Where to Start?
- Read the Overview Section and remember that these industries are saturated with jargon, acronyms and abbreviations. To help you make sense of the archived tobacco documents, check out the five Explanatory pop-ups listed at the top of the column on the left. You will probably refer to these often.
- If you want a 'quick fix' to get an overall impression as to how callously these companies operate behind our backs, then peruse a few of the more-obvious documents listed in this key documents section. You will find that many documents require some background knowledge of both the operations and the people to fully grasp what is going on. This can only come with experience.
- The full breadth of corporate corruption techniques is extensive, so you might like to try the Case Studies Index for a wider picture of how these corruption systems work.
- If you want to know more specifically about the machinations of the tobacco industry and about the companies themselves, then check out the Tutorials Index. A few of the main items are listed in the left column.
- Use the alphabetic indexes above to search for specific names. [These indexes will be fully functional shortly.] We intend to have alphabetic listings for people (both the good and the bad), organizations, acronyms, studies, projects, plans, etc.
- Contact the editor (below) and help us research. There are thousands of subjects/topics that need further work. Most can be done on-line or using the resources of a local library, and there's a lot of simple intellectual leg-work that needs to be done to bring this web-site up to the desired standard.
Until we get on top of this project, only about half of the hot-links will actually work.
This sitew s developed primarily as a research and resource tool for journalists and others interested in the systematic corruption of science. It deals with the misuse and distorion of science in ways which have serious economic, political and social consequences; and, while it concentrates on tobacco industry documents, it exposes corruption in a much wider field.
While the distortion of scientific findings are generally seen by the media as part of the normal business spectrum — nothing more than public relations — the evidence is that such misinformation has extraordinary ramifications in the general community, influences politicians, and misdirects the work of other scientists. A small amount of corporate graft can therefore have substantial monetary, personal and community consquences.
The corruption of science was once a more casual business. There have always been certain researchers who would fiddle the results for individual aggrandisement, and on occasions they were caught out. More often their results were just bypassed when contrary evidence came to light. However, beginning mainly in the era of President Carter and then expanding rapidly during the lax regulatory regimes of President Reagan and Bush I (and on the other side of the Atlantic, with Margaret Thatcher) a new form of systematic scientific corruption emerged ... and this became a new business opportunity for some with scientific training. These new pseudo-scientific enterprises flourished and became a distinct arm of the public relations and lobbying industries.
At the same time, and partly for the same reasons, government funding dried up for true independent scientific research at many US and European universities, health-research institutes, and regulatory agencies. The regulatory processes became politicized, privatized and corporatized. Universities became dependent on private funding from politically-partisan foundations, personal and corporate endowments from the immensely wealthy, and largesse from businesses seeking to buy themselves status. All of this came with strings attached.
And, in order to swamp the residual credibility of university scholarship and some of the more independent and resiliant agencies, corporate America began to create and foster single-issue think-tanks, policy institutes, legal institutes, and research foundations — all claiming to be 'non-partisan' and all warehousing ex-political aides, party hacks and a few neo-con zealots. These diligent workers, waiting for the inevitable change in politicial fortunes which would transport them back into Congress as politicians or aides, assumed academic-sounding titles like 'Adjunct Scholar' or 'Senior Fellow'. The media swallowed this up because it allowed them to pretend that they were reporting in a bipartisan fashion &mdash diligent seekers of the truth because they canvassed "both viewpoints". This claim echoes the tavern owner in "The Blues Brothers", who likes both kinds of music .... Country and Western.
The think-tanks, foundations, legal institutes, and policy wonks also began to corrupt science in a systematic way. The media gives them oxygen, because it treats these astroturfs and camoflaged lobbyshops as legitmate research operations and affords them recognition to provide a supposed 'balance' of opinion.
The result has been that the outputs of science have now assumed the status of a commodity. Science outcomes can be generated at will and designed to fit corporate or industry requirement.
