Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little lies to get at big truths

The National Press Club audience was listening Monday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spokesperson announce the Chamber’s sudden decision to reverse course and support climate change legislation. Suddenly another spokesperson for the Chamber burst into the room and announced that he was the real Chamber spokesperson, and that the whole press conference was a fraud.

The fraud was perpetrated by the Yes Men, a group who, in the words of their leader, “tell little lies to get at bigger truths.” The leader, Igor Vamos, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Meeting pretending to be Mike Bonanno, and regaled host Dylan Ratigan with glories of past frauds, like impersonating Dow Chemical representatives on BBC and announcing that Dow would provide $12 billion compensation to victims of the tragic gas leak at Bhopal, India, which killed nearly 4000 people in 1984. Dow stock plummeted.

Pretty cute, eh?

The Yes Men believe that business is evil and must be brought “in line with our [i.e., the Yes Men’s] moral and ethical sensibilities.” The New York Times praised their movie: “It is great fun to watch them do their dirty work.

You don’t have to like the Chamber to believe that lying to advance one’s “moral and ethical sensibilities” is unethical. And it shouldn’t be great fun to watch.

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