The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was the butt-end of a high-end hoax yesterday in Washington, D.C. as a group called The Yes Men called a press conference at the National Press Club pretending to be representatives from the Chamber. The major item to be discussed at the press conference was a stunning reversal of the Chamber's position on climate change, climate science and climate policy.
Over the last several weeks, the Chamber has lost several important members because of the umbrella group's vocal opposition to Waxman-Markey and its questioning of the climate science behind it.
Things seemed to be moving right along for the latest Yes Men hoax until a question from an audience member from an actual representative of the Chamber tipped everyone in attendance off to the fact that this was a hoax.
Eric Wohlschlegel, spokesman for the U.S. Chamber caught wind of the event and interrupted the press conference and moved to the front of the room asking reporters to direct their questions to him, saying, "This is a fraudulent press conference!"
Clearly annoyed, Wohlschlegel began handing out business cards to reporters after a cursory "pre-screening" of their press credentials. I was happy to see former Grist reporter, Kate Sheppard, who now writes for Mother Jones, somehow able to make the cut. Watch it: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYGcIhNGSIY[/youtube]
The pre-conference press release had several mainstream media outlets including Reuters and The New York Times sufficiently fooled that they ran stories of the Chamber's new position before it came to light that it was all a hoax.
Monday's hoax press conference was not the first foray into subversive political action from the Yes Men. In September, the group published a fake edition of The New York Post with a headline that read, "We're Screwed", in reference to the climatic impact of global warming on New York City and the world.
Hat tip: earth2tech