One of the oldest techniques in deception by dishonest or agenda-based organizations is to use a name that intentionally misleads the public as to their real agenda, purpose or credibility. This is often accompanied with psuedo-science used to promote an agenda and an attempt to justify this agenda by trying to associate it with other causes. Some organizations are single-issue, but pad their sites and information with lip service to other issues while others may attempt to promote themselves in a way that makes them appear to be legitimate authorities in a given field.
Here are just a few examples of these wolves in sheep’s clothing:
American College of Pediatricians – Based on the name of this organization, you might be inclined to believe that it’s the standard–bearing organization for American pediatricians. It certainly sounds very official. However, the real organization (the one that they’re apparently trying to sound like) is the similarly-named American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, the organization has very little information on matters of general child health and focuses almost exclusively on anti-homosexuality information. The organization wraps hardline christian values in scientific and psychological terminology. A large portion of their website is dedicated to opposing same-sex unions and same-sex couples adopting children. Their section on gender and sexuality offers links to groups like “Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality.” The group also supports abstinence-only sex education, again attempting to make it appear that this stand is justified by good medicine and scientific evidence. Make no mistake, this is not a legitimate organization for pediatrics!
Physicians for Social Responsibility – The name sounds rather generic, as “social responsibility” is a very broad subject. One might think such an organization would represent doctors who are taking a stand against racism and discrimination or who support more funding for education or low-income health care. In fact, the organization has no interest in “social responsibility” unless the only “social” issue in the world is nuclear energy and the only “responsible” position on it is that it must be banned. The organization’s primary issue is nuclear energy, although they equate his with nuclear weapons and “safe energy” at every opportunity. They also support the environmental extremist agenda that considers nearly every synthetic substance to be a “dangerous toxin.” The dishonesty of this organization is not surprising when one considers that Helen Caldicott was a founding member.
Center for Food Safety – Based on the name of this organization, you might expect it to be a group concerned with things like E. Coli contamination of food or the proper labeling of food that may contain allergens. After all, these are legitimate areas of food safety that are worth being concerned over. In fact, the organization is just more of the same from environmental extremist and organic food industry. The only issues that the group seems concerned with are scaring people over all things genetically engineered or which do not meet the arbitrary standards for “organic.” The group is lock-step with other such organizations in fighting potentially safety enhancing technologies like food irradiation. It is completely against the scientific mainstream by legitimate food safety researchers and advocates.
Family Research Council – There’s really no research involved here. It’s just an ultra-conservative Christian Right group. The group claims to be experts in numerous areas of policy, but downplays the fact that their expertise is entirely on topics related to promoting fundamentalist Christian dogma.
Discovery Institute – The name sounds rather generic, implying that it’s some kind of science or education advocacy group. The groups website and official statements would also seem to describe it as a secular, multi-issue think-tank for promoting science and questioning of conventional wisdom. In fact, they’re a thinly-veiled anti-evolution organization that has tried to spin concepts like intelligent design into acceptable academics. They’ll publish almost anything that attacks the theory of evolution and like to pretend there is some kind of legitimate scientific crisis in evolutionary biology. They also actively promote “intelligent design” in public schools, even producing textbooks that claim to describe evolutionary theory and its alleged controversy, but actually preach creationism.
The Center for Personal Rights – Based on the name, you’d probably think that this organization were some kind of libertarian political organization or perhaps a civil liberties group, similar to the ACLU. In fact, it’s an anti-vaccine group. This is really their only issue and the whole “personal rights” thing is just the whole smoke and mirrors of the “vaccine choice” claims that many anti-vaccine organizations make.