Richard Berman has been leading a national campaign to destroy teachers’ unions. His one-man organization, the so-called Center for Union Facts, has taken out full-page ads in newspapers, rented a huge billboard in Times Square, sent out mass mailings–all to claim that Randi Weingarten and teachers’ unions as a whole are responsible for low test scores. The fact that test scores are highest in the unionized states of Massachusetts, Néw Jersey, and Connecticut has not deterred his zeal to smash the unions.

Berman was recently taped boasting to executives in the energy industry about how he could help them by tarnishing their environmentalist critics. His speech was recorded and was reported in the Néw York Times and Bloomberg Business News (“Fracking Advocates Urged to Win Ugly by Discrediting Opponents”).

His speech is here at PR Watch.

This is the opening of the Néw York Times article, which summarizes his advice (and price tag):

“WASHINGTON — If the oil and gas industry wants to prevent its opponents from slowing its efforts to drill in more places, it must be prepared to employ tactics like digging up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, a veteran Washington political consultant told a room full of industry executives in a speech that was secretly recorded.

“The blunt advice from the consultant, Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, came as Mr. Berman solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance an advertising and public relations campaign called Big Green Radicals.

“The company executives, Mr. Berman said in his speech, must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public because “you can either win ugly or lose pretty,” he said.”

Richard Berman is not an expert on education, to say the least. He is a paid lobbyist for industry. He does not reveal who funds his campaigns on behalf of far-right causes. I have previously published posts about him and his tactics. In one, I described a confrontation between us at the Philanthropy Roundtable, a group of mostly conservative foundations, where he boasted of his campaign to demonize the Néw Jersey Education Association with billboards and advertising. When I challenged his “facts,” he declared, “I am a PR man, not an education researcher.”