Pro-TPP Op-Eds Remarkably Similar to Drafts By Foreign Government Lobbyists

by Lee Fang, the Intercept

OPINION COLUMNS PUBLISHED in California newspapers over the last year in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership use language nearly identical to drafts written and distributed by public relations professionals who were retained by the Japanese government to build U.S. support for the controversial trade agreement.

Take this column by former San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders, who now serves as the president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, in the San Diego Union-Tribune, titled: “Trans-Pacific trade pact benefits San Diego.”

Much of the language in Sanders’ op-ed also appears in a “San Diego Draft op-ed” distributed by Southwest Strategies, a consulting firm paid by the Japanese government to promote the TPP:…

… Or take this column, “TPP Will Strengthen California’s Economy,” by Pat Fong Kushida, the president and CEO of the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce, which was published in a Los Angeles daily newspaper called The Rafu Shimpo, with a truncated version appearing in the Sacramento Business Journal.

Kushida’s pro-TPP column is word-for-word identical to a draft column distributed by Southwest Strategies. The only difference between the draft and the published op-ed are the verb tenses, such as changing “will be” to “was” and “addresses” to “addressed.”

[read more here]

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