Greenpeace ad ruled misleading

April 4th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The has partially upheld a complaint against a Greenpeace television advertisement. The TV ad showing a dead penguin said:

Over 20,000 birds were killed by the ‘’ oil spill

Deep sea oil drilling could be 1000 times worse

Bryan Leland complained pointing out that the  count for the Rena was around 1,300 not 20,000 and that the 20 million estimate for a deep sea oil drill is ridiculous as the Gulf of Mexico spill killed 3,800 seabirds.

’s response on the 20,000 was that research shows 10 times as many birds die in oil spills as carcasses found.

Their response on 1,000 times worse is based on the Gulf spill being over 1,000 times as much oil as the Rena. They say their advertisement was meant to be that the impact on the environment would be 1,000 times worse, not that 1,000 times as many birds would die.

Interestingly in their response Greenpeace say the complaint should be ignored because Bryan Leland is a member of the Climate Science Coalition. Unable to win on the facts, they now try to get complaints dismissed on the basis of membership of a group.  That is a terrible thing to do, and they should be ashamed. How would they like it if someone advocated that a complainant should not be heard, because they are a member of Greenpeace.

The ASA Complaints Board found:

The Complaints Board was of the view that the statement “20,000 birds were killed” was expressed in a manner that denoted a strong absolute statement of fact.  It said that the Advertiser had presented a best practice estimate as an absolute fact when as they had stated in their response to the complaint it had only been “reported that over 2000 birds had been identified which had died as a direct result of the accident [Rena]”.  Accordingly the Complaints Board said the statements expressed in the advertisement were not clearly distinguishable as opinion (as opposed to fact) and therefore the advertisement was in breach of Rule 11 of the Code of Ethics.

If Greenpeace had said “Some estimates are that as many as 20,000 birds died” then they may possibly have got away with it. Or they could have just kept to the facts and said 2,000 dead birds were found.

On the 1,000 times worse:

Turning to the second substantive claim identified in the complaint, that a deep sea drilling incident could be “1000 times worse” (than the Rena incident), the Complaints Board noted that the use of the word “could” presented the claim as an opinion or possibility as opposed to an absolute fact.

By using “could” they get away with it, despite the fact most people would take the ad to be credibly suggesting an oil spill could kill 20 million birds, when the Gulf of Mexico spill killed just 3,800.

Incidentally, even if the figure of 20 million was correct, it would be useful to remember that predators such as possums and stoats kill 25 million birds a a year in New Zealand.

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21 Responses to “Greenpeace ad ruled misleading”

  1. Mark (497 comments) says:

    Greenpeace seems to me to be an organisation that is the most anti science of all time.

    There is name is an oxymoron as they are neither green or peaceful.

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  2. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    Campbell Live will run a piece on this and set things straight…

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  3. pq (728 comments) says:

    I lost a bet before the elections, where I said to the owner of Waitakere News blog;
    that Rodney Hide would retake Epsom. I bet you $100 I said.

    The price he extracted from me and I paid was a donation to Greenpeace.
    It was like giving money to a terrorist.

    waitakerenews.blogspot.com

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  4. Kenny (16 comments) says:

    They’ve obviously been getting ideas from the Women’s Refuge

    “The Advertising Standards Authority has labelled Women’s Refuge claims that a third of women live in fear as “exaggerated”. The body upheld two complaints about fundraising print and television advertisements that ran in July.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10678209

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  5. Pete George (22,728 comments) says:

    pq – at least it wasn’t a donation to Labour or The Standard. That’s savagemicky that runs waitakerenews.

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  6. DJP6-25 (1,268 comments) says:

    ‘Greenpeace’ exaggerating !. Tell me it ain’t so!. As for being ashamed, that’s not possible. Shame is an alien concept to socialists.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  7. andyscrase (89 comments) says:

    Greenpeace responded in their submission to the decision that Mr Leyland is a “well-known climate change denier” and that they doubted his sincerity.

    Patrick Moore (co-founder of GP) describes Greenpeace as “anti-science, anti-intellectual, and ultimately anti-human”

    He also claims (in his book Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout”) that GP is full of “neo-marxists and peaceniks” that migrated to the green movement after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

    These are the words of the guy who founded the organisation, not some Bible thumping Republican.

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  8. Zapper (925 comments) says:

    Not entirely true David Prosser – those middle class white socialists feel great shame of who they are

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  9. Jimbob (640 comments) says:

    We have an ETS because Governments around the World believe these nut jobs. These people write most of the research for the IPCC, which really means that the ETS has nothing to do with science at all.

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  10. Australis (99 comments) says:

    In Wisconsin, USA, the annual number of birds killed by house cats was found to be larger than all other causes combined. It is probably the same here.

