Over the last few days, I’ve had a thread going in my noontime posts about bloggers and their influence on national issues. On Tuesday I alluded to one particular person who sent me an e-mail unsolicited and represents an organization which has goals that are reflected closely by what I write. At the time, I decided not to reveal her name or organization but then I saw another post where she was referred to by name. That made it obvious that she wouldn’t mind too much if I did the same.
The “she” in question is Jane Van Ryan and she works for the American Petroleum Institute. In this video, she asks a number of people their opinions on additional drilling for oil:
Admittedly, I’m sure that’s not all of the responses they received and some weren’t camera-suitable, but the polls do suggest that opinion is on the side of her organization.
Since I had her ear (or in this case eye since I e-mailed her), I also asked her about the impact bloggers have had on her organization:
To answer your question, API has had 327 blog hits since we started corresponding with bloggers about a year ago, and my name has been mentioned on blogs about 160 times. There is an important reason for our outreach: We believe the US will never have a sound energy policy until the American public understands energy – what it is, where it comes from, and why it’s essential to our way of life and standard of living. Our online efforts are aimed at providing facts, not rhetoric, about energy so people can make their own decisions about what makes sense for America.
Since her group represents the people of the American oil and gas industry and one reason I’ve harped on the subject of exploring for domestic resources is the true economic stimulus that would be triggered if oil and gas companies would be allowed to use their profits to create thousands of good-paying jobs in both extraction and refining of crude oil and natural gas, the two of us would have a mutually beneficial relationship if she alerts me to content I find interesting and worthwhile to share and in turn that content brings my readers a better understanding of their point of view.
It’s why I have a number of e-mail sources that I go through. Most of the time there’s something I can use; in fact, if I didn’t already have a full-time gig that pays me pretty well I certainly could find the time to post several times a day just sharing and commenting on those items I do get. In the last month I’ve used material from a number of advocacy groups besides API, such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions, the Center for Immigration Studies, Vets for Freedom, and Nozzlerage.com. For the most part, I agree with what these groups seek in terms of policy and in turn they’re seeking exposure. (Of course, if they wanted more constant exposure I also accept advertising!) And this didn’t count the overtly political items I also get from the Maryland GOP and Andy Harris’s Congressional campaign.
So perhaps I’ve let out the dirty little secret of blogging – it’s really hard to find original thought. Most of what we do is reaction to either events performed by or opinions of others. I’m probably more adept at adding my opinion to a given piece of information than most (and not just simply reprinting a press release), but the information still has to come to my attention for me to comment on it. It’s sort of like the old parable about a tree falling in the woods – if I don’t see it I’m not going to write about it. And considering that my website is my hobby/obsession, having nothing to write about would be like a chain smoker trying to quit cold turkey. It was a nice little vacation I had recently, but I was ready to get back in more ways than one. Lucky for me nice folks like Jane Van Ryan give me more than enough to comment about.
In the preview, the video wasn’t working properly, so here’s a link just in case.
I think there’s an embed issue again. The embed issue is fixed as you can tell, I had to trick WordPress into taking the HTML text properly.