Palaces For The People
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Grand Forks Herald | 09/22/2003 | Guess who's behind this propaganda?

Guess who's behind this propaganda?
Many think tanks funded by lobbyists
By Mike Casey

WASHINGTON - For years, lobbyists for big polluting industries have been developing new tools for getting their way with government officials, many of which supplement traditional campaign contributions with efforts to influence public opinion - to which public officials pay so much attention.

One such vehicle the lobbyists have developed to convince you that they are right is to set up groups that sound like neutrally positioned policy "think tanks" and membership groups, then quietly fund these groups - which then just happen to agree with and spin the lobbying agenda of the polluting industries on talk radio, on television, on the Internet and in newspaper columns. You, on the other hand, never are told on whose behalf these paid PR groups are working.

The pesticide companies, for example, know they are better off having neutral sounding and credible spokespeople do their talking for them on key environmental and public health problems. Meet the increasingly high-profile funded Hudson Institute and one of its most prominent "scholars," Dennis Avery.

Groups criticized

Late last month, hundreds of thousands

of newspaper readers across the country were presented with a long column by Avery, a "senior fellow" at the Hudson Institute. Avery actually is a former government agricultural policy bureaucrat, not a scientist. But he's been funded in recent years to be one of Hudson's 50 "scholars," whose sole job is to produce and place propaganda that sides with the industries that fund the Hudson Institute.

... Hudson bills itself as "America's premier source of applied research on enduring policy challenges." But nowhere prominent does it tell you that its funded by pesticide and chemical interests that want you to hear their side from someone else as well as them. We think people deserve to know who is doing the talking - or, at least, who is paying to have the talking done.

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