Tracking The Murdoch Flock
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
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From a posting in The Catbird’s Forum:
Date Posted: 22:18:58 04/08/06 Sat
Author: Alan MacLeese
Subject: Murdoch, Coleman, Wiederhorn and MySpace
I checked into ownership of MySpace and Intermix Media Inc. in Los Angeles, and the venture funds VantagePoint and Redpoint tied to them and what do you know?
The persons behind this fire sale of Intermix Media Inc., and its bastard child, MySpace, to Rupert Murdoch are Andrew Alan Wiederhorn and his wife Tiffany, and Clarence B. (Uncle Bud) Coleman and his wife Jean; they are the powers behind the whole shooting match of the Fog Cutter bunch, all cronies, relatives, fronts, convenient names to change for people and companies.
And all this has been under the radar of the national and international press -- nobody, at least in print and tv, seems to realize the import of the MySpace money-gusher is suddenly found to be the property of the worst CEO going, and his mentor, Clarence Coleman, who has been collecting data since folks wore high-button.
Coleman, they say, is just about a nonagenarian, and he has probably has your name somewhere.
So a convicted felon and his padded shouldered gang grabbed hold of MySpace, put cabin boys up as fronts -- Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, MySpace. I am sure Chris DeWolfe is hugely competent, though, since he went to Lincoln High School with Tiffany Wiederhorn, nee Schaub, I think.
So the largest social interaction web site in the world, has had much of its wealth and worth sucked away by a guy who was chosen by New York Times man Nick Kristof as first annual Michael Eisner award for greediest CEO, getting paid millions while doing too little time at the Graybars place in Sheridan.
My awareness of the existence of Wiederhorns and Colemans came quite by odd happenstance in Hallowell, Me., where I live. My name is Alan MacLeese, and I retired after 46 years in the news business. I became aware of the fact that Andrew Wiederhorn and several members of his family set up a shell company to shuffle stolen pension funds and set it up right here in Hallowell, and nobody local ever figured that the felony for which Andrew did time was committed in Hallowell with the complicity of his brother Ted, who lives here, and several other family members.
There's more, much more, but I have been blogging with cat naps for the past ten days -- it was ten days ago that I found out that the people I had been googling last summer and fall, Coleman and Wiederhorn, had somehow managed to keep their involvement from the wider world.
Feel free to pursue this lead and feel free to quote me because I have contacted several others persons in the press and I am sure it is going to pop soon but I got a kick out of your site when I read about the Quayle-Wiederhorn connection, and thought why not give this guy a cut of this scoop.
It seems huge to me, but then I am a septuagenarian, and what do they know.
Rupert Murdoch Owns Your Soul --
The Evil Empire Buys MySpace
Youth Commentary, Nick Datesman, New America Media, Dec 01, 2005
Pacific News Service
Editor's Note: A young man says the publishing magnate's acquisition of MySpace.com, a popular social networking site, is just plain scary.
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OAKLAND – If you've ever watched television than you've probably watched something owned by media kingpin Rupert Murdoch. Why? Because Murdoch owns all kinds of American media.
Those stupid reality shows you watch? Murdoch owns them. The news you watch every morning? It could be owned by Murdoch and may be edited to fit right-wing Christian views. Murdoch also owns 175 newspapers and 35 American television stations. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. His empire also includes satellite television and magazine and book publishing that reach from the United States to the United Kingdom, Australia and Asia.
But his most recent acquisition might be the scariest. Murdoch just paid $580 million to buy something huge. The social networking Web site MySpace -- "a place for friends" -- is now owned by Murdoch.
I thought it would be a fun thing to make a MySpace page and put up some pictures and talk to some people I know, because a lot of my friends already had MySpace pages. I made my page, with the name "Negative Planetarium," a joke from an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force (if you've seen the episode than you know what it means). I put up a picture of myself and some random photos I took while on a train to Southern Cali. I filled out the little "interest" and "favorites" part of the page. Then I went and searched for some people I knew to add to my "friends" list. Surprisingly, I found tons of people I knew from middle school and high school. But I was even more surprised to see the crazy amount of Nortenos with MySpace pages. I thought that was just special. I suppose gangsters of the 21st century need to rep on the Web now.
