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Q & A about TRADE SECRETS

Q. Why didn’t Bill Moyers interview representatives of the chemical industry for TRADE SECRETS?

  • He does include industry representatives, in a format that gives them an unedited opportunity to present their point of view. Half an hour, which is 25 percent of the program, is devoted to a discussion of issues raised by facts in the internal industry documents that are the focus of the first portion of the program.

  • This discussion provides equal time to chemical industry representatives as well as others with differing viewpoints representing the public health sector and environmental organizations.

  • In the discussion, the industry is invited to offer opinions on such issues as their assessment of the present state of regulation, the scientific basis for their confidence that chemicals absorbed by human beings have no health consequences in the short term or the long term, and their plans for the future to ensure that chemicals they manufacture pose no threat to the public.

Q. Why weren’t industry representatives interviewed for the documentary portion of the program?
  • The documentary portion of this program lays out historical evidence about the chemical industry contained in their internal industry documents spanning a period of almost 50 years.

  • These internal industry documents are a fact. They exist. They are not a matter of opinion or a point of view. The documents state what the industry knew, when they knew it and what they decided to do.

  • In the documentary portion of the program, the chemical industry is represented by these documents, which describe the industry’s decisions -- in their own words in black and white and on paper -- about how they will behave.

  • The interviews in this portion of the program focus on determining if the information contained in the chemical industry’s documents was revealed at the time to company employees, governmental regulators, citizens concerned about environmental pollution, or the general public.
Q. The chemical industry has stated TRADE SECRETS can not be balanced, accurate or fair because they were not given the opportunity to present their side of the story.
  • We have a different view. Regarding accuracy, every fact in TRADE SECRETS has been scrupulously sourced. There is no question of accuracy in the presentation of the documents because we have made them available for all to see. The viewer doesn’t have to wonder if excerpts from these internal documents were perhaps unfairly taken out of context during the program. The full text of every document referenced in TRADE SECRETS will be available for all to read on the TRADE SECRETS Web site on PBS.org. Nothing could be more fair.

  • The program is balanced in broadly framing the chemical industry. The program plainly states that chemicals have improved many aspects of our contemporary lifestyle. The documentary does not question the positive aspects of the chemical revolution of the last 50 years, and acknowledges them.

  • As the documents reveal, the chemical industry has invested millions of dollars trying to dominate public perception as well as the regulatory process. This program is making information available to the public that has been deliberately and consciously withheld.
Attacking the journalism in TRADE SECRETS is a strategy to discredit the content so that their own viewpoint can dominate public perception.

Press Contacts:

Colby Kelly
Kelly & Salerno Communications
212-632-0156
Colby@kellysalerno.com

Karen Salerno
Kelly & Salerno Communications
212-632-0175
Karen@kellysalerno.com

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