"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. ... Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness, " George Orwell wrote fifty-five years ago in his essay "Politics and the English Language." In this month's Ecologist, Paul Kingsnorth points out the relevance of Orwell's words today.
As we detail in our book Trust Us, We're Experts , 'junk science' is a PR pejorative used by corporations to smear environmentalists and public interest scientists.
Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Assocs., a PR firm that specializes in crisis management, is helping energy companies fend off environmentalist and human rights groups that oppose a planned 400-mile pipeline in Peru that will pass through indigenous homelands in the Amazon rainforest. CLSA's other clients have included the Arthur Andersen accounting firm during the Enron scandal.
The news director of Philadelphia's top public radio station, WHYY-91FM, resigned amid ethical questions surrounding news underwriting. "WHYY's president and CEO, would not say whether [former news director Bill] Fantini's resignation was connected to a story in Tuesday's Daily News that raised questions about a series of stories that were aired earlier this year. The series of environmental news reports was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which in turn is indirectly paid for by taxpayers," the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection funneled money through a non-profit organization in order to underwrite environmental reporting on Philadelphia's leading public-radio station, WHYY, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.
The New York Times examines BP/Amoco, the world's second largest oil company, and its $200 million PR and advertising campaign to greenwash its image. It is an "enormous corporate rebranding exercise, shortening its name from British Petroleum to BP, coining the slogan "Beyond Petroleum" and redesigning its corporate insignia. ... in came a green, yellow and white sunburst that seemed to suggest a warm and fuzzy feeling about the earth. ... But ...
Outside the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in August in Johannesburg, there were poor street vendors and farmers holding signs and wearing t-shirts reading: "Save the Planet from Sustainable Development", "Say No To Eco-Imperialism", "Greens: Stop Hurting the Poor" and "Biotechnology for Africa." The problem, according to environmental reporter and activist Jonathan Matthews is that the anti-environmentalist demonstration was organized by the corporations that environmentalist wanted to be held accountable.
"The Forest Products Industry National Labor Management Committee, a group that says it wants to 'balance economic and environmental concerns' when it comes to managing America's timber, paid Ogilvy PR Worldwide $100,000 during the first-half of this year to make its case in Washington, D.C.," O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes. The group lobbied against EPA regulations on new industrial emissions. "The Committee members include the American Forest & Paper Assn., and forest industry groups in California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisiana and the Rockies. It also counts the International Assn.
"What are they thinking? GM's 'Introducing the Saturn VUE' ad, which ran in Newsweek magazine, compares their new SUV to endangered arctic species," the public interest group CorpWatch writes. "Never mind that SUVs produce carbon emissions that contribute to the global warming that's melting polar ice floes like the one pictured in their ad. And never mind that General Motors vehicles alone account for about 1.65% of the world's carbon emissions -- a significant amount for a single company.
Congressional Democrats accuse the Bush Administration of stacking the Center for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention with "individuals who are affiliated or openly sympathetic with the views of the lead industry." Their report "Turning Lead Into Gold: How the Bush Administration is Poisoning the Lead Advisory Committee at the CDC" details recent changes to the panel, noting the removal or rejection of several academic experts on lead poisoning.