Another big community on MySpace are these Asian import models with, like, 5,000 friends. Well not really friends, just guys who like to leave silly comments about how much they would like to have intercourse with the models.
At first I thought MySpace was created by some dude named "Tom" because he was the first "friend" I had on MySpace. But I found out that MySpace is the product of a company called Intermix, and that MySpace is one of the most popular Web sites in the universe. Anyway, the people at Intermix are having a big, phat party right now because Rupert Murdoch just gave them $580 million dollars.
Why would Murdoch want to own MySpace? Well, after that $580 mill purchase he now owns easily accessible lists of millions of people's personal information. He now knows where you live, who your friends are, what your favorite movie, color and television show is.
It all sounds kind of trivial, but in the world of marketing and advertising this kind of information is priceless. Not only will this info be used for advertising purposes, but now MySpace is also going to be a marketing place for products. Already when you sign into MySpace, instead of being taken to your own page, you are taken to a page with a ton of advertisements.
I'm starting to get paranoid that some guy in a suit will come outta nowhere and spark up a conversation with me: "Hey Nick, what's up dawg? Yo man, you check out that new Millar arc in the New X men?!" And I'll just sit there and wonder, 'How the hell this suit know my favorite comic book and that I like to be referred to as 'dawg,' like most kids from Oakland?'" Then I'll remember that bastard Rupert Murdoch owns a list of my personal likes and dislikes.
So keep in mind these key questions next time you are posting stuff on the
Web: Who will view this, who owns this and who can and WILL use this
PNS contributor Nick Datesman, 18, is a writer for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia. He is a about to graduate from Met West High School in Oakland.
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Some links of interest:
The BGH Scandals – The Incredible Story of
Jane Akre & Steve Wilson (Part 1)
PR Watch, Volume 7, No. 4, Fourth Quarter 2000
In our Second Quarter 1998 issue, PR Watch wrote about TV investigative reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, who were fired after refusing to go along with misleading alterations to their story about Monsanto's genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone.
Akre and Wilson recently won a landmark whistleblower lawsuit against the station that fired them, yet their former network continues its legal efforts to reverse the ruling and crush them financially.
In this issue, we are honored to publish Jane Akre's firsthand account of her experiences standing up to corporate and media powers that have tried to silence them.
Journalists everywhere should take a close look at this case and its implications. If the Fox network and Monsanto get away with destroying the careers of these two seasoned reporters, the same thing can happen to anyone who tries to stand up for a story that they believe in. With few resources other than the courage of their convictions, Akre and Wilson have struggled to place issues before the public that otherwise would remain hidden from view. In addition to their battle in the courts, they have used the skills they honed in the newsroom to fight back in the court of public opinion.
They have created a website ( www.foxBGHsuit.com ) that includes a downloadable video of their suppressed news story, plus court documents and other facts about their case. We encourage you to visit their website and, in light of their continuing financial struggles, to consider making a donation to their cause.
We hope that after reading their story, you will also share it with others and help get the word out. The public needs to inform itself and take action when the news media fails to do its job properly, and this is an egregious example.
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The Cost of Taking a Stand
"Today, few people recognize our faces."
by Jane Akre
After three judges, 27 months of pre-trial wrangling and five weeks of courtroom testimony, the jury finally had its say. On August 18, 2000, it awarded me $425,000 in damages for being fired by TV station WTVT in Tampa, Florida.
WTVT is a Fox station, owned by one of the richest people in the media, Rupert Murdoch. The verdict made me the first journalist ever to win a "whistleblower" judgment in court against a news organization accused of illegally distorting the news.
