The leader of a GOP-affiliated group said Wednesday it does in fact track environmentalist Bill McKibben at public events, but not at his house or at the grocery store.
“Mr. McKibben implies that my group, America Rising Squared, would somehow monitor his family at nonpublic events such as at a funeral or at an airport. Not so,” Brian Rogers, the executive director at American Rising Squared (AR2), wrote in a letter to The New York Times’ editors.
Rogers’ letter was in response to an Aug. 6 editorial written by McKibben claiming that trackers with AR2 hound him throughout his day, following him to the grocery store and when he’s out-and-about running errands.
“In one series, my groceries are being packed into plastic bags, as I’d forgotten to bring cloth ones. In other shots, I am getting in and out of … cars,” McKibben wrote. “Sometimes I see the cameraman, sometimes I don’t. The images are often posted to Twitter, reminders that I’m being watched.”
The co-founder of the ultra-anti-fossil fuel group 350.org called being watched a “never-ending nightmare” and compared being filmed by the group to the swift boating of Secretary of State John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election.
Rogers refuted McKibben’s claims, calling the environmentalist’s implication that he bailed on his best friend’s funeral service out of fear AR2 would horn in on the service bogus.
“My group tracks only campaign-style events that are open to the public,” he noted. “Our footage of Mr. McKibben in a church pew was taken at an open political forum, not a religious service.”
AR2 also called members of McKibben’s 350 Action “despicable” for chasing after Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte while she was running a 5K in New Hampshire.
His group posted a video on YouTube titled, “Kelly Ayotte Can’t Run From Her Trump Problem,” along with a description, stating: “350 Action made clear that Kelly Ayotte can’t support for a climate denying racist while pretending to be a ‘green’ candidate.”
Rogers, for his part, told reporters on Wednesday that the incident reeks of hypocrisy, considering McKibben’s supposedly heartfelt belief that public figures should not be tracked in public.
“This episode proves how disingenuous and hypocritical Mr. McKibben really is – complaining about tracking his own public political events one day, and then videotaping his goons running after a United States Senator the next,” Rogers said.
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