The UK Independent reports, "A senior government 'spin-doctor' was under pressure to resign after seeking to take advantage of the terrorist atrocities in America to 'bury' embarrassing stories." An adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions sent a memo to senior colleagues saying, "It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors' expenses?" The memo was sent within an hour of the second hijacked plane hitting the World Trade Center. On September 12, a proposal on new expenses for local councillors was released.
O'Dwyer's PR Daily columnist Frasier Seitel writes, "In the war on terrorism, PR is key. And in the coming days, as they wend through the shadowy thicket of Bin Ladenesque aggressors, President Bush and his associates might consider the following prescription for wartime PR strategy." Seitel's prescription includes the following points: build grassroots support; lead with goodwill; communicate, communicate communicate; and don't play fast and loose with the truth. Seitel says the last point poses a critical PR question for the Bush administration.
Saudi Arabia hired PR giant Burson-Marsteller on September 14 according to O'Dwyer's PR Daily. B-M will place ads and provide "issues counseling and crisis management" the Saudi government. Craig Veith, chairman of B-M's media practice in Washington, D.C., said B-M has placed ads for the Saudis in The New York Times expressing support for the U.S. in its time of crisis.
Peace Action is no new kid on the block. This very serious and well established group dates back forty years to the 'ban the bomb' movement of the 1960s, and led the fight in the 1980s against Ronald Reagan's nuclear build-up. Now, it tackles the current crisis in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Environmental activist and college instructor Adrienne Anderson has been the victim of an "outrageous" defamation campaign at the hands of the PR department of Colorado's largest sewage plant, and a judge has hit the plant with a $450,000 damage award. According to the Denver Post, the judge has ordered the sewage district "to publicly apologize in a full page ad." The Post notes that the judge "singled out Metro's public relations director Steven M.
A New Jersey Sikh group has hired MWW Group to launch a national PR campaign to educate Americans about the religion that was founded in India more than 500 years ago. There has been at least one hate-based killing of a Sikh and many other reported hate crimes against Sikhs in the aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. There are 400,000 Sikhs living in North America.
The Air Transport Association, which represents air carriers, hired PR giant Burson-Marsteller to develop issue ads in support of the group's lobbying activities. ATA is seeking from Congress a $17.5 billion rescue package consisting of cash and loan guarantees for the airline industry, in the wake of its collapse following last week's attacks. Airlines are said to be losing $200 million a day because of disruptions in air traffic and the public's general unwillingness to fly.
Boeing is using Interpublic's Powell Tate unit to build PR support for President Bush's missile defense system. Bush's request for $8.3 billion for missile defense was expected to be sliced due to the vanishing surplus, but now has gotten new life in aftermath of last week's terror attacks. This contradicts Kevin McCauley's prediction in last week's O'Dwyer's PR Daily. McCauley wrote that the terrorist attacks "killed Bush's missile defense program.
Supporters of the Center for Media & Democracy have just been mailed the third quarter 2001 issue of PR Watch. It examines the strategies employed by corporations such as Philip Morris and BP/Amoco, and their PR firms such as Burson-Marsteller, to defeat environmental activism through partnerships and co-optation. Articles include "Keep America Beautiful: Grassroots Non-Profit or Tobacco Front Group?" by Walter Lamb; "Corporations 'Get Engaged' to the Environmental Movement" by Andy Rowell; and, "Endangered Wildlife Friends Are Here" by John Stauber.
The U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center recently hired PR-firm Hill & Knowlton for a 5-year, $2-million-dollar contract to promote the Center's "morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) programs." According to a Center spokesperson, H&K's work on 250 various MWR activities will include concerts (Miller Genuine Draft Army Concert Tour), sporting events ("Bowl Hog Wild" tournament featuring a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as grand prize), theater, and social/health/education programs.