Corporate Corruption News StoriesExcerpts of Key Corporate Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of corporate corruption news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The Supreme Court has rejected Bayer's appeal to shut down thousands of lawsuits claiming that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer. The justices on Tuesday left in place a $25-million judgment in favor of Edwin Hardeman, a California man who says he developed cancer from using Roundup for decades to treat poison oak, overgrowth and weeds on his San Francisco Bay Area property. Hardeman's lawsuit had served as a test case for thousands of similar lawsuits. The high court's action comes amid a series of court fights over Roundup that have pointed in different directions. On Friday, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an Environmental Protection Agency finding from 2020 that glyphosate does not pose a serious health risk and is "not likely" to cause cancer in humans. The appellate court ordered the EPA to reexamine its finding. At the same time, Bayer has won four consecutive trials in state court against people who claimed they got cancer from Roundup. The latest verdict in favor of the pharmaceutical company came last week in Oregon. The EPA says on its website that there is "no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in humans." But in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." The agency said it relied on "limited" evidence of cancer in people and "sufficient" evidence of cancer in study animals.
Note: Instead of relying on independent science, the EPA used industry studies to determine that glyphosate was safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health from reliable major media sources.
Facebook prohibits gun sales on its service. But buyers and sellers can violate the rule 10 times before they are kicked off the social network, according to internal guidance obtained by The Washington Post. The policy, which has not previously been reported, is much more lenient than for users who post child pornography, which is illegal, or a terrorist image, which prompts immediate removal from the platform. A separate, five-strikes policy extends even to gun sellers and purchasers who actively call for violence. Facebook's gun policies have long been a source of contention among the company's senior leadership and policymaking teams, who have been torn between the platform's support of free speech and public pressure to curtail weapons sales. Gun sellers have seized on loopholes within Facebook's policy. Journalists have repeatedly uncovered strategies sellers use to evade bans while reaching potential customers in dedicated Facebook groups or on Facebook Marketplace, the company's classified services. One tactic is advertising gun accessories, like holsters or cases, which are permitted for sale on the platform; once a customer contacts the seller, a gun can be sold in Facebook's private messages. After responding to several listings for gun cases, a Post reporter received three private messages with offers to purchase a gun. Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy ... said that banning transactions of a product that was both legal and highly popular would alienate the political right.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Matt Litrell, a 22-year-old Amazon employee, was distributing union fliers outside the warehouse where he works this month when the cops showed up. An Amazon manager had called the sheriff's office in Campbellsville, Ky., that afternoon to report that protesters trying to start a union were trespassing on company property. While the officers eventually determined that Litrell wasn't on Amazon's property and left, Litrell plans to add the incident to the illegal-intimidation charge he filed with the National Labor Relations Board in May. Employees at Amazon facilities around the country whose union hopes were buoyed by the labor victory at a warehouse in Staten Island in April say in labor board filings and interviews that the company has been calling police, firing workers and generally cracking down on labor organizing since that historic win. Amazon has been accused of illegally firing workers in Chicago, New York and Ohio, calling the police on workers in Kentucky and New York, and retaliating against workers in New York and Pennsylvania, in what workers say is an escalation of long-running union-busting activities by the company. It's a sign that, even as lawmakers demand Amazon drop its objections to the union win in Staten Island ... the nation's second-largest private employer will continue to put up fierce opposition to any wave of union momentum. Eric Milner, a lawyer representing the Amazon Labor Union, called the company's objections to the election "a frivolous sideshow."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Public health initiatives in the United States are suffering from a crisis of trust. Recent polls show that only a third of the public trusts insurance and pharmaceutical companies, while just 56 percent trust the government health agencies that are meant to regulate these industries. Another survey during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that only around half of Americans have a "great deal" of trust in the CDC, while a mere third have such trust in the Department of Health and Human Services. When the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 were made available to the public free of charge, a national conversation began about "vaccine hesitancy"–the phenomenon of Americans choosing not to be vaccinated even when incentivized and, in some cases, coerced. Americans had watched public health experts lie, misdirect, ignore evidence and yield to professional pressure. Few wanted to be their guinea pigs. Not all the COVID-19 gaslighting was the fault of the media or politicians - much was implemented by experts abusing their apolitical position of trust. The experts ... including Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, insisted on the most asinine and evidence-free preventative measures, including facial coverings, lockdowns and social distancing. Their insulated role as health advisers enabled them to manipulate health policy in ways that benefited only themselves. The most stark example was the corruption of data collection at the Center for Disease Control–a scandal that crashed public trust to a new low.
