Corporations

Cooptation or Cooperation? Chemical Industry Helps Fund National Research on Chemicals

The American Chemistry Council, the trade association of the chemical industry, has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences "to improve testing chemicals for potential human developmental and reproductive effects," according to a July 26 NIEHS press release.

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Hatchet Politics

The Boise Cascade Corp. is targeting the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the environmental group that has gotten major companies to stop buying wood from the remaining old-growth forests. Boise Cascade is working with two industry-supported front groups, the Frontiers of Freedom Institute and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, trying to get the IRS to cancel RAN's tax-exempt status and to pressure its funders to cut off the group's money.

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Sunday Political Shows Ignore Corporate Power

The Sunday morning political talk shows shut out issues related to corporate power. That is the primary conclusion of a new report issued by Essential Information, a Ralph Nader founded organization based in Washington, DC. A quantitative analysis of transcripts broadcast over a period of eighteen months from four talk shows -- The McLaughlin Group, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week -- found that topics related to corporate power -- such as the environment, corporate welfare, and free trade -- make up less than 4% of the shows' discussion topics.

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Business Pushes For Increased Power Production

The San Francisco Chronicles reports, "Big oil and energy firms are contributing heavily to political parties and pouring millions into expensive ads to boost their interests, hoping to swing support behind President Bush's embattled energy plan, a new study shows." The paper cites a study released by the Washington-based watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics, which shows how business and industry are bankrolling large ad campaigns to influence the political process.

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"Hey Jack, Clean Up The Hudson" Says O'Dwyer's Editor

Kevin McCauley, editor for PR trade publication O'Dwyer's PR, calls on General Electric CEO Jack Welch to dredge up the company's PCBs in the Hudson River. Welch has adamantly opposed GE cleaning up the Hudson and denied a relationship between exposure to PCBs and cancer. The company has had success in creating opposition to dredging by bankrolling PR and ad campaigns. However, McCauley says, GE could get a big image boost "if Welch switched course and said: 'GE wants to be the country's No. 1 environmental citizen. We will dredge the Hudson River.'"

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Propaganda: Industry Spoof of Lorax

An timber-industry sponsored children's book has been modeled on Dr. Seuss's "Lorax." The book, titled "Truax," by Terri Birkett was funded by the Hardwood Forest Foundation and the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association. Four hundred thousand copies of "Truax " have been distributed to elementary schools nationwide.

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Cold War Rhetoric Fuels Global Warming

Daniel J. Popeo, a former Nixon and Ford staffer, founded and runs the heavily corporate-funded Washington Legal Foundation, one of many business front groups smearing serious health and environmental concerns as "junk science." In its June 9 New York Times advertisement (p. A19) Popeo employs his trademark hysterical McCarthy-era Cold War rhetoric to accuse environmentalists of conspiring with "envious foreign competitors and international bureaucrats" to destroy the American economy and "satisfy an ideological agenda."

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Microsoft Front Group Applauds Pro-Microsoft Court Ruling

The Association for Competitive Technology, which was created and funded by Microsoft to defend its interests against charges of antitrust violations, has applauded last week's appeals court ruling reversing the order to break up Microsoft. "From the outset of this trial, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) has consistently argued that preserving the right of a company to add features to their products is the central issue in this case," states an ACT news release.

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Corporate Cash and Campus Labs

The credibility of university research is on the line as corporations step up their funding. One issue is academic freedom. Corporations that fund university research often demand the right to control what scientists can say publicly about their work. "They're like bullies in a sandbox who take away their toys when you don't agree with them," says David Kahn, a researcher at the University of California-San Francisco who was sued for $10 million by the company that sponsored his study, after he published a report that the AIDS drug he was testing was ineffective.

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