The Wall Street Journal contained a fascinating article recently about an amateurish-looking two minute movie on YouTubethat has been viewed more than 59,000 times.

The subject made to look silly and boring in the media clip is Al Gore. The movie shows him droning on about global warming to a bored group of penguins, who eventually drop into slumber because of the dullness of the material.

That’s all well and good and Mr. Gore certainly is a valid target for parody and ridicule, as is any public figure.

However, a certain line is crossed when it is revealed that the person that is responsible for posting the movie – Toutsmith, who is listed as a 29 year old from Beverly Hills – is actually posting from a PC identified as being from a Washington DC-based PR and lobbying firm, DCI Group. Among DCI’s clients is the Exxon Mobil Corporation, an entity associated with global warming and its potential pitfalls.

A spokesperson from Exxon denied any involvement in the production of the YouTube clip, and DCI refused to comment on its client roster or on the work it does on its clients’ behalf.

Whether this misdirected attempt to discredit Mr. Gore’s opinion regarding the burning of fossil fuels and its impact on the environment was done at the direction of Exxon is unknown. What is clear, however, is that this is an embarrassment to DCI Group and its client, Exxon Mobil.

Technology enables more people than ever to present their opinions for public consumption and consideration. That is a tremendously liberating experience for someone with a point of view to share. However, as the aforementioned example shows, anonymous postings can come back to haunt the person who originated the material.

Transparency in presenting information – especially when representing a client – is not only suggested; it is essential.

Didn’t everyone’s mother lecture that honesty is the best policy?

No matter where technology leads us, that advice from Mom will continue to serve you well – something that some mother’s son or daughter at DCI apparently forgot.

— Patrick McLaughlin