US Chamber of Commerce Responds to Yes Men Hoax

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The US Chamber of Commerce (the real one) issued a response to the fake press conference we reported on earlier, saying they will be “asking law enforcement authorities to investigate this event.”

The “irresponsible tactics” that the Yes Men used “are a foolish distraction from the serious effort by our nation to reduce greenhouse gases,” said Chamber Senior Vice President for Communications and Strategy Thomas J. Collamore said in the statement. “Public relations hoaxes undermine the genuine effort to find solutions on the challenge of climate change,” he added.

“The U.S. Chamber believes that strong climate legislation is compatible with the goals of improving our economy and creating jobs,” he said. “We continuously seek opportunities to engage in a constructive dialogue to achieve these goals.”

It’s not clear exactly what legal course the Chamber can pursue. Copyright infringement, for using their logo? Misrepresentation? Fraud? In any case, the seriousness with which they’re taking the prank far outweighs the seriousness with they’ve taken climate change for all these years—underscoring the point of today’s parody.

Notably, the press release the real Chamber sent out today repeats the claim that the group represents “more than 3 million businesses and organizations,” a figure that Josh Harkinson set straight last week. The Chamber was then forced to correct their number. The fake press release, however, says they have 300,000 members–a figure closer to their real membership total.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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