Concerned Albertans, including private citizens, small oil and gas companies and members of the investment community, have come together to launch this website, http://www.getitrightalberta.ca. The website is a result of mounting concern surrounding the recommendations contained within the Report of the Alberta Royalty Review Panel (ARRP), which appear to go beyond the original mandate of “striking a balance.”
I’m not particularly interested in discussing the royalties issue (but feel free if you have an opinion)–I want to examine the site’s questionable tactics.
There’s no indication anywhere on the site as to who these ‘concerned Albertans’ actually are. I have no problem with advocacy websites–I’ve got a couple as clients–but full disclosure is essential to becoming a legitimate part of the online debate. Who would possibly take this site seriously?
And Who’s Jim McCormick?
Exploring the site a little, I found an interview on City TV’s Breakfast Television with someone named ‘Jim McCormick’, who’s a representative of the site. The segment doesn’t disclose anything else about Mr. McCormick. Maybe all the viewers already know who he is? The interviewer asks about the people behind the site, and he replies “A lot of us, across a spectrum of professions”. Curiously satisfied with that reply, she doesn’t probe any further. That’s some incisive journalism there.
Dave did a WHOIS lookup, and determined that the site was not founded by everyday Joe Albertans, but by the folks at the Calgary office of public relations giant Hill & Knowlton. This woman in particular–Lisa Litz–registered the domain.
Shame on Hill & Knowlton–they’re a big, international agency and ought to know better. It’s underhanded, sketchy moves like this that give us marketing folks a bad name. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised–this is the same company that’s advocated for tobacco, the first war in Iraq and Scientology over the years. They have a long history of underhanded tactics.