Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bate Strikes Back!

Roger Bate responds to my article in The Mark:

Since your vitriolic attack not only hurts me but ludicrously tries to hurt others for reasons I am unaware of, it is my duty to respond. Amir Attaran is one of the most gifted and principled researchers I've ever met, which is why I wanted to help him stay at Harvard. As the then Director of Africa Fighting Malaria I allocated funds to Harvard for his work there, with no strings attached. AFM has never taken any funding from the tobacco or pharma industries and as such the funding for Attaran, which came from a private European foundation, was not either. I have responded to the allegations about me here. Any decent researcher would have found this article, making me wonder why no mention of my response was used in your article. The few proper journalists who’ve written about this topic have at least had the courtesy of contacting me directly for a response, but not you. I was probably foolish to briefly consult for Philip Morris in 1998, and definitely foolish for writing the letter you quote in the fall of that year – because of how it’s being used today. PM never responded to my letter and I never corresponded with the company again. I did not know at the time but the tobacco industry has largely been on the wrong side (your side) of the DDT issue (and would never have funded my proposal anyway). See [here] for AFM’s response to BAT’s opposition to DDT. DDT continues to save lives in the myriad countries it’s used, I have done nothing to be ashamed of, and I rest easy at night knowing I’ve fought on the right side of this issue!

Roger Bate,
fellow American Enterprise Institute,

And here again is that letter he mentions; and here's an even nicer one.


Ti-Guy said...

And here again is that letter...

Where again is that letter (that's just a link back to the article in The Mark)? I'm trying to find the exact part where Bate mentions not having yet divided his/Philip Morris's opponents.

That seems to be the dominant theme of Bate's PR work. And yes, Mr. Bate (in case you are reading this) that is morally vacuous and profoundly shameful.

bigcitylib said...

Should work now. 2nd link is better; it outlines his strategy--write a book, set up a front group, etc.

Ti-Guy said...

Thanks. My mistake...he doesn't address dividing opponents in that letter. But the second one is clear.

In any case, "divide and conquer" is a strategy common to corporate and right wing propaganda, which really says a lot about the militaristic freaks we've got running our economy.

Sad thing is how successful it is as well.

Ti-Guy said...

My, my...the AFM people sure are in high dudgeon over at The Mark.

WebofDem said...

Hi, nice work on your article. FYI, Attaran-Bate AEI-petroleum connection was also exposed briefly in Andy Rowell's piece, "Exxon's Foot Soldiers: The Case of the International Policy Network," in William Dinan & David Miller (eds.) 'Thinker, Faker, Spinner Spy: Corporate PR and the Assault on Democracy.' (Pluto Press, 2007)

Has The Mark provided an explanation as to why your piece is no longer on their website?

bigcitylib said...


They say Attaran complained about the title, which linked him to the tobac companies in a more straight-forward than my own first piece on the topic

When I asked whether Attaran was bringing in the lawyers, they said no.