1.Hijacked: Business for Social Responsibility
2.Hijacked: Environmental protection and PBS
3.Counter-attack against corporate reform
Note how Monsanto and trade groups and lobbyists closely associated with it run like a dark thread through these pieces, eg:
*v-Fluence is the firm of Jay Byrne, Monsanto's former Director of Public Affairs and widely seen as the the chief architect of the notorious Monsanto-Bivings "fake persuaders" PR campaign
*CEI take money from Monsanto and co-founded CS Prakash's AgBioWorld which also played a key part in Monsanto's "fake persuaders" campaign
*Steve Milloy, according to federal records, has been a paid lobbyist for Monsanto on "food safety and labeling" (read GM foods)
*Monsanto is a member of the Chemical Manufacturers Association - now called the American Chemistry Council, which has the unwritten mission of ensuring its members profits are not hindered by government regulations
1. EXCERPTS from Hijacked: Business for Social Responsibility
by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
CommonDreams.org, November 3, 2005
We've just returned from the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) conference being held here in Washington, D.C.
We picked up maybe five pounds of propaganda being handed out by the sponsors -- ExxonMobil, Chevron, AstraZeneca, Walt Disney, Pfizer, General Electric, Altria/Philip Morris (remember: altriameanstobacco.com), McDonald's, Edison International, Starbucks, Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola, Abbott Labs, Microsoft, Monsanto, KPMG, Chiquita -- among others. The news -- what these giant multinationals don't want you to know -- is that they hijacked Business for Social Responsibility from its founders.
In 1991, the founders, a group of small businesses, wanted to counter the voices of the giant multinationals -- the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable -- in the public policy arena.
Enter Robert Dunn, stage right.
Dunn is now chairman of Business for Social Responsibility.
Dunn said to his colleagues -- the only way we are going to change large multinational corporations is to bring them into this organization.
And the only way they will come into this organization is if we vow never to engage in the public policy arena.
Dunn said that the focus of the organization would be on changing big corporations from within.
No talk about government regulation.
No talk about national health insurance.
No talk about a living wage.
No talk about war and peace.
No talk about law and order -- for corporate criminals.
In 1994, Monsanto, purveyor of genetically engineered foods, wanted into the group.
One member, Gary Hirschberg, chairman of Stoneyfield Farms, said -- wait a second.
Do we want a company that makes pesticides and herbicides and genetically engineered crops to be a member of a socially responsible business organization?
Yes, came back the answer -- how else are they going to get better?
Well what about tobacco companies?
How else are they going to get better?
What about oil and chemical companies?
How else are they going to get better?
What about nuclear companies?
What about military companies?
The reality is that Business for Social Responsibility has become a public relations organization for big corporations.
The only criteria for membership -- you have to be big and loaded.
The hijacking is now complete.
Laury Hammel knows what happened.
He was present at the creation.
Business for Social Responsibility was his idea in the late 1980s...
...The last BSR conference that Hammel attended was in 2001 in Seattle.
This was 10 years after he founded BSR as his dream.
"I sat down at a table and noticed three guys with name tags that said Philip Morris and Company," Hammel said. "I asked these guys -- you are not with the cigarette company, are you? And they said -- 'yes, we are with the holding company.'"
"I said to myself -- these guys are members of BSR? They make products that kill people. What is this?"
That was the last conference he attended.
2.EXCERPT from A Question for Journalists: How Do We Cover Penguins and the Politics of Denial?
by Bill Moyers
Keynote Speech to the Society of Environmental Journalists Convention
Austin, Texas - October 1, 2005
President Bush has turned the agencies charged with environmental protection over to people who don't believe in it. To run the Interior Department he chose a long-time defender of polluters who has opposed laws to safeguard wildlife, habitat, and public lands. To run the Forest Service he chose a timber industry lobbyist. To oversee our public lands he named a mining industry lobbyist who believes public lands are unconstitutional. To run the Superfund he chose a woman who made a living advising corporate polluters how to evade the Superfund. And in the White House office of environmental policy the President placed a lobbyist from the American Petroleum Institute whose mission was to make sure the government's scientific reports on global warming didn't contradict the party line and the interest of oil companies. Everywhere you look, the foxes own the chicken coop.
