Wendell Potter came to the Center for Media and Democracy in May as an admirer of our work exposing corporate front groups, lobbyists and PR manipulators. He should know, he was one of the best PR executives in the health insurance business, CIGNA's Vice President of Corporate Communications until he had a major change of heart.
Today Wendell is CMD's Senior Fellow on Health Care, testifying before the US Senate Commerce Committee. His passion is health care reform and his expertise is exposing how the powerful industry he once helped run is manipulating and managing the health care reform debate raging among policy makers, the public and in the media.
Read his first public article explaining how he changed from a top insurance PR pro to an advocate for universal health care in the United States:
"I'm the former insurance industry insider now speaking out about how big for-profit insurers have hijacked our health care system and turned it into a giant ATM for Wall Street investors, and how the industry is using its massive wealth and influence to determine what is (and is not) included in the health care reform legislation members of Congress are now writing."
Wendell is a personal hero of mine as well as now a co-worker and friend. He gave up a large salary, benefits and top corporate job to promote the public interest. We're proud to be working with him. As he says in his article:
"One of the reasons I chose to become affiliated with the Center for Media and Democracy is because of the important work the organization does to expose often devious, dishonest and unethical PR practices that further the self interests of big corporations and special interest groups at the expense of the American people and the democratic principles this country was founded on. After a long career in PR, I am looking forward to providing an insider's perspective as a senior fellow at CMD, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak out for the rights and dignity of ordinary people."
To hear more from Wendell read Trudy LIeberman's interview in the Columbia Journalism Review. You'll be hearing much from as he continues to speak out, testify, blog and write about his conversion from insurance industry PR exec to public interest advocate.
John Stauber founded the Center for Media and Democracy in 1993 and is stepping down as its Executive Director in August, 2009.