Eat your mercury

U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons’ article on mercury’s harmlessness ("Mercury rising,” RN&R, Jan. 19) didn’t circulate much in the mainstream press, but its impact still shows up occasionally online.

EMagazine last week reported that, a new Web page that claims mercury is safe, “follows closely the revelations of a lengthy report” issued by U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo of California and Gibbons.

In a related story, the 16th annual American Dialect Society “word of the year” competition voted truthiness to be the word of the year. The word was originated on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report and describes the characteristic of believing concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts that actually are true.

The New York Times reported that truthiness is “a summation of what [Colbert] sees as the guiding ethos of the loudest commentators on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.”

E-Magazine says is the work of the Washington, D.C., public relations/lobbying firm Berman and Co.

The site was produced for Berman’s “Center for Consumer Choice,” funded by Phillip Morris. The Center also lobbies for the American Beverage Institute to curb drunken driving laws. Owner Rick Berman describes himself as opposed to “anti-smoking, anti-drinking, anti-meat” groups.