Public Relations

Lauria Quit Cigarettes, But Now He's on the Bottle

Tom LauriaOld tobacco industry PR flacks don't go away, they just defend different products for money. So it is with former Tobacco Institute spokesman Thomas Lauria, who is now defending bottled water.

Seems benign enough. After all, fighting for water -- albeit in an over-commercialized, overpriced and polluting form -- instead of cigarettes would seem to be an improvement for Lauria. But just as he battled efforts to educate people about the health hazards of secondhand smoke, Lauria is now battling efforts to educate people about the hoax that is bottled water.

Can PR Fix This End Run?

Tiki Barber (Source: AP)Tiki Barber, a former running back for the New York Giants, has hired the 5W Public Relations agency in New York to try and repair his image after he left his wife, who was eight months pregnant with twins, for a former NBC intern. 5W Public Relations is the third PR agency Barber has hired to try and burnish his image.


AMC's "Mad Men" Atones for Ubiquitous Smoking

BPlogoAMC's Emmy-award winning TV show "Mad Men" depicts advertising executives in the 1960s, including their ubiquitous smoking, which occurs in practically every scene in every show. Now "Mad Men" is holding a celebrity auction on E-Bay in which it will sell off a walk-on role in the show to benefit lung cancer research and treatment at the City of Hope National Medical Center.


Flotilla Ship "Painted" to Cover Bullet Holes

In the aftermath of the crimes perpetrated against those riding on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla by the Israeli government, it has been well-documented that the Israeli hasbara machine somehow transformed the victims into victimizers. A bit over two months later, the spin continues unabated.


T-Boone Pickens and the Truth about All that Drilling

T. Boone PickensThe home page of T. Boone Pickens' "Pickens Plan" is emblematic of the oil industry's aggressive push to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale basin. The page greets visitors with the blaring headline, "WE MUST BREAK AMERICA'S ADDICTION TO FOREIGN OIL. The Pickens Plan will do it, but we need your help."

In the age of the perpetual War on terrorism, politicians, pundits and other U.S. demagogues have successfully used fear as a bargaining chip. Fear-mongering is a method of Orwellian thought control. In this example, Pickens equates foreign oil with evil, similar to the Bush Administration's Orewellian logic regarding American's position in the world: "You're either with us, or you're with the enemy." Bush put forth a false paradigm of absolute good versus absolute evil. The Bush Administration used fear as a political tool after 9/11 to march the country into war, and convince citizens that we need to permit domestic spying to keep us safe domestically. (Think Patriot Act). Fear also led to the heinous crimes committed at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib Detention Centers.

Reading Between the Lies

Iraq's Ministry of Interior recently released a civilian casualty count for the month of July. Their report accounted for the lost lives of 535 Iraqis, making this past month the most violent since June 2008. This escalation in violence can be attributed in part to a situation which Jeremy Scahill, writer of the ground breaking novel, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army and correspondent for Democracy Now! explains as an unstable country. Iraq is as "unstable as it has ever been," Scahill says. "They [Iraqis] can't form a government. The vast majority of people don't have consistent access to potable water, to electricity, to gasoline... Iraq is a disaster right now."

"Big Shopping Malls" and "No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza"

GazaRecently, the newest batch of Israel-related hasbara was released on a mass scale by the Israeli news website, Ynetnews, which is the online English language news website of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's most-read news source. It is akin to the New York Times or the Washington Post of the United States, and one of Israel's news sources of prominent distinction.

"There Is No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza"

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel hasbara-extraordinaire, Felix Frankfurter, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and Alan Dershowitz, are both on the record as saying that "there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza." They are not outliers in holding that opinion. Indeed, former neo-conservative Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, the current Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, as well as Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev, are all on the record sharing these sentiments.


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