Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Paid Shills

ESPN's investigative series, Outside the Lines, profiles a new book - League of Denial - about the National Football League's attempts to downplay and deny the amount, severity, and long-term consequences of concussions among professional football players.

Former NFL players number in the thousands - not the tens of millions of tobacco smokers affected by the tobacco industry's similar tactics. Still, it just drives home the point that industry-funded research should always be taken with a grain of salt. Oh hell, just pass me the entire salt shaker.

Of course we see the same thing in climate science; a few industry connected shills willing to put their names on anything in an attempt to shed doubt on reality and the work of real scientists. Fred Singer? Yeah, you're one of them. Heartland Institute? NIPCC? Yeah, they get to play the role of the sham committees the NFL organized to 'study' concussions.

I really can't feel any outrage. I mean, what would you expect? There's a lot of money involved and businesses and corporations will do practically anything to keep that revenue coming in. If it means tossing a few people aside along the way, slandering a few scientists, misleading their workers and the general public - well, so be it. We've seen this play often enough we should recognize it by now. The outrage would be if we're surprised by it.

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