Internet

Netroots Nation Convenes in Austin, True Blue and On Message

Netroots Nation, the annual conference for thousands of liberal bloggers, Democratic Party activists and liberal advocacy organizations is underway today, July 17, and through the weekend in Austin, Texas. In the decade since then-First Lady Hillary Clinton railed against the "vast Right Wing conspiracy," Democratic liberals have woven their own with dozens of new think tanks, lobby groups, funders like the Democracy Alliance and George Soros, scores of consultants and hundreds of millions of dollars raised and spent to grease the wheels of collaboration, all designed this year to win the White House and solidify control of the Congress.

Liberal bloggers are notorious dissenters and critics of mainstream Democratic policies, but there won't be much of that on formal display in Austin, nothing like the "Coffee with the Troops" which injected an unscheduled discussion of the Iraq War into last year's conference in Chicago. Potentially controversial issues including Dennis Kucinich's call for impeachment of President Bush, or the failure of the Democratic Congress to stop funding the war in Iraq, are off the official agenda at Netroots Nation.

Sweeting Corn Syrup's Public Image

The Corn Refiners Association launched an 18-month, $20 to $30 million public relations and advertising campaign "to convince consumers that HFCS [high-fructose corn syrup] isn't the evil it has been made out to be." The industry group is running ads in major newspapers -- under the banner "time for a little food for thought" -- that say HFCS has the "same natural sweeteners as table sugar and honey." The campaign, which was created by the

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Jeff Gannon, National Press Club member

Jeff Gannon"If you ever wondered what happened to Jeff Gannon, the former conservative reporter whose questionable White House credentialing and ties to several sex Web sites forced him out of a job," he's an active member of the National Press Club.

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China's Online Persuaders

China's webspace is infamous for censorship, but increasingly, public relations firms there are helping their clients "manage" online conversations. China-based firms such as Daqi, Chinese Web Union and CIC "charge $500 - $25,000 monthly to monitor postings and squelch negative information or to create positive buzz," reports BusinessWeek.

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French Flacks Want Their Information in First Place

The largest PR and communications firm in France is asserting that "Wikipedia cannibalizes the image" of the biggest French corporations and their CEOs. Euro RSCG 's complaint is that Wikipedia articles score exceptionally high in search engine rankings -- often ahead of the corporations' own websites.

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Conservative Bloggers Link Rachael Ray Ad to Terror Symbolism

Rachael Ray Dunkin Donuts ad featuring controversial scarfDunkin' Donuts pulled an online ad for frozen lattes featuring domestic maven Rachael Ray after receiving complaints from right-wing bloggers, including conservative FOX News commentator

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Marketing with Meaning Still Means You're Selling Something

The WPP Group's online advertising firm Bridge Worldwide offers its clients what it calls "marketing with meaning." For ConAgra, the firm created the "Start Making Choices" website, which "conveys nutrition, exercise and other well-being tips from cardiologist James Rippe ...

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