The Clearinghouse on Environmental Education, Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) has issued a special bulletin detailing efforts by anti-environmentalist to attack green activism. "There have been rhetorical attacks branding public interest groups as elitist and unpatriotic, further attacks on non-profit status of a handful of groups, and a renewed intensity in fighting 'eco-terrorism,' a term and concept environmental backlash leaders are trying desperately to get into circulation," the report states.
Tobacco lobbyist Rick Berman began his Guest Choice Network with $600,000 from Philip Morris. This month he renamed his tobacco front group "ConsumerFreedom.com" and under that name is running a full page ad on the back cover of today's Weekly Standard attacking the animal rights group PETA. Another full page ad in the January 28 issue of Newsweek attacks Greenpeace.
The Bush administration has announced that an eight-year-old, $2 billion federal program to create high-mileage gas vehicles was being scrapped and a new program -- focusing on hydrogen fuel-cells -- was being created. According to Jack Doyle, author of Taken for A Ride: Detroit's Big Three and the Politics of Pollution, this new fuel-efficiency initiative is more PR than progress.
Burson-Marsteller's hiring of Lord Melchett is the focus of professor George Monbiot's weekly column in The Guardian: "Because regulation works, companies will do whatever they can to prevent it. They will threaten governments with disinvestment, and the loss of thousands of jobs. They will use media campaigns to recruit public opinion to their cause. But one of their simplest and most successful strategies is to buy their critics.
ePublicRelations president Ross Irvine offers his take on Lord Melchett joining Burson-Marsteller. Irvine writes: "Burson-Marsteller's London office has a new cash cow... Lord Melchett has joined B-M as a consultant in the company's corporate social responsibility unit. Here, he can be charged out a high rate, earn a good salary plus expenses, contribute significantly to the bottom line, satisfy WWP Group shareholders who own B-M, and offer little value to clients. ... The marriage of B-M and Lord Melchett raises some interesting questions and situations.
The British press is lambasting and lampooning both the Burson-Marsteller PR firm and their latest PR hire, Lord Melchett. Here is a satirical 'memo' written as if it leaked from inside B-M: "Lord Melchett will be heading up our new 'corporate conscience' desk, which will work to uncover the hidden humanity inside organisations such as Monsanto... I can't help but think that if this initiative had been around back when Nikolae Ceausescu was our client, he might still be in a position to pay his invoice. ...
Burson-Marsteller's hiring of Lord Melchett, the former director of Greenpeace UK, prompted the Independent to examine the growing trend of British environmentalists "who have decided to work for the blue chip giants they once sought to humble ...
Burson-Marsteller's newest PR hire, Lord Peter Melchett, has been forced to resign from the board of Greenpeace International. Melchett blind-sided his fellow Greenpeace board members and eco-activists this week by taking a consulting job with one of the PR world's most notorious anti-environmental propaganda firms, Burson-Marsteller. Apparently Melchett has convinced himself that accepting a paying position with B-M will somehow help him change corporate behavior.
Catherine Bennet examines a "deal with the devil," asking "Has Lord Peter Melchett been genetically modified? ... And what other explanation can there possibly be for the decision of Lord Melchett, quondam destroyer of GM crops, to join Burson-Marsteller...? Anyone who believes Lord Melchett's insistence that there is nothing contradictory about his appointment ...fails to appreciate Burson-Marsteller's fabulous coup in signing him up. ...
A longtime Greenpeace activist sent the following comments to PR Watch: "The Lord Melchetts of the activist (and now corporate) world are only one symptom of a broader contagion. Is there even a real environmental movement anymore? How accountable are NGOs to their own base? ... Look how little is being accomplished in addressing Global Warming in the U.S. at a time when it's obviously a national security issue and a global security issue. I think this is in part because the environmental groups don't believe in mass movement building like they used to.