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Posts Tagged ‘Yasha Levine’

Was Malcolm Gladwell in the Pocket of Big Tobacco?

The eXiled’s Yasha Levine seems to think so. And he puts forward a pretty convincing case. Levine tracks Gladwell’s career back to the Washington Post, where he dug up a number of unquestionably pro-tobacco pieces. One of those pieces from 1990 essentially made the argument that curbing smoking would bankrupt social security–by causing people to live longer. Yikes.

But more damning, Levine traced Gladwell’s name back to a tobacco industry “THIRD-PARTY MESSAGE DEVELOPMENT CONTACT LIST.”

For those not familiar with public relations industry lingo, “third-party” refers to a PR technique in which corporate propaganda is funneled through seemingly independent journalists, academics, non-profits, think tanks and other respected “third parties” in order to bolster the credibility of “the message” with the public. Here’s how a Burson-Marsteller PR expert described the third-party technique in 1995:

“For the media and the public, the corporation will be one of the least credible sources of information on its own product, environmental and safety risks. Both these audiences will turn to other experts … to get an objective viewpoint.

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SoCal-Based eXiled Editor Yasha Levine Wins New York Press Association Award

LA/Victorville-based reporter Yasha Levine just picked up a 2010 Better Newspaper Contest award (sponsored by the New York Press Association) for his piece “The Making of Manhattan’s Elite Welfare Farmers” in the New York Press. Levine, who also co-edits The eXiled, took second place in the contest for “Coverage of Business, Financial & Economic News.” Read his excellent piece here.

The eXiled Finally Given Props for Uncovering Koch Brothers/Tea Party Connection

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Back in February of 2009, eXiled editors Mark Ames and Yasha Levine wrote a piece for Playboy.com that uncovered the connection between the Tea Party and a previously quiet, shadowy pair of billionaires known as the Koch brothers. Almost immediately after publication, the piece was slammed by the mainstream press and Playboy wound up pulling the piece–although they never ran a correction. More than two years later, after a popular New Yorker piece shed light on the Koch brothers and the full extent of their political undertakings, Ames and Levine are feeling a might peeved about their treatment. The pair went on The Dylan Ratigan Show yesterday to talk about the backlash they received when they initially published the story, and how their reporting has since been vindicated.

Ames also wrote this blistering piece calling out The Atlantic‘s Megan McArdle, among other journalists, who trashed Ames and Levine’s reporting while failing to disclose the full extent of their personal and financial connections to the Koch brothers. Worth the read.

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