Yesterday, ThinkProgress climate editor Brad Johnson reported on The Wonk Room that big oil giant BP has been engaged in a “massive greenwashing campaign, which includes months of full-page advertisements in national and regional newspapers, radio spots, television commercials, and Internet ads on websites including ThinkProgress.org.” Pursuant to Johnson’s posting, BP has decided to pull its ads from ThinkProgress.
Here’s what happened. BP purchased advertising on ThinkProgress through Common Sense Media, our outside ad company. Common Sense Media services a whole network of liberal sites, including Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars, AmericaBlog, Eschaton, and others.
BP has an agreement with Common Sense Media to be notified about blog postings that are critical of its advertising campaign, and BP reserves the right to pull ads if they are offended by the posts. ThinkProgress was aware that BP would in fact be notified of our post. Nevertheless, we felt the story of BP’s massive ad campaign was an important issue that deserved attention on our blog.
Today, our ad provider notified ThinkProgress that BP has asked that all its ads on the ThinkProgress sites (TP, Yglesias, and Wonk Room) be pulled through the end of their campaign.
When I informed the ThinkProgress community in Aug. 2008 that we were introducing one paid advertising spot on our site, I stated: “Please rest assured that our advertisers will have absolutely no bearing on determining or influencing what we do or don’t write about.” The commitment, of course, cost us some advertising money from BP in the short-run. But the cost for maintaining our long-term credibility, our progressive identity, and your readership is well worth it.