This article examines attempts in England to establish a "press council" that would control what reporters are allowed to write about issues involving science and product safety, particularly in regard to genetically modified foods. Mae-Wan Ho and Jonathan Mathews report on the seamless way in which the corporations, the state and the scientific establishment are co-ordinating their efforts to suppress scientific dissent and force feed the world with GM crops.
PR Seminar, a secretive spinoff of the National Association of Manufacturers, held its 50th annual meeting on June 6-9 of this year. "You have entered a very elite circle, you are the cream of the crop of the PR world," one of its members said in 1979. Not a word of the proceedings is supposed to escape although the O'Dwyer Co. has covered the event with varying degrees of completeness since 1970.
Dairy Management Inc., a trade association funded by dairy industry check-off money for building U.S. dairy product demand, awarded an issues management account to Weber Shandwick. The contract is believed to be around $2 million. Weber Shandwick won the account over top-tier agencies Fleishman-Hillard, Edelman PR Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller and Porter Novelli. Sara Galvin heads the DMI account from WSW's Minneapolis office. She is supported by staffers in Washington, D.C. The campaign had been expected to focus on concerns raised by foot-and-mouth and mad cow disease in Europe.
Burson-Marsteller has hired Jordana Friedman, a veteran of several non-governmental advocacy organizations, as a director in its U.S. corporate and financial practice. She joins B-M from the Council on Economic Priorities, a U.S.-based corporate social responsibility research organization, where she served as director of the London office.
The Center for Defense of Free Enterprise, led by anti-environmental "Wise Use" organizers Alan Gottlieb and Ron Arnold, has created this website which claims to "unmask" the Rainforest Action Network for its "ties to other radical groups," "anti-capitalist ideology" and "lawless and dangerous activities." To "unmask" Gottlieb and Arnold themselves, read the Environmental Working Group's excellent backgrounder.
Spinsanity's mission is to "use rigorous, non-partisan analysis to expose the use and intent of the simulated reason and public relations techniques that dominate political discourse, and to document how they are disseminated through the media.
The diet drug craze of the mid-1990s was fueled by cover-ups, misinformation and a multi-million-dollar PR machine, according to Dispensing with the Truth, a new book by Mediaweek's Washington bureau chief, Alicia Mundy. Burson-Marsteller, Edelman Medical Communications, Ogilvy Adams & Reinhart and Ketchum were among firms identified as part of a nearly $100 million public relations spin campaign "that would put presidential consultants to shame," writes Mundy.
The top 50 PR firms worldwide more than tripled their revenue from 1994 to 2000, according to the Council for Public Relations Firms. 2000 saw a 30 percent jump from the previous year, breaking the 3.8 billion dollar mark. Money makes the world go 'round--with a little spin from the burgeoning PR industry.
Back in the heady days of the dot-com bubble, writes Martin Kady II, "enthusiastic folks in the public relations world could really work up a lather about their tech clients. In promoting the new new thing, these publicity machines would exercise all manner of hyperbole -- and the public and business press would fall for it hook, line and sinker. " Nowadays, most of the PR pitches he receives attempt to put a brave face on disaster or invite him to write about profitable companies that are exceptions to the rule.
This article includes correspondence between editor Michael Manville and the PR firm of BSMG Worldwide, which tried to get Manville to publish "one or more bylined articles written by experts in the field" of biotechnology. After initial denials, the BSMG representative eventually admitted that its client was actually the industry-funded Council for Biotechnology Information.