Numerous big-box media outlets have dutifully reported that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “an organization of 67,000 pediatricians,” has recommended that all children over the age of two wear masks at school. What is not being mentioned is that this group’s current “corporate partners” and “top 10 donors” include Big Pharma goliaths Johnson & Johnson and Merck, as well as multinational corporations, such as Nestle, that sell health-related products aimed at children.
AAP’s startling July 20 recommendation was soberly passed along by establishment media organs like ABC News, CNN, Fox News, NBC, NPR, and USA Today. “What top pediatricians want you to know about the delta variant and children,” an NBC News headline proclaims. “American Academy of Pediatrics recommends everyone wear masks in school,” reads the ABC News caption below a photo of very young, fully-masked schoolkids sitting on the floor of a classroom.
‘Shared Values and Policy Alignment’
Here’s what top corporate media outlets don’t want you to know about the AAP: It has deep-rooted financial connections to the pharmaceutical and commercial health industries.
A “Current Partners” posting on the AAP website reads:
“American Academy of Pediatrics partners with companies and organizations whose support helps advance our mission for children.
A partnership does not imply endorsement of an organization’s policies, products, or services and only begins after carefully reviewing factors such as corporate citizenship, shared values, and policy alignment.”
The top ten donors since Jan. 1, 2018 are:
- Mead Johnson Nutrition
- Abbott Nutrition
- Nestlé Nutrition
- Johnson & Johnson
- The Nicholson Foundation
- Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
- The JPB Foundation
- Merck & Co.
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- Sanofi Genzyme
“The AAP would also like to thank the following companies for their support of the Friends of Children Fund. Through an annual membership contribution to the Fund, these companies are invited to a Corporate Summit held each summer at the AAP National Headquarters in Itasca, IL,” a subsequent paragraph reads. Corporate donors invited to AAP National Headquarters include Big Pharma titans GlaxoSmithKline and Novo Nordisk. Baby-diaper behemoth Pampers is also on the list.
This information was not hard to find, yet it has been universally ignored in “mainstream” media accounts of the AAP recommendations so far as we could see. The outlets named above all left it out of their “reporting.” A professional association of 60,000+ pediatricians is financially backed by pharmaceutical companies that depend on doctors prescribing their products to patients. How could anyone miss that conflict of interest?
In addition to the Big Pharma coziness, Nestle and Pampers produce a plethora of products that are marketed to the parents of young children. Pampers is owned by Proctor & Gamble. Ongoing coronavirus alarmism inarguably boosts P&G’s bottom line. Shouldn’t reporters point out something like that at the precise moment AAP ratchets up the mask pressure?
In March 2020, just as the coronavirus social curbs were starting to kick in, P&G CEO David Taylor explained how exciting the moment was for his company. “Many P&G products are key to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 around the world, particularly those that are used daily for cleaning and sanitizing homes, businesses and places like health care and assisted-living facilities,” Taylor told the Cincinnati Business Courier. “Other P&G products are critical for helping consumers maintain proper hygiene, personal health and healthy home environments.”
This blurring of lines between physicians and medical industry corporations has been going on for decades. A 2001 “Letter From the President” penned by then-AAP head Dr. Steve Berman glowingly touts the organization’s “alliance with Wal-Mart and [the] Pampers Parenting Institute.” The trio created a “Babies First” campaign in which AAP literature, including material promoting childhood vaccination, would be placed in Walmart retail aisles. “As part of Babies First, each Wal-Mart infants and toddlers department will include a display of state-specific… brochures and applications,” Berman boasted.
Such relationships are taken for granted today – yet the entire world shut down on the advice of these physicians for more than a year. As the new AAP recommendations reveal, the push for strict social curbs goes on. It may not be the job of journalists to judge whether the AAP’s partnering with Big Pharma and Health Retail Inc. is ethical. But once upon a time, it would have been considered unforgivable not to reveal it to readers.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.