Corporations

Economic Protection Agency

"EPA decisions now have a consistent pattern: disregard for inconvenient facts, a tilt toward industry, and a penchant for secrecy," said longtime Environmental Protection Agency official Eric Schaeffer, who quit the agency in protest in 2002. He was responding to a new decision to exempt wood products plants from controls on emissions of formaldehyde, a chemical linked to cancer and leukemia.

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Private Sector Diplomacy

In response to a study finding "diminishing foreign regard for American culture and politics, a new organization of marketing and advertising corporations is preparing to raise an initial $1 million to combat anti-Americanism abroad." The Business for Diplomatic Action nonprofit organization plans to launch a website "where corporations could exchange information to 'help them be good citizens of a country vs.

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Counter-Attack of the Killer Clowns

As the anti-fast food documentary "Super Size Me" hits theaters, McDonald's is fighting back. "We're responding aggressively because the film is a gross misrepresentation," said a company spokesperson. Helping defend McDonald's are "global nutritionist" Cathy Kapica and the corporate-funded American Council on Science and Health.

No

Putting the Bold in Diebold

California's secretary of state said "they broke the law," called their conduct "absolutely reprehensible," and banned their machines in four counties, but maybe the news isn't all bad for e-voting company Diebold Election Systems. "It could affect the stock for a week or two," said corporate branding executive Clayton Tolley, but "generally, it's a passing fad that will fade within six months." Diebold spokesperson Mike Jacobsen pointed out "we're a business-to-business firm...

No

Identity Crisis at SBC

San Francisco Chronicle reporter David Lazarus is questioning whether Marc Bien, who he interviewed as telecommunications giant SBC's vice-president of corporate communications (as Bien's business cards indicate) broke ethical guidelines when he neglected to tell Lazarus that he's actually an employee of major PR firm Fleishman-Hillard.

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Inside Bechtel's Spin Machine

As a top engineering and construction contractor, the Bechtel Group has had a leading role in a number of controversial public works projects, including Boston's "Big Dig," the failed privatization of Bolivia's water system, and the rebuilding of Iraq. "The bad public relations from just one these projects could sink a lesser firm, but somehow the well-connected, privately held corporation always seems to emerge unscathed and ready to score more big-ticket public works jobs," A.C. Thompson writes.

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Cheney Praises Fox News

"It's easy to complain about the press -- I've been doing it for a good part of my career," Vice President Dick Cheney told tens of thousands of Republican supporters in a conference call. "It's part of what goes with a free society. What I do is try to focus upon those elements of the press that I think do an effective job and try to be accurate in their portrayal of events.

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Big Pharma's Poison Pill

The British medical journal The Lancet published a review of "six published and six unpublished trials" studying antidepressant use by children that concluded that, in most cases, "the risks exceeded the benefits." More disturbingly, the review found evidence that pharmaceutical companies "had been aware of problems but did not reveal them." In a memo leaked last month from GlaxoSmithKline, the company w

No

Like a Bridge over Troubled Blackwater

"They did not go out looking for the publicity and did not ask for everything that happened to them," said a spokesperson for Alexander Strategy Group, defending their new client, Blackwater USA. Blackwater is the private military firm that's faced increasing scrutiny from members of congress, the media and the general public following the killing of four of its contractors in Fallujah, Iraq last month.

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