[LINK] IPA, astroturfing and fantsy themes

Frank O'Connor francisoconnor3 at bigpond.com
Fri Feb 17 00:26:39 AEDT 2012

True, most are right wing ... but there are a few left wing ones in the mix.

I derive most of my amusement from the think tanks because of their highly suspicious naming protocols.

I mean, little numbers like the various 'Institute for Climate Change' are fronts for the climate change skeptics. The Institute of Public Affairs is in fact a libertarian leaning organisation dedicated to promoting private affairs. I love how they adopt contrarian names to, I suppose, disguise their real agendas.

And I really like how they cross fertilise (using a very polite expression there) each other. Someone from one institute will cite references for the paper they are delivering from papers by another like leaning 'institute' or think tank. Lazy academics have done that for years ... but these 'think tanks' have made an art form of it and their masters have built up real networks of 'cross fertilising' (again using the expression politely) think tanks to promote their views. Nothing wrong with that ... but the 'real' press should be treating any materials from these sources very skeptically.

And then you have the PR industry which picks up on these so-called 'studies' ... often written to requirements ... and cites them to support whatever their paymasters support. And the lobbyists which also use the 'think tank' materials.

And all these studies and the spin the PR generate is leapt upon by our journalistic brethren as the latest story of the day rather than the thinly veiled self-interested agenda based opinion that it actually is.

I suppose that's because old journalists (and politicians) never die, they just go to work in 'think tanks' or for PR firms ... and it pays to feather the nest early in your journalistic career. It's good value for the lazy amongst the Fourth Estate also ... hey, you never run out of opinion pieces and spin.

I really find it hard to care when 'freedom of the press' issues surface nowadays ... as in England and Australia of late. I mean unsubstantiated opinion, rumour, PR and spin, and a host of really dodgy and debatable 'independent research' now mixes with gossip, celebrity news and other trite content in our media ... and seems to be the diet the press wants to feed us on nowadays.

No wonder the Fourth Estate's standing and credibility has been substantially diminished over the last 20-30 years.

On 16/02/2012, at 8:35 PM, Fernando Cassia wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 06:03, Frank O'Connor
> <francisoconnor3 at bigpond.com> wrote:
>> For me it's 'think tanks' generally - no matter what their political/ideological persuasion.
>> Simply put ... a contradiction in terms.
> I agree, but most think tanks are of the conservative kind, at least
> in the US of A and I suspect elsewhere, as very few corporations are
> likely to fund parties that would restrict or regulate them :).
> US academic (linguist) George Lakoff has been insisting on the need
> for the progressive side to fund its own think tanks to counter the
> prevalence of conservative ones, and how conservatives have built an
> infrastructure of think tanks to promote their agenda over the years.
> http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml
> The book "Toxic sludge is good for you!" is also good read on the
> power of Public Relations firms, which often work side by side with
> think tanks.
> http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/sis.html?_nkw=Toxic+Sludge+is+Good+For+You+PR+Social+Science
> just my $0.02
> FC
> -- 
> During times of Universal Deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act
> - George Orwell

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