Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yes Men

It looked – at first – eerily like a routine news event. A man in a nondescript dark suit standing at a podium in one of the smaller meeting rooms on the 13th floor of the National Press Club. But then suddenly it wasn't.

"There is only one way to do business and that is to pass a climate bill quickly so this December President Obama can go to Copenhagen and negotiate with a strong position," said the speaker – who said he represented the US Chamber of Commerce.

The statement represented a complete repudiation of the Chamber's earlier opposition to climate change legislation. The hard line had triggered walk-outs from Apple and a handful of other high-profile companies in the past few weeks.

From the Guardian Newspaper, who are reporting that the news conference was later boken up by an actual member of the US Chamber of Commerce screaming that it was all a hoax. This is typical of the Yes Men, who famously held a news conference claiming to be Dow Chemical and taking full responsibility for the Bhopal disaster, and promising to care for anyone injured in the incident. Dow lost $2bn off its share price and was later forced to announce that it was doing nothing of the kind. And, as with the Dow story, the Guardian reports: "And while a number of reporters still pressed Wohlschlegel for signs of a shift in the Chamber's position, he soon set them straight. The Chamber was as opposed to climate change legislation as ever."

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