The Path to a Pink Slip

As a reporter for Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T), a small industry trade publication, Paul Thacker discovered an entire industry built around spinning science for the purpose of confusing the public while benefiting big business. He wrote exposés documenting the tobacco and oil industry ties of Steven Milloy's, which purports to debunk bad science about issues such as global warming. He uncovered the $2.9 million media campaign behind "Project Protect," a front group for the timber industry that represented itself as an organization of concerned citizens in Oregon. But when he began writing about the Weinberg Group, an international scientific and regulatory consulting firm specializing in "product defense" for the chemical industry, he ran afoul of the American Chemical Society, which publishes ES&T. A few months later, after unearthing evidence that the White House tried to prevent scientists from speaking out about the link between climate change and the increasing strength of hurricanes, he was fired from his job.