Public Relations

From Greenwash to Bluewash

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "greenwash" as "disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image." Now a new term has emerged, "bluewash," which the New York Times describes as "allowing some of the largest and richest corporations to wrap themselves in the United Nations' blue flag without requiring them to do anything new." The highest-profile example of this, writes Kenny Bruno, is the "Global Compact," which asks business to adhere to nine principles derived from key UN agreements and is becoming a general framework for UN

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White House Enron Spin

When it comes to the Enron scandal, "White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has managed the spin duties expertly," writes William Saletan on Slate. By passing the buck, playing dumb, or dodging the issue, Fleischer uses classic spin tactics to evade the Enron-related questions of the White House press corps.

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"Greens Get Eaten" as Corporations Buy Their Critics

Burson-Marsteller's hiring of Lord Melchett is the focus of professor George Monbiot's weekly column in The Guardian: "Because regulation works, companies will do whatever they can to prevent it. They will threaten governments with disinvestment, and the loss of thousands of jobs. They will use media campaigns to recruit public opinion to their cause. But one of their simplest and most successful strategies is to buy their critics.

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Melchett Seen As B-M Cash Cow: 'Show Us the Money'

ePublicRelations president Ross Irvine offers his take on Lord Melchett joining Burson-Marsteller. Irvine writes: "Burson-Marsteller's London office has a new cash cow... Lord Melchett has joined B-M as a consultant in the company's corporate social responsibility unit. Here, he can be charged out a high rate, earn a good salary plus expenses, contribute significantly to the bottom line, satisfy WWP Group shareholders who own B-M, and offer little value to clients. ... The marriage of B-M and Lord Melchett raises some interesting questions and situations.

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Leaked Memo Reveals B-M's Plans for Lord Melchett

The British press is lambasting and lampooning both the Burson-Marsteller PR firm and their latest PR hire, Lord Melchett. Here is a satirical 'memo' written as if it leaked from inside B-M: "Lord Melchett will be heading up our new 'corporate conscience' desk, which will work to uncover the hidden humanity inside organisations such as Monsanto... I can't help but think that if this initiative had been around back when Nikolae Ceausescu was our client, he might still be in a position to pay his invoice. ...

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Eco Campaigners Go Corporate

Burson-Marsteller's hiring of Lord Melchett, the former director of Greenpeace UK, prompted the Independent to examine the growing trend of British environmentalists "who have decided to work for the blue chip giants they once sought to humble ...

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B-M's Lord Melchett Booted Off Greenpeace Board

Burson-Marsteller's newest PR hire, Lord Peter Melchett, has been forced to resign from the board of Greenpeace International. Melchett blind-sided his fellow Greenpeace board members and eco-activists this week by taking a consulting job with one of the PR world's most notorious anti-environmental propaganda firms, Burson-Marsteller. Apparently Melchett has convinced himself that accepting a paying position with B-M will somehow help him change corporate behavior.

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Did Burson-Marsteller Genetically Alter Lord Melchett?

Catherine Bennet examines a "deal with the devil," asking "Has Lord Peter Melchett been genetically modified? ... And what other explanation can there possibly be for the decision of Lord Melchett, quondam destroyer of GM crops, to join Burson-Marsteller...? Anyone who believes Lord Melchett's insistence that there is nothing contradictory about his appointment ...fails to appreciate Burson-Marsteller's fabulous coup in signing him up. ...

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An Ex-Greenpeacer Examines the Melchett Affair

A longtime Greenpeace activist sent the following comments to PR Watch: "The Lord Melchetts of the activist (and now corporate) world are only one symptom of a broader contagion. Is there even a real environmental movement anymore? How accountable are NGOs to their own base? ... Look how little is being accomplished in addressing Global Warming in the U.S. at a time when it's obviously a national security issue and a global security issue. I think this is in part because the environmental groups don't believe in mass movement building like they used to.

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