WASHINGTON — In an internal memo sent to employees Wednesday, Al Gore's climate change organization said it stands by its digital strategy and assured staffers that the former vice president and his CEO, Maggie Fox, "are unwavering in their support of each of you and our strategy."
The memo — headed with the subject line, "Buzzfeed and the piñata" — responds directly to a BuzzFeed report Wednesday on Gore's group, the Climate Reality Project. According to a wide range of interviews and a review of the organization's tax filings, the nonprofit Gore built to revolutionize the climate change movement has diminished in size and scope since its founding seven years ago.
The memo was written by Dan Stiles, the Climate Reality Project's chief operating officer and the main spokesman for the group in the article, and sent by email to staffers Wednesday, according to a source close to the organization. BuzzFeed obtained a copy Thursday.
"AG and climate change are one of the favorite piñatas for media and easy targets for headlines," Stiles said in the memo, referring to Gore by his initials.
Stiles, calling Gore the "fearless leader" of "our fearless non-traditional efforts," did not address specific points made in the article, but did assure employees that the group's digital strategy is one they're sticking with.
"AG and Maggie have both read the article and are unwavering in their support of each of you and our strategy," wrote Stiles. "As are the Climate Leaders and others who have weighed in the comment section to the article already."
The memo says BuzzFeed agreed to "join" Gore's group for "the launch of an innovative carbon too[l]." Stiles and another staff member from the organization invited two BuzzFeed reporters to attend an upcoming Climate Reality Project event in New York, and the reporters said they would consider covering it.
A spokeswoman for the Climate Reality Project did not respond to questions about Gore's response specifically, but did clarify when asked that Stiles had "no intention of characterizing any sort of partnership with BuzzFeed as no such partnership exists."
The full text of Stiles's email reads as follows:
Subject: Buzzfeed and the piñata
I am sure many of you have read the article Buzz Feed published today about our fearless leader and our fearless non-traditional efforts. I thought I would share a few thoughts that, of course, did not make it into the article.
As many of you already know, AG and climate change are one of the favorite piñatas for media and easy targets for headlines. Always have been and always will be. In that stead, this particular piece was written with a narrative that the reporter had no interest in changing despite both GPG's and my efforts to educate them on the great work of this team. You would think Buzzfeed, of all places, would understand our approach to tackle this issue. But, alas, headlines are more important to and easier for them than writing about innovation and a community effort.
AG and Maggie have both read the article and are unwavering in their support of each of you and our strategy. As are the Climate Leaders and others who have weighed in the comment section to the article already.
So, when I invited Buzzfeed to join us this year, despite their viewpoint, to see our launch of bleeding edge digital tools like What I Love and join us again along with millions of others for 24 Hours of Reality and the launch of an innovative carbon too, I did it without any hesitation. And, they accepted.
This hasn't been done before and we're building something new together.
I can't think of anything more inspiring than the opportunity to prove a naysayer wrong. And, I hope you find that inspiring too as we head into an action packed fall.
Let's get out there and show them how its done!
This article has been updated to include a comment from the Climate Reality Project's spokeswoman.
Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ruby Cramer at email@example.com.
Evan McMorris-Santoro is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News.
Contact Evan McMorris-Santoro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.