Literally, Catallaxy on a bad day

A while back, I commented that the Oz was turning into a dysfunctional group blog, like Catallaxy on a bad day[1]. Now, it appears this piece of mild hyperbole has become literally true. The Oz has turned into a print version of Catallaxy, recycling their posts in support of tobacco industry propaganda. This really is Catallaxy at its predictable worst. The IPA, well represented there, started its career in science denialism with attacks on health scientists and, in particular, denial of the dangers of passive smoking. Like so many other tobacco industry fronts, it diversified into climate denial in the 1990s, using the same tricks and tropes.

I’m not sure if Catallaxy is the only blog source for the new Oz. The papers obsessive coverage of the AWU/Gillard case, which is looking rather quaint given the revelations of much more recent and clear-cut corruption on both sides of politics, seems to be a mixture of in-house stuff and lifts from the various extreme wingnut blogs devoted to the issue. In any case, it’s hard to tell the difference.

fn1. As previously agreed, no personal attacks on Catallaxy members, please.

34 thoughts on “Literally, Catallaxy on a bad day

  1. The drug pushers surely can’t win this argument.

    If plain packaging has increased consumption, this surely is a windfall for the pushers? Advertising costs down, sales up. So why on earth would they oppose it?

    The can only be opposing it because it does hurt consumption. Its an argument that has climate change denialism written all over it.

  2. @Michaelson
    The whole aim of the plain packaging law is to make smoking less attractive to new smokers, i.e. kids. Surely it will take more than a year or two for this sort of change to become apparent.

  3. And see Ergas in the Australian, and Catallaxy, quoting claims that plain packaging would reduce smoking overall by 6%. But he does acknowledge the main strategic importance of plain packaging: to cut the recruitment of children as smokers. You can read proof that plain packaging is encouraging children to smoke, if you regard one teacher’s anecdote of the number of child smokers they encountered last week as proof. If not, you might prefer statistics: and you might acknowledge that, at this stage, we have nothing on the effect of plain packaging on recruitment of smokers, while what we have on decline in smoking (quantity per capita) would require a huge drop before our sample sizes would let us reach statistical significance.

    But the pro-tobacco lobby doesn’t seem to have heard of statistical significance in its trumpeting of figures no other analyst is allowed to see…

  4. fn1. As previously agreed, no personal attacks on Catallaxy members, please.

    What? No sport?

    Catallaxy is a synonym for personal attacks on everyone.

  5. This article reprinted in BMJ is disturbing from many angles, it shows the tobacco industry to knowingly be a drug company and from evidence provided during the discovery process they appear to be at ease with tobacco’s proven links to cancer and cardio/vascular disease.

    We are searching explicitly for a socially acceptable addictive product involving: a pattern of repeated consumption; a product which is likely to involve repeated handling; the essential constituent is most likely to be nicotine or a ‘direct’ substitute for it.”

    The tobacco industry really are indefensible.

  6. Michael Pascoe writes about the link between tobacco companies and media, esp Rupert Murdoch. Much of the evidence against tobacco arose during a legal process and I imagine a lot more files being deleted before they provide further evidence.

  7. Peter Martin is reporting that Treasury has released raw volume data (not chain volumes) that shows that the quantity of cigarettes sold in Australia is dropping.

  8. hc :
    Ken, The BAT annual report is available online. It states prices have risen but that volumes have fallen. This is very interesting. It suggests the claims of the Catallaxy crew are wrong and that plain packaging is reducing smoking.

    Thanks – I’ve actually read the BAT report and fully agree that it is in direct contradiction to IPA/Australian/Catallaxy, but I was wondering if Philip Morris was saying the same.

    According to the Peter Martin article that I cited in my last comment, Imperial Tobacco (the third big player in the Australian market) is also reporting a drop in volumes.

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