New oil company propaganda video
November 6, 2006 12:50 PM   Subscribe

This video about the history of petroleum industry propaganda used old archived footage found on the WayBackMachine. It shows some ridiculous propaganda videos from the past and leads us to the campaigns that the oily, slick PR-types and marketers are using today. It's hard to believe that companies like Ford Motor Company and ExxonMobil still get away with funding these industry front groups.
posted by jacob hauser (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's hard to believe that companies like Ford Motor Company and ExxonMobil still get away with funding these industry front groups.

Well, they do happen to also run the country right now.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:03 PM on November 6, 2006

Destination Earth is my personal favorite.
posted by arialblack at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2006

The nature of scientific inquiry makes it open to wreckers like the global warming deniers. Since nothing can actually be proved forever in science, the presence of people saying that something is false can have a profound effect on the appearance of consensus.

This is especially true when members of the general public are not capable of dealing with the empirical data and theoretical frameworks themselves, but must depend on experts (real or fake) to interpret it.
posted by sindark at 2:25 PM on November 6, 2006

That video really wasn't too interesting to me. Sure the oyster testing was an example of deception, but there really isn't much content in that video that's a real revelation. Oil companies are big polluters and most try to avoid as much responsibility as possible. That's not to say that they are all bad, but rather that many cases have consistently shown a disregard for environmental consequences on their part.

The thing that most people fail to realize is that this propaganda really doesn't help people justify their reliance on oil. American society is one driven by instant gratification without thinking about consequences. We reinforce oil companies and their kind of thinking whenever we buy plastic containers, throw away bottles instead of recycling them, and splurge on wonderful Humvees with 5 mpg fuel economies.
posted by Aanidaani at 3:18 PM on November 6, 2006

I have not watched the video but did they mention leaded gasoline? It is before most of our times, but the oil companies continued to make and sell leaded gasoline long after they knew its dangers, and had alternatives. In fact the Soviet Union, the bastion of earth-friendly environmental policy, got rid of leaded gasoline before the US did. It's a subject as disgusting and shameful as the tobacco companies denial of smoking dangers. Not counting all the direct casualties, our soils are now elevated in lead levels which takes a few thousands years to break down.
posted by stbalbach at 3:40 PM on November 6, 2006

Should I point out the irony of criticizing oil industry propaganda with a propaganda film?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:09 PM on November 6, 2006

Jared Diamond, in Collapse, posits a different model for thinking about polluters such as the various resource extraction industries. The law is today written such that their highest legal responsibility is to provide high returns for their investors/shareholders. It would be irresponsible of them not to, for example, make an estimate of potential cleanup costs from a mine that are 99% too low, then when the costs go beyond hte 1% they had allocated, declare bankruptcy and walk away.

Diamond suggests the Dutch "polder model" as a different way to think about how to structure political and economic arrangements. With the recent story about the ponies who were stranded after a flood, I was struck how the Dutch were immediately talking about sanctions for the owner of the horses after a natural disaster. The American reaction would almost certainly be more in terms about the economic loss to the owner of the ponies, with a touch of regret for their well-being.

Diamond, and I, are less certain as to how to institute such an interdependent model when the threats of global warming, energy and food resource depletion, pollution, and so many other problems we face are being left to our children, though they are no less a threat to our children than the North Sea is to Dutch children.
posted by dhartung at 9:30 PM on November 6, 2006


Propoganda involves the spreading of bias, falsehoods -- nothing false in this video, just the facts.

As far as Aanidaani comments about this video not containing any "real revelations." If this isn't new to you, or based on your comments, new to others, how come we aren't getting off our big duffs and doing anything about it?!
posted by jacob hauser at 10:11 AM on November 7, 2006

Propoganda involves the spreading of bias, falsehoods --

No, it dosen't.
posted by Snyder at 10:55 AM on November 7, 2006

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