interview-uranium-study-due-out-next-week

[6] see for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act#Supporters;
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/269748/20111220/sopa-stopping-piracy-killing-internet-poll.htm;
http://americancensorship.org/
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/12/16/founder-internet-fears-unprecedented-web-censorship-from-sopa/;
http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore_(environmentalist)

[8] http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/07/23/276445/house-of-lords-tehouse-of-lords-monckton-to-cease-and-desist-claim-hes-a-member-of-house-of-lords-u-n-urges-maldives-to-prepare-for-climate-change/

[9] http://www.skepticalscience.com/case-against-AGW-part3.html

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Fourier

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

Columns

Pie in the Face (with remarks from Ron Paul)

noerpel_new

“In any field, the establishment is seldom in pursuit of the truth because it is composed of those who sincerely believe that they are already in possession of it.” E. T. Jaynes. Everybody prefaces Bernie Sanders name with “pie in …

Asterisk No More

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

Michael_Pic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

Smith0035

It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

town of purcellville sign

Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

(Be the first to comment)

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

(Be the first to comment)

Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

February 2016
M T W T F S S
1 2 3

Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner

4

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

5

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

6

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

7

5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

8 9 10 11

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

12

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

13

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Chocolate & Cabernet

Sweetheart's Soirée at Breaux Vineyards

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

14

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Celebrate Valentine's Day at North Gate Vineyard

Gallery Coffeehouse: READERS THEATRE "LOVE LETTERS" BY A. R. GURNEY

15 16 17

Mad Cap Puppets: UNDER THE BONSAI TREE

18 19

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

20

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT: Year Of The Monkey

21

Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

22 23 24 25 26

Breaux Vineyards February Fourth Friday

27

THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert

28

Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

Our Love is Here to Stay

29 1 2 3 4

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

5

Merlot Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

North Gate Vineyard Wine Dinner with Chef Sebastian Oveysi

6

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

  • Will Skowronski on Second Bull Run: I always enjoy Tim Jon's columns about the back roads of Loudoun County. Mr Jon's writing evokes the fun...
  • Pamela Baldwin on An Interview with Ron Meyer, Broad Run Supervisor: And what happens, exactly, when the Greenway goes bankrupt as a result of this new alternative road? And what...
  • Tony Noerpel on The Trump Effect: Hi Rosalinda What? :+) Tony
  • Tony Noerpel on The Trump Effect: Hi Paul Don't disagree. I'd be pleased to buy you a beer sometime. I don't like Clinton as I've...
  • MJ Justus on Police Investigating Student Death: I am so sorry. May this young person find peace, and may all those affected be comforted from above.

Lifestyle

Creation and Evolution in Native American Spirituality

9 Feb 2016

turtle_swartz

In celebration of Evolution Weekend, an annual event led by clergy to encourage serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science, St. James United Church of Christ in Lovettsville has invited Roger and Deborah “Turtle” Swartz to guide a discussion of traditional Native American Spirituality and its wisdom in celebrating human relationship to the earth. In a …

(Be the first to comment)

Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016

runandwalk

There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

(Be the first to comment)

Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016

lovinleesburgrealestate1

By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House

Dave_larock

The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

(Be the first to comment)

Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse

Kaine

On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

(Be the first to comment)

Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships

Virginia_seal

Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

(Be the first to comment)

ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

ODFCsoccerpics

The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009