Al Gore's Penguin Army
Al Gore's Penguin Army is a two-minute long video posted on YouTube on May 24, 2006, spoofing Al Gore and his movie An Inconvenient Truth. There is evidence that the video is a product of astroturfing. Despite all appearances of being an amateur production, The Wall Street Journal discovered that the author of the video was using "a computer registered to DCI Group", a public relations and lobbying firm led exclusively by Republican party officials. At the time the video was made, DCI's clients included General Motors and ExxonMobil. DCI has refused to comment on its involvement with the video.
An umbrella-wielding penguin with the face of Al Gore is shown leading a group of smaller penguins into an ice cave/lecture hall. Al Gore gives a slide show presentation entitled "Overview of Global Warming". The penguins watching become bored and fall asleep. At the end of the presentation, Al Gore opens and twirls his umbrella, which has a spiral pattern. The twirling of the umbrella hypnotizes the penguins.
The scene cuts back to Gore in an ice cave/lecture hall with sleeping penguins. Al Gore states "You must take action to stop global warming", oblivious to his sleeping audience.
The last scene is of a shark leaping up in the ice cave and snatching a lone penguin, followed by the words "The End" on a black screen. Al Gore abruptly pops up and again uses his umbrella at the screen, cackling.
The video, which has a "home-made, humorous quality", was posted on YouTube by "Toutsmith," a person who identified himself as a 29-year-old from Beverly Hills. The video was released on May 24, 2006, the same date as the release of An Inconvenient Truth. The Wall Street Journal journalist Antonio Regalado noticed that, despite the amateur production values, a link to the video was the first sponsored listing when he performed a Google search for Al Gore, suggesting to him that someone was paying money to advertise this 'amateur' video. Regalado examined routing information on an e-mail sent by Toutsmith to Regalado and found that the e-mail had been sent from a computer associated with the DCI Group, in Washington, D.C..
When asked if they created the video, DCI Group responded "We do not disclose the names of our clients, nor do we discuss the work we do on behalf of our clients." The Wall Street Journal also found that sponsored links to the Al Gore video had been placed on Google, and were taken down after DCI was contacted by the Journal. The identity of the party who paid for the sponsored links remains unknown.
The Wall Street Journal consulted a professor of communications who described the spoof as "'Propaganda 101' and said: "It contains no factual information, but presents a highly negative image [of Al Gore]."
- Where did that video spoofing Gore's film come from?
- "Where Did That Video Spoofing Gore's Film Come From, by Antonio Regalado and Dionne Searcey" "Wall Street Journal"
- DCI Group "Our People" page
- Episode Two Fake Grass and the Cyber City. 23 September 2006. Retrieved 2006, September 29
- ABC News: Al Gore YouTube Spoof Not So Amateurish