Ron Arnold's Left Tracking Library

Mark Dowie Misattribution
 

  The accurate quote:

"For considerable sums of money, public opinion can be molded, constituents mobilized, issues researched, and public officials button-holed, all in a symphonic arrangement."

was never written or spoken by Mr. Joshua Reichert, Pew Charitable Trust's Environment Program Director.

It was misattributed to Mr. Reichert by writer Mark Dowie in his book, Losing Ground,  published in 1995 by MIT Press.

Mr. Dowie is the former editor-at-large of InterNation, a transnational feature syndicate based in New York. He is a former publisher and editor of Mother Jones magazine, the magazine of the Foundation for National Progress, which is funded by large private foundations, including the Arca Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Schumann Foundation, the Streisand Foundation and others. Mr. Dowie has won fourteen major journalism awards, including an unprecedented three National Magazine Awards.

In a congressional hearing in February, 2000, Undue Influence author Ron Arnold cited the above quote as it appeared in Mr. Dowie's Losing Ground. Mr. Reichert responded to the chairman of the congressional committee denying that he ever wrote or said the quote, and requesting that the quote be retracted. Mr. Arnold stood by his story, saying the quote had been known to the public and to Mr. Reichert for five years without challenge. Mr. Arnold held firm subject only to any actual evidence that Mr. Reichert's denial was true.

In April, 2000, Mr. Dowie sent the Pew Charitable Trusts' chief attorney the following correction and apology:


Mark Dowie
12642 Sir Frances Drake
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
 

April 11, 2000 

Joy A. Horwitz, Esquire
Director, Legal Affairs and General Counsel
The Pew Charitable Trusts
One Commerce Square
2005 Market Street
Suite 1700
Philadelphia, PA 19103-7077

Dear Ms. Horwitz:

I am writing to acknowledge a misattribution on page 51 of my book, Losing Ground, regarding the block quote attributed to Joshua Reichert, director of The Pew Charitable Trusts' Environment program, in footnote 25. Although Mr. Reichert has said to me in an interview that he strongly believes that environmental groups need to respond more effectively to the tactics of environmental opponents, to my knowledge, the quotation was not written or spoken by him. Nor does it appear in the document entitled "Environmental Strategies: Concept Statement" (December, 1993), which I inadvertently listed as the source of the quotation.

The quoted language appeared in a report on environmental issue campaigns prepared by four individuals, including Tom Wathen, then an Environment program officer at Pew. Specifically, the quoted language was presented in a list of the most frequently cited reasons given by members of the environmental community, who had been interviewed by the report's authors, explaining why the environmental movement had failed to employ its assets as effectively as it might have.

I am sorry if this matter has caused you undue hardship.

Regards,

(Signature) 

Mark Dowie


Mr. Arnold did not respond when the congressional committee staff asked if he had any further comment, and remained silent out of respect for Mr. Dowie, letting his apology stand in the record unchallenged.

One can only wonder why such a distinguished writer made such a basic error, why Mr. Reichert did not detect the error for five years, and what kind of pressure produced the apology above.

Mr. Dowie subsequently completed a book, American Foundations. The Foundation for Deep Ecology gave Mr. Dowie an individual grant of $3,500 on February 16, 1996 for "travel expense to Rockefeller Foundation Archives."