The truth-telling ad ABC won’t let you see — and what you can do about it

So ABC will take millions of dollars from oil companies to run misleading energy ads, but they refuse to run one truthful ad from the Alliance for Climate Protection’s Repower America:

Oil company ads — check. Ads from Republicans filled with lies about drilling — check. Some of the most outrageous and lascivious TV shows on prime time — check. Truth-telling ad — too risky. Here are the words too shocking for the American public to hear:

The solution to our climate crisis seems simple.
Repower America with wind and solar.
End our dependence on foreign oil. A stronger economy.
So why are we still stuck with dirty and expensive energy?
Because big oil spends hundreds of millions of dollars to block clean energy.
Lobbyists, ads, even scandals.
All to increase their profits, while America suffers.
Breaking big oil’s lock on our government …
Now that’s change.
We’re the American people and we approve this message.

Tell ABC they’re wrong (click here).

One tiny quibble with the ad: The American people did not write or approve this message. If they had, then there wouldn’t have been the need for such an ad in the first place. The ad is directed to the public, not from it. Yes, it’s a “cute” tag line — but it isn’t true. And I think that subtly undercuts the message — that this ad is telling truth to power.

But this it is only a tiny quibble, when you compare this to ad to the outrageous energy lies in many ads that ABC and the other networks run.

Shame on ABC.

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30 Responses to The truth-telling ad ABC won’t let you see — and what you can do about it

  1. llewelly says:

    We’re the American people and we approve this message.

    Should have been: We’re the children of the American people and we approve this message.

  2. TomG says:

    Sounds like big oil has a lock on more than just our government.
    Somewhere in their pocket is a key labeled ABC…

  3. paulm says:

    Small quibble but that is probably why the ad didnt’ run. Its funny how small can be big depending on perspective.

    Why don’t they change the line and run the ad?

  4. Rick says:

    2 points

    1 Big Oil Rules. Why would it need to put up any kind of fight against a greener economy? Oil is finite and it’s used for everything. The price is going up and oil will be in demand even if we all get electric cars. Even if the government goes big on solar, wind, wave and geothermal. Big oil has nothing to worry about.

    2 The politicization of environmentalism is a double edged sword. Marriage to the left means enmity with the right. So environmental messages appear exaggerated and political and suspect in many minds.

  5. mauri pelto says:

    Now since over 100, 000 have sent a note to ABC to run the ad. It can be stated that over 100,000 americans approve the ad.

  6. David B. Benson says:

    Who owns ABC?

  7. rpauli says:

    Or perhaps you could note the name of the other advertisers for that show…. drop them a line saying how upset you are at ABC – and that it could change your attitude toward anyone advertising on that show – or network.

    The dollar bill is a most powerful document.

  8. Henry C says:

    Disney owns ABC.

    Is this running anywhere else? Where’s the official notice from ABC that they wouldn’t run this ad?

  9. David B. Benson says:

    Drop a line to Disney. Lots of people saying they want no more to do with Disney or ABC ought to be noticed.

  10. Skip R. says:

    First, I’m all for clean energy. Bring it on, I’ll buy it.

    Second, ABC (or Disney, to be more precise) is a business. They’re not going to risk millions of dollars in ad revenue from Big Oil by letting another advertiser say they suck. They WILL take millions of dollars from opposing advertisers… they do it all the time. Chevy vs. Ford, Pepsi vs. Coke, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks… etc. But they’re not going to let them say “we’re clean, they’re dirty”. It’s just common sense.

    Third, the ad doesn’t really say anything, and I for one expect more out of Al Gore. HOW do we solve it? HOW do we get clean energy? HOW do we get wind and solar? It’s a Big Oil bash ad (which I’m all for, by the way) but you can’t blame ABC / Disney for not running it. It’s simply not that good a commercial.

  11. Stevei says:

    Explain to me how wind and solar are going to make plastic? How about the drugs that are made from oil? Maine in winter on solar? HAAHAHAHAHAHAH

  12. David B. Benson says:

    Stevei — Bioplastics exist now. Drugs, etc., can also be made from biomass feedstocks.

    Maine in the winter needs to move more towards wook pellets, or better, torrefied wood. Later heating oils from biomass feedstaocks will be more available.

