Where dramatic 180-degree turnarounds are concerned, the press release from Koch Industries, the industrial conglomerate not-so-affectionately called the Kochtopus, was a stunner. Could it be that the powerful company that has poured millions into climate change denial effort and has ownership in everything from oil refineries and fertilizer plants to Georgia-Pacific lumber and Lycra fiber has suddenly become a climate-change believer?
The press release emailed to CBSi today began like this:
Koch Industries remains committed to environmental responsibility and stewardship, announcing today that it will restructure its support for organizations that undertake climate change research and advocacy.The release then went on to note that while proud of its charitable history and support for organizations including the Americans for Prosperity, Fraser Institute, and Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment and so on, Koch Industries has decided to discontinue their funding.
Sorry, would be hoaxsters, you lost me at environmental responsibility. By the time I reached the words climate change research, I knew it couldn't be true. And it's not. Both the NYT and The Hill's E2 Wire blog have spoken to Koch Industries' real spokesperson and confirmed the obvious: it's a fake.
But hey, you never know, right? Crazier things have happened before. Like the time the U.S. Chamber of Commerce decided to back climate-change legislation. Oh wait, that was fake too.
The fake release, which was sent to us via email, also was available via a fake website that looked a lot like the actual Koch Industries site. The fake website, www.koch-inc.com, is no longer up and running.
It's unclear who is responsible for the hi-jinks. In the past, the Yes Men seem the likely candidates for the prank. The group has organized stunts like the fake 1.2 million copies of the "good news" edition of the NYT that declared the end of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and free university education; and the Halliburton climate-change survival suits. But the Yes Men have yet to take credit, leaving us to wonder another day longer. It could be one of their apprentices. The Yes Men have created the Yes Lab, essentially a training camp for creative activism.
Photo from Flickr user Jenny Downing, CC 2.0