Green Politics

Case Study: T. Boone Pickens: Celebrity, Media, and the Changing Public Attitude Towards the Environment


T. Boone Pickens has been known as a Texas oil billionaire for more than 20 years, owing his enormous success to the acquisition of oil companies in the 1980s. Until recently, he was widely perceived as a conservative fossil-fuel monger, but his radical shift towards pursuing alternative means of energy provision has caught worldwide attention.

takeover game For Pickens, making the shift from energy powered by oil to wind or solar power is not political. A staunch Republican, he has partnered with Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore to gain support for his plan to build the biggest wind farm in the world, a $10 billion undertaking that would harness enough energy to power a small city by itself. Pickens has voiced his disagreement with the current Republican agenda to open up restricted areas to oil drilling, creating a supposed fall in gas prices. Once a geologist before he became an oil tycoon, he says that the “geology just isn’t there.”

The coverage by the mainstream media of T. Boone Pickens and his shift in politics and motive for profit parallels the shift towards the coverage of ‘green,’ or environmentally friendly politics around the world. Like Pickens earlier in his career, the media focused on the endless supply of oil and the cheap goods that came with it – now, as prices rise, the media is raising questions about where the next affordable source of energy will come from.