It is, has been, and will continue to be the policy of this blog to accept advertisements. However, that doesn’t mean we will accept any ol’ ad. Sure, we could use the money – to pay hosting feeds, perhaps to buy some better camera equipment occasionally, etc. – but we’re not going to completely compromise our values in doing so. Having said that, we seriously considered accepting this ad from the oil and gas industry for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, even though we think it’s a huge mistake. In the end, though, we didn’t. Here’s our thinking in a nutshell.
1. We considered taking the oil and gas industry’s money, then using the ad as an opportunity to blast the h*** out of the Keystone Canadian tar sands export pipeline project, as the dirty, destructive (of the environment and probably of jobs as well) boondoggle for the big oil companies that it is.
2. We also considered donating the money to charity – Green Miles suggested this one, for instance.
3. So, under those conditions, I was leaning towards accepting the ad. Why didn’t I, then? The clincher for me was very simple, and in my view compelling: the ad contains blatantly false information – that the pipeline supposedly will create 20,000 jobs.
4. Not only is that jobs figure completely untrue, this is information that’s been repeatedly exposed as false by neutral organizations, even by TransCanada itself. For instance, a study by Cornell University researchers found that “[t]he project will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada’s own data supplied to the State Department.” So, the 20,000 jobs figure isn’t even close to being factual, and the people behind this ad have known that for months now (if not longer). In short, they’re lying through their teeth, and they have no shame in doing so.
5. One last point. In rejecting this ad, Blue Virginia is going way beyond the supposed “standards” of most media outlets, which would almost certainly take (in fact, they do so all the time!) the oil money and run the ad, even though it’s demonstrably, unequivocally false. That’s not what legitimate media organizations are supposed to be doing, but they’re desperate for money and/or greedy, plus they apparently have few if any scruples or ethics, so they do so. Well, sorry, but that is NOT what we got into progressive political blogging for, to be like the dying (for good reason), corrupt, corporate-owned-and-occupied, conservative media. Sure, we could use the $150 (although it’s not going to change our lives in any way, that’s for sure), but in the end, it simply doesn’t fit with our view of ethics, morality, and being a progressive. Take that and shove it up your pipeline, oil industry! Ha.
5a. On a related note, I’d point out that we have far higher standards at Blue Virginia than they do at the Kaplan Post, for instance, for commenting. Check out any article’s comments at the Kaplan Post, and you’ll see what I mean – ad hominem attacks, bigotry, viciousness, totally nuts. Looking at those comments, I’d say that on average, 25% or more would be deleted here at Blue Virginia, the commenters banned. At the Kaplan Post, desperate as it is for “eyeballs” (and, again, $$$$), they basically let anything go. They also, I’d note, frequently (usually?) fail to give proper credit/attribution to other media sites, certainly to Virginia blogs (both conservative and progressive, they’re just really unethical about this stuff). Finally, we don’t present the false “both sides” nonsense the Post uses to pretend to be “objective.” The fact is, they are NOT objective, they’re just sloppy, lazy, and cowardly. But go ahead guys, keep telling yourselves you’re real journalists with “standards,” if it makes you feel any better about yourselves.