Notwithstanding this vindication, I have yet to collect a dime of that jury award. There is no telling how long Fox will drag out the appeals process as it seeks to have the judgment overturned by a higher court. Meanwhile, I am still out of work, as is my husband and fellow journalist Steve Wilson, who was also fired by Fox and who filed suit along with me. December 2 marked the third anniversary of our firing for refusing to falsify a news story in order to appease the powerful Monsanto Company.
You would think that our jury verdict, with its landmark significance for journalists everywhere, would spark some interest from the news media itself. Instead, the silence has been deafening. One of the biggest names in investigative reporting at one of the best network newsmagazines took a look at our case--and then decided not to do a story. Why not? It was deemed "too inside baseball." Translation: there is an unwritten rule that news organizations seldom turn their critical eyes on themselves or even competitors.
This rule is not absolute, of course. Some previous legal challenges involving the media have received heavy news coverage, including the battle between 60 Minutes and Vietnam-era general William Westmoreland; the "food disparagement" lawsuit that Texas cattlemen brought against talk-show host Oprah Winfrey; and the multi-million-dollar lawsuit brought against ABC-TV by the Food Lion grocery store chain.
All of those other lawsuits, however, involved conflicts between a news organization and some outside group or individual. Our lawsuit involved a conflict within the media, pitting labor (working journalists Steve and myself) against broadcast managers, editors and their attorneys who hijacked the editorial process in an effort to do what should never be done in investigative reporting--remove all risk of being sued or sending an advertiser packing.
By saying this is just "inside baseball," the veteran newsman who declined to cover our story was effectively siding with the owners against the players.
Prior to my firing at WTVT, I had worked for 19 years in broadcast journalism, and Steve's career in front of the camera was even longer. He is the recipient of four Emmy awards and a National Press Citation. His reporting achievements include an exposé of unsafe cars that led to the biggest-ever auto recall in America.
Today, however, we have spent three years off the air, tied up in a seemingly interminable legal battle. Few people recognize our faces anymore. Our story has circulated throughout the world via email and our website (www.foxBGHsuit.com), yet we remain curiously anonymous--so far from famous, in fact, that even Monsanto's own public relations representatives sometimes have a hard time recognizing us.
Happy Shining People
I had the opportunity to meet a couple of those industry PR people in October 2000 at the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ).
The conference brought together hundreds of environmentally conscious, mostly young journalists to Lansing, Michigan, to delve into topics such as hybrid auto technology, nuclear misdeeds, and Great Lakes pollution. Together with PR Watch editor Sheldon Rampton, I participated in a panel discussion titled "Fibbers, Spinners, and Pseudo-journalists."
The SEJ conference also featured an exhibit hall, and in an adjoining room, the biotech industry had mounted a glossy display, staffed by two representatives who stood out like a couple of well-suited salesmen at a college campus. Standing before their expensive photo kiosk depicting gold-drenched fields of harvest, they offered literature from the Council for Biotechnology Information, an industry-funded organization whose stated mission is "to create a public dialogue."
It's all part of industry's $50-million PR campaign touting the safety and benefits of genetically engineered foods. Its slick handouts at the SEJ conference reeked of the moneyed corporations they represent – Aventis, CropScience, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Monsanto and Novartis among others.
Stuck inside one of their glossy presentations was a list of ten "tenets for consumer acceptance of food biotechnology." Among the tips: "Biotechnology must be placed in context with the evolution of agricultural practices," and "Emphasize the exhaustive research over many years that led to the introduction of each new product of food biotechnology."
Also included was a list of biotech food products you've probably already consumed or used. Corn, cotton, potatoes, soybeans, and sweet potatoes were on the list, as was rBGH milk produced using Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone that is reportedly now injected into more than 30% of America's dairy herd.
Our reporting on rBGH (trade named Posilac, and also known as recombinant bovine somatotropin or rBST) was what got Steve and me fired at Fox Television's WTVT...
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We Win; Fox Spins
by Jane Akre
It's perfect. A television news organization, just found guilty of distorting the news, slants the news regarding the ruling.