The prices of new drugs in the U.S. have climbed for more than a decade, a study published Tuesday finds. According to a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the launch prices of new brand-name drugs increased by nearly 11 percent every year from 2008 through 2021. "These prices are increasing far out of proportion to other health care services," said the lead author, Dr. Benjamin Rome. Rome, and his colleagues observed price increases for all types of drugs, including cancer drugs, non-cancer drugs, pills and injections, he said. "Ultimately," he said, "all health care costs are borne by consumers – either direct out-of-pocket costs, higher premiums or taxes in the case of public health insurance." He added, "Insurance companies can also require prior authorization for expensive new drugs or not cover the drugs at all." The researchers calculated the negotiable sticker prices for new drugs on the market, or the net price. Such prices, which were adjusted for inflation, were calculated in light of rebates many drugmakers offer for the drugs. The researchers limited their scope to drugs sold by public companies; the net price averages included nearly 400 new drugs in total. Median drug prices for a year's supply increased from $2,115 in 2008 to more than $180,000 in 2021. The greatest increases were for cancer drugs and therapies used to treat rare diseases. In 2008, 9 percent of drugs cost $150,000 or more a year, compared to 47 percent in 2021.
Note: For a more detailed and eye-opening analysis, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
The wage gap between chief executives and workers at some of the US companies with the lowest-paid staff grew even wider last year, with CEOs making an average of $10.6m, while the median worker received $23,968. A study of 300 top US companies released by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) on Tuesday found the average gap between CEO and median worker pay jumped to 670-to-1. The ratio was up from 604-to-1 in 2020. Forty-nine firms had ratios above 1,000-to-1. At more than a third of the companies surveyed, IPS found that median worker pay did not keep pace with inflation. The report ... comes amid a wave of unionization efforts among low wage workers and growing scrutiny of the huge share buyback programs many corporations have been using to inflate their share prices. US companies announced plans to buy back more than $300bn of their own shares in the first quarter of the year and Goldman Sachs has estimated that buybacks could top $1tn in 2022. Share-related remuneration makes up the largest portion of senior executive compensation and as buybacks generally boost a company's share price, they also boost executive pay. The biggest buyback firm was home improvement chain Lowe's, which spent $13bn on share repurchases. That money could have given each of its 325,000 employees a $40,000 raise. Instead, median pay at the company fell 7.6% to $22,697. IPS noted that many of the companies in its sample were also the recipients of large federal government contracts.
American hospitals have been living with serious drug shortages for more than a decade. Most days, nearly 300 essential drugs can be in short supply. It's not a matter of supply and demand. The drugs are needed and the ingredients are easy to make. Pharmaceutical companies have stopped producing many life-saving generic drugs because they make too little profit. Yet, year after year, the government stays on the sidelines as companies take drug production offline - and doctors worry the shortages are compromising patient care. Neonatologist Dr. Mitch Goldstein treats the most vulnerable patients. Many ... premature and sick babies have undeveloped digestive systems, so Dr. Goldstein keeps them alive with intravenous nutrients, many of which are in short supply. Antony Gobin heads the pharmacy at Loma Linda Hospital. He told us shortages of basic drugs are a constant worry. "We were dealing with shortages long before COVID," [he said]. "They're all very old, fundamental drugs that every hospital in the country needs and uses." Drug shortages can kill. In 2011, when norepinephrine, an old, low profit drug used to treat septic shock, was in short supply, hundreds of people around the country died. Middlemen, the group purchasing organizations and drug distributors take their cut. The drug manufacturers end up with just a small fraction of what the patient pays. Many have simply stopped making the least profitable drugs.
The offices of the Carlyle Group are on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, midway between the White House and the Capitol building. The address reflects Carlyle's position at the very centre of the Washington establishment. For 14 years now, with almost no publicity, the company has been signing up an impressive list of former politicians - including the first President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker; John Major; one-time World Bank treasurer Afsaneh Masheyekhi and several south-east Asian powerbrokers - and using their contacts and influence to promote the group. But since the start of the "war on terrorism", the firm - unofficially valued at $3.5bn - has ... become the thread which indirectly links American military policy in Afghanistan to the personal financial fortunes of its celebrity employees, not least the current president's father. Among the firm's multi-million-dollar investors were members of the family of Osama bin Laden. "It should be a deep cause for concern that a closely held company like Carlyle can simultaneously have directors and advisers that are doing business and making money and also advising the president of the United States," says Peter Eisner, managing director of the Center for Public Integrity. "The problem comes when private business and public policy blend together. What hat is former president Bush wearing when he tells Crown Prince Abdullah not to worry about US policy in the Middle East?"
