Following up on Monday’s item on the campaign against BPA, here’s some more about the trial lawyer/media/activist combine that targets specific chemicals and industries:
Add Wisconsin to the states where a legislative ban in now being considered. What took so long? After all, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel campaigned against the chemical in a series of “investigative” stories clearly designed to win journalism prizes.
Last April Rowan Scarborough wrote a hard-hitting, admittedly partisan piece, “The Great Left Smear Machine,” in the conservative weekly “Human Events” demonstrating the connection among a PR firm, Fenton Communications, activists like the Environmental Working Group, and the trial lawyer industry in targeting the chemical, which is used to strengthen plastics. The gist from Scarborough:
In 2007, a group called the Environmental Working Group sponsored a study that said BPA is hazardous to your health. Fenton Communications describes the working group as partner and client. David Fenton sits on its board of directors. There had been previous anti-BPA studies, but this one — with Fenton’s backing — got the ball rolling.
Quickly, Fenton successfully placed anti-BPA stories across the liberal news media. Another group, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, spearheaded an anti-BPA petition drive. It asked citizens to demand that baby bottle producers cease using the chemical.
The CHEJ has been funded in part by the Tides Foundation, which helped Fenton set up its Environmental Media Services. Tides also has received George Soros money. The San Francisco-based Tides is another Fenton client, and it funds a number of environmental groups who are paying clients of Fenton Communications as well.
By 2008, the reporters were in a BPA frenzy. With the news media onboard and a grass roots effort under way to find BPA victims, a perfect storm arose for rich and powerful trial lawyers. They began filing billion-dollar lawsuits across the country against baby bottle makers and retailers who sold them.
That’s a very good article on the combine. Neil Munro of The National Journal also did a story on the campaign against BPA in November, “Toxic Suspicions Could Fuel Regulatory Overhaul,” noting how the non-BPA bottle manufacturer BornFree stood to make millions from the chemical’s banning. And who does BornFree’s public relations? Fenton Communications.
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