Sunday, 27 December 2020

The corrupted tobacco economist network Part 55 - The final turn in astroturfing

 Overview of previous posts here

The tobacco industry had a long history of setting up astroturf organizations. But something would change in the way the industry astroturfed: the focus shifted from attacking the EPA on its tobacco viewpoints, to attacking everything the EPA did, hoping to create general mistrust against anything the EPA and "the government" concluded on any imaginable environmental problem. Let's first have a look at the 'old style' astroturfing.

Center for indoor air research

Founded in 1988, the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR) was a fake organisation set up by the tobacco industry  as illustrated by the minutes of a meeting held by the Executives of the Tobacco Institute

CIAR was dismantled as part of the Tobacco master settlement agreement (1988).

The industry used CIAR as a tool to hide the involvement of the tobacco industry, so the industry would be able to create a bigger network. John P. Rupp of PR-firm Covington and Burling wrote

The industry palyed it clever and never tried to alter the research results of the grantees. Nevertheless, it was clear the research results had to benefit the tobacco industry: 

The important thing to remember is that at the time the industry was working on one single issue, in this case ETS. This was the problem for groups like CIAR, as this one-sided approach easily led to the conclusion CIAR was a tobacco funded initiative. It made it difficult for the tobacco industry to find allies.

Therefore, the industry searched for better ways to lobby. Next post will explore the total switch in mindset occuring in the early 1990's. 

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