Consumers Research was magazine which called itself the "nation's oldest consumer periodical, founded in 1928." Since the 1930s, however, it has been closely aligned with conservative politics. It also has ties to the tobacco industry and has published a number of misleading reports by industry-funded apologists.
"Consumers' Research was a radical group before 1935, when the guy who ran things, F. J. Schlink, refused to recognize the rights of workers to unionize," says Inger Stole, a University of Illinois professor who has studied the consumers movement. "He had gone through some sort of transformation and became completely paranoid about communism. So two of the leaders, Arthur Kallet and Colston Warne, split off and formed Consumers Union in 1936. In the early days, they published the magazine, Consumer Reports (which remains to this day), but they also covered labor conditions, safety issues, things like that. Schlink became jealous because people started supporting Consumers Union; so he teamed up with his old foes in business and they cooked up allegations and accused them of being communists. This was another way that business interests fought their critics: they called them communists and attacked them personally. For thirteen years, Consumers' Research dragged Consumers Union through the mud, which eventually wore them out."
Until recently, Consumers' Research was published by M. Stanton Evans, who also directed the National Journalism Center (NJC), which provides training and assistance in finding jobs to conservative journalists. A number of prominent conservatives in the media, including Michael Fumento and Ann Coulter, are NJC graduates. In September 2002, Evans retired and was replaced by Kenneth E. Grubbs, Jr.. The NJC was later was taken over by, and become a project of, the NJC is a project of Young America's Foundation.
Peter L. Spencer was editor of Consumer's Research in the 1990s.
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Articles and Resources
- Carrie McLaren, "Selling Advertising: The Ad Industry's Battle Against the Consumer Movement of the 1930s: An Interview with Inger Stole", Staying Free, Issue 18, undated, accessed March 2008.
- "About The National Journalism Center", Young America's Foundation, accessed March 2008.