The Be-All / End-All “Chicken Little” Advertorial: When It’s All You Got, You. Still. Have. Nothing.

1) If you were going to adamantly suggest that ‘fossil fuel company executives and the shill experts they hired to spread disinformation’ should be charged with climate homicide; and/or 2) if you were going to advocate that regulatory bodies / organizations have the power to enforce laws against the spread of fossil fuel industry disinformation and persecute those who break them; and/or 3) if you tout yourself as an expert on such industry disinformation while making yourself available for law firms currently suing fossil fuel for global warming damages — it would be political suicide to put all your eggs in the one basket of a so-called newspaper disinformation advertorial titled “Who told you the earth was warming, Chicken Little?” if you never bothered to find out if the advertorial was ever published anywhere . . . . wouldn’t it? When it never was, you’d be in huge trouble if you recklessly continued to promulgate an accusation devoid of evidence to support it, wouldn’t you?

No joke, the collective enviro-activist lobby is completely enslaved to that “Chicken Little” ‘disinformation ad’ accusation as they try to dupe the public into believing an advertorial having that headline is smoking gun evidence of sinister fossil fuel industry disinformation campaigns. There might just be a new development about this – the question is whether somebody within that mob has tipped their hand in the last few weeks to reveal they now know the “Chicken Little” ad is worthless.

Regarding the ‘climate homicide’ idea angle, that’s entirely a product of Public Citizen’s David Arkush. I’ve specifically covered his fatally faulty accusation twice before at GelbspanFiles last year, but noted how his diatribe oddly left out the most viable-looking bit of ‘evidence’ that enviro-activists have in their arsenal for claiming industry-led disinformation campaigns exist, namely the worthless, never implemented “reposition global warming” memo set which goes hand-in-glove with accusations about the “Chicken Little” ad (e.g. in the “ExxonKnew” lawsuits). Arkush must have been given a lecture about that missed opportunity – he popped up again on April 10, 2024 with that same ‘homicide’ mantra in his Newsweek article “Big Oil Could Face Homicide Charges,” where he offers the following (with clickable links):

… the “Information Council for the Environment” set out to “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” through, for example, advertisements comparing concerns about climate change to “Chicken Little’s hysteria about the sky falling.” This conduct did not just violate every principle of human decency; according to dozens of civil lawsuits cases brought by cities and states across the country, it violated the law, as well. ….. As a growing number of legal experts, scientists, and former prosecutors have recently begun positing, the fossil fuel industry’s knowing generation and coverup of the climate crisis may constitute a range of criminal offenses. … They could even support charges of homicide.

Right. David Arkush would have people charged with homicide based on a rejected proposal for a public relations campaign that never operated on a directive to ‘reposition’ anything, and based on a newspaper ‘advertorial’ that was never published anywhere. And how does Arkush aim a political suicide gun at his own head on this? The first two clickable links there are the same, going to the same Union of Concerned Scientists “Dossier #5” which the Sher Edling law firm is enslaved to for its boilerplate copy “ExxonKnew” lawsuits’ accusations about the “reposition global warming” memo set and the “Chicken Little” ad, e.g. its Imperial Beach v Chevron 2017 filing. Lead lawyer Victor Sher proudly showed this advertorial ‘evidence’ in a 2017 presentation, in which he could not keep his details straight about them. Meanwhile, who does the UCS cite for this? They cite the old “Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action” memo scans collection, – with the memo set and the pair of never-published advertorials.

One more thing here, not helpful to Arkush at all: Who does he cite in his clickable link as evidence for the ‘growing number of legal experts positing the fuel industry’s coverup constitutes criminal offenses‘? A UK Guardian article about him. He’s the growing number. When it becomes abundantly obvious how fatally weak his ‘evidence’ is for jailing fossil fuel industry misinformers, the number of people distancing themselves from any prior endorsement of his idea will likely skyrocket.

This embarrassment is not limited to his flawed advocacy, either.

Just under eight weeks before Arkush’s Newsweek article was published, the CarbonCredits group (“your source for carbon news, carbon pricing, carbon opportunities and more”) put out a piece titled “Ending the Big Lie: No More Fake News for Fossil Fuels” on February 16, 2024. What was the headline illustration supporting their demand for the ‘end of fossil fuel lies’? No less than arguably a lie itself, also disingenuously cropping out the text at the bottom, which only adds to their self-inflicted crash. It’s basically the same ill-advised cropping action that the Sher Edling law firm inflicts upon itself (hold the thought for a few moments on who the image source is in that screencapture).

The ‘end of lies’ they advocate is a law in Canada making it illegal to falsely promote the burning of fossil fuels as a benefit to the public – prohibiting ‘disinformation,’ in other words. They set it up this way:

The Canadian Parliament is introducing a new drastic, and highly controversial move against false fossil fuel advertising. … it didn’t always used to be this way. In fact, big oil fought for a very long time to conceal, downplay, and outright deny the evidence of the impact that fossil fuels were having on our planet.

