Coal Tattoo

FACES of Coal: No … not THAT Ken Ward …

A few years ago, when I was covering the Sago Mine disaster for the Gazette, and reporting on the erosion of federal mine safety under the Bush administration, some right-wing blogger went after me, claiming that I was a Greenpeace activist disguised as a newspaper reporter and had no business covering the coal industry.

Ok, Ok … you coal industry readers say what you want about that. But I’ve never worked for Greenpeace — not now and not ever.

But, it turns out there is another Ken Ward who did.  This blogger, self-proclaimed media watchdog Tom Blumer at Newsbusters had simply looked up my name on Wikipedia and found this bio of the other guy:

Ken Ward is an environmental activist who served as Executive Director of NJPIRGGreenpeace USA, cofounder of a number of organizations, including Green Corps (Senior Trainer), National Environmental Law Center (President), Public Interest GRFX, Environmental Endowment for New Jersey, Fund for Public Interest Research and AmeriCorps Water Watch. His Response to The Death of Environmentalism, published by Grist, March 2005, has evolved into the Bright Lines project. Ward is a graduate of Hampshire College (entered F1975).

Must be the same guy, right? Well, not so much. Blumer ended up retracting his blog post, and the whole incident got written up by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, believe it or not, some folks in the environmental community, especially among the more vigorous opponents of mountaintop removal, don’t think the Gazette covers the issue enough. And I want to head off any left-wing bloggers who decide to seize upon something mentioned this week to allege some coal industry conspiracy.

Check out this post from The Wonk Room blog about the growing silliness of the new coal industry group FACES of Coal …  It’s one of several mentions out there of the group’s ties to the Washington, D.C., PR firm Adfero, and it notes:

The FACES website, which includes no contact information, is registered to the Adfero Group, a K-Street public relations firm. Adfero’s online communications arm was spun off as Fireside 21. Adfero and Fireside21 serve predominantly Republican and corporate clients.

Then, Wonk Room lists the officers of this Fireside 21 bunch, and there at the top of the list is … you guessed it:

Ken Ward, Fireside21 CEO, Is A Former Richard Pombo Staffer. Kenneth Ward, the CEO of Fireside21, served as a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to the extreme anti-environmentalist Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) until 2004. [Fireside21, Legistorm]

To be clear, I’ve never worked for Richard Pombo, or Fireside 21 or Adfero. And if you check with Bryan Brown at FACES of Coal, he’ll tell you that I certainly am not running their PR campaign.

But just for kicks, here’s that other Ken Ward’s profile:

Ken oversees all facets of Fireside21’s operations by providing strategic oversight for new projects, ongoing software development and interface design. He spearheaded the development and expanded capabilities of our Fireside Email™ and Fireside CRM™ services.

Ken’s unique blend of Capitol Hill insight and technical expertise has helped a number of our clients win Congressional Mouse Awards for excellence in online communications.

Ken earned his B.S. in Computer Science from Georgetown University and has previously served as a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary for former member of Congress.

Outside of the office, Ken enjoys golfing and sailing. A California native, Ken currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Erin, and their cats, Tack and Jibe.