Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

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bertilak
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by bertilak » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:50 pm

Munir wrote:
bertilak wrote:
Munir wrote:Many of the negative comments above about CR complain of perceived "politics" of the organization. I wonder how much that has contributed to the negativity of the comments in contrast to just poor quality of the the content.
Pushing a political agenda at the expense of objective reporting IS poor quality, so there is no wonder it generates complaints.

There is a tendency for people not to see politics where the politics on display agree with their own. We all have that tendency. I know I do, but I accept that some of my opinions are political and don't deny it with "scare" quotes.
Bertilak: I do not understand the last phrase in your post "and don't deny it with scare quotes". I don't know what you are referring to.
My point was that I would like to judge a publication that recommends a product such as a refrigerator on the merits of the article's content in making that recommendation and not on what I choose to believe are the publication's political leanings. At least, I hope I can differentiate between those two spheres when I'm deciding whether or not I trust the recommendation about the product. I was questioning whether some people do not or cannot separate the two areas, and thus make a judgment not based on non-political hard facts in the article but on the perceived political leanings of the publication.
http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/Scare-Quotes.htm.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by azanon » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:06 pm

I started to get really concerned about CR a few years ago when their top rated car was a 100K Telsa that scored a "99". Perhaps I had the wrong idea, but I had always assumed CR was trying to identify good value, so when they were singing the high praises of a 100K "new age" car, I think that was the first sign that this magazine wasn't aligned with my value-minded viewpoint.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by grabiner » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:24 pm

azanon wrote:I started to get really concerned about CR a few years ago when their top rated car was a 100K Telsa that scored a "99". Perhaps I had the wrong idea, but I had always assumed CR was trying to identify good value, so when they were singing the high praises of a 100K "new age" car, I think that was the first sign that this magazine wasn't aligned with my value-minded viewpoint.
With the exception of financial products (when your dollars are buying other dollars), this has always been how CR works. Ratings ignore price, leaving it to you to determine how much you are willing to pay for better quality, or to look only at those products which fit within your budget. Recommendations such as Best Buys may include price.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by soboggled » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:58 pm

bertilak wrote:
Munir wrote:
bertilak wrote:
Munir wrote:Many of the negative comments above about CR complain of perceived "politics" of the organization. I wonder how much that has contributed to the negativity of the comments in contrast to just poor quality of the the content.
Pushing a political agenda at the expense of objective reporting IS poor quality, so there is no wonder it generates complaints.

There is a tendency for people not to see politics where the politics on display agree with their own. We all have that tendency. I know I do, but I accept that some of my opinions are political and don't deny it with "scare" quotes.
Bertilak: I do not understand the last phrase in your post "and don't deny it with scare quotes". I don't know what you are referring to.
My point was that I would like to judge a publication that recommends a product such as a refrigerator on the merits of the article's content in making that recommendation and not on what I choose to believe are the publication's political leanings. At least, I hope I can differentiate between those two spheres when I'm deciding whether or not I trust the recommendation about the product. I was questioning whether some people do not or cannot separate the two areas, and thus make a judgment not based on non-political hard facts in the article but on the perceived political leanings of the publication.
http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/Scare-Quotes.htm.

If someone has an agenda, especially if that agenda denied, one cannot trust that the discussion is unbiased.
It takes people with agendas to see agendas everywhere. Some paranoids even see them in refrigerator reviews.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Munir » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:03 pm

bertilak wrote:
Munir wrote:
bertilak wrote:
Munir wrote:Many of the negative comments above about CR complain of perceived "politics" of the organization. I wonder how much that has contributed to the negativity of the comments in contrast to just poor quality of the the content.
Pushing a political agenda at the expense of objective reporting IS poor quality, so there is no wonder it generates complaints.

There is a tendency for people not to see politics where the politics on display agree with their own. We all have that tendency. I know I do, but I accept that some of my opinions are political and don't deny it with "scare" quotes.
Bertilak: I do not understand the last phrase in your post "and don't deny it with scare quotes". I don't know what you are referring to.
My point was that I would like to judge a publication that recommends a product such as a refrigerator on the merits of the article's content in making that recommendation and not on what I choose to believe are the publication's political leanings. At least, I hope I can differentiate between those two spheres when I'm deciding whether or not I trust the recommendation about the product. I was questioning whether some people do not or cannot separate the two areas, and thus make a judgment not based on non-political hard facts in the article but on the perceived political leanings of the publication.
http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/Scare-Quotes.htm.

