Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Popular fiction - the ultimate propaganda

I've been meaning to post this one. There's been some discussion about whether this was a hoax but it appeared in a legit newspaper in Canada and the consensus seems to be that it's a true story.
It's a story sure to send a chill down the spine of the average American. A dastardly group of Balkan terrorists launches an attack on the United States by poisoning low-cost prescription drugs from Canada bought over the Internet by unsuspecting U.S. consumers.

...The novel, due to appear in December, received funding from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States, as the result of actions, it says, of a "rogue" employee.

According to one of the book's co-authors, Kenin Spivak, the goal was simply "to scare Americans into opposing any amendment to existing legislation" that formally bans the import of low-cost prescriptions from Canada. He said that the book's publisher, Phoenix Books, was paid an unspecified amount of money to publish the novel by the drug group, which also said it planned to buy 40,000 copies.
Amusingly, and this is the part that calls the veracity of the piece into question, Jason Blair of the NYT scandal fame, is said to have been the editor of the book. Like they said he's good with fiction.

The plot has undergone a rewrite in response to the unwanted publicity on the genesis of the book but it appears to be headed for publication.

[hat tip to Tim Meehan]


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