Thursday, February 1, 2007

"7 Dirty Secrets About CCF" a la "7 Things You Didn't Know About PETA"

The Center for Consumer Freedom's articles is used in many information viruses. What is an information virus? Distorted truth, misinformation, and outright fabrications produced from seeming respectable sources that have ulterior and often undisclosed motives. They have also put up new websites under different names which is actually them. Please always check your sources. I have seen one of their pieces, for example, "7 Things You Didn't Know About PETA" pop up in not just blogs, not now is even invading into the independent press. Their misinformation covers a broad spectrum. If, you have care about accuracy in the media, CCF is anything but that.

So, taking CCF's cue, let me relate to you "7 Dirty Secrets About CCF":

1. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) was once called the "Guest Choice Network" is a front for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries. CCF runs media campaigns that oppose the claims of mainstream scientists, doctors, health advocates, environmentalists, and left-leaning activists.

2. In a 1995 letter to Philip Morris, Rick Berman of Berman & Company suggested Phillip Morris form a front group to have restauarant owners appear to be fighting smoking restrictions on their own. Phillip Morris took Berman up on it and established the Guest Choice Network that later was renamed the Center for Consumer Freedom.

3. Berman & Company, a public affairs firm, represents not just the tobacco industry, but also hotels, beer distributors, taverns, and restaurant chains. They are not actually an organization of grassroots consumers fighting the good fight, whatsoever.

4. CCF has also attacked the Alliance of American Insurers, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the Arthritis Foundation, the Consumer Federation of America, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems, the National Association of High School Principals, the National Safety Council, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Office of Highway Safety for the state of Georgia, Ralph Nader's group, Public Citizen, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

5. On November 16, 2004, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint to the Internal Revenue Service claiming that CCF violated its tax exempt status. The claim said CCF was involved in electioneering, did substantial payments to founder Richard Berman, and to Berman's for-profit public affairs company, Berman & Company. CREW stated that CCF was engaged no charitable activities.

6. CCF launched a $600,000 ad campaign that ran in major newspapers (the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and USA Today) which called "obesity" a "hype" and stated, "Americans have been force-fed a steady diet of obesity myths by the 'food police,' trial lawyers, and even our own government."

7. Berman now is attacking claims about mercury levels in fish., AnimalScam, CSPIscam and ActivistCash, PETAKillsAnimals, are all his sites that attack and focus on left-leaning organizations and movements.

Check your sources. CCF misrepresents itself and spreads half-truths and outright lies. I wouldn't use anything that comes from them simply because their whole premise, purpose, and organization is one of intentional deceit. If you have used it and could admit making a mistake and blog this, I'd appreciate it. If you ever see any article that quotes or says their source is the Center for Consumer Freedom, this is a red flag. Relate my points and even link to this entry. I am tired of seeing their information viruses spreading unchecked.

The Center for Consumer Freedom's name is itself misleading, just as its old name "Guest Choice Network" was misleading, just as their dozen of websites of different names are all actually just "Consumer Freedom" at work. It is composed not by grassroots consumer activists, but by wealthy corporate interests. They don't have the consumers' interests in mind. They have their own corporate interests in mind. Pretending to be consumers advocating for consumers, they are advocating against perceived threats against their clients.

Never trust the CCF.