Take the picture above, for instance. This newspaper ad ran all the way back in 1991 and was paid for by an organization named “Informed Citizens for the Environment”. … Also known as the “Information Council for the Environment” or ICE, this group had one simple goal: to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).”

No, the ICE campaign was never known as “Informed Citizens,” it never had the goal to ‘reposition’ anything, and the “Chicken Little” advertorial did not run anywhere.

It doesn’t stop there. CarbonCredits group . . . meet your leap-of-assumption brick wall.

that’s not just an assumption either. That’s taken verbatim from one of their own internal documents ….

No, it is not the Western Fuels ICE campaign’s own internal documents.

The CarbonCredits group would have people charged with and prosecuted for promoting disinformation, of which the basis of their advocacy is a prime example of . . . . disinformation.

The ‘verbatim internal doc’ they show is their own upload from a source they do not name. What is the source? ClimateFiles, the same outlet who supplies Sher Edling with that “Chicken Little” image, albeit less cropped. Run by Roland C “Kert” Davies, formerly out of his Climate Files/Climate Investigations Center, formerly out of Greenpeace USA/Ozone Action, now at the Center for Climate Integrity (CIC). Yes, that CIC … which got their “reposition global warming” memos / “Chicken Little”/ “Doomsday Canceled” advertorials from Kert Davies.

Regarding the countless number of times the “Chicken Little” advertorial phrase has been repeated over the decades, it’s practically endemic; I could spend hours pointing out the errors of assumption in the written narratives about the ad, it’s embarrassing to see the extent of blind trust put in the accusation by people who should know enough question it first at the most minimal of levels when they view images of the advertorial:

  • why are some of the images missing text underneath while others show text?
  • what does the ad text say?
  • why is it cropped at the bottom?
  • why does it look like a multi-generation degraded photocopy?
  • if these were printed in newspapers … why not show those out of actual newspapers instead of whatever these lousy images are?

The “Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action” memo scans collection that included this advertorial went offline in April 2022, but I downloaded that collection before then and saved them here. The Google Image results for the “Chicken Little” ad always show the bottom cropped in some way. What happens when anyone magnifies that advertorial in the Greenpeace/Ozone Action scans? It shows a non-existent “toll-free” number, and a name suggestion for the PR campaign that was unsolicited and never used.

Same never-used ICE name for the “Doomsday Canceled” advertorial.

See the problem there?

Think about it. Would you be taken seriously if you advanced the position that people should be prosecuted for questioning anything about your argument that big corporations need to be held accountable for damages to the natural habitats of – and possibly for them to be charged with the killing of – Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster …. when the only proof of their existence are singular grainy images sourced from hugely suspect people?

And yet that is the moral equivalent of what is happening here, with major news outlets not questioning anything about a cropped, lousy quality photocopy of a chicken.

There is, however, a new weeks-old head scratcher development, after almost 30 years of enviro-activists showing the public only Greenpeace’s/Ozone Action’s lousy photocopies of advertorials attributed to the Western Fuels “ICE” public relations campaign. It happened on April 2, 2024, in between the above Feb 26 and April 10 “Chicken Little” repetitions I detailed above. Have a look at this, from the “ExxonKnews” website’s “Big Oil clouded the science on extreme weather. Now it faces a reckoning” report about the days-old Bucks County v BP lawsuit, where they offered nothing more about the advertorial image beyond what appears in part of the caption below the image:

One ad from a PR campaign by the “Information Council on the Environment,” funded by fossil fuel and electric utility interests. …

Compared to any other enviro-activist screed claiming the “reposition global warming” memos / ICE advertorials prove industry-led disinformation campaigns happened, this ExxonKnews piece uniquely shows an actual ICE advertorial published in a newspaper. It’s the ExxonKnews site’s own uploaded image, and it is still quite hard to read the small text, but it is genuine. I recognize it, I showed it myself in my “The Real ICE ads, Part 4” blog post in January 2022. The ad was published in the May 22, 1991 Flagstaff Arizona Daily Sun newspaper. My downloaded copy out of the website is one which people can magnify and easily read.

The mystery here is – again, after the prior 28-year pattern – why this otherwise standard screed at ExxonKnews about fossil fuel industry disinformation campaigns went off the reservation and did not feature the standard horrible photocopy advertorial images out of Greenpeace/Ozone Action. It’s very likely that whoever wrote the caption was operating off a template narrative, since the person predictably got part of the spelled-out ICE name wrong even though the actual official name was right there in, well, more or less plain sight.

Might be just a coincidence – the author of that ExxonKnews piece and/or her editor might have had enough brains to ask, “geeze, isn’t there a more clear image of one of these ICE ads out there in a newspaper that doesn’t look as weirdly terrible as the ones we were told to use?” Or is this an indicator that folks promulgating the ‘industry disinformation’ accusation have figured out they are in a hole they cannot dig their way out of from using those old Greenpeace/Ozone Action scans?

What is “ExxonKnews”? It’s a project of the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI). Who was hired at CCI as their new “Director of Special Investigations” nine months ago?

Kert Davies.