How Business Propaganda Hijacks Canadian Democracy

A book review in western Canada's Georgia Straight newspaper asks, "Do you ever wonder why so many of the Fraser Institute’s right-wing commentaries get into Canadian daily newspapers? Perhaps you’ve been disturbed by the spate of articles about the inevitability of Canada forming closer ties with the United States. Maybe you’re troubled by the constant media attacks on Medicare or on the scientific consensus about global warming. In Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy, former Simon Frasier University communications professor and occasional contributor Donald Gutstein explains how Canadians are being duped by a sophisticated, broad-ranging, and reactionary public-relations assault financed by some of North America’s largest corporations. ... Gutstein shows how wealthy Americans such as brewing magnate Joseph Coors and newspaper publisher Richard Mellon Scaife funded several think tanks in the 1970s to spread a libertarian message of deregulation and lower taxes, which countered the consumer revolution led by Ralph Nader. The author weaves all of this together with an illuminating history of propaganda, culminating in the Canadian business community’s use of what Australian sociologist Alex Carey described as " 'treetops propaganda' that targets elite media commentators and bypasses the citizenry."


For a clear, logical breakdown of how "experts" and "expertise" are wielded as tools of influence, read Andrew Rich's Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise ( This is THE book on think tanks.