If someone has an agenda, especially if that agenda denied, one cannot trust that the discussion is unbiased.
Thank you for the explanation. I don't consider CU a "political" organization- scare quotation marks intended :happy .

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:06 am

Munir wrote: Thank you for the explanation. I don't consider CU a "political" organization- scare quotation marks intended :happy .
http://consumersunion.org/ Have a look. Then rethink. They are indeed an openly political organization. Political is not evil, but you should recognize it for what it is and know where they are coming from. Or are they not political because you agree with all of their causes and that renders their advocacy invisible?

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by soboggled » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:46 am

And this affects their product ratings exactly how? Again, only in the imagination. If you want to boycott them for their so-called "political" views that is your business but don't pretend their product reviews are slanted because of it.
The WSJ, Bloomberg and business channels on TV also have (different) political slants, but they are the go-to sources for reporting of business events and market statistics. Rational observers differentiate between the editorial opinions and the information and news they provide.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:51 am

soboggled wrote:And this affects their product ratings exactly how? Again, only in the imagination.
The WSJ, Bloomberg and business channels on TV also have (different) political slants, but they are the go-to sources for reporting of business events and market statistics.
I think it is widely believed that their disproportionate rating of the Tesla was a result of their green advocacy. They later had to back it down because reliability (a major factor in their car ratings) wasn't adequate.

I don't personally think that Consumer Reports big issue was their political slant, mind you, because I agree it rarely was a factor in their reviews. Their political pieces (say on health care) were fine, you could like them or ignore them.. I think was a slow decline in quality and timeliness of reviews that made me unsubscribe.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by bertilak » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:06 am

soboggled wrote:And this affects their product ratings exactly how?
I gave an example in my very first post to his thread. It is why I even bothered to post.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by azanon » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:32 am

grabiner wrote:
azanon wrote:I started to get really concerned about CR a few years ago when their top rated car was a 100K Telsa that scored a "99". Perhaps I had the wrong idea, but I had always assumed CR was trying to identify good value, so when they were singing the high praises of a 100K "new age" car, I think that was the first sign that this magazine wasn't aligned with my value-minded viewpoint.
With the exception of financial products (when your dollars are buying other dollars), this has always been how CR works. Ratings ignore price, leaving it to you to determine how much you are willing to pay for better quality, or to look only at those products which fit within your budget. Recommendations such as Best Buys may include price.
Then it probably never was the ideal magazine for me. I would never do ratings, at least in my mind, by quality of product regardless of cost. Cost matters to me more than anything, because my time matters to me more than anything (time = money). Quality is a distance second to price/value (to me). I already know that more times than not, I "get what I pay for" because consumer markets are like the stock market,they're generally "efficient" - demand matches price. I don't really need CR to tell me that if I pay 100K for a car, I'm probably going to get a very nice car. Why? If it wasn't very very nice, high quality, high refinement and everything else that's good, no one would pay 100K for the car and they couldn't ask that.

Super great coffee? Yes, it's the expensive brand. An awesome blender? Yup its that $600 vitamix or blentec. Etc. etc.
Last edited by azanon on Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:36 am

azanon wrote:
grabiner wrote:
azanon wrote:I started to get really concerned about CR a few years ago when their top rated car was a 100K Telsa that scored a "99". Perhaps I had the wrong idea, but I had always assumed CR was trying to identify good value, so when they were singing the high praises of a 100K "new age" car, I think that was the first sign that this magazine wasn't aligned with my value-minded viewpoint.
With the exception of financial products (when your dollars are buying other dollars), this has always been how CR works. Ratings ignore price, leaving it to you to determine how much you are willing to pay for better quality, or to look only at those products which fit within your budget. Recommendations such as Best Buys may include price.
Then it probably never was the ideal magazine for me. I would never do ratings, at least in my mind, by quality of product regardless of cost. Cost matters to me more than anything, because my time matters to me more than anything (time = money). Quality is a distance second to price/value (to me). I already know that more times than not, I "get what I pay for". I don't really need CR to tell me that if I pay 100K for a car, I'm probably going to get a very nice car. Why? If it wasn't very very nice, high quality, high refinement and everything else that's good, no one would pay 100K for the car and they couldn't ask that.
CR doesn't ignore totally price. They flag things as "best buys" if they are good value. They give retail prices and ratings, and leave it up to you if something more highly rated and $95 is better than something slightly lower rated and $50. And you don't always get what yo pay for...

