"Years ago, the environmental movement coined the term "greenwashing" to describe how corporations use public relations to make themselves appear environmentally friendly. Now, nutrition advocates need their own moniker for a similar trend among major food companies - call it 'nutri-washing,'" writes Michele Simon, a public health lawyer and director of the Center for Informed Food Choices.
"We have been wrongfully labeled as an auto industry front group," Ron DeFore, communications director for SUV Owners of America, told PR Week. The group is running a campaign opposing proposed regulations in California to limit truck and SUV emissions. Defore is also a principal at Stratacom, a PR firm that counts the auto industry as one of its biggest clients.
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ambitious plan to reorganize almost every aspect of state government was influenced significantly by oil and gas giant ChevronTexaco," including "streamlining the permit process for the construction of new oil refineries" and "reorganizing the regulatory process for ... energy facilities," reports Associated Press.
"A public relations firm with ties to the automobile industry has launched ads suggesting that a proposed California rule to cut carbon dioxide exhaust could cause more people to die in traffic accidents," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"Although we're not yet through the national conventions, 2004 is emerging as a snakebitten election for America's media 'Bigfeet' - our news organizations and TV's non-stop talking heads," writes Joel Connelly. "They've been wrong so much of the time already." During the Democratic primaries, the punditocracy erroneously anointed Howard Dean the frontrunner; more recently, they've largely ignored the worsening mess in Iraq while declaring that Iraq is putting Kerry on the defensive. Why are the big media doing such a poor job?
"Stung by criticism of its labor practices, expansion plans and other business tactics," Wal-Mart "has become a sponsor on National Public Radio," underwritten the "Tavis Smiley" talk show, and "plans to award $500,000 in scholarships to minority students at journalism programs around the country." A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said there's "no hidden agenda," but "we've really been in the spotlight and I think t
"An event once notable for celebrating the spirit of amateurism has achieved an almost unimaginable level of crass commercialism," writes PR commentator Paul Holmes. The Olympics' organizers "are clamping down on anything that might allow TV audiences a glimpse of a non-sponsor's logo. People carrying bottles of Pepsi (or any bottled water not made by Coca-Cola) will have them confiscated ...
"Remember how the broadcast networks explained that they would cover only three hours of each of the four-day Democratic and Republican conventions because they are nothing more than infomercials?" asks Lisa de Moraes. Well, ABC and CBS will run "infomercials for products in which the networks have a financial interest" on their Friday newsmagazines. ABC will feature Victoria Gotti, of "Growing Up Gotti" on A&E, owned in part by ABC.
"At this late stage, media companies have grown so large and powerful, and their dominance has become so detrimental ... that there remains only one alternative: bust up the big conglomerates. ... We've done this before: to railroad trusts in the first part of the 20th century, to Ma Bell more recently.