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Astroturf Gone Wrong: Fake Protesters Offered $20 To Stand At Anti-Wind Energy Rally

By Rebecca Leber  

"Astroturf Gone Wrong: Fake Protesters Offered $20 To Stand At Anti-Wind Energy Rally"

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Most Americans like clean energy. So when conservatives wage campaigns against clean energy initiatives, they have typically resorted to fronting astroturf groups and paying fake protesters to generate noise.

Needing 100 anti-wind protesters by next week and apparently unable to find them, a mysterious firm advertised a “quick and easy $20″ on Craigslist. According to the ad, the only thing the “volunteers” would need to do for their pay is “stand next to or behind the speakers and elected officials/celebrities” at a rally against a wind turbine project in the UK.

View the screenshot (the ad was quickly pulled down after Grist made the catch):

We do not know who is behind the ad, but there is at least one wealthy opponent of windmills in Scotland, since they would obstruct the view of his golf course.

There is nothing new about anti-clean energy and anti-EPA campaigns fronted by corporate interests. Last year, coal groups threw its cash at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing, paying astroturfers $50 to wear pro-coal T-shirts. Wind has faced a particularly uphill battle against corporate interests, with a leaked strategy memo showing conservative think tanks leading an astroturf strategy to take down clean energy, at the same time a lobby group linked to the Koch brothers mobilized to defeat wind credits in Congress.

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29 Responses to Astroturf Gone Wrong: Fake Protesters Offered $20 To Stand At Anti-Wind Energy Rally

  1. lizardo says:

    Well it has to be the Donald because no-one else in the US would bother and it’s so totally pointless, plus I guess he’s a cheap sonofagun. What no free T shirt? Though probably at that other thing the fako protestors had to give them back afterwards.

    What’s interesting regarding opposition to offshore wind turbines off the NC coast (or Cape Wind) is the adulation afforded to lighthouses, which were the ugly industrial eyesores of their day (disclosure I like the look of wind turbines, don’t dislike lighthouses) but (a) rich people didn’t have second houses on the coast (b) there wasn’t this obsession with quaint faux historical places (NC coastal building isn’t, it’s new, and why not ban cars?) and (c) people living on the coast then would have welcomed them as lifesaving. That’s what wind turbines are.

  2. Steve Olson says:

    If someone stands there and holds up a placard reading: “Where’s My Twenty Bucks?” I will never stop laughing.

  3. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Brought to you by a high unemployment rate and a totally inadequate safety net, ME

  4. SunQueen says:

    Would that wealthy traitor to mankind be Donald Trump? He’s usually on Team Evil, and I remember hearing noise about him building a Scottish golf course.

  5. monkey says:

    I think its more people don’t like things in their backyard clean or dirty. Here in Ontario, many rural residents were very upset about the large wind farms being put up near their property, while by the same token those in Oakville and Mississauga were angry about the building of a gas plant nearby. One was clean energy another was dirty, the main thing is no one really wants a large generator near their property. In addition, I believe nuclear energy and hydro-electricity (where plausible) are the best ways to build cleaner energy. The problem with wind and solar is you cannot produce enough to meet demands. Nuclear power is very clean and if properly regulated can be quite safe. The Fukushima reactor meltdown had more to do with the fact Japan is in an active seismic zone, so maybe not a smart idea to build one in California, but certainly on the East Coast, absolutely.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      ‘Nuclear power is very clean…’ My God, you’ve got a glittering career in standup just waiting for you. Or as a political PR (love the proctological connotations)flak. My, I haven’t laughed that much since I last saw Julia Gillard emoting on telly.

  6. In Japan there is a similar propaganda activity called “yarase” that became a big scandal after the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe. Power company employees attended public meetings pretending to be regular farmers, villagers, etc. and told the commissions that they support nuclear.

    Also, in any discussion about nuclear online, one may notice an abnormally large number of posts regarding ‘safe’ nuclear in the form of thorium molten salt reactors. Although numerous countries have tried and failed to develop thorium reactors over the past seventy years, the industry astroturfing PR machine is trying to fool gullible people online.

    These activities remind me of George Orwell’s 1984 in too many frightening ways.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Standard Operating Procedure. The entire Western MSM, the PR industry and advertising are gigantic brainwashing machines designed to ‘take the risk out of democracy’ ie the danger that the people would control society, not the rich owners of the economy. It has been a raging success, but, in that ineffable capitalist fashion, it is now being tested to destruction, as you cannot lie to Mother Nature. She’s not going to be so easily hoodwinked.

  7. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    “Look down, look down” and take the wages of slavery.

  8. Anonymous Bosch says:

    “Gone wrong?”

    Astroturf is, by definition, subversion of the process. It is, by definition, “wrong.”

  9. katym. says:

    good grief… the donald wrote that, er, dictated that, himself… you can just hear the pompous condescension…

  10. gerald says:

    Incredible! These 1%ers are giving America a bad name!

  11. Marie says:

    I fail to see how wind energy is less desirable than other methods of energy that are ugly, pollute the air, land and waterways, and are finite.
    Do people simply need something to protest for the sake of protest — or for the sake of $20?

  12. Vicki says:

    I am all for wind and other green energy for this country.

  13. Ozonator says:

    $20 for scabs and free lunches still go to extremist Republicans and Christians.

  14. Kasreyn says:

    No body owns the wind, they can’t over charge and get rich from it. SO Wind and Solar are bad for the rich and need protested and stopped.

  15. ZoeyKay says:

    Funny how they can’t find enough people actually opposed to this, so they hire anyone looking for a quick buck to pretend to be opposed.

  16. Joan Savage says:

    The $20 figure is haunting.

    It is a number that came up in a psychology class back in the early 1970s. Recent psychological research had found that $20 (back then) was enough of a bribe for subjects to forgo common ethics on something they thought was inconsequential.

    Note that the current offer to pay for a similarly inconsequential ethical lapse is still $20. It seems curious that there was no adjustment for inflation since the late 1960s.

  17. pat holman says:

    wind power CAN supply enough power to be practical, nuclear power is NOT clean..the waste must be buried someplace!..with the proliferation of fracking as a source of oil I certainly don’t feel safe with our underground burial of that waste or the potential of underground water sources being contaminated. we must STOP this type of power!

  18. Stephanie Palmer says:

    While the Republicans are running around jinning up that the debt is the biggest threat we have, the biggest threat that I see for my children and grandchildren is whether or not they will have access to clean air and clean water.

  19. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    The price of a piece of silver is now 67 cents at the Gethsemane Gardens Exchange.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Blimey, Dennis-you beat me to it! Judases come wholesale these days. By the gross, in fact.

  20. Timothy Hughbanks says:

    Do the Koch’s supply the signs too? They’re so authentic: “Flash Me If I Pay You’re Morgage!” – just so your fellow astroturfers won’t feel outclassed.

    Nice touch.

    • Timothy Hughbanks says:

      Never fails. Laugh at others’ errors and make one of your own. That’s Kochs not “Koch’s”.

  21. Gardoglee says:

    This must be some strange, new meaning of the word “volunteer”. But no, when I think of it from a conservative point of view, they do equate maney with conscience, and so whoring yourself for only $20 would be their idea of “volunteering”. And of course, if they give the “volunteers” only money, then they still don’t ahve to allow them onto the golf course with the “real” people.