The jury rendered its verdict just after five o'clock on the Friday evening of August 18. Fox WTVT ran the first story near the top of its 6 p.m. broadcast. The initial story on WTVT was a fairly straightforward report announcing to Tampa viewers that the jury had awarded me damages because the "station violated the state's whistleblower law." The news anchor announced the reason for the verdict in my favor, "because she refused to lie in that report and threatened to tell the FCC about it."
By 10 p.m., however, the Fox corporate spinmeisters had rewritten the story entirely, crafting a devastatingly embarrassing loss into "good news" for their side. "Today is a wonderful day for Fox 13, because I think we are completely vindicated on the finding of this jury that we do not distort news, we do not lie about the news, we do not slant the news, we are professionals," said Fox news director Phil Metlin, looking rather uncomfortable on camera.
Metlin's statement is at odds with the jury's own unanimous verdict as clearly stated on the official verdict form, which asks, "Do you find that Plaintiff Jane Akre has proven, by the greater weight of the evidence, that the Defendant, through its employees or agents, terminated her employment or took other retaliatory personnel action against her, because she threatened to disclose to the Federal Communications Commission under oath, in writing, the broadcast of a false, distorted, or slanted news report which she reasonably believed would violate the prohibition against intentional falsification or distortion of the news on television, if it were aired?"
"Yes," the jury answered.
If indeed Fox regards the jury verdict as "complete vindication," the network should abandon its appeals, accept the verdict, and pay up. The check would be greatly appreciated. But that will never happen, because Fox would rather show its other employees in media outlets around the world what can happen if you mess with Murdoch. They will easily spend four times our award just to make that point.
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Don't Ask, Don't Tell:
The Story We Weren't Allowed to Air
by Jane Akre
The truth is, only Monsanto really knows how many U.S. farmers are presently using their recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). The company persistently refuses to release sales figures but claims it has now become the largest-selling dairy animal drug in America. The chemical giant's secretive operations were part of what made the story of rBGH such a compelling one for me to explore as an investigative reporter.
In late 1996, my husband Steve Wilson and I were hired as investigative journalists for the Fox-owned television station in Tampa, Florida. Looking for projects to pursue, I soon learned that millions of Americans and their children who consume milk from rBGH-treated cows have unwittingly become participants in what amounts to a giant public health experiment.
Despite promises from grocers that they would not buy rBGH milk "until it gains widespread acceptance," I discovered and carefully documented how those promises were quietly broken immediately after they were made three years earlier.
I also learned that health concerns raised by scientists around the world have never been settled, and indeed, the product has been outlawed or shunned in every other major industrialized country on the planet.
Clearly, there is not "widespread acceptance" of rBGH, not in 1996 when I began my research, and not today. By any standard, it was a solid story, but little did I know that it would become the last story of my 19-year broadcast journalism career and the heart of a dispute that could nearly destroy me and my family.
Even if you ask directly, "How much of your milk comes from cows injected with an artificial growth hormone?" We discovered that you are still likely to be misled or lied to today.
Steve helped me gather and produce a TV report based on the information we discovered. The investigation began with random visits to seven farms to determine whether and how widely rBGH was being used in Florida. I confirmed its use at every one of the seven farms I visited, and then I discovered what amounted to an ingenious public relations campaign that seemed to have succeeded in keeping consumers in the dark.
Remember those Florida grocers who promised consumers that milk from hormone-treated cows would not end up in the dairy case until it achieved widespread acceptance from consumers and others? I learned that behind the scenes, those grocers and the major co-ops of Florida's dairymen had pulled the wool over the eyes of consumers with what amounted to a clever "don't ask, don't tell" policy combined with some careful wording to answer any inquiries about the milk.
In an on-camera interview, the president of one of the two giant dairy co-ops in the state said that he had written a letter to dairymen on behalf of grocers requesting that farmers not inject their cows with the artificial growth hormone. But in response to my questions, the co-op president made a startling confession. He admitted he did nothing but write the letter!
"Did the dairymen get back to you?" I asked.
"What was their response?"
"They accepted it, I guess. They didn't respond."