  13. Brian says:

    Commercials that tout that global warming is human caused are just as much of a farce. Call me a naysayer or whatever you want but the fact is when you get your head out of your rear and do the research you will find there is not one single shred of evidence that can prove global warming is caused by humans. The real travesty is that because “going green” sounds positive and like a good thing people buy into it without thinking for themselves or doing any kind of research. Sure being environmentally responsible is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with taking care of the ecosystem in which you live, where the problems lies is using fear mongering and scare tactics to try and get people to side with you.

    The environmental Nazis are the real problem here. Anyone who thinks wind and solar are a final solution is not thinking at all. Try working for a power company sometime and getting the real facts. I work for the nations leading power company in terms of green technology research and implementation. I have read the research. Wind and solar are not stable and constant sources of energy and are nowhere near being able to provide the amount of electricity being consumed by the American people and the environmental alarmists want to INCREASE the amount of electricity we as consumers use yet they come up with faulty and flawed plans on how to provide that power.

    This is not even taking into consideration that you can not replace petroleum based fertilizers with electricity, you can not replace petroleum based medications with electricity, you can not replace petroleum based synthetic fibers with electricity (I won’t lie I would love to see a beautiful women in a dress made solely of electricity). The fact is the solutions being offered are not realistic or feasible at the moment and that is EXACTLY what happens when unintelligent and uninformed people like Al Gore and the likes pretend they know what they are talking about to line their pockets.

    All I am saying is do your research and find out the truth instead of believing the crap that is dished out to you because someone you recognize said it.

  14. mj says:

    DISNEY / ABC / CAP (donated 640 thousand to GW’s 2000 campaign)
    Television Holdings:
    * ABC: includes 10 stations, 24% of US households.
    * ABC Network News: Prime Time Live, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America.
    * ESPN, Lifetime Television (50%), as well as minority holdings in A&E, History Channel and E!
    * Disney Channel/Disney Television, Touchtone Television.
    Media Holdings:
    * Miramax, Touchtone Pictures.
    * Magazines: Jane, Los Angeles Magazine, W, Discover.
    * 3 music labels, 11 major local newspapers.
    * Hyperion book publishers.
    * Infoseek Internet search engine (43%).
    Other Holdings:
    * Sid R. Bass (major shares) crude oil and gas.
    * All Disney Theme Parks, Walt Disney Cruise Lines.

  15. Joe says:

    I agree with Brian. I’m all for green technology and moving away from gas power as much as the next guy, but saying that using so much gas causes global warming is a complete lie. There are ENDLESS factors that contribute to global warming: which is why it has HAPPENED BEFORE. Climate change is nothing new. It has happened before and will happen again, whether we all drive Hummers or not.

  16. Will Davidson says:

    Solar is the only energy source capable of sustaining the growing global demand for electricity. Save the oil for where its needed – scientific research

  17. webweave says:

    TV is becoming irrelevant, people have been moving to the internet and when you get used to balancing all the news sources from around the world the views of a single TV network look a little silly. Let ABC act like the dinosaur it is, the noise you hear may be scary but it is only the sound of a huge beast going down into the tar pit and if you keep away it won’t hurt you.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Brian — You have it exactly backwards and every major scientific society agrees with the IPCC AR4. I recommend reading “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

    which is certainly not ovely technical. Then you’ll have it about right.

  19. Eric says:

    I’m glad ABC won’t run the ad. The Alliance does NOT speak for me, or for all Americans. How terribly presumptuous to assume we all share that exact view.

    The ‘about’ page of this site claims it is a project of the non-partisan group Center for American Progress Action Fund. It then invites readers to view the Wikipedia page for editor Joseph Romm. Let’s see what Wikipedia says about the Center for American Progress itself:

    Decide for yourself if there is any partisanship here.

  20. Eric says:

    Hey mj, obviously Disney has a history of hedging it’s political bets:

    “Disney’s $125,000 gift to the Democratic Party last October was the largest individual in-kind donation it or Universal has made to either party, based on state records going back to the 2001-02 election cycle.”,0,1047751.story

  21. Vic says:

    Wow, Brian. You must be new here. There’s so many things wrong with your comment I’m not sure I should even bother pointing a few out.

    Oh, all right. Feeding trolls can be fun, after all.

    First: You’re wrong about the lack of evidence and 99% of the people who will read your comment know it. The mountain of evidence that corroborates anthropogenic global warming gets bigger every day, and the lack of a plausible alternative hypothesis isn’t helping you. (See, for example, the rest of this site or

    I can also invoke Godwin’s Law, so you’ve automatically lost anyway.

