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When Corporate America Hides the Truth

We’ve known for several years that tobacco companies cached the truth from us and hid the knowledge that tobacco use endangers our health by promoting cancers, heart disease, etcetera. Small wonder that the biggest market for US tobacco is now China, where Freedom of Information Acts are nonexistent and thus the dangers of tobacco are as unknown as they were in America in the 1920s. A New York Times article posits that one-third of all young men in China will die of tobacco-related diseases. The Times suggests that the Chinese government will be slow to halt the epidemic rise of smoking: “Antismoking efforts in China face a difficult political situation: The central government has a monopoly through the Chinese National Tobacco Corporation, and more than 7 percent of government revenue comes from it.”

Meanwhile, in the US, tobacco use continues to decline, due to the spread of the truth.

The Coca-Cola Company, meanwhile, has allegedly been paying for faux science to show its products (full of sugar and sugar substitutes) are not contributors to American obesity. Instead, their paid “scientists” insist, it’s all down to lack of exercise… when current studies suggest the exact opposite: that we eat ourselves into overweight and we can fast our way out of it, eliminating many cases of diabetes and cancer, and improving heart health.

So who are the latest corporate liars? Turns out they’ve been major oil companies.

Remember how for years – oops, decades – the companies that refine the fuel you use in your car pooh-poohed climate change? How they laughed, how they got angry, how they acted with disdain? How they funded their own faux studies to “prove” that burning carbon products had no effect on climate? How they characterized climate change activists as crazy loons?

It appears that all this time, they were foxing us.

The Times, again, reporting: “Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation.”

“As early as 1977, one of Exxon’s senior scientists warned a gathering of oilmen of a ‘general scientific agreement’ that the burning of fossil fuels was influencing the climate. A year later, he had updated his assessment, warning that ‘present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.’”

The late 1970s. Forty years ago. Forty years that could have been put to better use to develop technologies that avoid the use of fossil fuels… but were instead wasted.

Is there any US corporation willing to put the truth front and center? How about when it impacts others’ health? When it impacts their own employees’ health, and that of their children and grandchildren?

Apparently not.

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