To this day, any consumer who calls to inquire gets essentially the same well-coordinated response from a big Florida grocer or their dairy supplier:
"We've asked our suppliers not to use it (rBGH)," they say. It is a truthful but incredibly misleading statement that nearly always produces the desired result, leading consumers to the false conclusion that their local milk supply is unaffected by rBGH use.
Even if you ask directly, "How much of your milk comes from cows injected with an artificial growth hormone?" we discovered that you are still likely to be misled or lied to today.
Steve recently made an inquiry to the dairy co-op that supplies the milk served to our daughter and her classmates in their school cafeteria.
First he was told there was "0%" artificial BGH use. Then a woman in the dairy's Quality Assurance department offered the assurance that rBGH is not used at all "as far as we know."
Pressed further, she said the co-op "does not recommend it because cows do just fine without," but ultimately admitted that the co-ops "have no authority to check whether it is or is not being used.
Steve pressed further: "Couldn't you just ask the dairy farmers who supply your milk whether or not they're injecting their cows?"
A long silence followed.
Finally, the reply: "I suppose we could, but they could just lie to us."
After nearly three months of investigation that took me to interviews in five states, we produced a four-part series that Fox scheduled to begin on Monday, February 24, 1997. Station managers were so proud of the work that they saturated virtually every radio station in the Tampa Bay area with thousands of dollars worth of ads urging viewers to watch. But then, on the Friday evening prior to the broadcast, the station's pride turned to panic when a fax arrived from a Monsanto attorney.
The letter minced no words in charging that Steve and I had "no scientific competence" to report our story. Monsanto's attorney described our news reports, which he had ostensibly never seen, as a series of "recklessly made accusations that Monsanto has engaged in fraud, has published lies about food safety, has attempted to bribe government officials in a neighboring country and has been 'buying' favorable opinions about the product or its characteristics from reputable scientists in their respective fields."
And to make sure nobody missed the point, the attorney also reminded Fox News CEO Roger Ailes that our behavior as investigative journalists was particularly dangerous "in the aftermath of the Food Lion verdict." He was referring, of course, to the then-recent case against ABC News that sent a frightening chill through every newsroom in America.
The Food Lion verdict showed that even with irrefutable evidence from a hidden camera, documenting the doctoring of potentially unsafe food sold to unsuspecting shoppers, a news organization that dares to expose a giant corporation could still lose big in court.
Confronted with these threats, WTVT decided to "delay" the broadcast, ostensibly to double-check its accuracy. A week later after the station manager screened the report, found no major problems with its accuracy and fairness, and set a new air date, Fox received a second letter from Monsanto's attorney, claiming that "some of the points" we were asking about "clearly contain the elements of defamatory statements which, if repeated in a broadcast, could lead to serious damage to Monsanto and dire consequences for Fox News."
Never mind that I carried a milk crate full of documentation to support every word of our proposed broadcast. Our story was pulled again, and if not dead, it was clearly on life support as Fox's own attorneys and top-level managers, fearful of a legal challenge or losing advertiser support, looked for some way to discreetly pull the plug.
The station where we worked had recently been purchased by Fox, and we soon discovered that the new management had a radically different definition of media responsibility than anything we had previously encountered in our journalistic careers.
As Fox took control, it fired the station manager who had originally hired us and replaced him with Dave Boylan, a career salesman devoid of any roots in journalism and seemingly lacking in the devotion to serving the public interest which motivates all good investigative reporting.
Kill The Story, Kill the Messenger
Dave Boylan, station manager at Fox WTVT, asked, "What would you do if I killed your rBGH story?"
Not long after Boylan became the new station manager, Steve and I went up to see him in his office. He promised to look into the trouble we were having getting our rBGH story on the air, but when we returned a few days later, his strategy seemed clear.
"What would you do if I killed your rBGH story?" he asked.
What he really wanted to know was whether we would tell anyone the real reason why he was killing the story. In other words, would we leak details of the pressure from Monsanto that led to a coverup of what the station had already ballyhooed as important health information every customer should know?
