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Gold Medal: The Most Boring Conservative Press Release Wins Top Honors

Written by Gary North on August 6, 2012

In every field, there is a standout. In swimming, it is Michael Phelps. In tennis, it is the Williams sisters. In the packed field of boring press releases, there is one unquestioned master: Taxpayers for Common Sense. This has been true for years.

As expected, in this year’s Rhetorical Special Olympics, the gold medal went to TFCS.

This comes as no surprise to aficionados of press releases. Year after year, the TFCS has dazzled the PR world with its ability to turn interesting and even crucial discoveries about government malfeasance into narcoleptic masterpieces.

“Liberals try hard,” said R. Blatant Duress, a long-time Washington Beltway insider, “but they cannot get the hang of it. With Taxpayers for Common Sense representing the conservative movement, the liberals don’t stand a chance.”

The TFCS won the gold with this stellar performance. The press release began with this paragraph — the paragraph which determines whether anyone will actually read the entire press release. Here is what the reader was forced to get through.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program was created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide Treasury-backed loan guarantees for selected energy projects. These include fossil fuel technologies such as coal-to-liquid, or converting coal into a liquid fuel through the Fischer Tropsch Process, and advanced coal gasification. Several companies are actively seeking these loan guarantees and currently being reviewed by the DOE loan guarantee office for final approval.

One judge explained: “To lead off with a paragraph this long, with this little eye-catching information, is evidence of real professionalism. It usually takes ten years or more of working for a federal bureaucracy to be able to write a paragraph like this. We call this the ‘lead balloon’ factor. Rarely do we see any press release with this degree of mastery.”

Another judge said he was greatly impressed by the insertion of the utterly obscure “Fisher Tropsch Process” into the first paragraph. “Not one judge had ever heard of the Fisher Tropsch Process. Then we checked with Wikipedia. Here is what it says.”

The Fischer–Tropsch process, or Fischer–Tropsch synthesis, is a collection of chemical reactions that converts a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons. The process, a key component of gas to liquids technology, produces a synthetic lubrication oil and synthetic fuel, typically from coal, natural gas, or biomass. The Fischer–Tropsch process has received intermittent attention as a source of low-sulfur diesel fuel and to address the supply or cost of petroleum-derived hydrocarbons.

“Not one judge understood this entry. We realized that the press release was simply a masterpiece. We gave it a 16 out of 16 for obscurity.”

A third judge said that what had impressed him most was the overall impact of the press release. “It paralyzes reader interest by means of the ‘reversed hope technique.’ It offers one lure of possible interest early in the document, and then, five excruciatingly boring paragraphs later, takes this hope away. Let me demonstrate. First, the hope of interest: government waste.”

But because the Department of Energy loan guarantee program lacks basic taxpayer protections and has overall structural flaws, taxpayers stand to lose billions on risky projects. To date, the loan guarantee program has provided 30 conditional and final guarantees for renewable and energy efficiency, as well as one nuclear reactor and one uranium enrichment facility. DOE recently stated that two advanced fossil energy loan guarantees could be approved in 2012. Based on the current finalists, this would risk more than $4 billion in taxpayer funds.

“Then, five paragraphs later, we read this: no money has been committed to a single boondoggle. Not one!”

The loan guarantee authority has no expiration and has yet to be committed to any project. In 2008, DOE held a solicitation for fossil applicants. In response, eight companies applied including DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC, Christian County Generation LLC, Mississippi Gasification LLC, Indiana Gasification LLC, Baard Energy, TX Energy LLC, MEP-I LLC, and Mississippi Power Company. Since then, four companies have withdrawn.

The judge continued: “Well, which is it? Is this a standard, run-of-the-mill story on bureaucratic waste, or is it the astounding story of a government agency that has had $8 billion in the kitty for seven years, and has yet to spend a dime? The confusion factor won this press release a 15 overall. I can tell you that all of the judges were impressed.”

The judges were also impressed with summaries of four applications for government guaranteed loans that were withdrawn. Another judge explained. “For turgidity, these four sections earned at minimum rating of 14 — very high. But then there was this: none of the projects received any money. Usually, a press release from a right-wing organization hones in on wasteful spending. The document speaks of eight projects that have been considered, yet focuses entirely on four projects that have been withdrawn from consideration.”

