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The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch, this collaborative resource for citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to sway public opinion. We believe in telling the truth about the most powerful interests in society—not just relating their self-serving press releases or letting real facts be bleached away by spin. SourceWatch focuses on the for-profit corporations, non-profit corporate front groups, PR teams, and so-called "experts" trying to influence public opinion on behalf of global corporations and the government agencies they have captured. —Lisa Graves, Executive Director
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Featured Work from the Center for Media and Democracy

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Robin Hood Storms Chase Castle and M&I Execs Get Piggish

by Mary Bottari
On Tuesday, the shareholders of Marshall and Ilsley (M&I) Bank of Wisconsin "voted" to give $71 million in bonuses to failed executives as part of an acquisition deal. "Voted" may not be the right word, since CEO Mark Furlong opened and closed the meeting within the span of five minutes, allowing no discussion and no questions from the dozen or so shareholders in the room. Furlong has apparently learned Robert's Rules of Order from his friend, Governor Scott Walker and the rest of the gang in the Wisconsin Capitol. Read the rest of this item here.


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Protesters At JPMorgan Shareholder Meeting Demand Action On Foreclosures, Human Rights

by Mary Bottari
More than 1,000 activists descended on JPMorgan Chase's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, according to community organizers present at the event, to demand action on the company's foreclosure practices and call for an end to the company's investment in a company promoting genocide in Darfur. Neighborhood activists, religious leaders, outraged homeowners and political activists presented the company's shareholders with stories of alleged abuse and neglect by JPMorgan Chase, particularly from Chase's mortgage wing, according to activists present at the event, who provided the Huffington Post with several photos. The shareholder meeting and demonstration were held at a JPMorgan Chase building in Columbus, Ohio -- a city ravaged by the foreclosure crisis and heavy unemployment. Read the rest of this item here.


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Got Health Insurance? Pray You Won't Get Purged

by Wendell Potter
For several years now, insurance companies have been "purging" small business accounts they no longer consider profitable enough or that their underwriters believe pose too much risk. I became familiar with"purging" (yes, that's the actual word insurance executives use internally) toward the end of my career as an industry PR man. Virtually unknown outside of a few executive suites until I disclosed it in testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in June 2009, the practice is most prevalent at the big, for-profit insurance companies -- the ones that are under the gun to meet investors' profit expectations every three months. Along with "rescinding" (cancelling) the policies of individuals who become seriously ill, purging small businesses that employ workers who get sick is a tried-and-true way of meeting Wall Street's expectations. Read the rest of this item here.




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Why Is The Monterey Bay Aquarium Greenwashing Sewage Sludge?

by Jill Richardson
The nation's major sustainable food writers and bloggers will converge on Monterey, California in May for an incredible, invitation-only sustainable food conference. The event, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions, which those who attend say is spectacular, has a new sponsor this year: Kellogg Garden Products. Yes, that Kellogg Garden Products. The very same company that has contaminated "organic" school gardens in Los Angeles with sewage sludge. The company's Chief Sustainability Officer, Kathy Kellogg Johnson, has a knack for befriending "green" organizations and using them to promote her toxic, misleadingly-labeled products to unsuspecting gardeners. In this case, she's listed as a "Silver Sponsor." How much did her company pay to give her such a nice platform, sitting on a panel with Grist's sustainable food writer, Tom Philpott, and telling an all-media audience about the sustainability of Kellogg Garden Products? Read the rest of this item here.


Recent Articles from PRWatch.org


Martial Law Now a Reality in Michigan

by Jennifer Page
The week of April 10-16 saw the layoff of every public school teacher in Detroit, and the initial fruition of the highly-contested bill that allows emergency financial managers to have unconditional control over a city in a financial emergency. The city of Benton Harbor, Michigan, declared to be in a financial emergency by Governor Rick Snyder, now knows that, according the Snyder, the voter's voice doesn't really matter anymore. Joseph Harris, the city's new Emergency Financial Manager (EFM), dismantled the entire government, only allowing city boards and commissions to call a meeting to order, approve of meeting minutes and adjourn a meeting. The law that allows Harris to "exercise any power or authority of any office, employee, department, board, commission, or similar entity of the City, whether elected or appointed," was passed in March after the urging of Governor Snyder, and despite thousands of protesters who came to the Lansing capitol throughout February and March. Read the rest of this item here.

SourceWatch Articles and Related News

Our SourceWatch Article Tracks the Backdoor Bailout by the Fed

Our Financial Crisis feature tracks the total cost of the Wall Street bailout, beyond the TARP. Learn more about loans and guarantees to the Big Banks and other spending by federal agencies not counted in the TARP. For example, did you know that $4.72 trillion was disbursed and $1.93 trillion is still outstanding (owed) and another $13.86 trillion maximum is at risk? Our bailout figures tell the whole story, and we also put the bailout in context, comparing it with other bailouts in U.S. history and contrasting it with numbers from the ongoing foreclosure and unemployment crises.