Note: Watch a 45-minute video on this subject titled Exposed: The Carlyle Group. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Billions of dollars in Covid aid cushioned financial losses caused by the pandemic at some of the nation's largest hospital chains. But those bailouts also helped sustain the big chains' spending sprees as they expanded even more by scooping up weakened competitors and doctors' practices. More consolidation by several major hospital systems enhanced their market prowess in many regions of the United States, even as rural hospitals and underserved communities were overwhelmed with Covid patients and struggled to stay afloat. The buying spree is likely to prompt further debate and scrutiny of the Provider Relief Fund, a package of $178 billion in congressional aid that drew sharp criticism early on for allocating so much to the wealthiest hospital systems, and that had no limits on mergers and acquisitions. "It was not the intent to be a capital infusion to the largest and most financially stable providers to allow them to simply grow their slice of market share," said Representative Katie Porter. Major employers had warned Congress that bailouts to the health care industry could spur even more consolidation and lead to price-gouging in medical care. Some of the nation's most powerful hospital chains, experts cautioned, would take advantage of the crisis, resulting in even higher prices for medical care. The big well-resourced hospitals had, frankly, a banner year, and they are now in a position to swallow up these smaller, more vulnerable groups.
Facebook finally admitted the truth: The "fact checks" that social media use to police what Americans read and watch are just "opinion." That's thanks to a lawsuit brought by celebrated journalist John Stossel, which has exposed the left's supposed battle against "misinformation" as a farce. Stossel posted a pair of videos that touched the third rail of liberal politics – climate change. Neither questioned whether climate change is real, but each talked about other issues, namely forest management and using technology to adapt. Yet the third party that Facebook contracts to review these pieces, Science Feedback, flagged them as "false," or our favorite, "lacking context." Why? Science Feedback didn't like Stossel's "tone." That is, you can't write anything about climate change unless you say it's the worst disaster in the history of humanity and we must spend trillions to fight it. The Post has faced this same gauntlet too many times. In February 2020, we published a column by Steven W. Mosher asking if COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Lab. This was labeled "false" by Facebook's fact-checkers. Of course, those supposed "independent" scientific reviewers relied on a group of experts who had a vested interest in dismissing that theory – including EcoHealth, which had funded the Wuhan lab. When Twitter "fact checked" and blocked The Post's stories about Hunter Biden's laptop as "hacked materials," what was the basis? Nothing. It wasn't hacked. Guess they didn't like our tone.
When doctors are deciding which drug to prescribe a patient, the idea behind evidence-based medicine is that they inform their thinking by consulting scientific literature. To a great extent, this means relying on medical journals. The trouble is that pharmaceutical companies, who stand to win or lose large amounts of money depending on the content of journal articles, have taken a firm grip on what gets written about their drugs. That grip was strong way back in 2004, when The Lancet's chief editor Richard Horton lamented that "journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry." It may be even tighter now. Drug companies exert this hold on knowledge through publication planning agencies, an obscure subsection of the pharmaceutical industry. The planning companies are paid to implement high-impact publication strategies for specific drugs. They target the most influential academics to act as authors, draft the articles, and ensure that these include clearly-defined branding messages and appear in the most prestigious journals. There are now at least 250 different companies engaged in the business of planning clinical publications for the pharmaceutical industry. Many firms are based in the UK and the east coast of the United States. Having talked to over a dozen publication planners I found that the standard approach to article preparation is for planners to work hand-in-glove with drug companies to create a first draft.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
About 20m acres of cropland in the United States may be contaminated from PFAS-tainted sewage sludge that has been used as fertilizer, a new report estimates. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds used to make products heat-, water- or stain-resistant. Known as "forever chemicals" because they don't naturally break down, they have been linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, liver problems, birth defects, immunosuppression and more. Dozens of industries use PFAS in thousands of consumer products, and often discharge the chemicals into the nation's sewer system. The analysis ... is an attempt to understand the scope of cropland contamination stemming from sewage sludge, or biosolids. Regulators don't require sludge to be tested for PFAS or closely track where its spread, and public health advocates warn the practice is poisoning the nation's food supply. Sludge is a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process that's a mix of human excrement and industrial waste, like PFAS, that's discharged from industry's pipes. EPA records show over 19bn pounds of sludge has been used as fertilizer since 2016 in ... 41 states. It's estimated that 60% of the nation's sludge is spread on cropland or other fields annually. The consequences are evident in the only two states to consistently check sludge and farms for PFAS contamination. In Maine, PFAS-tainted fields have already forced several farms to shut down.
