Looks like Richard Berman, founder of Berman & Company, a consultancy in Washington DC, got “Romney’d.”
Berman spoke to a group of energy executives at an event in Colorado Springs back in June. During his remarks, he told the executives, they can “either win dirty or lose pretty,” attempting to persuade them to fund an advertising and PR campaign, Big Green Radicals, to the tune of $3 million. For this campaign, Berman was looking to humiliate environmentalists and their celebrity friends with bits of dirt thereby turning the tide in favor of oil and gas companies. Among those in the room were Halliburton and Devon Energy.
“This is an endless war,” he said. “And you have the budget for it.”
And how do we know these comments were made? Because one of the execs in the room didn’t like it. So he recorded it. And gave it over to The New York Times. Busted!
According to the Times, Berman confirms that he spoke at the event but won’t confirm the content. And the exec who turned over the recording requested anonymity.
The campaign has already begun running ads, including the one below that is absolutely terrible. And they’ve zeroed in on a few celebrities they’d like to target: Robert Redford, Lady Gaga and Yoko Ono among them. “Would you take energy advice from the woman who broke up The Beatles?” the site asks. Vomit.
“It left a bad taste in my mouth,” said the anonymous exec referring to the comments at the event.
“Mr. Berman is well-known in Washington for his technique of creating nonprofit groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom that secretly collect corporate donations to finance the aggressive, often satirical media campaigns his team conceives,” the Times says. Berman himself is later quoted saying that he gets up “every morning” trying to come up with ways to “screw with the labor unions” because he wants to “reduce their brand.”
In other words, this guy is awful. And he’s getting criticized for his tactics by the media and potential clients. But more than that, he ran his nasty mouth about the money that he collects from big energy companies — some of them that were there at that event — and finds a way to hide where the money came from. So he may have opened himself and others like him to further scrutiny about the shady money that gets funneled into various lobbying campaigns.
This is the sort of thing that gives PR, marketing, the energy industry and political lobbyists a terrible name. Moreover, scientists are coming out with report after report saying we must take measures to find alternatives to fossil fuels before irreparable environmental damage is done. Just this morning, CBS News contributor Michio Kaku examined a United Nations report (also below) that found climate change is happening and humans are the cause of it. Moreover, we have to end our dependence on coal and oil by the end of the century. Scary stuff folks. This is the message we need to focus on.