Here’s a bit of text from the Guardian’s g monbiot ramblings today regarding think tanks, “media” and tobacco corps:
When the BBC was told that tobacco companies have admitted funding the IEA, the reasoning changed again. Now it argues that it would be wrong to assume “that an organisation adopts a particular position on an issue because it receives funding from an interested party”: it might have formed the position first and received the money as a consequence. That’s true, though it’s hard to see what difference it makes: if thinktanks survive and prosper because their position just happens consistently to align with the grimmest of corporate interests, the politics of the relationship don’t change very much. In either case, surely listeners should be allowed to make up their own minds. Who would not wish to be told that an organisation whose spokesperson is defending Big Tobacco on the Today programme receives money from Big Tobacco? What kind of broadcaster does not see that as relevant information?
Am interested in the intent he seems to assign to money, time and, in some ways, ideas.
What if thinktanks referred to were not getting any funds? Nothing but a cheer. Or even a critical voice as to their views on X topics – and that was roughly in line with certain corporations?
Would there be a question regarding the ideas expressed?
What if the sequence of events was –
thinktank person met up in a pub with corporate person.
corporate person suggested X.
thinktank person thought it was a good idea.
thinktank published stuff todo with the perceived good idea.
media asked thinktank opinion.
——->> would the media have to disclose the pub meeting?
What if the sequence was even more blurry?
What if a mutual friend or acquaintance happened to hookup with both corporate and thinktank people and passed ideas, as people do?
Does a consistency of ideas line – that way or another – implies a certain link that has deception at its core? (ie my line of thinking is not that tobacco is cool, but I will say its cool despite that because it keeps me very near power..)
It seems to me that where monbiot sees intent, and possibly a maliciously deceptive one, is not a necessity.. The are still just sequences with unintentional consequences – in terms of what we can tell without being presumptuous or even prejudiced..
Power, the availability of it and the proximity to it, is in a sense, a limiting constrain on sequences.. In that sense, power in and of itself is prejudicial..