Corporations

EPA: What's a Little Toxic Emission Among Friends?

"For the third time, environmental advocates have discovered passages in the Bush administration's proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants that mirror almost word for word portions of memos written by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants." The passages, in language from the Latham & Watkins firm, say the

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NY Times Says Wal-Mart Needs Better Story, Not More Spin

Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott recently said, "We have not gotten our story out to the extent that we need to." The head of the global super store told a retailing conference that Wal-Mart's bad reputation came from newspapers and television. But a New York Times editorial responded that "if Wal-Mart wants to improve its image, it should focus less on shaping its message and more on changing the way it does business. ... These damaging news stories are not a product of bad spin, but bad facts.

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Who's Driving the SUV Owners of America?

"It's hard to believe that there isn't an attempt to deceive here," writes PR commentator Paul Holmes, considering the industry group SUV Owners of America's self-description, on its website, as "a nonprofit consumer organization dedicated to supporting the rights and serving the interests of SUV owners," providing a "voice and advocate for SUV owners." But Holmes notes that "its board of directors consists largely of industry reps and

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Nutri-washing Junk Food

"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.

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When Is A Front Group Not A Front Group?

"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.

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Oily (Not Girly) Men

"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.

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Auto Industry Front Group Opposes California Clean Air Proposal

"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.

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