    “environmental alarmists want to increase… electricity” – presumably you mean electric vehicles. Elsewhere on this site are entries explaining how the extra load isn’t that much of a problem and some of the proposed solutions are quite good.

    You say some other stuff that I won’t bother to rebut. David above preempted your point about non-energy petroleum products, and anyway there’s no mention of relevant figures, e.g. the fraction of world oil supply used for these purposes, so your point is lost in a vague hand-waving argument.

    And finally, of course, the big giveaway that you’re full of it is that you come on to this site and claim some kind of monopoly on research & knowledge of the subject (a hilarious notion in itself – I wish everyone were as “unintelligent and uninformed” as people like Joe or Al Gore). And then you don’t even cite your information sources! You couldn’t be less credible or convincing if you tried.


  22. jack says:

    “Over the past few years one might have easily thought that there was no issue in the world worth discussing apart from melting ice caps and peaky polar bears.

    In times of plenty people can afford to chew the cud endlessly, but this becomes a luxury and a self-indulgence when families are wondering how they will manage to feed themselves next week”

  23. Willis says:

    Before everyone’s heavy breathing about this issue pushes the CO2 level through the roof … is there any evidence anywhere about this? My Google search finds the claim repeated (without any further or different details) on dozens and dozens of nameless blogs, but not on one single news outlet, be it Liberal or Conservative, Democratic or Republican. Not one.

    As a result, we don’t know:

    1. If this did happen, or

    2. If it did happen, just what happened, or

    3. If it did happen, why ABC did not run the ad, or

    4. What ABC has to say about it.

    My daddy used to say “No matter how thin you make a pancake, it still has two sides.” Seeing you guys get all passionate about this, without hearing a single goddamn word from the other side, could serve as a textbook example of why people think all environmentalists are nuts.

    Me, I don’t think so, and I see myself as an environmentalist. I just think the movement has been hijacked by nuts who have forgotten that all stories have two sides.


  24. Laynie says:

    That’s an awesome ad.

  25. Laynie says:

    Oil companies have, and continue to, invest in advertising on ABC and their affiliations. They ended up rejecting an important message for the public, but they didn’t exactly have an easy choice. ABC is simply honouring their stakeholder relationship with big oil, which you might imagine is stronger than the one they have with ACP.

    Would you have run the ad and pissed off big oil, on the grounds that your dignity is more important than hundreds of millions of ad dollars?

  26. Chris says:

    It’s about time a big name in media does something conservative. You can’t seriously be bitching this much for a news station running only conservative ads. All you hear in the media today is how bad the republicans are. The news is filled with so much liberal propaganda that it is now harder than ever to maintain one’s beliefs in a conservative government. Quit crying and complaining that one of your hippy BS ads isn’t being shown and man up.

    [JR: Funny stuff. The corporate-dominated big media is a fundamentally conservative institution because it is a status quo institution and the status quo is what conservatives want. It also provides “balance” that means any right wing position, no matter how nutty, must get equal time, which he global warming deniers have exploited with great success over the past decade. The fact that a few members of the media have actually started to point out some of the McCain campaign’s lies merely shows that McCain is running the sleaziest most dishonest campaign of all time. When even a Karl Rove says the McCain campaign’s ad lies go too far, it hardly seems media bias for anyone else to pointed out.]

  27. A Siegel says:

    Excellent, as typical, post. You make an excellent point in pointing out that the advertisment had a key mistake, a true falsehood:

    Let me comment that there is an error with your otherwise excellent comment. This isn’t a “tiny quibble,” but a major one: the American people remain ‘energy illiterate’ and those pushing drillusion want to keep them ignorant. The We Campaign and others (such as you and me) are trying to make enough the population functionally literate when it comes to energy issues such that we can move forward to an Energy Smart (and financially smart … and security smart … and environmentally smart) future.

  28. PAM says:

    I wish Obama would run an ad showing McCain with the Keating 5 and then going with oil companies. Let the truth be told about the Republicans and the money the receive. This is our land and our children’s land and grandchildren’s land. NOT THE OIL COMPANIES.

  29. saskboy says:

    Quibbles or not, the ad should run if there’s money on the table. ABC’s stubborn denial will only gain more publicity for the We Campaign, so maybe they chose to go after ABC for that reason?