He went on. “Do you see the brilliance of this strategy? Most press releases by right-wing organizations focus on government waste. This one focuses on the absence of any evidence of waste. We had never seen seen anything like this before. It was a tour de force.”

He gave this example of the combination of sheer turgidity coupled with irrelevance.

Eight companies applied for advanced fossil fuel loan guarantees but only four remain in the queue. From 2007 to early 2009, Baard Energy pursued a loan guarantee worth $1.2 billion for its proposed $6 billion coal-to-liquid plant near Wellsville, Ohio. The plant aimed to produce 53,000 barrels of liquid coal per day while creating 250 MW of electricity. In March 2009, facing repeated project delays and cost increases, Baard Energy was forced to withdraw their application.

“Do you see it? Not a dime was wasted by the government. The company was looking for $1.2 billion, but blew the project so badly before it received any loan guarantees from the government that it withdrew the application. Then the press release follows with three more examples, all equally turgid. Yet the stories appear in a press release on government waste. How often do you see that? We judges never do.”

Duress, cited earlier, is a long-time donor to Taxpayers for Common Sense. He said how proud he was that his money was having this kind of impact. “We conservatives are always looking for ways to spend money inside the Washington Beltway. This kind of performance is what keeps us going.”

Taxpayers for Common Sense had no comment.

To read the gold-medal press release from start to finish, click the link.

Continue Reading on www.taxpayer.net

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11 thoughts on “Gold Medal: The Most Boring Conservative Press Release Wins Top Honors

  1. One begins to wonder when you see stuff like this if there is a conspiracy after all in the media. What better way to kill a possible information source than to make it boring? 200% more effective than attacking it on the Huffington post. Fox seemed to change a couple of years ago, with their Disqus comments section first deleting your submissions if they contain non-pc words like 'black' or 'Barack Hussein'. Even though those words are used in the article you're commenting on. Now, you can't comment at all. Hey, it isn't a conspiracy – it's an attempt to eliminate the First Amendment de facto.

  2. icetrout says:

    Censorship sucks…

  3. Kind of sad that we have to tear each other up when it's really about content & conservatism period. I can go with dry if it's accurate and informative. So you may not like the authors style of writing, but at least he is a do your are a critic. Never cared for a critic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFrf59KDFY&fe

  4. I feel about the same. I try to read the TFCS reports whenever they come to me via e-mail. Yes, they can be a little boring. Yes, I'm glad these geeks are drawing attention to them, but there is no need for such sarcasm or negativity, when one considers that they are always factual and well-founded, unlike the majority of TPE's articles with flaming sensationalistic headlines that often result disappointingly light on factual content. Entertaining is good, but accuracy is an area in which Mr. North could learn a lot from TFCS, instead of working up his self-indulgent juvenile "awards"

  5. Well said Mike. Mr North needs to save his ammunition for those trying to steal our children's freedom. His sarcasm if it were focused on say Harry Reed would be not only appropriate but think of the opportunity that fool would provide, every time ol Harry opens his mouth mine falls open in disbelief.
    take a listen if you have time – my kids http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFrf59KDFY&fe

  6. I'll bet my post needs to be approved… so much for freedom of speech on your blog – I'll be letting friends know about you. You need to stop using the teaparty name. Your the problem

  7. This piece was hilarious and important. This idiotic press release is symptomatic of the whole official Right — honing in on dull and irrelevant nothingness around the edges, and all too short on real analysis of real things.

  8. Well, your post didn't need to be approved, so where's your apology? You're a "conservative" and yet you think "freedom of speech," a concept that makes sense in the context of government only, must apply to a blog? Back to Rush Limbaugh for you. He is more your level.

  9. Yes Rush is certainly more my level, you didn't get to read my post because it was not published. This man has been a critic of the Tea Party and yet uses the name for personal gain. You should stick to the Huffington post.

  10. Idylewylde says:

    Gary North .. you absolutely outdid yourself … I'm still laughing 🙂
    Very few have the courage to shine the bright ray of sunshine into the Liberal septic tank where dark and quiet things perculate, mutate, and plot against Joe the Plumber.
    I can already hear dark rumblings over your dissertation over at TFCS.

  11. USMC DAV says:

    Anything coming out of Ron Paul's mouth is NUTS.