Who Will Win Wonk-Whore’s Journalism Prize?

The London based International Policy Network is funded by Exxon and Pfizer to the tune of millions of dollars. It is a PR operation for the pills and spills industries in the guise of a think tank and it never gets them anything other than bad publicity. Which upsets IPN greatly, as a result it has in the past threatened legal action against the Observer, Guardian and Times for saying it is a climate-change denying propaganda machine funded by industry interests. It is of course.

IPN peddles policy recommendations and propaganda on behalf of its sponsors so transparently that almost everyone ignores it. Cameron’s Conservatives have nothing to do with it and the IPN policy agenda is so over-the-top and anti-Green that neither Labour or the LibDems would dream of giving them the time of day.

Frankly Guido does not understand why Exxon, Big Tobacco, Pfizer, Microsoft and Monsanto give IPN money. IPN gets almost no positive press coverage, most politicians have never heard of it, and no one takes it seriously. The only coverage it gets attacks it for being unethical. Journalists see through its “research”, dropping IPN’s press releases in the wastebasket for recycling because they are so transparently corporate propaganda.

So, in an effort to improve relations with journalists IPN runs a $10,000 prize competition with selected journalists invited to an all-expenses-paid junket to New York City in November for a prize dinner. Prizes are awarded to journalists whose published works promote amongst other things “sound science”. The Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science – says the industry front “misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence” by saying climate change is a “myth”. Intrigued, Guido has had a look at previous winners of the Bastiat prize and their writings:

2003 Bastiat Prize : 9 July 2003 – Brian Carney writes “Europe’s puzzling perceptions of big pharma” in the WSJ Europe, 23 October 2003 – Brian Carney wins Bastiat prize of $7000. 23 October 2003 – Stephen Pollard awarded Bastiat runner up prize of $3000, 6 December 2003 he writes pro-Big Pharma article in The Times, quoting favourably an advisor to IPN’s Big-Pharma funded Campaign for Fighting Diseases (Professor Amir Attaran)

2004 Bastiat Prize : 13 October 2004 – John Stossel wins runner up Bastiat prize of $3000, 10 December 2004 – for ABC News, he highlights the work of Michael Crichton in attacking the global warming lobby.

2005 Bastiat Prize : 24 June 2005 – Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes pro-Big Pharma article Brazil Mulls Drug Patent Theft as an AIDS Antidote in the Wall Street Journal. 26 October 2005 – Mary Anastasia O’Grady wins Bastiat Prize, $7000. 13 January 2005 – George Kerevan writes “Enough of this ‘global warming’ hysteria”, 15 March 2005 – George Kerevan says Why not scrap Kyoto – the catastrophist’s charter. 26 October 2005 – George Kerevan wins Bastiat runner up prize of $3000

Frédéric Bastiat, after whom the IPN cash prize is named, is famous for his satirical Candlemakers Petition. IPN’s main financial backer is the Pfizer pharmaceutical corporation, which is the world’s biggest funder of lobbying to strengthen patent regimes globally. Do they know that Bastiat opposed patents as an economic absurdity?



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