National

Desperation through Exaggeration

Anti-shale group claims success by misstating its own data, inflates participation rate by more than ten-fold.

If there is one thing that ties together opponents of responsible energy development, it’s the liberal use of exaggeration. While examples are numerous — and are sometimes rewarded with Academy Award nominations — the most recent comes to us from the group Food & Water Watch (FWWatch).

You see, FWWatch doesn’t like hydraulic fracturing and wants it banned. But because people enjoy affordable energy and support producing more resources domestically, the group is in a bind: How to advance a political agenda in a democratic society where the majority is not on their side?

The answer, naturally, is to send out blast emails to FWWatch members asking them to pester secretaries at the White House, who will supposedly pass along a message to the leader of the free world that he should ban hydraulic fracturing. And according to the group’s latest fundraising solicitation email, which can be found on the web here, they are having some success:

Dear Supporter,

Yesterday, President Obama heard the message loud and clear: hydraulic fracking is a dangerous practice that needs to be banned. Now, help us expand our efforts to ban fracking!

During yesterday’s call-in event that we organized, the President heard from over 6,210 concerned activists. We flooded the White House with so many phone calls that some people got busy signals or were sent to voicemail. Thank you if you called to make your concerns about fracking heard!

Making 6,200 calls to the White House in a single day sounds impressive. But one group’s activist email from yesterday appears to contradict the claim that the President “heard from over 6,210 concerned activists” from Food & Water Watch. That group is none other than … Food & Water Watch.

EID obtained an email from FWWatch that was sent to supporters yesterday (September 13th) at 2pm EDT. The full email can be found at the end of this post, but the opening paragraph reads:

We have 3 hours until the White House phone lines close here on the east coast. They’ve been hearing from us all day – with over 600 calls toward our goal of 2,000 from all of the outreach that you’re doing – and they’re getting the message. In the final stretch, we need to keep up the pressure and get all those final calls in.

Interesting. The White House’s phones are open from 9am to 5pm EDT, and after five of those eight hours FWWatch had only generated 600 calls. So, either 5,600 people suddenly decided to call the White House in just a three hour period smack dab in the middle of the work day, or FWWatch noticed this morning that it had fallen well below its goal of 2,000 calls and decided to inflate its own numbers by a factor of ten. No one will notice, right?

Of course, misstating the facts is a routine part of Food & Water Watch’s activism, and they’ve clearly turned it into an art. One need only read their hilarious “action center“ to ban hydraulic fracturing — as well as their “fact” sheet on the process — to get an idea of just how far they have strayed from reality on this important and vital technology.

Closing irony: aren’t groups like Food & Water Watch relentlessly calling for transparency and honesty?

—–

From: “Katy Kiefer, Food & Water Watch”
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 14:00:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 3 hours left!

We have 3 hours until the White House phone lines close here on the east coast. They’ve been hearing from us all day – with over 600 calls toward our goal of 2,000 from all of the outreach that you’re doing – and they’re getting the message. In the final stretch, we need to keep up the pressure and get all those final calls in.

Now’s the time to get your network – friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and facebook friends – to make this important call to the White House. Remember to keep track and let us know how many calls you were able to help generate at the end of the day. Here’s the information to send around to everyone you know:

Make a call to Ban Fracking on Tuesday, Sept. 13th:
http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8204
——————————————————————————
1) Call the White House at (866) 586-4069 between 9am – 5pm EST. (If you can’t get through, you’ll be transferred to a voice mail box after 30 seconds.)

2) Tell them your name, where you’re from, and then simply ask that President Obama protect all Americans by banning fracking in the United States.

Or use this script:
“Hi, my name is ____________ and I live in (City, State). As a constituent, I urge President Obama to protect all Americans by banning fracking in the United States.”

3) If you have problems getting through to the White House, call the Democratic National Committee at (866) 942-5138 and tell them the White House line was busy but you want them to give the message to President Obama to protect all Americans by banning fracking in the United States.
——————————————————————————

Thanks, and keep up the great work!

Katy Kiefer
Activist Network Coordinator
Food & Water Watch
[EMAIL AND PHONE NUMBER REDACTED]

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