Our moms always told us that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Sometimes, however, if you take that vinegar and mix it with a bit of olive oil and then drizzle it over some thickly-sliced ripe tomatoes adorned with rings of sweet Vidalia onions, and then sprinkle all that with a few pinches of crushed pepper and sea salt, well, you've got yourself a pretty tasty salad. We raise this culinary quandary to ask this: Is it ever okay to say horribly nasty things about people – or, in this case, a company, which is made of people – to make a good point?

Oil Change International has just released a satirical ad called "Exxon Hates your Children" and is seeking donations to have it broadcast on television. The video make the argument that oil conglomerate Exxon couldn't care less about the welfare of (your) children because it is dedicated to making short-term profits in the face of the long-term climate catastrophe that its products have been linked to. The graphics that accompany the ad bolsters the child-hating claim with graphics that connote the association of asthma with air pollution.

Is it all too much or is there just enough seasoning in there to make the message palatable? Can this kind of gut-punch negative ad produce positive results? Of course, it's not likely that the people who run oil companies really hate your children but, at the same time, the health of the planet – and everyone who lives there – is a serious issue. So, what to do? Should individuals support this kind of activism, or are there better, more constructive, alternatives?

Scroll down to watch the ad for yourself and answer the poll that follows. If you have your own ideas about a more productive approach to the problem, feel free to drop some knowledge in Comments.




Does the "Exxon Hates Your Children" ad go too far?
No, satire is an effective tool. 275 (70.0%)
Yes, this kind of approach is counter-productive. 79 (20.1%)
I don't care, I'm going to go make myself a salad. 39 (9.9%)


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 123 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ ElectricAvenue Perhaps it might help is you could define what you mean by 'subsidies'. It's very difficult to discover any traditional subsidies that the Oil industry receives from the US government, outside of the normal deductions permitted to offset business expenses. Even if President Obama's estimate is accepted, the Oil industry receives less than $2.5 billion per year. This amount wouldn't even work out to an additional one cent per gallon at the pump ! Or do you mean the huge direct subsidies to the pump price of gasoline and diesel by the PRC and Indian governments to State owned oil companies ?
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      One argument seems to be that because I use oil, I should automatically support subsidies to oil companies. That is a silly argument. I also wear clothes, but that doesn't require I must automatically supporting subsidies to clothing stores. I buy food at grocery stores, I don't support tax subsidies for grocery stores. There are hundreds of things I consume, yet that does not mean I am forced to support subsidies to everybody I do commerce with. It's a completely dumb argument that only an apologist would come up with.
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      Companies like Exxon should be stopped from stealing $11 Billion in tax subsidies that were supposed to go to a completely different industry. Businesses are broken into major industry categories when looking at the economy from the macro-economic viewpoint. These are categories like Agriculture, Banking/Finance, Manufacturing, Hospitality, Retail, Energy, Mining/Extraction, etc. This shouldn't be news to anybody. Rational and reasonable people all agree that companies in the Extraction/Energy sector shouldn't be getting a tax cut written for the Manufacturing industry, the same as Exxon was not eligible for the TARP banking subsidies, because Exxon is not a bank. Rational and reasonable people all agree that Exxon should not get any money from the farm subsidy programs. That fact that farms are businesses and get farming subsidies does not mean that Exxon should get farm subsidies just because they are also a business. That would be absurd, and everyone knows it. In 2004 a tax subsidy was passed to help our crashing Manufacturing industry. Everyone here should already know about US Manufacturing jobs being shipped overseas. This tax subsidy was just to fight this problem in our Manufacturing industry, not for companies in the Banking sector, or in the Retail sector, or the Energy sector. The bill was very clear. The problem is that companies like Exxon have been taking this tax subsidy anyways, reducing their base tax rate from 35% to 29% (before all other tax games are played). This has been a massive $11 Billion dollar tax subsidy that they should not be getting. But all reason and rationality suddenly disappears when it comes to Exxon taking tax credits that are supposed to go help rebuild our Manufacturing industry and help an industry that is crashing one manufacturer after another. Exxon isn’t crashing. They don’t need a tax subsidy designed explicitly to help our crashing Manufacturing industry. Everyone should all be able to agree that this should be stopped. Instead the apologists will either outright say that the Manufacturing tax subsidy isn’t a subsidy at all, and attempt to completely redefine the terms. Or they will claim that since the Manufacturing industry gets this subsidy, then the oil industry should also. As if oil companies should be able to take any subsidy from any industry, whether it is Manufacturing, or Agriculture, or Banking, etc. Only 18% of the people voting in this poll voted against this ad. Yet 80% of the comments here are apologies for the oil industry getting subsidy after subsidy. A vocal minority are refusing to listen to what everyone else already sees quite clearly. Why isn't everyone supporting this huge tax subsidy being eliminated?
