Issue Management

Something Fishy

An abridged extract from Bob Burton's Inside Spin: The Dark Underbelly of the PR Industry.

Inside Spin: The Dark Underbelly of the PR IndustryA hallmark tactic of activist campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s was the use of consumer boycotts to punish recalcitrant companies. By the 1990s, however, the trend was more towards developing standards and accrediting retail products that passed muster. The theory was that an accredited product would be rewarded by consumers while the laggards would be under financial pressure to lift their game. One of the pioneering projects during the 1990s was the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which was established by a broad coalition of non-profit groups. Its aim was to shift timber production to sources designated as more sustainable and reduce the market share for forest products derived from the destruction of the world's great forests. Despite numerous problems, the FSC label had some impact, especially in Europe.

Pill Pushers Avoid Advertising Restrictions

Congress has jettisoned proposed amendments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) legislation that would have expanded the agency's powers over drug industry direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns promoting prescription drugs.


Two U.S. States To Get "Balanced Energy" PR in their Stockings

The coal industry front group Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) is seeking public relations help "in targeting the public, politicians, interest groups, and the media" on the national level, and also in Pennsylvania and Nevada. ABEC promotes coal as an "essential, affordable and increasingly clean" source of electricity.


Follow the Money, Eh? Canadian Reporters' Glowing Failure

Patrick Moore"Much of the environmental movement, including Greenpeace, has lost its way when it comes to nuclear power, caught up in politically correct ideology and stooping to sensationalism to garner support," declared a recent media alert announcing the visit of one-time Greenpeace activist Patrick Moore to Toronto. The alert continued, "In Ontario, CANDU nuclear energy is the greatest single contributor to carbon reduction relative to all other energy producing technologies."

Australian Government Lays Information Smokescreen

Faced with opposition to increasing government secrecy by Australia's Right to Know, a coalition of Australian media companies and the journalists' union, the Australian Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, has announced a review of the


The Formula for Deceiving Mothers Online

Peggy O'Mara, the editor of Mothering Magazine, reports that "in addition to the inaccurate information on breastfeeding" by the media, the "marketing practices of the formula companies continue to undermine breastfeeding." She notes the existence of several "stealth" websites "that appear to be grassroots advocacy sites, but are actually mouthpieces for the formula industry." One of the websites,, is campaigning against proposed restrictions on the free bags of infant


PR Adviser Praises Maldives Prisons

Nic Careem, a London-based "public affairs consultant", recently proclaimed his interest in helping raise the profile of the President of the Maldives, Abdul Gayoom, on the issue of global warming.


Literal "Whitewashing": The Taiwanese Show How PR is Done After Plane Catches Fire

This bit of PR whitewashing comes very close to a literal definition. From a Japanese press account quoted in the "Telstar Logistics" blog: "China Airlines has painted over its name and logo on the wreckage of a passenger jet that exploded in flames at Naha Airport in Okinawa moments after passengers slid down emergency chutes to escape. The airline painted over the name 'China Airlines' on the left-hand side of the aircraft and the company's logo on the plane's tail fin.



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