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by azanon » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:37 am

Da5id wrote:
azanon wrote:
grabiner wrote:
azanon wrote:I started to get really concerned about CR a few years ago when their top rated car was a 100K Telsa that scored a "99". Perhaps I had the wrong idea, but I had always assumed CR was trying to identify good value, so when they were singing the high praises of a 100K "new age" car, I think that was the first sign that this magazine wasn't aligned with my value-minded viewpoint.
With the exception of financial products (when your dollars are buying other dollars), this has always been how CR works. Ratings ignore price, leaving it to you to determine how much you are willing to pay for better quality, or to look only at those products which fit within your budget. Recommendations such as Best Buys may include price.
Then it probably never was the ideal magazine for me. I would never do ratings, at least in my mind, by quality of product regardless of cost. Cost matters to me more than anything, because my time matters to me more than anything (time = money). Quality is a distance second to price/value (to me). I already know that more times than not, I "get what I pay for". I don't really need CR to tell me that if I pay 100K for a car, I'm probably going to get a very nice car. Why? If it wasn't very very nice, high quality, high refinement and everything else that's good, no one would pay 100K for the car and they couldn't ask that.
CR doesn't ignore totally price. They flag things as "best buys" if they are good value. They give retail prices and ratings, and leave it up to you if something more highly rated and $95 is better than something slightly lower rated and $50. And you don't always get what yo pay for...
I'd like to see them find some way to go a step further. I shouldn't have to manually deduce that the product that scored an 83 instead of an 85, but costs 75% less is actually the better product to buy, depsite it being listed below the one scoring 85. It, matter of fact, isn't worth paying 300% more for 2 more points. I don't see that as a matter of opinion.

I know they do the "best buy" thing to try to work around that, but I'm still admittedly bothered by it being listed below the other one.

At the end of the day, this magazine probably just isn't for me. A magazine that sings the praises of a 100K automobile is for someone besides me.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:41 am

azanon wrote: I'd like to see them find some way to go a step further. I shouldn't have to manually deduce that the product that scored an 83 instead of an 85, but costs 75% less is actually the better product to buy, depsite it being listed below the one scoring 85. It, matter of fact, isn't worth paying 300% more for 2 more points. I don't see that as a matter of opinion.
All a matter of opinion what is worth the money. What if you care passionately about how quiet your dishwasher is, and someone else doesn't care. It is worth lots of money to you that it be quiet, not to someone else. They lay out what they score the dishwasher on (how well it cleans, how quiet, energy, how long to run). You get to decide what you care about...

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by azanon » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:50 am

Da5id wrote:
azanon wrote: I'd like to see them find some way to go a step further. I shouldn't have to manually deduce that the product that scored an 83 instead of an 85, but costs 75% less is actually the better product to buy, depsite it being listed below the one scoring 85. It, matter of fact, isn't worth paying 300% more for 2 more points. I don't see that as a matter of opinion.
All a matter of opinion what is worth the money. What if you care passionately about how quiet your dishwasher is, and someone else doesn't care. It is worth lots of money to you that it be quiet, not to someone else. They lay out what they score the dishwasher on (how well it cleans, how quiet, energy, how long to run). You get to decide what you care about...
I understand. It's the approach they take. But it ends up being an advertisement exposure of sorts that I have to mentally fight when I see that really expensive model ranked (scored) at the top. Since value is so important to me, I'm not completely sure that even being exposed to CR is in my best interest. At the end of the day, I'm human, and I'm not so sure i need CR telling me how great that 100K Tesla is. I tell you what is also great - 100K dollars.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by david99 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:56 am

I might look at CR at the library if I am buying an expensive appliance or a car but I will also do searches on the Internet since I do not really know how reliable CR is. I do wonder how reliable their information is because they are reviewing so many products. You can not be an expert on everything.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Munir » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:57 am

Da5id wrote:
Munir wrote: Thank you for the explanation. I don't consider CU a "political" organization- scare quotation marks intended :happy .
http://consumersunion.org/ Have a look. Then rethink. They are indeed an openly political organization. Political is not evil, but you should recognize it for what it is and know where they are coming from. Or are they not political because you agree with all of their causes and that renders their advocacy invisible?
I looked at their web site and do not see anything political on it. They rate products as to quality (and price under their Best Buy icon). Among the facts they state is the effect on the environment -such as energy usage etc. They are consumer-friendly. Is this political? I guess it depends on one's definition of political.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:06 am

