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« Sensitive dialogue | Main | That blackout »
Monday
May122014

Retreat, FFS!

James Verdon points us to an interesting case at the Advertising Standards Agency. In the face of a complaint from a member of the public, it seems that Frack Free Somerset have withdrawn a scaremongering leaflet they had been distributing to residents.

When you read the original leaflet and particularly the complaint itself, you can see why they didn't argue their case in court.

I wonder if they can be sued for this kind of thing.

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Reader Comments (29)

Unfortunately the lies are now out there and there is no onus the organisation to give equal prominence to a correction.

That is how propaganda works.

May 12, 2014 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Man

Such an aptly ambiguous acronym.

May 12, 2014 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Make the lies big, shout them loud, and they will be accepted as the truth.

Funny how those who complain so loudly of others’ mistakes cling so avidly to that principle.

May 12, 2014 at 2:34 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Sadly, in this instance, we don't have much recourse to the courts like they do in the States.

Mailman

May 12, 2014 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Clovis, RR, yes, it is a widely used disreputable tactic. Make up false claims, then go quiet, knowing that you have more readers than your critics. Most recently used by Simon Singh.

May 12, 2014 at 3:01 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Given that the U.S. experience shows that fracking cuts total CO2 emissions, maybe the government should stop some of the current taxpayer-funded spending on Climate Change publicity and "education", and spend the money on a pro-fracking publicity campaign instead.
Anyone think it will? No, me neither.

May 12, 2014 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Get someone such as the Daily Mail to trumpet the rebuttal across the Sunday edition. That'll reach a few people.

May 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

This is great stuff- cogently and precisely researched and worded.
A real smack in the face to the fracking liars.
My heartfelt thanks to the author.

It needs MUCH more publicity.

Matt Ridley?
David Rose?

May 12, 2014 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Bjorn Lomborg's comment is, in my view, a particularly strong rebuttal of the anti-fracking hype: the US fracking boom has cut CO2 emissions by more than all of the world's windfarms and solarparks combined.

May 12, 2014 at 3:47 PM | Registered Commentermikeh

Excellent. I have had letters published in our local rag, The Frome Times, regarding the mendacity of local fracking protesters. Just bashed off another one in the light of this. Well done, "member of the public".

Good news here as well - a local farmer's planning application, with the energy company G2, for a 77 metre high turbine just across the road from a large area of ancient woodlands (Asham Woods) was unanimously rejected by Mendip District Council. Some 220 letters objecting were received, to f5 in favour; another set of four windmills at a nearby quarry were also rejected, and I gather another two local applications have been rejected.

Looks like the tide is turning.

May 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Can these people be forced to distribute a 'correction' leaflet. Like those corrections used in newspapers.

May 12, 2014 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

The anti-frackers are mostly just your old-fashioned eco-warrior types, long on concern, short on facts, easy to deal with by scientists and engineers when given the opportunity.

For reasons that I still can't fully fathom the anti-CO2 lot are themselves the scientists, not so easy to deal with.

May 12, 2014 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

The superb complaint itself is worth archiving for re-use the next time the leaflet is published by another group of anti-fracking propagandists.

Mikky - scientists do make up a number of those in the vanguard of the anti-CO2 movement.

I think they are of two types, not mutually exclusive. Not very good scientists who seek fame, rewards and influence by means other than academic ability and hard work, and those who were drawn into climate-related science because they were activists first.

May 12, 2014 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

<I>Can these people be forced to distribute a 'correction' leaflet. Like those corrections used in newspapers.</I>

I guess I'm a free speech warrior because I don't like the use of the word 'force' in this context. Who is the Advertising Standards Agency and who are they answerable to and from whence does their authority spring? And who decides who is employed there and who is keeping an eye on them?

(Written as someone not from your fair land.)

May 12, 2014 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterkcom

Joe

"Such an aptly ambiguous acronym."