It was suddenly and unmistakably clear that Boylan's biggest concern was the concern of every salesman, no matter what product he peddles: image. He understood that it could not be good for the station's image if word leaked out that powerful advertisers backed by threatening attorneys could actually determine what gets on the six o'clock news--and what gets swept under the rug.
Boylan was in a jam. If he ran an honest story and Monsanto's threatened "dire consequences" did materialize, his career could be crippled. On the other hand, if he killed the story and the sordid details leaked out, he risked losing the only product any newsroom has to sell: its own credibility.
To resolve this dilemma, Boylan devised the sort of "solution" that you might expect from a salesman. He offered us a deal. He would pay us for the remaining seven months of our contracts, in exchange for an agreement that we would broadcast the rBGH story in a way that would not upset Monsanto.
Fox lawyers would essentially have the final say on the exact wording of our report, and once it aired, we were free to do whatever we pleased – as long as we forever kept our mouths shut about the entire ugly episode.
As journalists, Steve and I wanted to get the story on the air more than anything. A buyout, no matter how attractive, was out of the question. Neither of us could fathom taking money to shut up about a public health issue that absolutely and by any standard deserved to see the light of day.
The remainder of 1997 was a tense standoff, with the station unwilling to either kill the story or to run it. Fox attorney Carolyn Forrest was sent in to review our work, with a mandate from Fox Television Stations President Mitch Stern to "take no risk" with the story.
"Taking no risk" meant cutting out substance, context and information. Boylan told us to "just do what Carolyn wants" with the story, but what Carolyn really wanted to do was destroy it.
We rewrote the story, rewrote it, and rewrote it again, trying to come up with a version that would both remain true to the facts and satisfy the station's concerns about airing it.
Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes
Monsanto hadn't stopped with the threatening letters.
In January, I had interviewed Roger Natzke, a dairy science professor at the University of Florida. Everything had gone well. We got a tour of the "Monsanto dairy barn" at the Gainesville dairy compound where Posilac had been tested in the mid-1980s. Natzke gave the product a glowing report and admitted he promoted its use to farmers through Florida's taxpayer- supported agriculture extension offices....
Natzke must have forgotten about this relatively pleasant exchange when, one month later, he called the station to complain about my reporting techniques. "She's not a reporter" was part of the phone message submitted to my boss alongside the words "St. Simon's Island."
What does that mean? I asked.
The assistant news director, apparently not seeing any connection or conflict, told me that Natzke had just returned from a weekend at the island resort with Monsanto officials.
The same week that Natzke called and the Monsanto threat letters arrived, Florida farmer Joe Wright wrote a complaint letter to the station. This time we were not shown the correspondence. Only in the light of our lawsuit did the station have to produce it in "discovery" one year later.
The pieces of the puzzle behind the Monsanto pressure began falling into place. Wright, who had spent five minutes on the phone with me a month earlier, informed the station that "Ms. Acre's (sic) work is gaining notoriety in our dairy industry.... The word is clearly out on the street that Ms. Acre is on a negative campaign based on everyone's assessment of the numerous interviews she has already conducted."
Wright had reached these conclusions after attending the 22nd Annual Southern Dairy Conference in Atlanta, a "Who's Who" of the dairy industry where our report was the topic of intense discussion.
Following the conference, he went to Dairy Farmers Inc., a dairy promotion group, which helped draft his letter of complaint to my employers and discussed filing a food disparagement suit against the station should the story air.
Behind the scenes, a much more stealthy attack on us and our story was launched by the Dairy Coalition, a pro-rBGH group formed around the time of Posilac's FDA approval.
Its director, Dick Weiss, took a call from Steve in 1998 and--not realizing exactly who Steve Wilson was--bragged that the Dairy Coalition had "swamped the station" with all sorts of pressure to have the story killed.
As he recounted the story, Weiss laughed like a college kid who had just pulled the best prank in the frat.
