Small little press release running in the media yesterday:
An Initiative of the BC Salmon Farmers Association Invites the Public to Get the Straight Facts on Salmon Farming at their New web site, www.BCSalmonFacts.ca
“If it wasn’t so sad, it would almost be funny,” says Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association. “Many people are being fed a diet of misinformation and that’s exactly why our members have launched www.BCSalmonFacts.ca, a new web site where we will separate myths from fact and set the record straight.”
In addition to the new website, members of the BC Salmon Farmers Association are also launching a television and print media advertising campaign urging viewers and readers not to believe everything they hear about farmed salmon without first checking the facts.
“At BCSalmonFacts.ca people will be able to separate fact from fiction,” says Clare Backman, Director of Environmental Compliance and Community Relations at Marine Harvest Canada, a member of the BCSFA. “It’s about time the real story was told.”
There are video clips and forums on the site with links to articles of interest. On the forums people can post questions and get straight answers. There is also a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.
So I suppose Backman figures that the general public won’t catch the bias involved in this initiative? Or the peculiar coincidence that the salmon farmers are under considerable pressure in the current Cohen Commission?
I tend to get a little chuckle out when I hear some company or industry association carry on about how they’re going to: “set the record straight.”
It’s a downward spiral. You are basically saying, hey general public you’re stupid, you’ve been duped, you don’t know how to do your own research and come to your own beliefs. You need to be spoon fed our farmed spin to really understand the issues.
BCSalmonFacts.ca is an initiative of three major salmon farming companies and two feed suppliers: Marine Harvest Canada, Mainstream Canada, Grieg Seafood, EWOS and Skretting, all members of the BC Salmon Farmers Association.
This isn’t all that different then say… the non-stick cookware folks launching a campaign to explain how “healthy” using their products is…
Or, those toy manufacturers that use lead paint on their products launching a PR campaign.
It’s called: SPIN. How can we spin this issue so people get muddled up on the truth…
Other case in point: Prime Minister Harper and new Environment Minister Peter Kent setting out on a campaign to “clean-up” the image of the tar sands. (coincidence, I suppose that Mr. Kent is a former TV anchor and reporter…?)
The oil sands have a new defender: freshly minted Environment Minister Peter Kent, who calls Canada’s tarry resource an “ethical” source of energy that should take priority in the U.S over foreign producers with poor democratic track records.
Rather than concentrate on actual environmental consequences: water use, incredible amounts of natural gas being burnt, greenhouse gas release coming out the ying yang, immense pipelines, and so on and so on…
Let’s concentrate on the “ethical” component, on the “perception” and “reputation” of the tar sands… instead of the actual frigging impacts.
That’s right the “ethics”.
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The BCSFA is the voice of British Columbia’s environmentally sustainable farmed salmon industry.
Farmed salmon is the province’s largest agricultural export and is recognized around the world as a naturally healthy and environmentally responsible product.
Ok, this is spin at its finest. Any of you out there who teach media communications, or Public Relations (PR), or professional spin mongering… this is good.
“Naturally healthy”… yeah, like McDonald’s Big Mac made from naturally healthy beef.
“Environmentally responsible”… yeah, I’m sure that catching food/forage fish off the coast of South America, grinding it into fish meal and shipping it to the BC coast is about as “enviro responsible” as it comes.
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I suppose the one positive about this slick PR initiative launched largely by publicly traded corporations — its that it mirrors the great old cigarette company campaigns. Rumour has it that the Salmon Farmers Association and its associated companies have hired PR firms that have actually launched some of those old campaigns.
They are pulling out all the stops on this one: a slick website, newspaper articles and social media. It’s almost out of a textbook.
Oh right, it is.
Companies take huge PR hit due to poor product, or industrial accident, or other negative company consequence (BP anyone? and I don’t mean Boston Pizza — listeria (hysteria) meat — Mad Cow — avian flu — etc. ) … what to do?
(p.s. did you see a pattern there… industrial feedlots, not good)
Launch counter-spin PR campaign, hire slick spokespeople and get the word out that your product is “fine”, “responsible” and “ethical”… and even “environmentally responsible”. (yeah, well shitting in the woods is also environmentally responsible… as long as you bury it… just becomes a problem when a couple million folks start shitting in the woods)
Why are those pesky, panicky, illogical naysayers attacking our products, shouting their ills, and simply putting good blue collar folks out of work?
It just doesn’t make sense folks… look how ethical we are, look how responsible we are, look we put $$ into this local kids park… our practices are responsible, why can’t you just understand this…
“oh I know,” says CEO, President, top cheese… “let’s launch a PR campaign to clean up our reputation… Somebody get on the blower and find me a PR expert.”
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My analogy: why is it that the companies and it’s PR-spin Association have to undertake these spin campaigns?
Would it be all that different than most folks resumes? …because I’m sure that everyone’s resume is exactly true.
Customer service as a teenager becomes: “customer experience engineer.”
Mens wear associate becomes: “Product line supervisor.”
Cashier at a grocery store, becomes “Financial exchange controller.”
Is it lying? No, it’s SPIN.
If “it’s time the real story is told” or spun, you know, like a good yarn — then what about the peer-reviewed scientific articles worldwide, coming from areas where salmon are farmed, that suggest: if you’re going to farm salmon, don’t do in open-pen feedlots — Or, absolutely do not farm salmon in areas where wild salmon populations might interact. What are those stories? Fairy tales, Dr. Seuss rhymes…
When an industry goes into full spin mode; it generally means a downward spiral of despair and insecure feelings that they are seriously threatened (if not, then why launch?). Once you have to go public, selling how great you are — as a person, or as a company — you’re on a very slippery, well-waxed, downward slope that is subject to one of the other things that is certain on this planet like death and taxes… and that’s gravity.
You can try and fight it… like plastic surgery or ‘augmentation’ for example… but it’s inevitable.