Public Relations

British Spinners Queuing Up for Parliament

After a year in which numerous British politicians have resigned or been publicly embarrassed by revelations over expense claims, the major UK political parties are promising new faces for the next election. However, Marie Woolf notes that "more than 50 prospective candidates chosen by the main parties are already working as lobbyists and public relations executives and are deeply enmeshed in the world of spin and politics.

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Honduras Tries for a PR Coup

The negotiating team representing Honduras' coup government "rarely made a move without consulting ... an American public relations specialist who has done work for former President Bill Clinton," reports the New York Times. Roberto Micheletti heads the "de facto" government of Honduras, which took power after the military coup against elected president Manuel Zelaya.

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Tech Upstarts Avoid Scrutiny on the Web

The "new world of promoting start-ups in Silicon Valley," California, is "where the lines between journalists and everyone else are blurring and the number of followers a pundit has on Twitter is sometimes viewed as more important than old metrics like the circulation of a newspaper," observes the New York Times. Instead of angling for "mentions in print and on television," publicists for new tech companies "court influential voices on the social Web." This means that "P.R.

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The Ultimate Irony: Health Care Industry Adopts Big Tobacco's PR Tactics

At first look, one might not think that the health insurance industry has much in common with the tobacco industry. After all, one sells a product that kills people and the other sells a product nominally aimed at putting people back together. But when it comes to deceitful public relations techniques, the health insurance industry has been learning well from Big Tobacco, which employed a panoply of shady but highly successful public relations tactics to fend off changes to its business for generations.

One of the things I said in my testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee on June 24 is that the health insurance industry engages in duplicitous public relations campaigns to influence public opinion and the debate on health care reform. By that I mean there are campaigns they want you to you know about, and those they don't.

When you hear insurance company executives talk about how much they support health care reform and can be counted on by the President and Congress to be there for them, that's the campaign they want you to be aware of. I call it their PR charm offensive.

"Harry and Louise" Against Consumer Protection

The industry backlash against the Obama administration's financial reform plans -- especially the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- is taking shape. "A coalition of financial trade groups is brainstorming on how to sink the agency," reports Reuters.

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Prying Doors Open at The Economist

"The Economist," bemoans Andy Rowlands, the director of corporate, issues and technology practice at the public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, "is one of the most influential, but also most difficult places to secure coverage." The former head of PR for the London-based magazine (now a PR consultant), Eileen Wise, suggests that persistence pays off.

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CMD's Wendell Potter Exposes Health Insurance PR

Wendell Potter came to the Center for Media and Democracy in May as an admirer of our work exposing corporate front groups, lobbyists and PR manipulators. He should know, he was one of the best PR executives in the health insurance business, CIGNA's Vice President of Corporate Communications until he had a major change of heart.

Today Wendell is CMD's Senior Fellow on Health Care, testifying before the US Senate Commerce Committee. His passion is health care reform and his expertise is exposing how the powerful industry he once helped run is manipulating and managing the health care reform debate raging among policy makers, the public and in the media.

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