Astroturf

Another Ghost-Written Op/ed Traced to LMG

If there's a questionable opinion column promoting a corporate viewpoint, chances are the secretive Washington DC public affairs firm LMG -- also known as LawMedia Group -- is involved. As the Center for Media and Democracy reported previously, LMG helped place a column attributed to the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he didn't write and which criticized some SCLC donors.

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Armey's Angry Renters

"AngryRenter.com looks a bit like a digital ransom note, with irregular fonts, exclamation points and big red arrows -- all emphasizing prudent renters' outrage over a proposed government bailout for irresponsible homeowners," writes Michael M. Phillips. In fact, however, "the people behind AngryRenter.com are certainly not renters.

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Featured Participatory Project: Outing Front Groups

Citizen journalism logoOften readers and citizen journalists will come across a name of a group that seems a little at odds with the policy message they are promoting. Some of these names were added to the SourceWatch page on front groups with the intention of returning to create an article on that at a later date.

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The Legion of Lobbyists Behind a "Consumer" Group

Consumers for World Trade (CWT), which describes itself as being a "network of consumers," is enthusiastic about everything from the right of the U.S. President to negotiate free trade agreements, slashing import duties and quotas on items such as footwear and apparel and opposing mandatory country-of-origin labeling. You'd be right in thinking this doesn't sound like a normal consumer group, but exactly who they are is not immediately obvious. A little digging though, reveals that CWT is just another front group trying to wrap a self-serving corporate message in a public interest name.

Canada's Canned Conservative Calls

Antique radioIf you hear pro-Conservative Party callers to radio shows in Canada, their opinions "might not be as spontaneous as they sound," reports Alexander Panetta. "Some of those apparently ad-libbed musings are actually being choreographed at the Conservative Party of Canada's national headquarters.

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Monsanto-Funded Front Group Fights Milk Labeling

A new "grassroots" farmers' group with close ties to Monsanto has been formed to outlaw labels that would notify consumers they are buying milk from cows not treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). Monsanto genetically engineers rBGH, called Posilac, which is injected into cows, forcing them to produce more milk.

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The Truth About Lying

Gawker.com, the media gossip blog, recently had a testy exchange with Richard Edelman, CEO of the giant Edelman public relations firm, after Gawker published an item which quoted an unnamed Edelman employee who reportedly advised a client, "Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie.

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