Munir wrote:
Da5id wrote:
Munir wrote: Thank you for the explanation. I don't consider CU a "political" organization- scare quotation marks intended :happy .
http://consumersunion.org/ Have a look. Then rethink. They are indeed an openly political organization. Political is not evil, but you should recognize it for what it is and know where they are coming from. Or are they not political because you agree with all of their causes and that renders their advocacy invisible?
I looked at their web site and do not see anything political on it. They rate products as to quality (and price under their Best Buy icon). Among the facts they state is the effect on the environment -such as energy usage etc. They are consumer-friendly. Is this political? I guess it depends on one's definition of political.
All I can say is wow. Their site is explicitly states "POLICY & ACTION FROM CONSUMER REPORTS". I'm simply baffled that one can read that page and not see them as advocates for government policies and regulations, aka "political". But I guess we disagree.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Ged » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:30 am

I am a long term CR subscriber however I am not going to renew. The quality of their content has gone down considerably, and their politics are showing more strongly every year especially with regard to their unscientific bias towards organic foods and against GMOs.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by soboggled » Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:58 pm

Da5id wrote:
Munir wrote:
Da5id wrote:
Munir wrote: Thank you for the explanation. I don't consider CU a "political" organization- scare quotation marks intended :happy .
http://consumersunion.org/ Have a look. Then rethink. They are indeed an openly political organization. Political is not evil, but you should recognize it for what it is and know where they are coming from. Or are they not political because you agree with all of their causes and that renders their advocacy invisible?
I looked at their web site and do not see anything political on it. They rate products as to quality (and price under their Best Buy icon). Among the facts they state is the effect on the environment -such as energy usage etc. They are consumer-friendly. Is this political? I guess it depends on one's definition of political.
All I can say is wow. Their site is explicitly states "POLICY & ACTION FROM CONSUMER REPORTS". I'm simply baffled that one can read that page and not see them as advocates for government policies and regulations, aka "political". But I guess we disagree.
All I can say is double wow. LOOK UNDER YOUR BED - THE DUST BUNNIES, IT'S POLITICS!
Contributions to them are tax deductible, hence not political. Just because you don't like their consumer-centric advocacy doesn't make them political. They don't endorse candidates and they confine themselves to consumer issues. I don't agree with all their stances but I understand they simply have a different opinion on some matters. They are definitely not for the terminally biased, though I do find their stance on GMOs puzzling for an organization that usually respects science.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:20 pm

soboggled wrote: All I can say is double wow. LOOK UNDER YOUR BED - THE DUST BUNNIES, IT'S POLITICS!
Contributions to them are tax deductible, hence not political. Just because you don't like their consumer-centric advocacy doesn't make them political. They don't endorse candidates and they confine themselves to consumer issues. I don't agree with all their stances but I understand they simply have a different opinion on some matters. They are definitely not for the terminally biased, though I do find their stance on GMOs puzzling for an organization that usually respects science.
Your definition of what is political activity is surely not one many share. Planned Parenthood and the NRA are tax deductible charities. So is AARP and the Nature Conservancy. They are also politically active groups the way most (I think) believe. They can't explicitly endorse candidates, but they work towards political goals. I think Consumers Union is likewise a politically active organization.

I'm not at all worked up about Consumer Reports political stances, nor do I think of myself as terminally biased. I probably agree with some, not with others. Their politics never bothered me as a subscriber. Decreasing utility (particularly timeliness) is why I dropped them.

As an add on , they spent 200K lobbying last year. If lobbying congress is not a "political" activity, how would you categorize it?

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Jonathan » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:37 pm

Creepy to hear Consumer Reports and Edward Jones all buddy-buddy.

When we had our first child, I took the free "Daddy Bootcamp" class at the hospital. The teacher was clear to point out that, as a fellow dad, he was volunteering his time to help us out. Towards the end of the class, a person asked, unprompted, what we could do, as new dads, to save money for our children's future.

