Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chevron’s Favorite Blogger, Zennie Abraham:  

Is He On The Chevron Payroll Or Just A Punk for Corporate Interests?
 Should The San Francisco Chronicle Disclose Zennie’s Conflict of Interest?

Zennie Abraham, a San Francisco-based blogger who has been quick to judge other people’s “ethics” around seemingly unrelated controversies, may have his own ethical, if not, legal problems, a source tells The Chevron Pit.

Zennie Abraham

Out of respect for the source’s wishes, we won’t repeat the details of his problems now but, when made public, they may end Zennie’s bizarre association with many Bay Area companies that he defends and praises in his online rants, including the country’s third largest corporation, Chevron.

Chevron has a long and sordid history with writers, like Zennie, pretending to be something they are not so Chevron can circulate its deceptions about the company’s intentional contamination of the Ecuadorian rainforest. Just recently a pro-Chevron blogger, Alex Thorne, tried to pass himself off as a serious journalist by emailing pro-environment groups questions about their funding. He recently closed down his blog because of the controversy. And, then there was the classic Chevron stunt of trying to pay a real journalist $20,000 to spy on sick Ecuadorians to determine if they really had illnesses. She declined and then wrote about it! And, we can’t forget Chevron’s hiring a former CNN anchor to fake a newscast sympathetic to the company.

As for Zennie, he has been throwing Google bombs our way for years. His blogs are predictable and usually worth ignoring.

But, our source’s latest bit of news motivated us to take a closer look at Zennie’s blogs, which on the surface appear to be this random selection of Bay Area controversies mixed in with sports news and inappropriate videos of women.

After about 15 minutes of playing mix and match online, it wasn’t hard to figure out the common denominator: Sam Singer.

Sam Singer, a San Francisco public relations executive, promotes himself as “The Fixer” and lists a number of corporate clients on his web site that he has “fixed” things for, including Chevron and, oddly enough, The San Francisco Chronicle which, by the way, runs Zennie’s blog regularly on its City Brights site.

Sam Singer

Singer came to our attention in 2008 when Chevron retained him to smear the highly-respected Goldman Foundation and its award of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize to Luis Yanza and Pablo Fajardo, two Ecuadorian leaders in the effort to cleanup the contamination that Chevron left behind in the rainforest.

For the most part, Singer didn’t have much luck with his smear campaign, but Zennie came to his rescue scoring critical blogs about the two award-winning Ecuadorians and many other blogs related to their lawsuit against Chevron.

Zennie has come to Singer’s rescue of his corporate clients many times before and since:

Singer also represents the California Pacific Medical Center. Zennie writes favorably about the California Pacific Medical Center.

Singer also represents Page Mill Properties. Zennie writes favorably about Page Mill Properties.

Singer also represents Recology. Zennie writes favorably of Recology.

Singer also represents Calpine. Zennie writes favorably of Calpine.

We quickly grew weary, mixing and matching Singer’s client list with Zennie’s blogs, but you get the picture.

Zennie disavows any financial relationship with Singer or his clients, saying he simply believes in these companies’ positions. As you might have guessed by now, we don’t believe him.

We are not the only ones either. San Francisco’s alternative online newspaper, Beyond Chron: The Voice of the Rest, was the first to notice.

We would encourage the other San Francisco newspaper, The Chronicle, to require Zennie to disclose his relationship with Singer and his clients, given that Zennie has no other explanation for this odd alignment of interests other than “coincidence.”

And, based on our sources, The Chronicle may want to take a closer, “ethical” look at one of their most prolific bloggers before they, too, have some explaining to do.