October 9th, 2009
This week we’re exploring the business of fakery, when people pretend to be one thing, and advocate some position based on that pretense, and then turn out to be something else. It’s not just businesses that get into this fakery, setting up fake grassroots groups (also called astroturfing) or using marketing to mislead consumers about environmental issues. (so-called greenwashing) This is the business that all of us get into sometime of posturing because we want people to think one thing about us and we really are something different. So this week we look at ways that fakery has impacted our public policy debates over the past summer.
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Mark Bowden, is an author, journalist, screenwriter, and teacher. He spent 25 years as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. His book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (1999)—an international bestseller that spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list—was a finalist for the National Book Award. Bowden also worked on the screenplay for Black Hawk Down, a film adaptation of the book, directed by Ridley Scott. Bowden is also the author of the international bestseller Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw (2001), which tells the story of the hunt for Colombian cocaine billionaire Pablo Escobar. Killing Pablo is currently being adapted for film, with Bowden again writing the screenplay. Bowden contributes regularly to major American magazines, and he’s an adjunct professor at Loyola College of Maryland, where he teaches creative writing and journalism.
Timothy Karr manages all online initiatives for Free Press — including SavetheInternet.com, StopBigMedia.com and InternetforEveryone.org. Tim speaks and writes about the state of journalism and the future of the Internet. Before joining Free Press, Tim was executive director of MediaChannel.org and vice president of the Globalvision News Network. He has also worked extensively as an editor, reporter and photojournalist for the Associated Press, Time Inc., the New York Times and Australia Consolidated Press. Tim has been quoted in publications across the country and has been featured as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, NPR and ABC News Radio, among other places. He blogs for The Huffington Post and at MediaCitizen.
Valerie Davis is cofounder of EnviroMedia Social Marketing — America’s first full-service advertising and public relations firm dedicated solely to improving the environment and public health. Davis, along with business partner Kevin Tuerff, launched www.greenwashingindex.com to fight the forces of misleading advertising. They also provided observations and perspective for Environmental Leader from the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia. Among Davis’ key client and project accomplishments: leading the Don’t Mess with Texas campaign to victory in the America’s Favorite Slogan Competition, beating Nike’s “Just Do It” and “Got Milk?”; spearheading research and brand creation for the Governor’s Water Conservation Implementation Task Force and Texas Water Development Board; and overseeing a water-saving education campaign which cut daily peak water-use within one region by 200 million gallons a day.
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