Remind Us Again Why We Need Newspapers

So we’re making the rounds, looking for a story to riff on, when we come across an intriguing item out of Texas. Seems a soda tax is being considered to help balance the state budget, which strikes us as curious, since we’ve been bombarded recently by Paid Actors Portraying Angry Everyday Americans Who Oppose Taxing Our Nation’s Precious High-Fructose Corn Syrup, and, well, this story’s out of Texas.

False alarm, alas — the soda tax is being proposed by a Demrat, which is tantamount to burying the lead, since everybody knows that Demrats no longer exist in Texas, except in certain Austin neighborhoods that everybody avoids, and surely National Geographic should be alerted to the sighting.

But before we give up on the piece, this passage confronts us:

“Texas politicians must cut down on their spending binges instead of making citizens swallow this not-so-sweet tax,” said J. Justin Wilson, a senior research analyst at nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom in Washington, D.C.

Nice line, Mr. Wilson. We’re sure you were paid well for it. But by whom?

And here’s the thing: The reporter never tells us.

Mind you, this is a Texas newspaper, covering a Texas issue, proposed by a Texas legislator. Surely there are a few dozen Republicans within a stone’s throw who might like to weigh in? Surely there’s some state grocer’s association to rail against it? Why reach out to a DC source? Hasn’t Texas seceded yet?

And — more to the point — does describing the Center for Consumer Freedom as “nonprofit” tell the reader all she needs to know?

Because we find this description much more enlightening:

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) (formerly called the “Guest Choice Network (GCN)”) is a front group for the restaurant, alcohol, tobacco and other industries. It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, animal advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them “the Nanny Culture — the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who ‘know what’s best for you.'”

CCF is registered as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization under the IRS code 501(c)(3). Its advisory board is comprised mainly of representatives from the restaurant, meat and alcoholic beverage industries.

Well, that certainly helps explain Mr. Wilson’s clever turn of phrase. It would help even more if the reporter provided even the merest hint that the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom might — just might — have little interest in consumers. Or freedom. And really isn’t much of a center.

Instead, we had to, y’know, Google it, find the details at SourceWatch, and read other delightful accounts of its activities.

Of course — full disclosure — we’re an amateur blogger, not a Professional Journalist at a Real Newspaper. And the next time a Real Newspaper folds, remember what kind of Quality Local Journalism that community will miss. Because it would be terrible, just terrible, if Americans were ill-informed.

Soft drink tax proposed to help balance state budget [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

Ad source: Gallery of Regrettable Food [Lileks]


Alas, every single right-wing “thinktank” is little more than a propaganda mill supported by corporate paymasters and wealthy patrons. Yet these organizations are routinely cited in newspaper articles as if they were serious, academic and intellectual organs promoting the results of their independent, schoarly research.

It’s a huge scam. The AEI, Cato, Manhattan Institute, are little more than whorehouses with a megaphone.

As for a soda tax. Makes sense to me. Treat it like cigarettes. It’s empty calories and probably the single biggest cause of Diabeetus 2.

When I was in university, I drank way too much of that syrupy shit. I have maybe it once a month (root beer only.)

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.: No, no, you want Izze with your gin!

But why are you wasting your time with Texas and soda pop when the real news is that the Republican House is lined up to repeal physics?

Yesterday the House Energy & Commerce Committee passed a bill that would “repeal the E.P.A.’s finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are a threat to human health and the environment.”

This is so great! Burn, baby, burn!

I have already called the three Demrats on the Committee to ask that they start work immediately on a bill to repeal gravity. Now that would be a money saver!

The girlfriend touched down at JFK a few minutes ago … she’s safe.

@blogenfreude: Great news. Let’s all get drunk.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: There’s something intrinsically funny about gin. I don’t know why. Perhaps because of the tea scene in Pygmalion when Eliza says “Gin was mother’s milk to her.” I think it’s arguably the funniest scene ever written. Except for when Di Rigg is Eliza.

I can’t get worked up over what the Republicans say any more. I’m outraged out. But calling the Democrats sounds like fun.

In more important news Jon Bonjovi tells Steve Jobs to get the fuck off his lawn. Yes, pop stars are just like the rest of us.

@blogenfreude: Commercial flight or extracation by Flying Chainsaw? (Think Batman getting pulled out of Hong Kong in Dark Knight 2: Still Fucking Awesome.)

@Prommie: If Valley of Gwangi is not on it, I got no use for it.

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:
Here in Texas if you put your milk in a Dr Pepper it becomes a French Dr. Pepper. But what’s really good is Dr. Pepper ‘n Beer!

Texas state Senator John Carona has introduced a bill that will allow “pro-lifers” to have their own special auto license plates. Part of the proceeds will go to aid anti-abortion groups and adoption groups.
No word on what the logo will be, hopefully not a photo of an aborted fetus.

I have had the urge to ram the back of someone’s car over an offensive bumper sticker. Now this.

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:
There’s something deeply comical about reading a pop tart like JBJ whinge about how somebody *else* is killing music. Sorry Jon, nobody else can kill music because you whiny hair-“metal” fucks already SKULLFUCKED it into oblivion decades ago…

That particular ship has already sailed; actually, I’m shocked TX didn’t have a “we love fetuses, once you’re out FUCK YOU” plate as Ohio and a lot of other places already do. I’m more baffled by the proposal in AZ to make a “Tea Party” plate with money going to teabagger groups; how is that NOT a “Republican Party” plate? I’m guessing the AZ law explicitly prohibits political party plates (since they *don’t* have a Republican one at present) so that should be a fun court challenge.

On the upside, a teabagger plate would serve a useful warning function: you don’t want to try to pass those clowns, as they may decide that highway lines are an unconstitutional impediment to their freedom at any moment…

@texrednface: That’s what I mean. You could spend a whole day seething. And it doesn’t make you happy.

@redmanlaw: I didn’t see Quetzlacoatl, either, now that you mention it.

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:
steve can get off my lawn too. ever since i got my tunes on the phone, youtube stopped working. i suppose he needs another donation to the apple cause. i want a tablet. and not an apple. the samsung looks smurfy…i’m through with steve. and through with the humiliation of asking my 82 year old father for tech help. off to read reviews on PC mag….

toldja so…and yes, what a relief.

@baked: Software doesn’t do flash. I believe there’s a work-around.

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