Editor’s Notebook: Be Skeptical of What Anyone in the Energy Industry Says

April 2016, Vol. 243, No. 4

The best advice that I offer about energy is to be skeptical of what anyone tells you. No matter what side of the political or social spectrum you fall into, everyone has got an angle they want to sell.

Don’t believe any of them without checking the facts and understanding where the message is coming from. This time I’m not even talking about our energy-clueless president and his pandering to his base as he searches for a legacy issue or the API’s rabid distaste for the administration since Day One.

What has me roiled are the misleading communiques from PR flacks in the name of energy. I’m disgusted and find it difficult to respect organizations that hire them to spew propaganda, which is all it is.

Last June I wrote about this energy advocacy group called Consumer Energy Alliance that was attempting to publicize polls in three of the early primary states that claimed “Key Primary Voters Support Arctic Drilling, Say Energy is Important Issue in 2016 Race.”

Well, you didn’t have to be genius to realize two things: 1) the polls were geared toward ensuring specific responses, and 2) that their premise is wrong because energy won’t be an important factor this year unless gas prices zoom up to $3 or $4. So, I checked on this group and discovered that CEA is tied to a Washington, D.C. lobbying group called HBW Resources.

CEA touts itself as the “voice of the energy consumer” but it’s really a group of Republication flunkies, some may say lobbyists, working for this PR firm called HBW which is a front for Big Oil. Read more about them in Wikipedia.

Lately, I’m getting emailed news releases from Blair FitzGibbon, president of another PR firm called, Sound Speed PR. The latest came in in today (March 24) and described how “hundreds” had come out to the Superdome in New Orleans on March 23 to protest the federal Bureau of Land Management’s annual lease sale of tracts in the Gulf of Mexico. Turned out there may have been 100 protesters seeking their 15 second of TV fame.

Blair has sent me numerous very anti-fossil fuel releases. As you might expect, the group .350.org run by extremist Bill McGibben is his major client. As we know about .350.org, its goal is to try to block any new fossil fuel development anywhere, including pipelines. They take undue credit for the Keystone pipeline rejection and seem to have few members, but do receive an inordinate amount of attention from certain media sites like The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and MSNBC.

Well, who is this fellow, Blair FitzGibbon, and why has he taken to a cuss like McGibben? Blair, from what I read, started his company in 2014, about a year before his previous company, FitzGibbon Media, collapsed because of a serious sex scandal involving his older brother, Trevor, its president and founder.

Trevor’s history bears mention, if only because his clients – like .350. org. – trusted this scumbag to sell their message. Trevor was a senior staffer for a large D.C. PR firm when he was assigned in 2008 to be candidate Obama’s communications director in New Mexico. Trevor parlayed that success, and the many contacts he made, into his own PR firm which he started in 2008. It eventually became the agency of choice for the “progressive” movement with a long list of clients, including Wikileaks, Wikipedia (which oddly lists nothing on FitzGibbon Media), the AFL-CIO, MoveOn.org, even the despicable Edward Snowden, which itself should have raised eyebrows.

According to published reports, including an expose in The Huffington Post, Trevor, married and a father of three, was a serial sexual pervert who had problems at his first agency which worsened after he started his own company. Late last year he was accused of sexual assault and harassment. Just days before Christmas, he closed up shop, with no severance for employees.

“For decades, Trevor presented himself a champion of the progressive movement, claiming to support and respect women and feminist issues, from equal pay to reproductive rights, but his actions prove a hypocrisy so great that FitzGibbon Media closed its doors today, as we could no longer continue working under his leadership.”

As that comment suggests, these situations don’t occur in a vacuum. Know who you’re dealing with before signing up with them or risk losing your money, your message, maybe even your reputation.

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