Corporations

The Skewering of Skilling

Last week, PR industry pundit Fraser Seitel opined that former Enron CEO Ken Lay made a PR blunder by refusing to testify before Congress. "You should answer every question squarely and straightforwardly. Duck nothing," he advised. This week he thinks that Lay's partner in crime, Jeff Skilling, also blundered by the way he did testify.

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Enron Lobbyist Strategized Against Democrats

"While the Bush administration was drafting its national energy policy, a leading lobbyist for Enron Corp. was plotting strategy to turn the plan into a political weapon against Democrats, according to a newly obtained memo," the Los Angeles Times writes. Washington-based lobbyist Edward Gillespie of Quinn Gillespie & Associates in a confidential April 2001 memo to energy companies and industry groups offered advise on how to paint a dour pictures of the Democrats and their energy policy.

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Enron's "Matrix"

"They called it 'the matrix,' " writes Washington Post reporter Joe Stevens, "a computer program that brought a scientific dimension to Enron's effort to seduce politicians and sway bureaucrats. With each proposed change in federal regulations, lobbyists punched details into a computer, allowing Enron economists in Houston to calculate just how much a rule change would cost.

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Canadian Journalists Threatened By Media Concentration

Robert Cribb, the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, is calling for "a parliamentary inquiry into the effects of media concentration in this country," in response to efforts by the CanWest media empire to muzzle journalists who disagree with management views. "At issue is CanWest's decision to run 'national editorials' in its major dailies, limiting the diversity of viewpoints available to readers," Cribb writes.

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Helping Oppressed Corporations Fight the Mighty Activists

Nick Nichols, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Nichols-Dezenhall Communications Management Group, Ltd., has a book out titled Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns, which purports to offer advice for the once-proud corporations hunted into near-extinction by the overwhelming power of left-wing activists and their allies in the anti-corporate media.

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Pity Poor Enron

M.A. Shute, a former staffer from the Hill and Knowlton PR firm, orchestrated the tearful media interview of Linda Lay, wife of embattled former Enron CEO Ken Lay. The Lays are trying to portray themselves as victims rather than villains in the company's financial collapse. According to PR pro Jeremy Garlington, however, putting the wife in front of cameras is a "flawed media strategy." It was a mistake, he says, to claim that the Lays are "on the verge of financial ruin ...

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Enron's Paid Pundits

As Congress debates campaign finance reform, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wonders if we also need "journalistic finance reform -- that is, what are corporations buying when they lard their payrolls with prominent media folks?" Media pundits took fat contracts on the side from Enron -- ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 for Paul Krugman of the New York Times,

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Bad Mileage Is Good For You

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is lobbying again against federal standards requiring automakers to improve automobile mileage of their cars. They claim that Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards force automakers to build smaller, more dangerous vehicles. As we document in our Impropaganda Review section, CEI has been flogging this argument for years, using questionable evidence. And who are they to talk about safety, anyway?

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From Greenwash to Bluewash

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "greenwash" as "disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image." Now a new term has emerged, "bluewash," which the New York Times describes as "allowing some of the largest and richest corporations to wrap themselves in the United Nations' blue flag without requiring them to do anything new." The highest-profile example of this, writes Kenny Bruno, is the "Global Compact," which asks business to adhere to nine principles derived from key UN agreements and is becoming a general framework for UN

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