Great Moments in Publicity: Armageddonist!

Courtesy jenlight. For me this brought back a memory of my time at the newspaper. Our typesetter hated the food writer’s prose with a passion. Due to irrepressible immaturity he would insert uncomplimentary things about her and her writing in the copy while setting it. We in Editorial would then have to find and remove them. It was really funny the first time.

Greenpeace’s fill-in-the-blank public relations meltdown

Before President Bush touched down in Pennsylvania Wednesday to promote his nuclear energy policy, the environmental group Greenpeace was mobilizing.

“This volatile and dangerous source of energy” is no answer to the country’s energy needs, shouted a Greenpeace fact sheet decrying the “threat” posed by the Limerick reactors Bush visited.

But a factoid or two later, the Greenpeace authors were stumped while searching for the ideal menacing metaphor.

We present it here exactly as it was written, capital letters and all: “In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world’s worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE].”

Had Greenpeace been hacked by a nuke-loving Bush fan? Or was this proof of Greenpeace fear-mongering?

The aghast Greenpeace spokesman who issued the memo, Steve Smith, said a colleague was making a joke by inserting the language in a draft that was then mistakenly released.

“Given the seriousness of the issue at hand, I don’t even think it’s funny,” Smith said.

The final version did not mention Armageddon. It just warned of plane crashes and reactor meltdowns.

-Jeff Shields

3 thoughts on “Great Moments in Publicity: Armageddonist!

  1. This kind of humour was rife in Greenpeace when I was working for them back in the late ’80s. I remember one strategy video (dealing with an election campaign in Ontario) in which one of the campaigners gave a quick walk-through of the areas of special environmental concern, then said, “Good, now that we’ve got that over with, let’s get down to the real purpose of this video.”
    Campaigner then leaned into the camera and in a conspiratorial voice said, “Smash the state! Smash the state!”
    Greenpeace has a lot of warts, but most of their researchers are pretty competent people who, in spite of years working in what is mostly a fruitless pursuit of justice, still manage to have a sense of humour – which, admittedly, seldom leaks out into their official message.
    It was a pretty stupid copy editing error, but not one that particularly surprises me.

    1. For more humor, I want people on the Rainbow Warrior to shout “Bababooey, Bababooey, Howard Stern’s penis! Bababooey!!!” thru megaphones!!!
      BTW, what do people in Vanuatu think of the “Tribal Life” show about Vanuatu, on the Travel Channel?

      1. Tribal Life? First I’ve heard of it.
        Internet SUX today, and I’m trying to download ~500 MB of files, so Google will have to wait….

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