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Smearing conservative writers

By Alan Caruba
web posted January 30, 2006 

In a directory of folks who routinely attack environmental propaganda, I am identified as "a public relations advisor and a vitriolic critic of environmentalism." Source Watch is a project of the Center of Media & Democracy, a left-wing organization that devotes a lot of time to attacking the public relations profession in general and conservative writers in particular.

My friend Michael Fumento is also listed on Source Watch. The information about him has been updated to include notice that Scripps Howard News Service recently dropped Fumento's column. This decision was based solely on the fact that, back in 1999, Monsanto provided a grant to the Hudson Institute to pay his salary while he wrote "BioEvolution", published by Encounter Books. Courageous journalists that they are, Scripps dropped Fumento without even contacting him to determine the truth or falsity of the claim of bias leveled against him in a Business Week column.

Suffice it to say that even writers need to eat and pay the rent. Nothing he wrote in his book has ever been disputed as to its accuracy. Frankly, it is an excellent look at the way biotechnology is doing great things to insure that millions do not die needlessly from starvation, how biotech is enhancing the health and lifespan of people, and how it reduces the need for pesticides to protect crops.

All of which is to say that the Business Week attack on Michael Fumento has nothing to do with his ethics and everything to do with a leftist attack intended to smear his reputation and hopefully remove a leading critic of environmentalism and other manifestations of dubious science intended to frighten people. His writings on science and health topics are models of clarity about complicated issues. They also tend to debunk the "junk science" that passes for environmental gospel.

The Center identifies itself as "a non-profit, public interest organization that strengthens participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda, and by promoting media literacy and citizen journalism." When its staff writes about "ecological sustainability" or "economic justice", you can be sure they do not regard it as "spin."

One of the ways the Center counters "propaganda" is by underwriting books like Mad Cow U.S.A. despite the fact that there has never been a case of this disease in the U.S.A. Another book is Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq, a nation that is currently putting together a new government after more than three decades of Saddam Hussein's psychopathic despotism.

The Center presumably checks its facts, but its description of me on SourceWatch.org says, "Caruba maintains several web sites", citing Caruba.com, AnxietyCenter.com, and Bookviews.com. It then lists Boringinstitute.com, the site for a media spoof I created in 1984 that hasn't been on the Internet since 2004.

Three other sites are attributed to me: Yearbook.com, NewsReleaseWire.com, and ExpertClick.com. However, these sites are the property of a Washington, DC firm called Broadcast Interview Source. I do not own or "maintain" them. Every day journalists use these sites to find experts on topics about which they are writing and I am listed as one of those experts. Had they bothered to actually go to any of those sites, Source Watch would have known this. It's called fact checking.

And who funds folks like those at Source Watch or any of the myriad of environmental organizations? The answer is left-wing foundations like Ford, Rockefeller, and MacArthur, as well as unions, trade associations, companies, and activist organizations that seek a competitive edge or want to influence public policy.

Funding also comes from a gullible public that has been intensely propagandized to believe that global warming is something other than a normal climate cycle. These are the same people who are constantly told by the mainstream media, in league with environmental and other groups, that everything and anything is going to kill them despite ample evidence that Americans are living longer, healthier lives than ever before in the history of the world.

My first job after finishing my U.S. Army service was as a reporter for a small, weekly New Jersey newspaper. Three months later I was its editor. About a year after that I became a feature writer and columnist for a daily newspaper. This experience taught me the basic standards of journalism. "If your mother says she loves you, check it out!"

Later, as a public relations counselor, I was afforded the opportunity to travel all over the United States throughout the 1980s as part of a program about the uses and benefits of pesticides and herbicides. My client was a company that was later forced to withdraw its product when the Environmental Protection Agency insisted that it repeat its multi-million dollar registration process for an insecticide that was literally applied with nothing more toxic than water!

In 1990 I founded The National Anxiety Center as a clearinghouse for information about "scare campaigns" designed to influence public opinion and policy. The Center has always been paid for out of my own pocket and by occasional donations from people who want to support what I do.

When the mere accusation of impropriety is enough to harm the reputation of a writer like Michael Fumento then you can bet the leftists are going to use this tactic against anyone who has the audacity to call them the worst kind of propagandists. Fumento has been a professional writer since 1986 and, unable to attack his facts, character assassination is the order of the day.

Am I "spinning" you? No. Any public relations professional worth his pay will tell you that the only thing that works is the truth. You can check it out!

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © 2006, Alan Caruba


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