A year ago we reported on the "No More Scares" campaign (www.nomorescares.org), an industry front group aimed at smearing environmental and health activists as "fearmongers." Now it appears that No More Scares has quietly decommissioned itself, and links to its website no longer work. In Trust Us, We're Experts we noted that "corporate-funded front groups ... are sometimes fly-by-night organizations.
An Australian radio station, DMG Radio, has won a court battle against rival stations after their PR consultant, Ken Davis of Turnbull Porter Novelli, admitted that he was involved in a bogus letter-writing campaign designed to undermine DMG's credibility. Davis sent out more than 50 letters using a fake identity to Australian politicians and the media, accusing DMG of destroying country radio and sparking a parliamentary inquiry into the "decline of local radio programming." Turnbull Porter Novelli is the Australian office of Porter Novelli International.
BSMG Worldwide is representing the Movement for Democratic Change, a political party which is trying to oust Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe. The MDC, according to the Aug. 7 New York Times, is the "first party in two decades to pose a serious threat to Mugabe's grip on power." Zimbabwe currently is faced with serious economic problems, which Mugabe blames on the country's 75,000 white farmers and their supposed Western backers. He has supported actions by the National War Veterans Association, whose members have seized and squatted on more than 1,700 white-owned farms.
The Hill and Knowlton PR firm is receiving $500,000 from Hong Kong to persuade skittish Americans and U.S. policymakers that the city retains a "high degree of autonomy" under China's rule.
In the wake of the dot-com meltdown, PR people are asking themselves, "what can PR do now that the IPOs have dried up? Where's the story?" This roundtable featured PR experts with answers like the following:
No public relations agency in America benefited more from the Internet boom than Middleberg & Associates. By the year 2000, Middleberg had established itself as the authority on online media relations, but the dot-com meltdown also means leaner times for its PR firms. Last week, agency founder Don Middleberg closed the firm
The tobacco, booze and food industry lobbyists at Rick Berman's Guest Choice Network usually castigate Michael Jacobson's Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) as the dreaded "food police" when it comes to fat and sugar in the diet. But they are loving CSPI's promotion of genetically engineered food.
Michael Betsch at the Cybercast News Service reports that "the conservative environmental group, Greening Earth Society" opposes the scientific consensus that global warming is a real problem. Betsch fails to point out that this "conservative environmental group" is actually a front group created by the coal industry. We examine the Greening Earth Society and the industry campaign to confuse the climate debate in our book, Trust Us, We're Experts.
The government of Ecuador is paying $180,000 to Burson-Marsteller.
FitzGerald Communications, which rode the high-tech wave, has established a "special situations" group to handle corporate messes such as accounting irregularities, management shake-ups, class action suits and bankruptcies. The unit is headed by Nicole Russell, a former employee of Hill and Knowlton, where she served as spokesperson for Sunbeam during the "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap days and Cendant, victim of the largest accounting fraud in history.