Martha Stewart's involvement in insider trading allegations may finally ring in corporate reforms, according to Kevin McCauley at O'Dwyer's PR Daily. "The names of Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco), Bernie Ebbers (WorldCom), John Rigas (Adelphia Communications), Dave Komansky (Merrill Lynch) and Gary Winnick (Global Crossing) don't ring a bell to those who skip the financial pages when reading their morning papers," McCauley writes. "Martha Stewart. Ding dong. That's a bell-ringer. ...
"We've believed from the start that the perception of these negative items has been overstated," PR Week reports WorldCom CEO John Sidgmore telling shareholders at the company's June 14 annual meeting. "We must convince customers, employees, and investors of that fact." Sidgmore, who took the CEO job in April, was referring to WorldCom's growing debts, stock price plunge, and recent layoffs.
"Greenpeace, which is urging a boycott of ExxonMobil because of its anti-global warming treaty stance, has been sued by the energy giant in France for trademark infringement. That has provided a rich PR opportunity for the media savvy environmental group," O'Dwyer's PR reports. Greenpeace altered the Esso logo by replacing the "ss" with dollar signs. ExxonMobil says that the Greenpeace-altered logo resembles the insignia of the elite Nazi SS army and that it is a "repulsion." According to O'Dwyer's, ExxonMobil fears the E$$O logo "will drive consumers away from its brand."
The Canadian government, working closely with the biotech industry, is spending millions getting Canadians to accept genetically modified foods. Lyle Stewart describes the "spider's web of influence" that brings together the biotech and agri-food industries, large grocery distributors, the Hill & Knowlton PR firm, and industry-created front groups such as the Food Biotechnology Communications Network, and co-opted NGOs including the Consumers' Association of Canada.
"Phony earnings, inflated revenues, conflicted Wall Street analysts, directors asleep at the switch--this isn't just a few bad apples we're talking about here," writes Fortune magazine. "This, my friends, is a systemic breakdown. Nearly every known check on corporate behavior--moral, regulatory, you name it--fell by the wayside, replaced by the stupendous greed that marked the end of the bubble. And that has created a crisis of investor confidence the likes of which hasn't been seen since--well, since the Great Depression." And the crisis hasn't even peaked yet.
A new study by Fairness and Accuracy in Media (FAIR) shows that 92 percent of all U.S. sources interviewed on the nightly network news in 2001 were white, 85 percent were male and, where party affiliation was identifiable, 75 percent were Republican. Big business, too, was overrepresented. In a year in which the country lost 2.4 million jobs, corporate representatives appeared about 35 times more frequently than did union representatives.
"Despite the colder realities of the business, the gun industry packages firearms in the sepia tint of nostalgia, conjuring up the Western frontier, fathers and sons hunting at the turn of the century, and grand moments of martial history," writes Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center. "For decades, the gun industry has portrayed itself in this way as a repository and guardian of fundamental U.S. cultural values.
The corporate media pay little attention to the growing grassroots movement seeking to do something about corporate power and propaganda run amok. All over the US groups of citizens are organizing meetings, discussions, conferences, protests, websites, initiative campaigns and other efforts focused on a common problem: corporate power's subversion of American democracy. The Democracy Revitalization Project is hosting its inaugural conference in Duluth, Minnesota, July 28 - 30.
Gary Winnick, the Global Crossing founder/chairman who is trying to raise $1 billion to rescue his once-mighty company from bankruptcy, has hired Rubenstein and Associates, the PR firm that specializes in "reputation management" for clients such as Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, Leona Helmsley, Adnan Khashoggi, Kathie Lee Gifford and the state of Israel.