Katrina's Environmental Secrets

The Society of Environmental Journalists has criticized the government's "tight-lipped approach" in responding to requests for information about the toxic gumbo left by Hurricane Katrina. SEJ President Perry Beeman says the government is "denying the public crucial information collected with taxpayers' money on behalf of taxpayers in the first place. ...


The Best Science Money Can Buy

Last December, researchers involved with studying the use of antidepressants in children faced questions as federal regulators looked into evidence that the drugs increased suicide risks. The researchers tried "for months to gather all the test data," writes Barry Meier, but "could get only pieces of that information. Some drug companies refused to turn over data to the group, even though these researchers had helped come up with it. ...


Not Embedded Enough

"While some charge that embedded reporters are often too protective of the military, [U.S. Representative] Sylvestre Reyes (D-Texas) feels they are dangerous loose cannons, and says it's time to consider revoking their privileges," reports Editor and Publisher. During a House Armed Services Committee discussion of the videotaping of a U.S. Marine shooting an injured Fallujah insurgent in a mosque, Reyes said, "We don't want to know everything that's going on in the field. ...


PR Executives Refuse to 'Go Public'

When PBS's "Frontline" airs "The Persuaders," a new documentary exploring the marketing and advertising industry, you won't be seeing public relations executives explaining their work on camera. The program, which airs November 9, "intended to have a PR focus, but PR executives refused to 'go public' about what they do, Justin Vogt, a producer at 'Frontline,'" told the trade publication O'Dwyer's PR Daily.


Russia: Managing the Message by Drugging the Messenger

After terrorists besieged the Beslan school, a "semiofficial" document circulated among Russian networks demanded "media self-censorship ... 'Special operation' was prohibited, as was 'shahid' [suicide martyr] - a word that, along with the phrase 'war in Chechnya,' has already been prohibited on state TV for a year. ...


Foyled Again, by Big Tobacco

In 1990, British lawyer Andrew Foyle wrote a memorandum to British American Tobacco regarding the company's "document retention policy." U.S. government lawyers contend the Foyle memo provides information on tobacco companies' actions "to destroy, suppress or otherwise shield from discovery ... internal research documents concerning smoking and health." The U.S.


Dusty Deception

"Up to 400,000 New Yorkers breathed in the most toxic polluting cloud ever recorded after the twin towers were brought down three years ago, but no proper effort has been made to find out how their health has been affected. [A] US government study provides the latest evidence of a systematic cover-up of the health toll from pollution after the 9/11 disaster, which doctors fear will cause more deaths than the attacks themselves," the Independent writes.



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