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Fossil fuel 'influencers' add new twist to old game of paid promotions

(A native of England, veteran journalist Matthew Diebel has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent much of his childhood next to one of the world’s fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)

Made in the shady: The fossil fuel industry’s ‘influencers’

Ever since I first heard it, I’ve been both fascinated and repelled by the word “influencers.” As a skeptical journalist who hopes he’s not easily persuaded, the moniker has an ickiness about it that leaves one with the impression that many people are gullible.

The term appeared on the scene a few years ago and usually meant some beauteous celebrity or social media star pushing a particular perfume or party dress. OK, not such a big deal, even when, as my son does, you spend hundreds of dollars annually on sneakers touted by one hotshot or another.

But now the somewhat insidious salespersonship has come to the matter of climate change, with millions being paid to influencers to promote fossil fuels. And it turns out it’s a shady business in more ways than one…

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