02/22/2009 11:48 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Quick Comment About Sunday Morning TV Ads

You can tell a lot about who advertisers think is watching TV shows by where they choose to advertise. Just think about what programs get the Viagara commercials... sports. And the Sunday morning talk shows are no exception.

While I caught one ad this morning in support of the Employee Free Choice Act (for more info on this bill, see, it is the energy ads that always get my blood boiling. Leaving aside the Pickens Plan ads promoting wind, solar and natural gas, the ad that caught my attention this morning comes from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and its website

Its is painfully obvious that the API wants us to continue to burn oil. Its how their members make money.

But the underlying assumptions API makes are disturbing and their ads appeal to the most shallow of arguments. First, they continue to promote the idea that we should expand oil production because we need the energy. But that clearly ignores the fact that if we burn oil at the rates we do today, if we strive to use all of the oil until we run out, we will kill our planet and us along with it.

But this morning's ad really irked me. API is telling us that drilling for more oil offshore isn't so bad, because modern oil platforms can drill across a 40 mile radius, thus reducing the eyesore of too many platforms on the horizon.

Really, they think our concern is about how the platforms look?! Sure, we don't want to make the oceans off our shores ugly, but our concerns about offshore drilling are MUCH more substantial than shallow concerns about vanity and views.

Regardless of whether the infrastructure is above the water or under the water, we are still talking about drilling large chunks of the ocean floor. An oil leak in the infrastructure underwater is still bad. Burning more oil is still bad.

This is not about beauty, it is about environmental sustainability.

It is time that the API stop making shallow arguments. It is time that they stop insulting our intelligence. It is time to talk about transitioning away from oil and towards renewable energy that poses significantly less risk to our planet. It is time that the API enter the 21st century.