Greenpeace's fill-in-the-blank public relations meltdown
The Philadelphia Inquirer
29 May 2006
Before President Bush touched down in Pennsylvania Wednesday to promote his nuclear energy policy, the environmental group Greenpeace was mobilizing.
"This volatile and dangerous source of energy" is no answer to the country's energy needs, shouted a Greenpeace fact sheet decrying the "threat" posed by the Limerick reactors Bush visited.
But a factoid or two later, the Greenpeace authors were stumped while searching for the ideal menacing metaphor.
We present it here exactly as it was written, capital letters and all: "In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world's worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE]."
Had Greenpeace been hacked by a nuke-loving Bush fan? Or was this proof of Greenpeace fear-mongering?
The aghast Greenpeace spokesman who issued the memo, Steve Smith, said a colleague was making a joke by inserting the language in a draft that was then mistakenly released.
"Given the seriousness of the issue at hand, I don't even think it's funny," Smith said.
The final version did not mention Armageddon. It just warned of plane crashes and reactor meltdowns.
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