OLD Media Moves

Watch who you quote

December 28, 2005

Do you regularly quote people in your business stories that you think are independent consultants or experts in the field and have unbaised opinions?

Think again. The New York Times, on Dec. 23, exposed a person quoted often in drug stories. The story can be read 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,” writes Philip Shenon. “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.”

Just when you think that covering the drug industry couldn’t get any worse.

If you’d like to find out more about such spin tactics by major corporations and industries to prevent yourself from quoting an embarrassing source, then I recommend you subscribe to The Weekly Spin, an e-mail that is sent out once a week.

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