My colleagues and I reported these stories again and again on my weekly PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] series, to the consternation of the President's minions at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CPB Chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson, turned the administration's discomfort at embarrassing disclosures into a crusade to discredit our journalism. Tomlinson left the chairmanship this week but the Rightwing coup at public broadcasting is complete. He remains on the board under a new chair who is a former real estate director and Republican fund raiser. She recently told a Senate hearing that the CPB should have the authority to penalize public broadcasting journalists if they step out of line. Sitting beside her and Tomlinson on the board is another Bush appointee - also a partisan Republican activist - who was a charter member and chair of Newt Gingrich's notorious political action committee, GOPAC. Reporting to them is the White House's handpicked candidate to be President and chief executive officer of the CPB - a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee whose husband became PR director of the Chemical Manufacturers Association after he had helped the pesticide industry smear Rachel Carson for her classic work on the environment, Silent Spring. Mark my words: if this gang has anything to say about it, there will be no challenging journalism to come from public television while they are around; no investigative reporting on the environment; no reporting at all on conflicts of interest between government and big business; no naming of names.
So if the environmental movement is pronounced dead, it won't be from self-inflicted wounds. We don't blame slavery on the slaves, the Trail of Tears on the Cherokees, or the Srebrenica massacre on the bodies in the grave. No, the lethal threat to the environmental movement comes from the predatory power of money and the pathological enmity of rightwing ideology.
Theodore Roosevelt warned a century ago of the subversive influence of money in politics. He said the central fact in his time was that big business had become so dominant it would chew up democracy and spit it out. The power of corporations, he said, had to be balanced with the interest of the general public. That warning was echoed by his cousin Franklin, who said a "government by organized money is as much to be feared as a government by organized mob." Both Roosevelts rose to that challenge in their day. But a hundred years later mighty corporations are once again the undisputed overlords of government. Follow the money and you are inside the inner sanctum of the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Petroleum Institute. Here is the super board of directors for Bush, Incorporated. They own the Administration lock, stock, and barrel...
3. EXCERPTS from CSR in the Cross-Hairs
A broad counter-attack against corporate reform is growing (Could that be a sign of progress?)
By Tracey Rembert
Business Ethics, Spring 2005
Since mid-2002, an assault on the concept of CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] has been growing, with over a hundred articles or opinion pieces criticizing corporate responsibility ”” the bulk of them published since summer of 2004.
Another CSR counter-attack came in January 2005, in the guise of a study by ex-Reaganite Arthur Laffer. At a press conference sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the father of "supply-side economics" denounced CSR as detrimental to stockholder interests.
... CEI fellow Steven Milloy - a correspondent for conservative Fox News - in June 2004 launched the "CSR Watch" website, offering a platform for Milloy’s regular diatribes against CSR. Milloy did not respond to requests for an interview.
If the Competitive Enterprise Institute is one player shaping backlash ideology, another is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). "I have a dim view of CSR. The whole game is a sham," remarked Jim Glassman, a resident fellow of AEI [and founder of Tech Central Station]. "The pendulum has swung way, way, way, way, way too far."
To sound the alarm, AEI in June 2003 had a series of presentations at its annual conference, with the theme of "Biz-War: Origins, Structure and Strategy of Foundation-NGO Network Warfare on Corporations in the U.S." It featured a (not entirely accurate) "power analysis" of the top 40 U.S. SRI activists, highlighting their connections with environmental non-profits, religious shareholders, unions, foundations, and pension funds.
A second AEI conference in June 2004 similarly took aim at SRI, with the title "SRI and Pension Funds: Welcome Reform or Fiduciary Nightmare." It featured AEI fellow Jon Entine – a long-time critic of SRI – and Sarah Fuhrmann of v-Fluence Interactive Public Relations. Several V-Fluence employees are ex-public affairs staffers for Monsanto – where they honed skills fighting CSR initiatives that targeted genetically modified foods.