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        @ ratmn Why don't "rational and reasonable" people support your position ? Because you are being neither rational, nor reasonable ! 1) not even the OCI, claims that the entire oil industry (let alone Exxon) receives $11 billion in subsidies. (President Obama's claims $2.7b). 2) Your claim that the Oil Industry is not a manufacturer, is absurd ! The Oil industry manufactures tens of thousands of products 3) Your simplistic demand that the oil industry, (sorry, only the American oil industry) should not be able to deduct legitimate business expenses, would result in the collapse of the US economy, and the elimination of the largest US taxpayer, who pays tax at the highest rate ! The oil industry provides over 20% of the American economy and nearly all it's surplus wealth. You may not like Oil companies, or even Oil, but you clearly have no concept of economics. At the best your proposals would result in American's buying oil products from foreign oil companies, like the the PRC. But since no government would be mad enough to implement a policy of damaging it's largest revenue source, and wreck any hope of economic recovery, ad's like this are just a waste of time, and achieve no purpose except to spread hatred and discord, and further alienate the environmental movement from mainstream support. Instead of ranting about impossible, unrealistic proposals and calling people, "apologists", why don't you find an positive environmental program to support ? If you hate Oil, then join the campaign to ban Oil's most toxic product. Or any other environmental cause ?
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          1) The numbers come from "The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act" sponsored by Senator Menendez (D-NJ). Each tax subsidy he wants to cut is listed by law. 2) Exxon doesn't manufacture the ten's of thousands of products their products are made into by actual Manufactures. The actual manufacturers are eligible the the Manufacturing tax subsidy, Exxon is not. Just like Exxon makes a lot of money, but is not eligible for the TARP banking subsidies, but the bank they keep their money in is eligible. 3) Nobody is saying oil companies should not get the same business deductions that other companies get. The bill being promoted is to eliminate all the tax subsidies that only oil companies get. See the list in my other post. Which of these do non-oil industry companies claim? None of them. No oil company will go out of business without these subsidies. So none of your PRC stuff applies. It simply has nothing to do with the legislation that is being put forth. It isn't a rational argument to claim that ending US gov't subsidies will cause the most profitable companies in the history of the world to shut down. Your overheated rhetoric has no place in this discussion. You should be joining in calling for the end of the subsidies listed that only the oil companies get. What excuse do you have for continuing to subsidize the most profitable companies in the history of the world while US tax payers are footing the bill? Wait, you aren't a US tax payer, are you?
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Just a quick check to see if you are a rational and reasonable person. Do you agree that the "The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act" that this ad is promoting to eliminate subsidies could never put the most profitable companies in the history of the world out of business? That's not a multiple choice or essay question.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          My apologies, I posted the wrong bill. This is not from Menendez's Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, this is all from the "End Polluter Welfare" act presented by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison. Please substitute this wherever I made this mistake above. Again, my mistake. This is the difference between the dollar amounts that Obama has been pushing, and the numbers in the "End Polluter Welfare" act.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dave you should read how Google and Apple invest money. Their motto is, "If I don't cannibalize my product with a new tech advance, then my competitor will." They do not worry about new tech eating into the profits of an older technology. Look at Apple's investment in the iPad, it's cannibalizing sales of their computer line, BUT, not as much as it's cannibalizing sales of windows laptops. Apple remains the last man standing, in a monopoly position.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Hey Ford! No wrong answer here, just a question... Apple had been nearly beaten by Microsoft. Their comeback started with the iPod, then iPhone, the ipad. I never owned an apple product up until my iPad. Interesting thing - it actually works! It doesn't crash! No blue screen of death. No need to restart it (I restart mine about 1 every two weeks). The battery lasts for two days, where as my work laptop lasts for about 4 hours. I go to the apple store no people are friendly, know their product, and there are lots of people there to help. My point is, apple is winning not through evil corporate evilness, but providing revolutionary products that actually work. The iPhone (and subsequent followers like android) literally changed lives. Apps are designed by anyone, opposed to just large corporations. Is any of this bad? Is there a downside? Google/android are ahead of iOS in sales share, so does that mean apple is still a monopoly? No wrong answer, but curious n your opinion, as to me, apple seems to have gotten to where they are by building products that we want, and are willing to pay a premium for.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          How do I get a -2 for asking a question where I specifically say there is no wrong answer? And, with the -2, there is no wrong answer. I remember reading a story in kindle e-readers. Then they had a poll. Do you own a kindle? 55% said yes, 42% said no, and 3% 'don't know.' You people are the ones who 'don't know.'
