Some Curious Examples of Image Advertising

Coal, oil, and gas companies try to lure support from natural enemies

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I am not a great student of TV news, but I watch a little almost every night, and I’ve noticed something that makes me wonder about how stuff works in this day and age. I rather enjoy MSNBC–Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews. It’s refreshing to have someone abandon fake objectivity and cut loose. Not that they’re always right–that is, always agreeing with me–but they’re always intelligent and passionate.

What has caught my attention is some of the ads. One assumes (one is forced to infer, as my old friend Dave Brower would say) that MSNBC viewers are generally of the liberal persuasion and therefore tending toward the pro-environmental angle on things. But the natural gas industry, the coal industry, and Chevron, are advertising heavily on these programs, and it makes me wonder what’s up.

I can only guess that they think they can chip off some opposition to energy policies that promote more natural-gas burning (better than coal but still a producer of CO2), clean coal (no such thing), offshore oil drilling and whatever else Chevron wants ("we need to develop all sources of energy," says the annnouncer, trying to sound like Bill Clinton). One would think Fox would be a happier home for these ads (I don’t know if they appear there. I can’t watch Fox at all; I’ve tried.)

I don’t hold it against MSNBC for airing these ads–that’s the nature of the business. I just hope the sponsors are wasting their money. Anyone have a theory?

Tom Turner literally wrote the books about Earthjustice during his more-than-25 years with the organization. A lifelong resident of Berkeley, CA, he is most passionate about Earthjustice's maiden issue: wilderness preservation.