The Chamber of Commerce gets punk'd
This morning, the Chamber of Commerce called a news conference to announce a rather major change in policy: They were going to cease opposing efforts to address global warming and throw the weight of their organization behind the bills traveling through Congress. "The Kerry-Boxer Bill is a good start to a strong climate bill," said president and CEO Thomas Donohue, "and the Chamber will work with Senators Kerry and Boxer to strengthen it."
Wait a sec.
It was, as Kate Sheppard first reported, a hoax. The Chamber of Commerce would never do something crazy like admit the threat posed by catastrophic climate change and get behind sensible, market-based efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The chamber, it turned out, had been punk'd by the merry pranksters known as the Yes Men, in conjunction with Avaaz.org. In a nice touch, the news release was sent out by "Erica Avidus," whose last name means "greed" in Latin.
The Chamber of Commerce is, predictably, outraged. But you'd think they'd at least have a trickster's appreciation for a good prank. After all, as Steve Pearlstein detailed in a column last week, the chamber isn't above a good illusion of its own. For instance:
[T]he chamber, in fact, does not represent anything close to the 3 million businesses it has always claimed. In response to an inquiry from Mother Jones, the chamber acknowledged that its actual paid membership is only 300,000, including several thousand local chambers of commerce whose own membership was used in calculating the inflated 3 million figure. Moreover, when Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones contacted some of those local chambers, their leaders took pains to distance themselves from the national organization, whose policies, they said, they had no hand in shaping and with which they frequently disagree.
"They don't represent me," said Mark Jaffe, chief executive of the Greater New York Chamber.
I should get the chamber to measure my blog traffic.
Photo credit: Peter Kramer/Krape
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