The Washington Post this week launched a new politics homepage, PostPolitics.com, with a helping hand from the dirty coal industry.
According to the press release announcing the launch,
“The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is the Washington Post's exclusive launch sponsor of PostPolitics.com.”
While PostPolitics.com itself is an exciting new tool for fans of political news, it is unfortunate that the Post had to partner with coal polluters to fund the launch.
So far, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is sure getting some bang for however many bucks it is shelling out. Go visit the PostPolitics.com homepage right now and admire the massive “Clean Coal” banner ads at the top and right side, featuring ACCCE’s poster miner Shane Evans, a mine dispatcher at Arch Coal’s Thunder Basin Coal Company. (Finally, the coal industry has taken to featuring an actual miner in its ads, after learning a tough lesson last year when Adfero’s “FACES of Coal” ad campaign was discovered to be full of iStockPhoto images of actors.)
Doling out big bucks on advertising isn’t a new tactic for ACCCE by any means. The coal industry’s main mouthpiece has an annual budget of at least $45 million, which it uses to land full page ads in such widely-read outlets as CQ Weekly, Roll Call, Politico, and, of course, The Washington Post.
ACCCE’s extensive and expensive efforts to buy itself primo ad space have previously landed it in partnership with CNN. ACCCE's predecessor group, Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC), co-sponsored six of the ’08 presidential debates along with ACCCE for a cool $5 million payment.
Grist noted at the time of those debates that no questions about climate change were ever asked of the participants, calling into question whether there was undue influence on the forums thanks to the coal advertising dollars.
Will the same thing happen with PostPolitics.com? Will coal get special treatment in coverage of the climate policy debate? Will climate change be adequately covered on PostPolitics.com? Only time will tell.
The press release announcing the launch of PostPolitics.com notes that the site aims to be “an authority you can trust,” and Washington Post Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli urges political junkies to “bookmark PostPolitics or make it your homepage."
Sorry Mr. Brauchli, I’ll wait until Shane Evans and the ACCCE ads are replaced with something, anything, besides mythical suggestions of “clean coal.”