Note: Read more about the toxic "forever chemicals" accumulating in our environment. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health from reliable major media sources.
The new owner took over the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in 2019, promising to dismantle one of the nation's oldest nuclear plants at minimal cost and in record time. Then came a series of worrisome accidents. One worker was struck by a 100-ton metal reactor dome. Another was splashed with radioactive water. Another worker drove an excavator into an electrical wire on his first day on the job, knocking out power to 31,000 homes and businesses. All three incidents occurred on the watch of Holtec International. In the nearly three years Holtec has owned Oyster Creek, regulators have documented at least nine violations of federal rules. During the lifetime of America's 133 nuclear reactors, ratepayers paid small fees on their monthly energy bills to fill decommissioning trust funds. Trust funds for the country's 94 operating and 14 nonoperating nuclear reactors now total about $86 billion. After a reactor is dismantled ... some of these trust funds must return any money left over to ratepayers. But others permit cleanup companies to keep any surplus as profit – creating incentives to cut costs at sites that house some of the most dangerous materials on the planet. Even after reactors are shut down, long metal rods containing radioactive pellets – known as spent fuel – are stored steps away, in cooling pools and steel-and-concrete casks. Nuclear safety experts say that an industrial accident or a terrorist attack at any of these sites could result in a radiological release with severe impacts.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on nuclear power from reliable major media sources.
In September 2019, Ryanair circulated a series of adverts on TV, radio and online which urged customers to fly with "Europe's Lowest Fares, Lowest Emissions Airline. Everybody knows that when you fly Ryanair you enjoy the lowest fares. But do you know you are travelling on the airline with Europe's lowest emissions as well?" The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), the UK's advertising watchdog, banned the campaign several months later after concluding that these claims were misleading. Ryanair is far from the only company to come under fire for making misleading climate claims. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, there has been a wave of corporate commitments to reduce emissions. But the increase in enthusiasm for climate responsibility has been matched by a rise in concerns that some companies are using advertising and public messaging, with buzzwords such as "carbon neutrality" and "net zero", to try to appear more sustainable than they actually are. This is referred to by some as "greenwashing". Consumers are increasingly seeing through misleading claims and making more complaints about them as a result. Almost 50 complaints are currently pending globally before a court or an advertising standards body, according to a recent report. The ASA plans to release new guidance to ensure adverts don't mislead the public about the environment in 2022. To date, most complaints regarding misleading climate claims are dealt with by watchdogs, rather than taken to court.
As inflation shot to a new peak in March, cost increases exacted a deep toll on the economy. But for many of the US's largest companies and their shareholders it has been a very different story. A Guardian analysis of top corporations' financials and earnings calls reveals most are enjoying profit increases even as they pass on costs to customers, many of whom are struggling to afford gas, food, clothing, housing and other basics. The analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings for 100 US corporations found net profits up by a median of 49%, and in one case by as much as 111,000%. Those increases came as companies saddled customers with higher prices and all but ten executed massive stock buyback programs or bumped dividends to enrich investors. In earnings calls, executives detailed how even as demand and profits rose post-vaccine, they passed on most or all inflationary costs to customers via price increases, and some took the opportunity to add more on top. Margins – the share of sales converted into profits – also improved for the majority of the companies. The Guardian's findings are in line with recent US commerce department data that shows corporate profits rose 35% during the last year and are at their highest level since 1950. Inflation, meanwhile, rose to 8.5% year over year in March. The Guardian's data ... objectively shows a massive "transfer of wealth" from consumers, who pay higher prices, to shareholders and investment firms.
