Coal Front Group Plans $20 Million Online Media Blitz For ‘Shaping Public Attitudes’

The top public relations group for the coal industry is looking to shape public attitudes online, with a $20 million media budget for Internet-based advertising alone. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is on the search for a “Vice President, Paid and Digital Media” to increase the public’s “appreciation for the use of coal”:

The Vice President, Paid and Digital Media is responsible for implementing proactive digital media and traditional media placement strategies as a component of an integrated national communication program designed to 1) support coal-based electricity advocacy initiatives and 2) increase the public’s awareness of and appreciation for the use of coal to generate electricity.

This position, according to recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International, will oversee the public relations and media placement firms under contract and manage an annual media budget in excess of $20 million: more than $3 million for “digital media programs” (like the “Clean Coal Carolers” and a “Blogger Brigade”) and greater than $17 million for “media placement.”

ACCCE’s planned digital onslaught is just one component of a comprehensive, national public relations campaign to misinform the public about coal. In 2008, ACCCE spent over $45 million on its deceptive messaging, including $10.5 million to lobby Congress. The PR firm Hawthorn Group has bragged about its “grassroots campaign” for ACCCE involving “sending ‘clean coal’ branded teams to hundreds of presidential candidate events” and “giving away free t-shirts and hats emblazoned with our branding: Clean Coal.”


The Wonk Room received the job description when Korn/Ferry approached Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Associate Director for Online Advocacy, Alan Rosenblatt, about the job. Alan tells the Wonk Room:

While some may work just for money, progressives work for values. Which might explain why this headhunter was naive enough to recruit me despite the fact I work for an organization that opposes her client.

Download the Korn/Ferry job description for ACCCE’s Vice President of Paid Digital Media here.


Joe Lucas, ACCCE spokesman, doesn’t know whether burning coal causes global warming:

Burning coal is responsible for more than 12 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, over 2 billion of which is from the United States alone (36% of our total emissions, and 83% of electricity sector emissions).