TITLE

Why Won't Journalists Follow the Money?

AUTHOR(S)
Mintz, Morton
PUB. DATE
June 2005
SOURCE
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p17
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article criticizes the unwillingness of journalists to reveal corporate funding sources behind think tanks whose experts they quote on policy issues. It cites the case of ExxonMobil's financial backing of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and shows how reporters often quote CEI flacks on topics such as global warming without informing readers of this industry connection. The success of a propaganda campaign such as ExxonMobil's depends heavily, of course, on the cooperation--or complicity--of news organizations. Specifically, they must treat the think tanks as if they are independent, neutral, scientifically qualified, even scholarly. Unfortunately, too many news organizations have obliged too often. More bluntly, they have--knowingly and willfully--misled their readers, viewers and listeners time after time, year after year. And to the benefit not just of ExxonMobil, but also to the satisfaction of other funders of antiregulatory think tanks, such as tobacco companies, pharmaceutical houses, motor-vehicle manufacturers, and foundations funded by corporations and right-wing ideologues. No matter where think tanks are on the political spectrum, news organizations are duty-bound to signal clearly when funding sources may bias them.
ACCESSION #
17525958

 

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