A statement by Karen Hinton, Amazon Defense Coalition’s spokesperson, misleads readers about her activities and attempts to discredit bloggers who are raising serious questions about the lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador. In the Financial Times article titled, “Point, counterpoint in an Amazonian publicity battle,” Hinton made the following comment:
“The only reason the plaintiffs hired me was to respond to Chevron’s attacks in the press, not the other way around,” Hinton says. “Chevron has six PR firms on the payroll working on the lawsuit defence, and I stay very busy knocking down erroneous and misleading information shopped by these firms to reporters and bloggers.’’
A Google news search of ADC’s 2009 press releases reveals that the vast majority of Hinton’s work actually attacks Chevron and its employees, hardly a defensive posture as Hinton describes in her statement. Chevron is actually the party adopting a defense posture, setting up its own blog specifically designed to counter the wave of false statements being released by Amazon Defense Coalition’s PR firm.
The Amazon Defense Coalition’s five biggest myths have already been debunked by Chevron’s blog:
- Myth 1: Chevron is responsible for $27 billion worth of damages to the Amazon
- Myth 2: There have been over 1,400 cancer deaths as a result of oil pollution
- Myth 3: The judicial system in Ecuador is fair and independent
- Myth 4: Oil contamination in water is the biggest health threat facing the Oriente
- Myth 5: Texaco Petroleum is solely responsible for the problems in Ecuador’s Oriente region
Amazon Defense Coalition’s spokesperson also makes the claim that Chevron’s PR firms are feeding bloggers “erroneous and misleading information.” However, Hinton never provides any proof to support her statement. This accusation has been repeated in several forms which include calling bloggers, “paid by Chevron” or “sponsored by Chevron,” at several anti-Chevron blogs and by representatives from Amazon Watch. Most notably, the Amazon Defense Coalition blog wrote an article titled, “More Smoke from Chevron Bloggers.” The “Chevron bloggers” slammed the story, forcing ADC’s blog to unceremoniously delete the accused bloggers’ comments.