Media reports that the US Chamber of Commerce was actually supporting a climate change tax were quickly revealed to be a hoax perpetrated by an organisation called the Yes Men.
The fake press conference took place at the National Press Club was filled with reporters where Chamber of Commerce spokesman “Hingo Sembra” was purporting to speak for Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue.
The press release stated: "The US Chamber of Commerce is throwing its weight behind strong climate legislation, a spokesman for Chamber President Tom J. Donohue announced today at the National Press Club. 'We believe that strong climate legislation is the best way to ensure American innovation, create jobs, and make sure the US and the world are on track to reduce global carbon emissions and provide for the needs of the American business community for generations to come,' said the spokesman, Hingo Sembra."
Reuters reported the press release, and media reports turned up on countless news sites, including The New York Times and Washington Post.
In the wake of high profile defections of Apple and other companies from the Chamber over the organisation's continued intransigence toward meaningful climate legislation, "Sembra" said, the Chamber had decided to do an about-face and back the bill.
“Without a stable climate, there will be no business,” he explained. “The Chamber believes that if we do not help to prepare a strong climate bill for the President, we will face a new foreclosure crisis, due once again to the shortsightedness of a few.”
In reality, the chamber has opposed most climate-change legislation, expressing concerns that it imposed too high a regulatory burden.
The hoax event was staged by the Yes Men - notorious for posing as representatives of companies and announcing policies that correct what members perceive as social or environmental injustices.
The fake press event was interrupted by real Chamber of Commerce official, Eric Wohlschlegel, who stormed into the room and denounced the Yes Men as impostors.