“Doubt is our product”

We have mentioned before that Hill and Knowlton, a PR company who worked to convince people that there was no proven link between smoking and lung cancer were hired by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

Now we read that Environmental Resources Management (ERM) Group have played a major part in creating the Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. Whilst this is not directly related to fracking it is a clear demonstration that the energy industry is not particular about who they work with as long as they get the result they want.

ERM, a probe into the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) Tobacco Archives reveals, has deep historical ties to Big Tobacco.


Even more interesting though is the clear suggestion that these apologists for the energy industry are using tactics from what has become known as “the Tobacco Industry Playbook”.

ERM Group – headquartered in the City of London – a square mile sub-section of London infamous for its role in serving as a tax shelter for multinational corporations – has aided the tobacco industry in pushing the “Tobacco Playbook.”

Many fossil fuel industry public relations flacks learned the tactics of mass manipulation by reading the “tobacco playbook,” meticulously documented in Naomi Oreskes’ and Erik Conway’s classic book, “Merchants of Doubt.”

“Doubt is our product,” a tobacco industry document once laid out the playbook, “since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

ERM has done studies on behalf of both R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris, penning a report titled “Fundamentals of Environmental Management” for the latter.


Clearly, we should be careful what we swallow!

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