Politicians from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton George W. Bush are increasingly using "everyday citizens" as props to create a working-class appearance for policies that actually benefit the wealthy. "But unless we stop behaving as props and start behaving as citizens, we will be passive spectators at the increasingly contrived sport of politics in America," writes Robert Kuttner.
Want to send a message to the media and the public? Don't worry about the content--just make sure your spokesperson appears likable and believable. That's the message from media trainer Dick Kulp of Virgil Scudder and Associates. If the media "...see the spokesperson as credible and sincere, you've made the right impression." Just learn to fake sincerity, and you've won the PR battle.
Does Nike have a First Amendment right to publicly claim that it is a leader in fighting sweatshops -- or is that false advertising? The California Supreme Court may soon decide. In a lawsuit that could have far-reaching implications for corporate "greenwashing" campaigns, environmental activist Marc Kasky has sued Nike Inc., charging that the company's public claims about conditions in its Asian factories amount to false advertising under California's consumer-protection laws.
"Why would the Guardian provide moral and medical justification for the multiple murder of innocent Israeli civilians?" That's the question that appeared in hundreds of emails to the Guardian of London, accusing it of bias in its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After some sleuthing, Guardian reporters discovered that the correspondence was generated by HonestReporting.com, a website established by Aish HaTora, an international group promoting orthodox Judaism.
Margery Kraus of APCO Worldwide has been named "International PR Professional of the Year" by PR Week magazine - a fitting honor to a woman whose company specializes in the worst sleaze the industry produces -- from helping the tobacco industry promote "sound science" to orchestrating a phony "grassroots" campaign for "tort reform" as a way of making it hard
Rubenstein Assocs. has volunteered its PR savvy to help Israel present its side of the Middle East conflict to the media and opinion leaders.
This news release by Edelman PR explains the rationale for trying to encourage business "partnerships" with activist groups: "You've got an environmental disaster on your hands. Have you consulted with Greenpeace in developing your crisis response plan? Co-opting your would-be attackers may seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you consider that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are trusted by the public nearly two-to-one to 'do what's right' compared with government bodies, media organizations and corporations."
"Very marginal" is the way Steve Lett, president of a now-defunct dot-com company, describes the result of his company's initial experience with public relations. PaperStudio.com outsourced its PR functions to a so-called virtual agency that stitches together a flock of PR freelancers. One year and $125,000 later, PaperStudio had gained a paltry 15 clips for its press kit.
The president of Hillsdale College, described once by William Buckley, Jr. as "the most prominent conservative college in the country," was ousted from his job following a messy sex-and-suicide scandal. The college responded with what the Weekly Standard calls "clumsy attempts to cover all this up. ... It may have been the most inept attempt at damage control ever produced by an academic institution."
By his own account, Barry R. Clausen has infiltrated radical environmental groups, staked out logging protests and helped bust a drug ring. He has testified before Congress about a rising tide of eco-terror, has been quoted scores of times in the national and international press and has appeared, he reckons, on 150 talk radio shows. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation and many other law enforcers don't see any sign of the surging eco-terror Mr. Clausen describes. Pressed, he acknowledges that his list of documented terror incidents includes graffiti and pie-throwings.