Activists snare media with Chamber of Commerce hoax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An activist group seeking to draw attention to the debate over climate change policy staged a hoax on Monday, posing as representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Yes Men group issued a press release and held a news conference at the National Press Club, purporting that the business group had decided to support climate change legislation currently before the U.S. Congress.

A spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce broke into the news conference, alerting media to the hoax, but Reuters and other outlets had already issued reports.

The Chamber said it would ask police to investigate.

“Public relations hoaxes undermine the genuine effort to find solutions on the challenge of climate change,” Thomas Collamore, a spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

“These irresponsible tactics are a foolish distraction from the serious effort by our nation to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Reuters issued a correction to its report as soon as it confirmed the hoax and subsequently withdrew the story and sent an advisory to readers.