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AstroTurfing Media on West Slope

10:42 AM ET, 12/ 5/2010
Last week there was a diary about Mr. Josh Penry's new job working for the energy industry lobbying firm, EIS Solutions.  

Later in the week the Sentinel (Grand Jct) announced Mr. Penry's weekly column, and a letter-to-the-editor appeared praising Gary Harmon's coverage of oil shale.  Another letter appeared in the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent.  Both, signed by Curtis Moore, allegedly of a group called 'Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale' or ECCOS.  

Ever since I read 'Toxic Sludge' I have noticed such things: the astroturfing PR firm that exists to confuse consumers, that has as its last priority protecting the environment and first priority pretending to.  

Neither the GJ Sentinel nor the Post-Independent have identified Mr. Moore's employer--EIS Solutions (which, conveniently, works out of the same address!) in publishing his letters, or even in interviews for "news" reports.  
Not that it would be hard for members of the media to do their job.  I mean, if they were so inclined.  In one of those happy coincidences that make one go 'Doh!'  We find that ECCOS and EIS Solutions share the same mailing/street address.  SourceWatch has its write-up here, and for a rosy picture of how awesome oil shale could be...go here.

Industry is allowed to have its voice, for sure.  Mr. Moore is, of course, entitled to his position and to a job pushing one.  But when Gary Harmon, or anyone else posing or acting as a journalist, quotes such a source for an article, he might note who Mr. Moore works for, and what ECCOS really is.

I'm sure Mr. Penry has some interesting insights and perspectives, although the comments under his debut column are less than kind.  But how will he present his positions on oil and gas regulations, oil shale development, and the other extractive-industry issues for which he will (by appearances, at least) be writing as a paid representative under a Sentinel byline.  When talking with his business peeps, Mr. Moore identifies himself as EIS Solutions, when signing letters-to-the-editor it's as 'ECCOS.'  But in both cases I think I know who pays the bill.  

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