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Or, we could listen to environmentalists: Dr. Eric R. Pianka of the University of Texas, a desert hermit and herpetologist who reportedly wrote his own Wikipedia biography as well as his own pre-obituary, told an admiring crowd of applauding students and professors that human numbers should be reduced by 90 percent. He reportedly received a standing ovation for advocating the use of the Ebola virus, saying it kills faster than AIDS. Some scientists, however, have rejected plans that call for the spread of a dangerous virus because such a method of population control could not be expected to kill more than 5 percent of humans. They say that many medical doctors and medical researchers, acting against the best interests of Mother Earth, would respond quickly to a pandemic, quarantining the sick and creating vaccines. "The worst thing that ever happened to the earth was the invention of DDT because it allowed human populations to skyrocket," environmental historian Ofun Wong of Chinese United for Life Limits (CULL) told Skinnyreporter. "DDT pretty well eliminated the insect vectors that carried yellow fever, sleeping sickness and malaria and opened up vast portions of the earth, permitting human populations to run rampant. "We're lucky that we environmentalists were able to convince the government that DDT thinned the shells of falcons because we were able to outlaw its use before carrier mosquitoes and tsetse flies were driven to extinction. Just think how bad things would be today if malaria had not been allowed to make a remarkable comeback, killing at least 102 million homo sapiens organisms." All of these points have relevant citations, and I made sure none were from Fox News, so you cannot easily say, 'biased!' So we can make up an opinion of Exxon, that they would surely deny, or we can simply listen to the words of university professors and others in the environmental arena.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        EZEE has now sunk to using the old Rushbo trick. Find some extremists and then paint the rest of the entire movement as being the same as the extremist. Gee EZEE . . . All Republicans are KKK members then too, right? *eye roll*
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          I also posted this, Spec: Although I have read Alinsky and understand the point, I do not believe in the isolate, polarize, ridicule tactics. Providing the other quotes was more of a counter point to the satire. I would assume that 99.9% of environmentalists (even Ford) would disagree with the crazies. Did you take the time to notice that, or were your eyes already rolling?
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          The KKK was all democrat, celebrated by many democrats, had Robert Byrd as a Grand Kleigel, had a film screened in the White House by Woodrow Wlson (birth of a nation) and the founder of planned parenthood traveled the country making speeches before the klan. But spec, where this commercial makes things up, I quoted actual people. Who is more wrong? Did you roll your eyes at this satire? Or is it different, because it is an attack on oil, even f patently false? Does hatred become forgiven when you perceive it to be for a good cause? I later typed this: I would never knowingly create something as an attack that would be a falsehood, not do I condone the nutcases. I would accuse no one here of being like the Texas guy who wants to wipe outmost of the population, but at the same time, whether I like Exxon or not, I wouldn't say anything stupid like this. Why inflame hatred? Did you fail to read the part where I said I would accuse no one of being like the Texas guy? I will remember your words on painting a movement as extremist, the next time I hear a newscaster say the words skinny, Chicago, apartment, are racist. I will remember that the next time Alan Grayson says I want people to die as quickly as possible, or Ed Schultz saying I want them to die o I can make money off of their corpse. I will remember how the president himself we wanted dirty air and dirty water. Roll your eyes back into your head. You are beneath contempt on this.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        The beauty of free speech is that it allows the nutcases (of any ideology) to identify themselves to us.