Indeed. On first reading the headline, I thought it was rather unecumenical language!

May 12, 2014 at 5:20 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Letter/email to Council (yawn)
ditto local MPs (tricky)
ditto GWPF
ditto WUWT
ditto Brietbart News (bang on)

must be more?

May 12, 2014 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

A very well argued rebuttal, against what appears to be an argument with knowledge and authority.
Yet our ultra-green friends will see this as the ASA taking the side of big business, not as a falsification of their dogmas.

May 12, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

> Who is the Advertising Standards Agency and who are they answerable to and from whence does their authority spring?

The ASA was set up by the advertising industry to self regulate. It can not enforce its decisions but media companies do comply with its rulings. In the case of this leaflet there is very little that the ASA can do other than bring bad publicity to FFS. If FFS continue to ignore the ASA then they can report it to the Office of Fair Trading, who can then use the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 to prosecute.

May 12, 2014 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Ex-expatColin

ditto local MPs (tricky)

Quite easy to email your local Councillour, MP and MEP. simply enter your post code here and you are given the full list, you can even search for someone in the House Of Lords.

May 12, 2014 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

You are right, kcom (5:12 PM). The moment you declare that someone should be forced to do something that you think they ought to do, whether or not they want to do it, then you have moved into the camp of the opposition.

May 12, 2014 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

There also seems to be much that is invalid on its face.

Who on earth, apart from those betting on short term market volatility, engages in activity that would consume (energy, capital..) more than it created? In the real world this is known as a loss. Not something Greens ever worry about, but as an investor ...

'Toxic chemicals', that perennial 'Green' favourite. H2O and Salt are both toxic if one eats enough. Are they toxic components in 'fish n chips'?

The famous 'Gas land' 'burning tap' - Someone, WUWT comments IIRC, pointed out that exploiting 'The Canadian Tar Sands' was the biggest environmental clean up operation ever.

One can't win with these people. They will see any adverse ASA decision as proof positive that 'the man' is out to get them. Poking fun is always an option though :~)

May 12, 2014 at 6:13 PM | Registered Commenterbh3x2

agreeing with Phil d above ,


The written complaint should be made into a leaflet and sent out. I was already ok with fracking but learnt a lot from that.

May 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard

Jeremy Poynton: Well done with the refusals, but I'm not sure the tide is turning. Wind developers don't respect local democracy and in my experience always appeal a decision that goes against them. Only if the Planning Inspectorate dismisses all appeals will we know the tide has turned.

May 12, 2014 at 6:31 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

May 12, 2014 at 6:31 PM | Phillip Bratby
=================================

Phil - yes, acknowledged, and we expect an appeal; however, with the messages from government regarding onshore wind having been so hugely ramped down, and with a very articulate and energised body of local people organised against these applications, we are very hopeful that that is that. Else, well, where did I stash my RPG?

May 12, 2014 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Richard

"they had been distributing to residents"

Replying in kind appeals to me. It would give everyone who had received the original leaflet pause for thought, and would be difficult for the originators of the first one to undermine, especially as the ASA isn't the easiest body to turn against a green message (as those of use who complained about the 'drowning dog' campaign can testify).

May 12, 2014 at 7:42 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

As already noted - we need to save this rebuttal

The concern though is that despite the detailed information, it will have little impact. Once the lie/story is put to the low information voter , their eyes will glaze over as the facts are presented. And the "bad guys" know this.

May 13, 2014 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterHysteria

Frack Free Somerset have attempted to reply. http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/2014/04/10/a-response-to-ken-wilkinson/

A surprising (not really) lack of science and fact in their rebuttal.

May 13, 2014 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

Ezra Levant getting up the nose of the Suzuki's.


http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/05/13/ezra-levant-not-one-drop-of-poisoned-water/

May 14, 2014 at 1:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

Ezra Levant getting up the nose of the Suzukies.

May 14, 2014 at 2:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

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