Wednesday 24 March 2010

Lobbyists lobby against anti-lobbyists: WHAT?

I don't think lobbyists are evil; lobbyism is part of democracy.

But I think intransparent lobbying is bad. And lobbying for evil people (e.g. for the weapons industry, criminals or countries that torture or kill people) is worse.

So what is worst? - Spinning against people who work to uncover intransparent lobbying for evil people!*

According to EUobserver, a Brussels lobbyists' organisation (EPACA) is now lobbying against the anti-lobbyists of the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) because they used investigative techniques trying to uncover intransparent work of EPACA members for certain countries that are not known for their positive image**.

Dear European Public Affairs Consultancies' Association, do you realise that you make a fool of yourself and your members by such obvious red herring?

*Update: A question on Twitter made me think and now I am in a dilemma: What is the worst - (a) lobbying for evil people or (b) spinning against those who try to uncover intransparent lobbying, even for not-evil-but-still-not-perfect people or (c) me? Don't have an answer.

**Update: And, yes, I admit to Dusan Jakovljevic who raised the question that he caught me with a smoking gun although he would have preferred to find me with a smoking cigar. ;-)*** Yes, I admit, I didn't read the EUobserver article properly, mixing up two paragraphs, and hence left the impression that I was calling certain countries "evil" although all I actually wrote was "not known for their positive image". Yet one could have well-reasoned doubts about that. But now everything is correct. I hope.

*** Remember: Smileys in blog posts look bad. You have to erase them with a strike and then tell your readers why you did this.

PS: Damn, the blog post looks crappy now. I should erase it. But then I would be intransparent. That's the fault of lobbyists. And journalists. And bloggers' ethics. It all ends up crappy just because of some rules some people have set up to mess up our life. Next time I write about kittens. European kittens. But then there would be the European Kittens' Lobby complaining that I use kittens for my private catharsis. And then I will have to excuse in crappy-looking updates that ruin my blog. I then need to go the the European Commission to complain about this. And they will propose a regulation that won't make me happy because it will be watered down by special interests who think that people who blog about kittens shouldn't feel better in Europe. Because they are evil.

I admit: I am evil. Hehe.

PPS.: And please let's not have a debate about whether lobbyism is evil, because it isn't. I agree with Leigh Phillips.


Filip Schwartz Kirkegaard said...

I hope CEO had very good reason for their method of using the title of a journalist for their information gathering, as the allegedly did!

Being a journalist I find it annoying when others than journalists uses the title.

Two weeks ago I interviewed a politician in Lebanon who in the beginning of the interview stated that I could be a spy. In Lebanon they have a lot of Mossad agents - in Brussels you have quite a few watchdogs. I prefer that my Brussels sources do not initially think that I am a spoof journalist.

Julien Frisch said...

Okay, I understand your point.

David Leloup said...

Hi, I'm the journalist who is employed part-time to investigate lobbying activities for Corporate Europe Observatory. EPACA is claiming that I was pretending to be a journalist and tried to hide the fact that I worked for CEO. That is not the case. I am a journalist and when Robert Mack asked me who the story was for, I immediately replied that it was for CEO's website.
I was not acting undercover when I contacted Burson-Marsteller Brussels – but openly enquiring about their activities. I was not contacted by EUobserver for the story by the way.

Julien Frisch said...

Hi David,

thanks a lot for commenting and telling your side of the story!

David Leloup said...

Hi Julien,
in the meantime Corporate Europe Observatory published a short reaction to EPACA's attack:

Leigh said...

David, I did try to contact you but was unable to, and I spoke very extensively with Olivier, your boss at CEO, who delivered the entire email correspondence between you and Robert Mack.

Filip Schwartz Kirkegaard said...

Thank you for the clarification, David.