    I can’t picture Greenpeace running a fundraiser to go after cat owners. But Big Oil is always fair game – and worth a lot more in terms of donations. Keeping birds alive is not really the issue.

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  11. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Why does the left continually get away with shit like this? These pricks can lie till the cows come home and are never held up to the spotlight ? It sucks.

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  12. mikenmild (10,601 comments) says:

    Never had much time for Greenpeace myself, they’re just too dramatic. Forest & Bird, however, will come after cats as well:
    http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/saving-our-environment/threats-and-impacts-/cat-pet-or-pest

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  13. seanmaitland (454 comments) says:

    @Australis – how did they determine the number of birds killed by house cats?

    Sounds like an impossible thing to quantify – much more likely that they are pulling bullshit numbers out of thin air just like the climate change believers do……

    ps: I looked up your claim, and it is BS – someone ‘guestimated’ it. The same report also concluded that birds flying into glass windows kills more birds than anything else in the US – which again, is nothing more than someone making a guess.

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  14. eszett (2,331 comments) says:

    That’s Greenpeace New Zealand, to be precise. From what I hear it’s a pretty fucked up organisation.
    So it doesn’t surprise me in the least that they would bring an advertisement like that.

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  15. H. Upmann (2 comments) says:

    @Mark – correct. Greenpeace is a religion for atheists and agnostics who still feel the need to have, believe and belong to a mystic belief system. They are little different than some main-stream religions, stuck in the dark ages and with an agenda is to bring down capitalism at any cost. Lies to the useful green idiots, the equivalent to 13th century yokels, are accepted and dispensed as with all the drama of a Holy Writ.

    Likewise @andyscrase, yes, an organisation of refugees from Soviet sponsored failed peace movements.

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  16. Anthony (766 comments) says:

    We get a few birds a year killing themselves flying into the windows here.

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  17. Liberal Minded Kiwi (1,563 comments) says:

    seanmaitland – so you’re unhappy with a “guestimate” about house cats but comfortable about the barefaced lies from Greenpeace?

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  18. graham (2,214 comments) says:

    Well this will annoy Greenpeace …

    “http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/04/kareiva_new_environmentalism_essay/”

    “The Green movement needs to rethink its philosophy from the ground-up. That’s according to Peter Kareiva, a leading conservation expert and chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy, the world’s biggest environmental group.

    It must abandon the idea that nature is “feminine” and in particular that it’s “fragile”, he said, because not only is this artificial, it’s wrong, and so many bad ideas follow … It’s little wonder that environmentalism is now dominated by “misanthropic, anti-technology, anti-growth, dogmatic, purist, zealous, exclusive pastoralists” – that’s how Kareiva described them in a talk in 2011. Greenpeace’s co-founder Patrick Moore made similar points in an interview here a year ago.

    The modern environmental movement views every human action – from fracking to flying – as both intrinsically evil and irreversibly harmful. But this is an artificial view, one generated out of convenience, says Kareiva. “The notion that nature without people is more valuable than nature with people and the portrayal of nature as fragile or feminine reflect not timeless truths, but mental schema that change to fit the time,” the authors write.

    “Nature is so resilient that it can recover rapidly from even the most powerful human disturbances,” scientists now conclude.”

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  19. Martin Gibson (226 comments) says:

    In an ecological sense these guys continue to occupy the niche of those western communists Stalin called “Useful idiots”.

    As they support international taxes to mitigate against hypothetical anthropogenic CO2 driven climate change people should ask themselves — “Who am I a useful idiot for?”

    Cui bono? Who benefits from my idiocy as I chant “Four legs good, two legs baaaad!” as instructed by corporate media?

    Even the advocates of carbon trading admit the Kyoto system will not make a lick of difference to global CO2 levels, let alone temperature, but the next sidestep is usually either: “Anything to get people thinking about consuming less is good” or: “It will redistribute money to third world nations”.

    You mean global population reduction and global socialism?

    Idiots. And to anticipate your next bit of reflexive programming: yes, I do think we should consume less and plant more trees.

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  20. david@tokyo (262 comments) says:

    Unlucky for Greenpeace that the authority saw it appropriate to give them more credit than they are worth. I thought almost everyone knows that Greenpeace are BS merchants. In that context only the uninitiated or willingly gullible could believe anything their donation extraction materials say.

    Not good form to attack the complainant, but hey – this is how Greenpeace operates and they bear the consequences of their actions through the additional reputational damage it causes.

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  21. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Greenpeace was founded on deception. To wit:

    “It doesn’t matter what is true,
    it only matters what people believe is true.”

    — Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace

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