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Not your finest hour there mate
          lordedardstark1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          Did you condone or condemn, you were kind of ambiguous on that.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          @ lord Oh! I didn't see it that way. I would never knowingly create something as an attack that would be a falsehood, not do I condone the nutcases. I would accuse no one here of being like the Texas guy who wants to wipe outmost of the population, but at the same time, whether I like Exxon or not, I wouldn't say anything stupid like this. Why inflame hatred? Although I have read Alinsky and understand the point, I do not believe in the isolate, polarize, ridicule tactics. Providing the other quotes was more of a counter point to the satire. I would assume that 99.9% of environmentalists (even Ford) would disagree with the crazies.
          lordedardstark1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          Rather sociopathic if I do say so myself.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          So people creating quotes from Exxon is fine, but me quoting environmentalists is wrong?
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Here's more University of Texas News: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-06/texas-energy-institute-head-quits-amid-fracking-study-conflicts.html
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Alex Jones is weeping in joy, dude.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      " Exxon Hates your children " Such an ad will be hugely successful in creating controversy and attracting donations ! (after all, that's the ad's primary objective.) But what of the long term effects ? Such ad's serve little purpose except to demonize and provoke controversy that will further erode public support for environmentalism. 'Oil Change International' campaigns are always a mix of populist hatred, faulty facts and disinformation. Oil Change International is not an environmental organization, but a leftist political organization intent on subverting environmental causes for political purposes. OCI constantly attacks Western oil companies as "Evil Monopolies'' ! In contrast, OCI writes of PRC State owned oil companies, in glowing terms ! For all the well presented rhetoric, OCI never acknowledges the importance of Exxon and the oil industry to the worlds (and particularly) the US economy. OCI, is always vague about the effects of how alternate programs can be implemented (if at all) . OCI 'studies' and policy statements are so distorted that even a casual glance reveals a lack of objectivity. Slyly attributing "10 billion in subsidies" and Exxon together in the same sentence, hides the fact that the entire oil, coal and gas industries are included in that figure. Exxon could reply, "Why does OCI hate your Parents and Grandparents" ? (The oil industry is responsible for most of the Western world's retirement and Superannuation payments ! ). Convincing the general public of the reality of oil depletion and need for environmental progress is a slow, difficult process, requiring patience. Organizations like OCI, encourage sensationalist, extremists with nothing to contribute except hate mongering, and further alienation of the mainstream. Directly, or indirectly, Exxon employs hundreds of thousands of employees in the US alone. Millions of Americans rely upon the oil industry for a livelihood. These people have families. Do anyone think that by exposing exposing these people to the taunts of the sanctimonious, will promote harmony and cooperation, or just further mire environmental causes with irrelevant political dogma and divisiveness ? The oil industry is America's largest taxpayer ! Where will the funding to develop alternate energy be sourced, if the economy is destroyed ? OCI's justification for vilifying Exxcon, is based on Exxon's contribution to global warming. Yet OCI has never acknowledged, nor assisted in the campaign against Bunker Oil for shipping. Despite Bunker oil being 1000 times more pollutant than the world's total automotive fleet ! Nor does OCI care about livestock emissions of methane, which contributes more than the world's total automotive fleet. OCI, is not genuine about the planets environmental health. It's just a left-wing, political front !
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Exxon even hates your pet hamster.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Pet hamsters below the equator line will be safe. I hear that the antarctic is gaining in ice. Exxon must just hate the North half of America's pet hamsters. Besides, you won't be able to get the pet hamster owners to stop using oil anyway. They seem to love using it. Does one hate the player - or the game? that is the question.
        raktmn
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Let's examine how Exxon feels about people's pet hamsters. In June 2012, Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to “adapt”. Adapt, as in suffer from what used to be considered 100 year, 500 year, and 1000 year natural disasters every few years due to climate change. Whether it is wild fires or massive storms with flooding, lots of pets have been killed trying to "adapt" to these events. That includes pet hamsters. The CEO of Exxon acknowledges his product contributes to climate change. Climate change leads to increased natural disasters, which leads to pet hamsters and other pets dying. I'm not seeing Exxon showing much love for people's pet hamsters.
