The most hilariously botched attempt at astroturfing ever
Assuming this is genuine, it’s the most hilariously inept attempt at astroturfing in state, perhaps U.S., history (from the Asheville Citizen-Times):
Homeless men unfamiliar with fracking were bused from Winston-Salem to a state hearing Friday on the controversial technique for extracting natural gas, an effort to bolster a pro-fracking turnout, according to an environmental group and a published report.
“They were clueless," said Bettie “Betsy” Ashby, a member of the Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking. “At least two of them I met definitely came from a homeless shelter. One of them even apologized to me and said, ‘I didn't know they were trying to do this to me.’ One said, ‘I did it for the…’ and then he rubbed his fingers together like ‘for the money.’”
Several of the men were wearing turquoise shirts or hats that said “Shale Yes” on the front and “Energy Creates Jobs” and “N.C. Energy Coalition.com” on the back.
The hearing about hydraulic fracturing took place at Western Carolina University and attracted about 600 people. Opposition to fracking was overwhelming in comments made during the four-hour hearing, hosted by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission …
One man, who identified himself as “Christian Bradshaw,” initially said, “We feel we did not know about none of this.” But later he adds, “We’re pretty much out here supporting the needs of energy (and) jobs.”
His friends begin laughing. One of them covers his face with his hat. Another man, wearing a T-shirt with marijuana leaves on it that says, “Please Keep on the Grass,” yells a comment about legalizing marijuana as he heads into the auditorium.
A man wearing a turquoise “Shale Yes” shirt and an identification badge tells Ashby, “They’re here to learn.” When the cameraman approaches, the man flips the ID badge around.
The N.C. Energy Coalition, by the way, is an advocacy organization supported by such organizations as the American Petroleum Institute, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, and the N.C. Chamber.
I can’t find a way to embed the video. But click on the link and watch it all, because the last five seconds are just the best. This isn’t a news story. It’s a real-life Chappelle’s Show sketch.