"Great question" said the helpful instructor. And what a coincidence it was, as he just happened to work for Edward Jones. And if we gave him a call, he'd be happy to help us out. :moneybag

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by soboggled » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:40 pm

Da5id wrote:
soboggled wrote: All I can say is double wow. LOOK UNDER YOUR BED - THE DUST BUNNIES, IT'S POLITICS!
Contributions to them are tax deductible, hence not political. Just because you don't like their consumer-centric advocacy doesn't make them political. They don't endorse candidates and they confine themselves to consumer issues. I don't agree with all their stances but I understand they simply have a different opinion on some matters. They are definitely not for the terminally biased, though I do find their stance on GMOs puzzling for an organization that usually respects science.
Your definition of what is political activity is surely not one many share. Planned Parenthood and the NRA are tax deductible charities. So is AARP and the Nature Conservancy. They are also politically active groups the way most (I think) believe. They can't explicitly endorse candidates, but they work towards political goals. I think Consumers Union is likewise a politically active organization.

I'm not at all worked up about Consumer Reports political stances, nor do I think of myself as terminally biased. I probably agree with some, not with others. Their politics never bothered me as a subscriber. Decreasing utility (particularly timeliness) is why I dropped them.

As an add on , they spent 200K lobbying last year. If lobbying congress is not a "political" activity, how would you categorize it?
Triple wow! AND WRONG! Donations to the NRA are NOT tax deductible and only contributions to the AARP Foundation, not the umbrella organization, are deductible, as any honest person could verify. Please check your facts before you post.
As far as Tesla goes, CR rated it highly because it was a great car with fantastic performance - and yes, be still my heart, it gets amazing mileage. CR was the also first to report on its reliability issues when they became apparent and no longer has it on their recommended list. So much for "politics". And your comments on it betray you are indeed rabidly and terminally biased.
PS: Plenty of organizations lobby, including just about every corporation in the US, and much more a measly $200K. It's called trying to get what you want, not politics. Or do you also boycott companies because you don't like their "politics"?

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:51 pm

soboggled wrote: Triple wow! AND WRONG! Donations to the NRA are NOT tax deductible and only contributions to the AARP Foundation, not the umbrella organization, are deductible, as any honest person could verify. Please check your facts before you post.
As far as Tesla goes, CR rated it highly because it was a great car with fantastic performance - and yes, be still my heart, it gets amazing mileage. CR was the also first to report on its reliability issues when they became apparent and no longer has it on their recommended list. So much for "politics". And your comments on it betray you are indeed rabidly and terminally biased.
PS: Plenty of organizations lobby, including just about every corporation in the US, and much more a measly $200K. It's called trying to get what you want, not politics. Or do you also boycott companies because you don't like their "politics"?

I will take your corrections and assume they are right. Implying I'm not "honest" seems rather ad hominem. As seen in next post below, you can effectively contribute to NRA lobbying wing and take a deduction, distinction to me seems small but it is apparently a very big one to you, so OK.

As to the Tesla, many believed at the time its green nature got it brownie points. Maybe it did, can't say it bothered me at the time, wasn't in the market for a car in that price range. If it did indeed get extra kudos/promotion due to its green nature (rather than amenities, total cost of ownership, whatever), that strikes me as letting the politics get into the reviewing.

I believe one of us is unreasonable here though, but we'll never agree on which obviously. I've never boycotted a company for its political stances (heck, I've never boycotted anything for any reason I can recall). I subscribed to CR for over 10 years.

I believe any organization that lobbies is politically active. I'm bewildered.
Last edited by Da5id on Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:42 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Jonathan » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:17 pm

I was interested in soboggled's point about NRA contributions and just looked around a bit. While it is correct that contributions to the NRA are not federally tax-deductible, it's important to point out that there are multiple explicitly NRA-affiliated charities to which you can make tax-deductible contributions, detailed here: http://www.nrafff.com/ways-of-giving/ta ... gifts.aspx .

From: https://www.nrafoundation.org/about-us/:
Established in 1990, The NRA Foundation, Inc. (“NRA Foundation”) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions in support of a wide range of firearm-related public interest activities of the National Rifle Association of America and other organizations that defend and foster the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans.
It looks like there are some limitations on combining lobbying and federally tax-deductible contribution acceptance, and the similarly-named charitable organizations are set up to circumvent that limitation. So while the point about NRA contributions is accurate, it's important to mention the nuanced establishment of both the lobbying entities and the related "in support of...public interest activities of" tax-deductible charity entities.

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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

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