Ethics

Bhopal Bloopers

"Dow Chemical and Dow's PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, tried to shut down some parody sites and ended up bringing themselves a heap of negative publicity," writes Joyce Slaton. It all began when the Yes Men, impersonating Dow, created a site detailing Dow's responsibility in the Bhopal disaster.

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The Corporate World's Top 10 Bottom Feeders

PR industry analyst Paul Holmes notes that the corporate scandals of last year created a "chronic crisis, as constituents - shareholders, employees, regulators, the public at large - began to question whether the entire American corporate system was hopelessly corrupt." (As an indicator of how bad things got, Holmes was forced to combine Enron, Worldcom and Tyco into a single item in his "top 10" list of the year's worst PR disasters.) "Ordinarily," Holmes writes, "such an epidemic of ill-considered corporate behavior would have elevated the role of the senior corporate communications execu

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Thank You For Fessing Up

The industry trade publication PR Week has a few kind words to say about Nick Naylor, the fictional PR man who figures as the protagonist in Christopher Buckley's hilarious book, Thank You for Smoking. "He can stun a Clean Lungs conference into silence with a few words about the First Amendment rights of the poor, embattled tobacco companies.

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Lobbyism 101 - How to Get Rich in Politics

When voters elect a Representative they also are frequently launching the education and career of a future corporate lobbyist. Don't pity the retired or (rarely) defeated incumbent because their truly lucrative political career just begins when they join the ranks of millionaire lobbyists. "Dick
Armey, the departing House majority leader, summarized the
situation in his usual succinct style when he was asked on
Friday how much money he would be making in his new job
starting this week at Piper Rudnick, a law firm with a

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Are You Horny, Baby? Or Are You Sick?

Hoping to create another cash cow like Viagra, the pharmaceutical industry has invented a new disease "female sexual dysfunction." According to journalist Ray Moynihan, industry-funded doctors are circulating a bogus statistic claiming that 43% of women suffer from this condition so they can prescribe drugs to treat it - even though "inhibition of sexual desire is in many situations a healthy and functional response for women faced with stress, tiredness, or threatening patterns of behaviour from their partners." And just to make sure the guys can keep up, one of the doctors is also

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Corporations Claim the "Right to Lie"

After Nike conducted a huge and expensive PR blitz to tell people that it had cleaned up its subcontractors' sweatshop labor practices, California activist Marc Kasky sued them under a California law that forbids corporations from intentionally deceiving people in their commercial statements. "Instead of refuting Kasky's charge by proving in court that they didn't lie, however, Nike instead chose to argue that corporations should enjoy the same 'free speech' right to deceive that individual human citizens have in their personal lives," writes Thom Hartmann.

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Humanitarian Crises Ignored in 2002

Urgent stories of humanitarian crises that claimed or threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Africa and other war-torn regions around the world were largely ignored by the U.S. news media, according to a year-end report by the international medical aid group, Doctors Without Borders. Their report on the Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2002 said the three major U.S.

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Drug Firms, Doctors, Defend Kickbacks and Bribes As Legal and Normal

"Drug companies and doctors are
fighting a Bush administration plan to restrict gifts and
other rewards that pharmaceutical manufacturers give
doctors and insurers to encourage the prescribing of
particular drugs. ... In contending that the proposed federal code of conduct
would require radical changes, those opposing the change
discuss their tactics with unusual candor and describe
marketing practices that have long been shrouded in
secrecy. Drug makers acknowledged, for example, that they routinely

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