Unable to find real pro-coal activists, the coal industry put out a help-wanted type of ad on Craigslist. A Google search with the words “craigslist chicago $50 to wear tshirt” pulled this search result:
“People needed to attend a public meeting (Tinley Park Chicago)… All you need to do is wear a t-shirt in support of an energy project for two hours… For your time we will pay you $50 cash and provide you lunch once we….”
The ad on Craigslist has long since been deleted, but using some Google search skills (thankfully Google caches sites for quite a while), the Sierra Club was able to piece together this much of the ad:
People needed to attend a public meeting (Tinley Park /Chicago)
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org (email address no longer valid)
Looking for people THIS THURSDAY, MAY 24 who want to make a couple of dollars for a few hours of your time.
All you need to do is wear a t-shirt in support of an energy project for two hours during the public meeting. We will be departing the Tinely Park convention center at 8:15 am for the meeting and we will be back by 1:30 pm. For your time we will pay you $50 cash and provide you lunch once we return to the convention center.
First thing I noticed about the ad was the fact they specifically chose the words, “…wear a t-shirt in support of an energy project…” What??? Afraid that if by using the correct description “pro-coal” that no one would be interested? By using the specific words, “energy project,” it makes the ad sound as though they were supporting some sort of renewable “green” energy hearing.
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
~ Sir Walter Scott
Here is a screen shot of the Google search results plus some photos of the t-shirts given out to wear that day:
Sources and related articles:
Think Progress: Coal Industry Pays Fake Activists $50 To Wear Pro-Coal Shirts At Public Hearing
Sierra Club: Pro-Coal Group Pays People to Wear Its Shirts at EPA Hearing
Politico: New twist in ‘astroturf’ coal campaign