Julie with a B

Thursday, December 22, 2005
Op-Ed articles with a slant?
Well, yes, of course. That's the point behind an "Opinion" article, that person's opinion. But what if they are paid to express a specific opinion? Is that wrong? Well, no, we aren't talking about news reporting here, we're talking Op-Ed. One should always question why someone might be expressing a particular opinion. Those who are in a particular industry often a much broader knowledge than we do about that industry. How do you feel about an Op-Ed writer who does this? It certainly devalues what they have to say. Its not their opinion any more, they are just an advertiser masquerading as an Op-Ed writer. I do think that if they are being paid a fee by an industry it should be disclosed. Because, after all, it ISN'T really their opinion is it?
NYTimes article here:
Susan Finston of the Institute for Policy Innovation, a conservative research group based in Texas, is just the sort of opinion maker coveted by the drug industry.

In an opinion article in The Financial Times on Oct. 25, she called for patent protection in poor countries for drugs and biotechnology products. In an article last month in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal, she called for efforts to block developing nations from violating patents on AIDS medicines and other drugs.

Both articles identified her as a "research associate" at the institute. Neither mentioned that, as recently as August, Ms. Finston was registered as a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry's trade group. Nor was there mention of her work this fall in creating the American Bioindustry Alliance, a group underwritten largely by drug companies.


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