Science-for-saleIn this period we also see:
- companies established purely to provide fake research services for industry. Science-for-sale entrepreneurship has become rife in America, and it is leaching out into other parts of the developed world.
With these technologies and techniques they can ensure that their loaded message will propagate around the world.
- numerous academics lining up with their hands out for corporate dollars in exchange for providing false and misleading testament during court cases, congressional hearings and various official inquiries.
- the creation of think-tanks of various sorts, with staff having pseudo-academic titles. These 'adjunct scholars' and 'fellows' are employed, not to seek evidence and determine the truth, but rather to promote existing political-economic ideas.
- multimillion-dollar funding of legal institutes, policy institutes, astroturf, and numerous special-interest societies with a highly politicized agenda and a conviction that the scientific record should be bent to suit their political needs.
- the establishment of foundations (mainly financed by ultra-conservative Republicans) and a multitude of faux-institutes named after the founding fathers, war heros or classical scholars. These are used primarily to launder cash payments to scientist and lobbyists, and keep the funding source from public disclosure. They also:
- run seminars,
- own their own journals
- run web sites
- use radio and television networks via their own satellite links and permanent in-house TV studios for commentary etc.
The Changing Scene
- In recent years lawfirms have emerged as the principal go-betweens to launder funds secretly being paid by corporations to scientists and academics.
- Corporations and trade associations are now funding and controlling scientific seminars, conferences, newsletters, journals, and, in more than a few cases, the operations of scientific societies (or divisions of existing societies).
- Through corporate control of funding, scientific reports are regularly being processed by specialist science writers and PR professionals within the company/organisation which provided the funding. They improve the writing quality, 'normalise' the data, strengthen the findings, and remove or rewrite sections which might lead to possible objections by peer-reviewers at the scientific journals.
- Another common practise is citation padding; the additon of citations to boost the status of the research done by other scientist employed by the corporation. Scientists enjoying corporate largesse therefore have a double advantage; they are also automatically part of a you-scratch-my-back process of mutual citation boosting. In these days of measurement-by-citation-count at universities, exaggerated counts can be enormously valuable to a researcher.
SourceWatch and Wikipedia
There are already a couple of excellent web-sites dealing with scientific corruption, lobbying, and public relations of which Sourcewatch is by far the most notable ... although it sometimes lacks the ability (or inclination) to provide background or explanation, and it can be tedious to plow through. Being a highly-edited Wiki, it has all of the open-access advantages and defects, combined with the disadvantages of (sometimes) excessive editing zeal.
Wikipedia is also an excellent source of information on occasions, although it is now regularly being used by public-relations companies as a free web site to promote corporations or individuals and their version of events, findings, etc. It is noticeable, recently, that science-for-sale experts have begun writing their own highly-glossed puff-pieces for Wikipedia, and, without any effective sub-editing control this propaganda becomes the public's main source of information. Also, legitimate information put up on Wikipedia mysteriously disappears either through the actions of the supervisory staff (who act as censors) or by diligent public-relations staffers who are paid to maintain some reputation. This is the problem that all Wiki sites face.
Compare the entries for these two tobacco-scientists:
1. Robert D. Tollison's biography on SourceWatch, with the puff piece on Wikipedia, and
2. George L. Carlo's Sourcewatch and Wikipedia entries.
These are the defects we hope to correct with this site. We don't intend to duplicate the material on SourceWatch or Wikipedia, but merely to supplement it. We welcome additional information, and we are tolerant of criticism and appreciate any suggestions you may be prepared to make. We would also appreciate offers of research help, mainly to perform occasional facts-checks at local libraries, but also some more substantial research and writing. So please send your comments/ideas/etc. to .
This is a not-for-profit operation funded by the journalists concerned. We don't expect to carry advertising, except (possibly) for books and journals related to the corruption of science and the political process. For lawyers, editors and other journalists using this material for professional research, we would welcome a small donation to help us maintain and expand the site ... but even more, we would welcome the information that you may be able to contribute.