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The Consumer ReportsŪ Watchdog

Consumer Distorts
The Consumer Reports Watchdog




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About Consumer Distorts

Consumerdistorts.com is published by Steven Milloy, who also publishes Junkscience.com.

The purpose of Consumerdistorts.com is to spotlight the renewed emphasis on "junk science" at Consumer Reports. Generally speaking, junk science is faulty scientific data and analysis used to further a special agenda.

Consumer Reports uses junk science to develop "sensational" reports that advance the political agenda of its publisher, Consumers Union, and increase magazine sales.

Consumers Union is a lobbying group that advocates extreme environmental positions. Through Consumer Reports, Consumers Union uses "consumer" as a shield to deceive the public, media and policymakers about its ultimate political goals.

The historical high water mark for junk science at Consumer Reports was its participation in the groundless scare over the agricultural chemical Alar (circa 1989).

Consumer Reports now appears interested in bagging bigger game. Over the past year or so, Consumer Reports has stepped up its use of junk science in spearheading attacks on food biotechnology, plastics and pesticides.

Not surprisingly, Consumers Union's political advocacy is anti-consumer. It needlessly alarms consumers about the safety of consumer goods. This reduces consumer choice by scaring consumers away from products.

What have others said about Consumer Reports?

The Society of Toxicology says:

"We believe that the [Consumers Union report's conclusions] concerning the dangers of pesticides in food are not credible and are unnecessrily alarmist."

Source: Letter from the SOT to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, March 8, 1999

Science journalist Michael Fumento says:

"When it comes to testing dishwashers, VCRs, and TVs, Consumer Reports has established a reputation for fairness and impartiality that has made it one of the most trusted consumer sources in the United States. Unfortunately, any month's issue that discusses a subject with an environmentalist angle should be renamed "Consumer Distorts."

Source: "Scary baby bottle blather", Washington Times, May 16, 1999

Former Consumer Reports reporter Larry Katzenstein says:

"...20/20 managed to overlook the real story: the transmogrification of [Consumers Union] over the past 10 years from an organization that helped to educate the public about what was truly risky and what wasn't...to a group determined to scare people about risks that in reality pose negligible or nonexistent dangers.

Source: Letter from Larry Katzenstein to Brian Ross, investigative reporter for ABC's 20/20, April 20, 1999

Media watchdog Brill's Content says:

When it comes to deciding which products and services to buy, there's no more trusted source of information than this 63-year-old magazine. But the self proclaimed bastion of unbiased testing may not be as fair or conflict-free as it claims.

Source: Brill's Content, "Testing Consumer Reports," September 1999

The American Council on Science and Health says:

We at the American Council on Science and Health believe your editorial choices are unnecessarily alarmist. By focusing on hypothetical or negligible risks, like the phthalate and pesticide issues, Consumer Reports causes its readers to lose their health and safety perspectives.

Source: Letter from the American Council on Science and Health to Consumer Reports, July 20, 1999

Consumerdistorts.com is not affiliated with Consumer Reports®, Consumerreports.org or Consumers Union.
Material presented on this page represents the opinion of Consumerdistorts.com.Material copyrighted by others is used either with permission or under a claim of "fair use."
Copyright © 1999 Consumerdistorts.com. All rights reserved on original works.