Copyright vs. Democracy

"Diebold Election Systems, which makes voting machines, is waging legal war against grass-roots advocates, including dozens of college students, who are posting on the Internet copies of the company's internal communications about its electronic voting machines," reports John Schwartz.


Sheep's Clothing

A group calling itself Partnership for the West (PFTW) was formally unveiled in late October and aims to influence environmental legislation in Washington. "The group plans to work on 'restoring a common sense balance to economic growth and conservation in the West,'" notes Bill Berkowitz, adding that this "sounds nice, until you see who's behind it. Claiming to be a grassroots lobby group, PFTW actually represents a kinder, gentler and more politically savvy brand of anti-environmentalism. ...


Chemical Industry PR to Counter Health Activists

Monique Harden and Nathalie Walker, two public interest lawyers, report that they attended "the recent conference of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), called 'Communicating in a Volatile World.' ACC is the trade association for the 180 largest manufacturers of chemicals in the U.S. Until recently, ACC was known as the Chemical Manufacturers Association. The ACC conference was a real eye-opener. It revealed the ACC's genuine fears about the accomplishments of environmental health activists.


Fox Gets the Memo

Charlie Reina, a former producer for Fox News, has posted a letter to the Poynter Institute's online journalism forum, explaining how the network deliberately slants the news. "Editorially, the FNC newsroom is under the constant control and vigilance of management," he writes. "The pressure ranges from subtle to direct. First of all, it's a news network run by one of the most high-profile political operatives of recent times. ... The roots of FNC's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct.


This is Your Brain on Public Relations

The Environmental Working Group has obtained and analyzed documents from a briefing book assembled by Frank Luntz, a top public opinion researcher for corporate lobbyists. The briefing book offers a PR playbook on how to frame the current wholesale rollback of environmental and public health protections while avoiding a stinging public backlash.


Breast Cancer Action Vs. Corporate "Pinkwashing"

"To draw attention to the troubling trend of corporate 'pinkwashing,' Breast Cancer Action, a national grassroots breast cancer advocacy organization, is running an ad in the national edition of the New York Times questioning some high-profile corporate marketing campaigns launched in connection with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 'We're not opposed to companies raising money for the cause,' said Barbara Brenner, Breast Cancer Action's executive director.


Scientist Resigns Over EPA's 'Wetlands Pollute' Study

"A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biologist has resigned in protest of his agency's acceptance of a developer-financed study concluding that wetlands discharge more pollutants than they absorb, according to a statement released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). EPA's approval of the study gives developers credit for improving water quality by replacing natural wetlands with golf courses and other developments. ...


Exxon Tries to Shed Its Skin

ExxonMobil, which has a reputation as the least socially responsible oil country in the world (no small feat), has been holding "a series of secret meetings with environmental and human rights groups worldwide in an effort to change its hard-nosed public image," reports Terry Macalister. But critics such as Cindy Baxter, a spokeswoman for the Stop Esso campaign, remain unconvinced. "This looks like PR.


Who Owns the Airwaves?

Curious about who owns your local media, telephone and cable company? The Center for Public Integrity has created a searchable database that contains basic information on every radio and television station in America as well as every cable television system and telephone company. You can search by company, by call sign or by area. Searchers will find basic information on some of the most important telecommunication companies, including a brief corporate profile and basic financial information.



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