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November 19, 2003

Tech Central: Lobbyists' Whore

Josh Marshall highlights that the web is the newest frontier in corporate corruption.

A new article by Nicholas Confessore establishes that the web site, Tech Central Station, is de facto owned by a lobbying firm, the DCI Group -- one of the great practioners of "astroturf" lobbying, the faking of grassroots support for corporate initiatives.

To give some idea of how the DCI-Tech Central relationship operates:

Last July, for instance, PhRMA retained DCI to lobby against House legislation that would permit the reimportation of FDA-approved drugs from Canada and elsewhere. The same month, TCS put out a press release announcing that it planned to cover an upcoming bus trip taken by Canadian patients to "access prescription drugs and medical treatment" in the U.S. (The trip was sponsored in part by the Canadian subsidiaries of many of the same pharmaceutical companies that belong to PhRMA.) A few days after the press release was issued, TCS columnist Duane Freese published an article touting the bus trip and attacking the legislation; other contributors also wrote columns for the site attacking reimportation.
Now, the "journalists" hired to write these stories may even believe what they write-- but the fact remains that their paycheck wouldn't exist without the corporate money. With opponents of corporate special deals not having the money to pay folks like DCI, this just means that you end up with lots of nice journalistic stories trumpeting the corporate line, and little money to research the opposite side of the story.

Tech Central Station- pay-for-play journalism for the new era.

Posted by Nathan at November 19, 2003 10:49 AM