Getting the Boot
Nearly a full year passed as we wrangled over this important public health story. After turning down the station's buyout offer, we ended up doing 83 rewrites of the story, not one of which was acceptable according to Fox lawyers, who were fully in charge of the editing process.
"It was like being circus dogs jumping through hoops," Steve said.
At the first window in our contracts, December 2, 1997, we were both fired, allegedly for "no cause." However, an angry Carolyn Forrest made a major legal mistake when she wrote a letter spelling out the "definite reasons" for the firing, and characterizing our response to her proposed editorial changes as "unprofessional and inappropriate conduct."
But as Steve commented when he read the letter, just what is the "professional and appropriate" response that reporters should make when their own station asks them to lie on television?
On April 2, 1998, we filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Fox Television. Under Florida state law, a whistleblower is an employee, regardless of his or her profession, who suffers retaliation for refusing to participate in illegal activity or threatening to report that illegal activity to authorities.
We contended that we were entitled to protection as whistleblowers, because the distortions our employers wanted us to broadcast were not in the public interest and violated the law and policy of the Federal Communications Commission.
Three months after we were fired and six weeks after we filed our lawsuit, the station finally got around to airing an rBGH story, filled with many of the same lies and distortions that Steve and I refused to broadcast. The reports, aired by a young and inexperienced reporter, looked to us like nothing more than damage control instigated by Fox attorneys.
For more poop on Monsanto, GO TO > > > The Biotech Birds
Who Is the Dairy Coalition?
by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber
Created by the PR and lobby firm of Capitoline/ MS&L with funding from the National Milk Producers Federation, the Dairy Coalition is composed of business, government and non-profit groups, including university researchers funded by Monsanto as well as other carefully selected "third party" experts.
Dick Weiss, director of the Dairy Coalition, now works with former Monsanto rBGH lobbyist Carol Tucker Foreman at the Consumer Federation of America.
Dairy Coalition participants include:
The International Food Information Council, which calls itself "a non-profit organization that disseminates sound, scientific information on food safety and nutrition to journalists, health professionals, government officials and consumers."
In reality, IFIC is a public relations arm of the food and beverage industries, which provide the bulk of its funding. Its staff members hail from industry groups such as the Sugar Association and the National Soft Drink Association, and it has repeatedly led the defense for controversial food additives including monosodium glutamate, aspartame (Nutrasweet), food dyes, and olestra.
The American Farm Bureau Federation, the powerful conservative lobby behind the movement to pass food disparagement laws like the one under which Oprah Winfrey was sued in Texas.
The American Dietetic Association, a national association of registered dietitians that works closely with IFIC and hauls in large sums of money advocating for the food industry. Its stated mission is to "improve the health of the public," but with 15 percent of its budget--more than $3 million--coming from food companies and trade groups, it has learned not to bite the hand that feeds it.
"They never criticize the food industry," says Joan Gussow, a former head of the nutrition education program at Teachers College at Columbia University.
The ADA's website even contains a series of "fact sheets" about various food products, sponsored by the same corporations that make them (Monsanto for biotechnology; Procter & Gamble for olestra; Ajinomoto for MSG; the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers for fats and oils).
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, representing the top executive of every department of agriculture in all 50 states.
The Grocery Manufacturers of America, whose member companies account for more than $460 billion in sales annually. GMA itself is a lobbying powerhouse in Washington, spending $1.4 million for that purpose in 1998 and currently-funding a multi-million-dollar PR campaign for genetically engineered foods. *
The Food Marketing Institute, a trade association of food retailers and wholesalers, whose grocery store members represent three fourths of grocery sales in the United States.
PR Watch is a publication of the Center for Media & Democracy
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MORE TO COME
For more poop on the Murdoch flock, GO TO > > >
Freedom To Sing
Parrots in the Newsroom
Conrad Black: The Dark Side
The Kissinger of Death
Woo vs. Harmon: Witness Rupert Murdoch
MORE OF THE CATBIRD’S FAVORITE LINKS
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Last updated August 20, 2007, by The Catbird