The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) "has been leading an 'aggressive' public relations campaign ... in an effort to roll back ethanol mandates that passed in last year's energy bill," reports Anna Palmer. GMA "hired Glover Park Group to run a six-month campaign," after realizing that "rising food prices ... create a window to change perceptions about the benefits of bio-fuels." GMA "also expanded its lobbying contract with Dutko Worldwide." In March, GMA began searching for a PR firm to help it build "a global center-left coalition" against ethanol and hire "trusted third-party experts" who would link ethanol to global hunger and poverty. Glover Park's winning proposal to GMA suggested attacking "whatever intellectual justification might still exist for corn-based ethanol among policy elites," including through "third party research" shaped by the PR firm; launching a website; and possibly creating a "costumed 'mascot' ... to drawn attention and distribute advocacy materials at local supermarkets." U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of corn-rich Iowa, who strongly criticized the anti-ethanol PR campaign, posted GMA's "request for proposal" (PDF) and Glover Park's response (PDF) on his website.
By Diane Farsetta on May 28, 2008