RealClearEnergy has blessed us with countless examples of disinformation, but recently it seems they've given up the ghost of being legitimate media, and are just more or less transparently serving up advertisements in the form of op-eds. In other words, they’re using a version of one of the fossil fuel industry’s favorite disinformation techniques: the “op-ad.”
While plenty of real media outlets let corporate spokespeople and industry lobbyists present their cases for policies that benefit them, those biased voices are usually drowned out by the legitimate journalism in the outlet. At RealClearEnergy, though, the op-ads are basically all there is, which probably means that the outlet is taking a whole lot of industry money in addition to the Koch funding it's historically received (and the shady ad business…)
Want some examples? Here are the bylines of three recent RCE Originals:
“Perc Pineda, PhD is the Chief Economist for the PLASTICS Industry Association. PLASTICS’ flagship 2023 Economic Size and Impact Report will be released on September 7th at www.plasticsindustry.org
Perc Pineda, PhD is the Chief Economist for the PLASTICS Industry Association.” [sic]
“Timur Zhantikin is General Director of Kazakhstan Atomic Power Stations' LLP.”
“Linda Apsey is president and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent electricity transmission company in the U.S., and is responsible for the strategic vision and overall business operation of ITC and its subsidiaries.”
Yes, for some reason Perc Pineda's byline as an employee of the plastic lobby was featured twice on an op-ad presenting "Three Ways the U.S. Plastic Industry Vitally Impacts the Economy." Wow! What an incredible journalistic accomplishment for RCE: getting a trade association to brag about its industry!
And then, RCE did it again! Timur Zhantikin of ‘Kazakhstan Atomic Power Stations' LLP provided "several compelling reasons why I strongly believe that nuclear energy is the correct course of action for Kazakhstan." Oh really? A guy employed in the nuclear energy sector thinks there should be more nuclear energy? Groundbreaking! Earth-shattering! Atom-splitting!
And. Then. They. Did. It. Again! Linda Apsey, president of transmission company ITC Holdings, was graciously afforded space on RealClearEnergy to express her deeply felt personal conviction that "policymakers should establish robust interregional transmission planning standards that drive reliability and resilience across regions, particularly during severe weather.” She continued, “They also need to focus on streamlining permitting approval processes at the state and federal levels." After all, nothing says "journalism" like letting industry voices tell people that their industries are so great that we should give them more of our money to be so awesome!
Sure, let's just scrap all those environmental review processes and revoke the right of local communities to have a say in what projects cross through them, where, and how. After all, the person whose job would be much easier and more profitable if we did so said that we should!
…And that's basically the formula for a RealClearEnergy Original. Get your kid to write a standard five-paragraph essay about why the job that keeps a roof over their head and food in their belly is good, slap a byline (or two) about how you work for Evil Empire Inc. on there, and call it a day!
With that, dear readers, we will bid you a 2-week goodbye. We'll return in October, try not to miss us too much!