Popular SourceWatch Articles

SourceWatch's home page is the top landing page in this website. Here are some of the other hot pages:

Editors' Pick of the Week

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Koch Industries' Toxic Gifts to Wisconsin

by Rebekah Wilce
Koch Industries ranks in the top ten of the Toxic 100 list of the Political Economy Research Institute, which identifies the top U.S. air polluters among the world's largest corporations based on their chronic human health risk. Koch Industries is included in the list as the parent corporation of a diversity of industrial facilities that process and distribute fossil fuels, paper, wood products and synthetic fibers. The pollution from these facilities has a significant effect on the natural environment and on human health. The Center for Media and Democracy decided to take a look at the record of Koch Industries in Wisconsin, where CMD is located. Read the rest of this item here.


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Harold Camping's Global Apocalypse PR Campaign

by Anne Landman
The world is scheduled to end on May 21, 2011. At least that's the hysteria being spread by Harold Camping, the 89 year-old fundamentalist Christian radio preacher and president of Family Radio, Inc., based in Oakland, California. Camping claims to have calculated that on May 21, Jesus Christ will return to Earth and save his true believers. With the help of his media network and legions of donors who have fallen for his PR blitz, Camping has managed to turn what might ordinarily be an obscure and silly, cult-like religious claim into a huge, multimillion-dollar global PR campaign aimed at spreading fear that he hopes will get people "to search for the truth according to God's Will." Read more of this item here.
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Scholastic, Inc. Burned by Coal Industry-Sponsored Curriculum

Scholastic, Inc., a leading publisher and distributor of children's books and teaching materials, agreed to stop selling a coal industry-sponsored curriculum that it has distributed to 66,000 fourth grade teachers since 2009. The curriculum was sponsored by the American Coal Foundation, which represents the interests of the coal mining industry. A May 11, 2011 New York Times story labeled the coal industry-created curriculum "unfit" for fourth graders because it failed to mention the negative aspects of coal mining and burning on human health and the environment, like removal of Appalachian mountaintops, toxic waste discharge, sulfur dioxide, mercury and arsenic discharges, lung disease and mining accidents. Read the rest of this item here.


Projects for Citizen Journalists

Help us update our article on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been in the news lately for filing very broad Freedom of Information Act requests for all emails and communications from professors who teach in labor relations programs at Michigan's major public universities. The Mackinac Center is seeking copies of all emails that include such words and phrases as “Scott Walker,” “Wisconsin,” “Madison,” “Maddow,” (as in Rachel Maddow) and “any other emails dealing with the collective bargaining situation in Wisconsin” from January 1 to March 25, 2011. Who is the Mackinac Center, and what are they trying to accomplish with these current efforts against labor relations professors? What have you seen, and what have you read? Contribute the information to SourceWatch's article on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy If you would like to help in other ways, please take a look at some of our earlier citizen journalism projects here.

Featured Video

What do Walmart, FOX News, and Koch Brothers have in common?

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Praise for SourceWatch!

Here's what they're saying about SourceWatch:

"The folks at the Center for Media and Democracy have done incredible work documenting fake grassroots ("astroturf") groups. Here, they're helping protect the rights of all Americans to exercise their right to vote. They are completely non-partisan. These guys are the real deal."
Craig Newmark, Craig's List

"A truly impressive project based on cutting edge web technology."
David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.

"The troublemakers at the Center for Media and Democracy, for example, point to dozens of examples of "greenwashing," which they defined as the "unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government or even a non-government organization to sell a product, a policy" or rehabilitate an image. In the center's view, many enterprises labeled green don't deserve the name.
—Jack Shafer, "Green Is the New Yellow: On the excesses of 'green' journalism," Slate.

"As a journalist frequently on the receiving end of various PR campaigns, some of them based on disinformation, others front groups for undisclosed interests, [CMD's SourceWatch] is an invaluable resource."
Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire

"Thanks for all your help. There's no way I could have done my piece on big PR and global warming without the CMD [Center for Media and Democracy] and your fabulous websites."
—Zoe Cormier, journalist, Canada

"The dearth of information on the [U.S.] government [lobbying] disclosure forms about the other business-backed coalitions comes in stark contrast to the data about them culled from media reports, websites, press releases and Internal Revenue Service documents and posted by SourceWatch, a website that tracks advocacy groups."
—Jeanne Cummings, 'New disclosure reports lack clarity," Politico.

Disclaimer: SourceWatch is part of the Center for Media and Democracy—email the publisher of SourceWatch, CMD's Executive Director, Lisa Graves, via lisa AT prwatch.org. You can also contact our Managing Editor, Anne Landman, via anne AT sourcewatch.org.

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