How The Entertainment Industry 'Launders' Policy Pronouncements

from the policy-laundering dept

It’s no secret that a great deal of regulations and policies are really written and pushed by lobbyists, and politicians just put their own names on it. We’ve seen it quite blatantly at times, such as the case where a politician being quizzed about legislation he introduced deferred questions to the industry lobbyist in the room. However, Michael Geist has done an amazing job taking the recent plagiarized and deceptive report from The Conference Board of Canada, which had been totally rewritten due to complaints from lobbyists and has used it to demonstrate exactly how this “policy laundering” process works. Policy laundering is such a great and accurate term. The industry basically comes up with some totally bogus numbers and keeps pushing them over and over again, trying to get other sources to cite them. Then, once that happens, the numbers are now backed up as “fact” by some other citation, and things get even more involved. It’s a neat little trick. When people actually go back and look for the specifics (like Julian Sanchez did recently) they discover a mess of smoke and mirrors and nothing whatsoever at the foundation. But because the numbers have been quoted so widely, often by “legitimate” third parties, they’re suddenly taken as fact. Policy laundering indeed.

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Comments on “How The Entertainment Industry 'Launders' Policy Pronouncements”

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20 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Notice I didn’t say it was okay – I said it is typical and common in the current political process. Mr Geist has some specific axe to gride, yet he fails on the simple concept that the structure he shows is very similar to the way it works on every other topic (from softwood lumber to the color of margarine) in Canada.

It isn’t like the people in the Canadian Music Industry are doing anything outrageous – they are doing what is done normally.

Rob (profile) says:

“He also fails to show how this is different from any other industry where the key players lobby actively.”

Thus the fundamental injustice in our current system… the government has truly been subversively “taken over” if you will by corporate interests, and is now being used as a wedge between the people and corporations to keep the money flowing. This is a HUGE problem all around and it is amazing to me that people are not more upset about this… instead we have people like the second anonymous (can’t really blame him, I wouldn’t want to attach my name to such silly opinions), who would defend the actions of one corporation by saying that everyone else is doing it. I agree that the recording industry is not the most grievous offender (health care and big oil immediately come to mind), it is still massively unjust and needs to be stopped. We need to urge our elected officials to put in place policy that will return control to the people. We need to publicly shame officials who bow to the corporate lobbies. We need to imprison the crooked officials who take bribes from the lobbies. We need to return to the government prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. The corporations may have be dug in like an Alabama tick (please excuse the Predator reference), but I think that this can change if we start pressuring our elected officials — we need to speak with our votes and with our wallets.

Comboman says:

Blame the media

It’s easy to blame the lobbyists, but they’re just doing what they’ve been paid to do. And politicians need to balance the needs of industry versus the needs of their constituents (though that balance is often lacking). In my opinion, the real blame for this “policy laundering” belongs to the media (they are the ones doing the laundering after all). They are not supposed to take press releases from lobby groups and publish them as news. Where is the fact checking? Where are the second sources? Isn’t that what they’re always crying distinguishes “real” journalists from bloggers?

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Blame the media

“It’s easy to blame the lobbyists, but they’re just doing what they’ve been paid to do.”

How Judas of them.

“And politicians need to balance the needs of industry versus the needs of their constituents (though that balance is often lacking).”

Well, I’m glad you think the balance is lacking, but is there a reason that line didn’t simply state “politicians need to to think solely of the needs of their constituents, and allow their wishes to determine policy with regard to business”? Do businesses register to vote?

Anonymous Coward says:

You know, when the “other side” of the argument never shows up, it is pretty hard for politicians to get a balanced view. I cannot picture too many people from the file sharing community showed up to brief the committees or gave interviews to the people writing the papers.

In the end, if you want to debunk the numbers, you have to prove it. If you can’t then their numbers stand.

Michael Geist goes on like he just discovered the frickin’ Caramilk secret – when all he has discovered is how almost all interest groups work to promote their message and get it in front of the people making laws.

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