Yesterday’s post got quite a bit of attention from journalists, government spinners, and the Advertising Standards Council.. Here’s what you should know.
Questions about the truth of the government’s claim that $20Billion has already been invested in LNG in BC are not new. Bob Mackin, writing for Business in Vancouver, asked questions with less success than an ordinary citizen had.
Bob asked for justification of the figure down to the nearest million (not dollar for dollar) and got very little of substance , but conceptually it mirrored what I wrote last week… Read his piece here.. https://www.biv.com/article/2016/11/bc-liberals-claim-lng-and-site-c-are-green-new-ad-/
The government is piecing together industry press releases, adding them up to a very big number without verification of any of the claims. My other objections remain. .. 1) arbitrary assignment of a percentage of activity to LNG versus other industry activity… 2) inclusion of large buys of stakes in projects by O&G companies from each other.
Again, to evaluate the BC government’s own justification for the figure, see my first post here.. http://www.bcveritas.com/index.php/2016/12/11/about-that-20billion-lng-investment/ It’s my opinion that the government ad doesn’t meet the standards of public usefulness and truthfulness we have a right to expect, but I want you to judge for yourself. Read the government’s own document.
Andrew MacLeod, on December 22nd, published a Tyee article linked here which has most of the new stuff that needs to be addressed today: https://thetyee.ca/News/2016/12/22/Govt-Pulls-LNG-Ad/
After yesterday’s post , either because of Andrew’s poke into the matter or coincidentally, there was some action between the BCGovernment, the Advertising Standards Council, and the good man who made a complaint to the ASC.
The government line is that the ASC got it wrong. First of all, the offending ad was due to be pulled out of rotation anyway, and that had nothing to do with my complaint or my reader’s…. Secondly, it was decided the ad should be pulled a little early rather than going through a meeting with the ASC. The meeting was scheduled roughly the same time as the end of the ad run, so government decided to pull it early and avoid the hassle….. Oh, and one more bit..Government decided to pull the ad early because it was generating complaints! Imagine that.
Another curious thing happened: My reader got a second letter from the ASC yesterday.. The first letter, the day before, clearly linked the advertiser’s corrective action to its decision not to pursue the matter. They’re pulling the ad, so let’s not bother.
The second letter, from someone higher up the organizational flowchart, said the first letter contained inaccuracies. Further, it said the ASC had communicated with government, received some supporting materials and proposed a meeting to discuss the issues based on an earlier complaint. But again, since the ad run was winding down, it didn’t seem necessary to pursue the matter further.
Now what has my conspiracy-theorist-blogger senses all a-tingle is this: Andrew MacLeod wasn’t able to reach anyone for comment yesterday at the Advertising Standard’s Council.. It was the government that told MacLeod about the second letter. I can back that up because no one else had the opportunity to inform MacLeod before the article was published. Why on earth would an agency in charge of independently “self-regulating” the advertising profession be sharing details of its communication with media spinners in government?
In my opinion it’s clear the PAB-bots leaned on the ASC to “correct the record”. As Ian Jessop said to me regarding the Premier’s Haida Gwaii trip last year, “When stories keep changing, it means somebody is lying. We just have to find out who and why”. What surprises me is that the government’s bluster aside, it’s the ASC who have changed their story under pressure…
I’m sure the ASC is surprised by the fuss this has generated, and I’d ask them the following question. “Isn’t it true that damage to the public interest has been done because the ads ran, even if they are now pulled?”. And to the government: “Wouldn’t it be nice to have some laws to save the political operatives from embarrassing themselves by stretching the truth for partisan gain? Shouldn’t government be, you know, separate from the “Party”?
(For the record, there’s a misperception out there that the ASC did a full investigation and found the ad violated standards. That’s not the case, and it isn’t what I wrote, though I’m convinced the ads would not survive any serious analysis by a sober judge of the matter.)
STILL.. If the $20 billion figure is no longer used in tax-funded advertising, I’ll count that as a win.
RossK just put up a great post, and asked a great question.. If Christy’s spinners had got to the ASC before the citizen who launched this complaint, how might the story have evolved differently? Read his piece here, http://pacificgazette.blogspot.ca/2016/12/this-day-in-clarkland-20-billion-dollar.html
And Merry Christmas to everyone. Thanks so much for reading my tripe this year!