      upstategreenie
      • 2 Years Ago
      exxon hates all humans. denialists and hemi drivers and anybody shopping at mao mart ignoring starving masses of mao mart workers staying alive off of middle class tax dollars funding their health care while mao mart externalized misery and slave labor hates human and is a subhuman piece of excrement. we need to immed. invest in high speed rail and clean energy. take all oil subsidies, bailing out amtrak and post office and other bankrupt entities and fund tomorrow's jobs and energy infrastructure and do it NOW not before regular weekly superstorms!!!!! unwittingly you use SOME oil since americans can't make toothpicks or little cocktail umbrellas in 2013. it is, like, hard and stuff to DO stuff and things.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      One thing that is missing from the video - a workable alternative. Personally, I think we should be putting money into nuclear power. But if they said that, they'd lose contributions from no-nuke people. And if they endorse only solar / wind / hydro, they'll be killing more people than the oil companies, because there won't be enough of those power sources to sustain the population anytime soon. I prefer to support people who work FOR something rather than AGAINST something. Offer us a workable alternative and you may get my support; offer me a pointless rant and you get nothing.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        BTW - I'm all for free speech. So I don't think any commercial goes too far. I just think this one is pointless.
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Nuclear Power through Thorium Reactors would be a viable Nuclear Solution. - Thorium is cheap - The nuclear reactor would simply, naturally, shutdown during a power loss. - The radioactive waste has only a 300 year half life. And yet, thorium reactors are ONLY supported by the Dissidents, and the Green's, not the Corporate Lobbies. It's almost as if the Dissidents are the only ones who actually research these issues.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Newest nuclear plants: June 1996: Watts Bar 1 in Tennessee, 1,123 MW (Tennessee Valley Authority) August 1993: Comanche Peak 2, 1,197 MW (TXU Electric Co.) August 1990: Comanche Peak 1, 1,209 MW (TXU Electric Co.) August 1990: Seabrook 1 in New Hampshire, 1,247 MW (FPL Group, Inc.) January 1990: Limerick 2 in Pennsylvania, 1,134 MW (Exelon Corp.) http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/nuclear_statistics/usnuclearpowerplants/
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          you're right. shoulda said approved And I've heard there are two being built right now ?
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          @ me Wow - another -2 for asking a question. I actually wanted to know about thorium reactors, but I see emotion trumps honest discussion again. You people are pathetic. Oh look! It is EZEE! He has thoughts different from us! Different from our open minded diversity celebrating thoughts! Get him! Discredit him! Polarize him! Ridicule him! What other emotional responses can we have? Get me my copy of rules for radicals, he is not caving in to gain our approval!
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Now you are talking. As soon as it is commercially feasible, it will be done. Maybe. errrrrrrrr, there's another lil' problem: the radical-enviro-wacko-leftists haven't let us build a nuclear power plant in this country in over 30 years. But who's counting?
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Hey Ford! Can you reconcile your support of nukes, vs. the various leftist organizations that have been pushing for shutdown (successfully so) world wide? Germany, Japan, France....to name a few. Not trying to challenge you, as I am on your side on this issue, but the movement seems to be more toward shutting down plants opposed to building new ones. Personally, considering how old some are, I wouldn't mind seeing them replaced, even if new reactors are being built on the site of old ones. I would make a deal with you....we increase spending on thorium research, and give pre-approval to build the plants at various locations. This will also give the power companies a nifty profit motive... :-)
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          EZEE, you worry too much about your ratings. Seeking truth will always make enemies. I'm giving your a minus one for that.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Opposing subsidies IS working for alternatives. It's rather defeatist to say that "there won't be enough of those power sources to sustain the population anytime soon". There could be, soon enough, if, oh, I don't know, money were spent on them instead of oil subsidies (or some fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars per year spent on the military).
      RC
      • 2 Years Ago
      No it does not. I could strongly argue the ad is understated.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bravo - Fantastic - I love it. We'll see how long it takes for Exxon to use our tax-payer subsidies to hire lawyers to sue for slander.
      lordedardstark1
      • 2 Years Ago
      What about BP? I guess Exxonhatesyourchildren forgot about the BP oil spill, and all of the chaos in Iran caused by British oil companies. Satire is a very effective tool when it is not against one specific company.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X