Note: Meanwhile global poverty has skyrocketed. Do the billionaires really care? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
An unprecedented spree of policy changes and carveouts aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians from Facebook's censorship systems has earned praise from human rights groups. But a new open letter addressed to Facebook and its social media rivals questions why these companies seem to care far more about some attempts to resist foreign invasion than others. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook and Instagram, rapidly changed its typically strict speech rules in order to exempt a variety of posts that would have otherwise been deleted for violating the company's prohibition against hate speech and violent incitement. The rule change ... included a rare dispensation to call for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin, use dehumanizing language against Russian soldiers, and praise the notorious Azov Battalion of the Ukrainian National Guard, previously banned from the platform due to its neo-Nazi ideology. In a statement signed by 31 civil society and human rights groups ... criticism is directed squarely at American internet titans like Facebook. "We call for ... equal and consistent application of policies to uphold the rights of users worldwide," reads the letter. "Once platforms began to take action in Ukraine, they took extraordinary steps that they have been unwilling to take elsewhere. From the Syrian conflict to the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, other crisis situations have not received the same amount of support."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group – already the world's largest money managers – are less than a decade from managing a total of US$20 trillion, according to Bloomberg News calculations. Amassing that sum will likely upend the asset management industry, intensify their ownership of the largest U.S. companies and test the twin pillars of market efficiency and corporate governance. Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, widely regarded as the father of the index fund, is raising the prospect that too much money is in too few hands, with BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Corp. together owning significant stakes in the biggest U.S. companies. "That's about 20 per cent owned by this oligopoly of three," Bogle said. "It is too bad that there aren't more people in the index-fund business." Vanguard is poised to parlay its US$4.7 trillion of assets into more than US$10 trillion by 2023, while BlackRock may hit that mark two years later, up from almost US$6 trillion today, according to Bloomberg News projections based on the companies' most recent five-year average annual growth rates in assets. BlackRock and Vanguard's dominance raises questions about competition and governance.
Note: This empire directly benefits from relaxation of financial regulations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
The intelligence community is about to get the equivalent of an adrenaline shot to the chest. This summer, a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the Central Intelligence Agency over the past year will begin servicing all 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. If the technology plays out as officials envision, it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. For the first time, agencies within the intelligence community will be able to order a variety of on-demand computing and analytic services from the CIA and National Security Agency. What's more, they'll only pay for what they use. For the risk-averse intelligence community, the decision to go with a commercial cloud vendor is a radical departure from business as usual. It is difficult to underestimate the cloud contract's importance. In a recent public appearance, CIA Chief Information Officer Douglas Wolfe called it "one of the most important technology procurements in recent history," with ramifications far outside the realm of technology. The importance of the cloud capabilities the CIA gets through leveraging Amazon Web Services' horsepower is best exemplified in computing intelligence data. Instead of each agency building out its own systems, select agencies ... are responsible for governing its major components.
Note: The CIA tries to "collect everything and hold on to it forever." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
The nation's biggest oil and gas companies have significantly increased stock buybacks and dividends since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, raising questions about whether the firms are using wartime profits to enrich investors instead of curbing Americans' pain at the pump. The report released today by Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and BailoutWatch turns up the heat on the fossil fuel industry ahead of two high-profile congressional hearings this week, when Democrats plan to scrutinize the industry's windfall profits amid rising crude prices sparked by the war in Ukraine. The three groups looked at Securities and Exchange Commission filings and public statements from the 20 largest U.S.-headquartered oil and gas companies. In January and February, seven companies' boards authorized their corporate treasuries to buy back and retire $24.35 billion in stock – a 15 percent increase over all of the buybacks authorized in 2021. Six of those decisions came in February, after fears of Russian aggression against Ukraine lifted stock prices. In total, the 20 companies announced $45.6 billion in stock buybacks since the start of 2021. More than half of the companies boosted their dividends in January and February. Of the 11 companies raising their dividends, nine were increases of more than 15 percent and four were increases of more than 40 percent.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Amazon will block and flag employee posts on a planned internal messaging app that contain keywords pertaining to labor unions, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Intercept. An automatic word monitor would also block a variety of terms that could represent potential critiques of Amazon's working conditions, like "slave labor," "prison," and "plantation," as well as "restrooms" – presumably related to reports of Amazon employees relieving themselves in bottles to meet punishing quotas. In November 2021, Amazon convened a high-level meeting in which top executives discussed plans to create an internal social media program that would let employees recognize co-workers' performance with posts called "Shout-Outs." But company officials also warned of what they called "the dark side of social media" and decided to actively monitor posts in order to ensure a "positive community." At the meeting, [head of worldwide consumer business, Dave] Clark suggested that the program should resemble an online dating app like Bumble, which allows individuals to engage one on one. Following the meeting, an "auto bad word monitor" was devised, constituting a blacklist that would flag and automatically block employees from sending a message that contains any profane or inappropriate keywords. Even some phrases like "This is concerning" will be banned. Managers will have the authority to flag or suppress any Shout-Outs that they find inappropriate.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.