The "Trust Vacuum"

A survey by the Edelman PR firm has found what it calls a "trust vacuum" in Europe, as the public's confidence in businesses and governments hits an all-time low. Moreover, reports Julia Day, "Public relations executives have taken over from estate agents as the professionals the public trust least, according to a survey out today."


Charlotte's Web Unravels

"The U.S. State Department has suspended its ad campaign extolling Muslim life in the U.S., barely a month after propaganda czar Charlotte Beers pitched 'paid media' as the best way to influence the Islamic World," reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. The TV ads were controversial in the countries where they aired, and government-run channels in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan refused to run them. "Islamic opinion is influenced more by what the U.S.


Hill & Knowlton Works for Saudi Oil

"Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil company, has turned to Hill and Knowlton to devise its communications strategy," reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. "H&K's communications counsel comes as fear spreads of a big spike in energy prices triggered by the U.S. invasion of Iraq." Hill & Knowlton is the PR firm notorious for its deceptive PR campaign in 1990 to promote the first U.S. war in the Persian Gulf.


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.


Working for the Pipeline

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.


Nestle's Christmas Gift to Ethiopia

Faced with a "mounting public relations disaster" over its attempt to sue the famine-stricken country of Ethiopia for $6 million, the Nestle corporation has promised to donate the money to hunger relief. But Justin Forsyth of the hunger organization Oxfam calls the offer a "half measure" and calls on the company "unambiguously to drop the claim and allow the Ethiopian government to spend the money on famine relief. ... Nestle has had lots of opportunities to back down over the last year.


U.S. Propaganda in the Middle East: The Early Days

The National Security Archive (NSA), a nonprofit research institute, has published a collection of documents detailing an early Cold War campaign to win hearts and minds in the Middle East, launched 50 years before current efforts to achieve United States "public diplomacy" goals in the region. Methods that were utilized included graphic displays, manipulation of the news, books, movies, cartoons, activities directed at schools and universities, and exchange programs. "The documents show that many of the factors that generated resentment of the U.S.


Pentagon Ponders Propaganda War Aimed at Allies

"The Defense Department is considering
issuing a secret directive to the American military to
conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public
opinion and policy makers in friendly and neutral
countries, senior Pentagon and administration officials
say. ... Some are troubled by suggestions that the military might
pay journalists to write stories favorable to American
policies or hire outside contractors without obvious ties
to the Pentagon to organize rallies in support of American


Tobacco Science in Japan

Following the publication of an influential 1981 Japanese study linking secondhand cigarette smoke to lung cancer, the tobacco industry went on the attack, funding its own study to counter the Hirayama study. "The goal of the study was to produce a credible, peer reviewed article that could be used as a public relations tool," report Mi-Kyung Hong and Lisa A. Bero.



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