The Center for Science in the Public Interest has joined a number of other health and science leaders in questioning the integrity of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (RTP), a "seemingly independent scientific journal" that hides "its authors' and editors' extensive financial ties to tobacco, chemical, pharmaceutical, and other industries. ... [M]any RTP papers are written by scientists from industry labs or by industry-paid lawyers and lobbyists.
Alessandra Stanley writes in today's New York Times: "The revelation that Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, the self-proclaimed fair and balanced news channel, secretly gave advice to the White House after the Sept. 11 attacks was less shocking than it was liberating -- a little like the moment in 1985 when an ailing Rock Hudson finally explained that he had AIDS. Ever since Mr. Ailes changed jobs from Republican strategist to news executive, he has demanded to be treated as an unbiased journalist, not a conservative spokesman.
"Embarrassing public disclosures about Citigroup threaten to complicate final negotiations aimed at cleaning up tainted Wall Street research and stock-offering practices," reports Thor Valdmanis.
Getting caught in a scandal isn't necessarily bad for a public official's career these days. "Many in business - as well as old Washington hands - who have had their names tarnished and reputations sullied have discovered that there is life in the private sector after public disgrace, and a potentially profitable one at that," reports Leslie Wayne. "Many corporations are willing to overlook an ethical lapse or a subpar performance and put those with Washington expertise on their boards, to use them as lobbyists or to make them partners in business deals." For example:
"Gordon Andrew, who has held top communications posts at Prudential and Travelers Group, is handling the press for former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow, who was indicted on 78 counts of fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice," reports O'Dwyer's.
Guthrie/Mayes PR is helping the Archdiocese of Louisville handle its sex abuse crisis. Eight of the Archdiocese's 182 priests have been "permanently removed" from their ministries. Other clients of Guthrie/Mayes include Philip Morris, Toyota, Eli Lilly and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.
A series of influential studies purporting to show that federal regulation is broadly irrational are based on data that is highly misleading and frequently manufactured to fit a preconceived point of view, according to an investigation by Richard Parker, a law professor at the University of Connecticut.
On October 9, Microsoft posted a testimonial on its Web site called "Confessions of a Mac to PC Convert." It was a first-person account by a "freelance writer" about how she had fallen in love with Windows XP. "I was up and running in less than one day, Girl Scout's honor," said the attractive, woman in the photo. "There was only one problem: She doesn't exist," writes David Pogue. "A with-it member of Slashdot.org, the popular hangout for articulate nerds, happened to notice that the woman's picture actually came from GettyImages.com, a stock-photo agency.
Hollywood is making a movie about Stephen J. Glass, one of the most notorious frauds in the recent history of journalism. Formerly a hot star at The New Republic, Glass was fired after he was caught fabricating events, people and whole news stories. Given the nature of their subject matter, the filmmakers say they tried extra hard to make their movie stick to the real facts about Glass. Nevertheless, the film contains invented scenes and dialogue, composite characters, and a fictional news intern.
Enron CEO Ken Lay and Global Crossing CEO Gary Winnick are both claiming that they knew nothing about the billion-dollar shortfalls, deceptive accounting and other problems at their companies. Experts say ignorance is a "potentially effective legal strategy," even though "you should expect chairmen to be aware of major factors affecting the business." After all, isn't that why they pay them the big bucks?