There was a story in The New York Times last October that didn’t get the attention it deserved. It was about a speech given last June in Colorado Springs to a bunch of energy executives by “Dr. Evil,” i.e., Richard Berman, the guy who does PR for pretty much every nasty industry you can name.

Berman is notorious. This Boston Globe investigation is probably the best single-serving account of his history and tactics, but you can find similarly damning stories in The New York Times, Mother Jones, 60 Minutes, and many other outlets. And you can peruse Berman Exposed, a project of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Berman’s genius lies in exploiting what is legal. If a business or industry wants to fight off a public-interest campaign — against corn syrup, say, or against fracking — it can hire PR firms itself. But that leaves it open to negative public opinion. No business wants to be the face of a controversial campaign.