In a startling plea for official censorship, Amy E. Smithson of the Henry L. Stimson Center has urged the government to "close down" web sites run by environmental organizations if they publish information about hazardous materials in local communities around the country, claiming that such information could be used by terrorists.
A New York Times story headlined "Network Coverage a Target Of Fire From Conservatives" reports that the far-right Media Research Center (MRC) is successfully attacking news media coverage of the war, especially ABC TV, for lack of patriotism. MRC is a powerful tax-exempt PR and lobby operation begun in 1987 by L.
Media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports in the latest issue of their magazine Extra! that media citations of think tanks grew 29 percent in 2000. Progressive groups, like the Economic Policy Institute, Urban Institute, and Justice Policy Institute, saw a significant increase in references to them in electronic media. Conservative and right-leaning think tanks, however, still got half of all media citations.
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."
The conservative Frontiers of Freedom Institute has petitioned the Internal Revenue Service to rescind nonprofit status for the San Francisco environmental group Rainforest Action Network (RAN). The Arlington, VA-based research and education group--funded by the John M. Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, and other right-wing foundations--has condemned RAN for being "fundamentally radical, anti-capitalist and lawless." Environmentalists worry this may have a chilling effect on activist organizations.
This piece by David Corn looks at the background of John Graham, who has been nominated by George W. Bush to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is part of the Office of Management and Budget. "The person who sits behind this desk is the regulatory czar of the entire federal government; he or she holds the power to slow down or smother public health, workplace safety, and environmental standards," Corn writes.
Private foundations are using their tax-sheltered money to influence news and entertainment media according to a Poynter Institute study. Foundations like the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust have funded journalist and media outlet with the intention to "shape" policy. "
John Graham, who has been nominated by President Bush to the top regulatory oversight position in the United States, is an an industry ally who has a long record of crusading against health, safety and environmental standards through the industry-funded Harvard Center for Risk Assessment. Public Citizen recently authored a 130-page report (available as a free PDF download) exposing his decade of efforts on behalf of the corporations that fund him.
The Center for Defense of Free Enterprise, led by anti-environmental "Wise Use" organizers Alan Gottlieb and Ron Arnold, has created this website which claims to "unmask" the Rainforest Action Network for its "ties to other radical groups," "anti-capitalist ideology" and "lawless and dangerous activities." To "unmask" Gottlieb and Arnold themselves, read the Environmental Working Group's excellent backgrounder.
Former Naderite Richard Pollock (more recently a flack for Shandwick PR and the anti-environmentalist Global Climate Information Project) has been hired as the new vice president of communications for the libertarian Cato Institute, in which capacity he plans "to be more aggressive in using communications to help Cato seize credit on issues such as Social Security privatization and school choice."