Friends Of The Earth Lie About Their Lies
By Paul Homewood
h/t Joe Public
On Wednesday, we learnt the Advertising Standards Authority had found that Friends of the Earth had been spreading lies to the effect that fracking could cause cancer, contaminate water supplies, increase asthma rates and send house prices plummeting.
Following the ASA judgment, FOE agreed not to repeat such claims in future, unless the evidence changed.
However, it seems that FOE find it difficult to do anything other than lie.
Following the ASA decision, the Guardian reported:
Donna Hume, a Friends of the Earth senior campaigner, said: “No ruling has been made against us. The ASA offered to drop the case without ruling after we confirmed that a particular leaflet was no longer being used.
The ASA were understandably furious about this latest lie, and took the highly unusual step of issuing their own statement the following day:
One week into 2017 and the action we’ve taken to stop misleading ad claims about fracking by Friends of the Earth has hit the national media and prompted widespread debate and commentary. But amidst the reports, the public comments by the parties involved and the social media chatter, there’s a risk that the facts become obscured.
So let me be clear. We told Friends of the Earth that based on the evidence we’d seen, claims it made in its anti-fracking leaflet or claims with the same meaning cannot be repeated, and asked for an assurance that they wouldn’t be. Friends of the Earth gave us an assurance to that effect. Unless the evidence changes, that means it mustn’t repeat in ads claims about the effects of fracking on the health of local populations, drinking water or property prices.
Friends of the Earth has said we “dropped the case”. That’s not an accurate reflection of what’s happened. We thoroughly investigated the complaints we received and closed the case on receipt of the above assurance. Because of that, we decided against publishing a formal ruling, but plainly that’s not the same thing as “dropping the case”. Crucially, the claims under the microscope mustn’t reappear in ads, unless the evidence changes. Dropped cases don’t have that outcome.
Resolving cases informally, usually following our receipt of an assurance that claims won’t be repeated, is an important tool in our toolkit, allowing us to be proportionate and targeted in how we tackle problems. No-one should be under any illusion that the process of looking into these matters is anything other than rigorous.