It is ok to lie and misinform

Big Oil hires PR agencies to spread lies about climate change. Phillip Morris used PR to spread lies about how cigarette smoking is healthy. The Hawthorn Group PR agency as well as other “service providers” are named in this concisely written Yes Magazine article.

It is appallingly bad behaviour. And yet no one seems to give a damn. “It’s just business…” It seems like the religion of money can get away with bad behaviour.

Why are we so complacent about letting myopic business interests dictate public discussions that affect all of us? Why is it ok for business to spread lies and disinformation on issues that have a direct effect on our collective welfare? Where is the public and tangible backlash against these organisations?

There was tangible outcry against the Chinese contaminated milk scandal. And against the Enron collapse. And even against Bernard Madoff. Perhaps that was because the effects were immediate. Perhaps the majority of us are too black-and-white and short-term oriented. If it does not kill us immediately, then we can be apathetic about it. Is this sheer stupidity or what?

Another example of deadly lies and misinformation is the Catholic Church’s position on condom use in Africa. Essentially the Vatican is saying – if you use condoms you will get AIDS. See this Guardian article. The church as an organisation is thus found morally wanting. How could they continue to get away with this?

Similar to people who buy from businesses that employ slave labour, are all Catholics thus morally bankrupt for continuing to support a business that is so directly responsible for the deaths of people? Are all patrons of the various agencies named in the Yes Magazine article also likewise morally bankrupt?

Why are we so fearful and apathetic?

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