Astroturf

Posted by Wendell Potter on July 09, 2009

At first look, one might not think that the health insurance industry has much in common with the tobacco industry. After all, one sells a product that kills people and the other sells a product nominally aimed at putting people back together. But when it comes to deceitful public relations techniques, the health insurance industry has been learning well from Big Tobacco, which employed a panoply of shady but highly successful public relations tactics to fend off changes to its business for generations.

One of the things I said in my testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee on June 24 is that the health insurance industry engages in duplicitous public relations campaigns to influence public opinion and the debate on health care reform. By that I mean there are campaigns they want you to you know about, and those they don't.

When you hear insurance company executives talk about how much they support health care reform and can be counted on by the President and Congress to be there for them, that's the campaign they want you to be aware of. I call it their PR charm offensive.

Posted by Diane Farsetta on June 16, 2009

The new Virginia-based group "Citizens for a Safe Alexandria" describes itself as a grassroots group, but its founder works for a public relations firm that specializes in "'grassroots' and 'grasstops' media strategies." Citizens for a Safe Alexandria's Sara Raak has appeared on local television news, urging the Obama administration not to "

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Posted by Diane Farsetta on June 03, 2009

"The advertising firm behind the heavily-aired 'America's Power' campaign, R&R Partners - Advertising, has come out with its own brag-sheet detailing the ad work it did for the coal industry's main front group," the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), reports Kevin Grandia.

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Posted by John Stauber on April 14, 2009

Who makes up the Tea Party movement? The Tax Day Tea Party protest movement is not as spontaneous as its organizers would like you to think. Chris Good writes, "Here is the organizational landscape of the April 15 tea party movement, in a nutshell: three national-level conservative groups, all with slightly different agendas, are guiding it.

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Posted by Bob Burton on September 29, 2008

In an opinion column, former Greenpeace activist turned PR consultant Patrick Moore waxes lyrical about a proposal by Luminant to build two new reactors at its Comanche Peak nuclear power station in Texas.

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Posted by Bob Burton on September 11, 2008

Patrick MooreSammy Wilson, the Northern Ireland Minister for Environment, is an avowed climate change skeptic who claims that "there is no conclusive evidence that greenhouse gases are a major cause of

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Posted by Diane Farsetta on August 14, 2008

If there's a questionable opinion column promoting a corporate viewpoint, chances are the secretive Washington DC public affairs firm LMG -- also known as LawMedia Group -- is involved. As the Center for Media and Democracy reported previously, LMG helped place a column attributed to the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he didn't write and which criticized some SCLC donors.

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Posted by Sheldon Rampton on May 21, 2008

"AngryRenter.com looks a bit like a digital ransom note, with irregular fonts, exclamation points and big red arrows -- all emphasizing prudent renters' outrage over a proposed government bailout for irresponsible homeowners," writes Michael M. Phillips. In fact, however, "the people behind AngryRenter.com are certainly not renters.

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