The Clearinghouse on Environmental Education, Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) has issued a special bulletin detailing efforts by anti-environmentalist to attack green activism. "There have been rhetorical attacks branding public interest groups as elitist and unpatriotic, further attacks on non-profit status of a handful of groups, and a renewed intensity in fighting 'eco-terrorism,' a term and concept environmental backlash leaders are trying desperately to get into circulation," the report states.
ABC News correspondent John Stossel comes under harsh scrutiny in a January 7, 2002 Nation article. Journalist Mark Dowie looks into Stossel's rise from humble consumer-interest reporter to million-dollar network star. As network news divisions were forced to become profit centers in early 90s, network executives wanted "talent" to sell the new news product. "Professional attention-grabbers ... became free-market winners. By cleverly blending blue-collar social values with Wall Street economic values, they got rich," writes Dowie.
"Americans are upset at the blizzard of irrational jargon that now substitutes for political discourse in the United States, and they increasingly recognize that it isn't going away until it is named and confronted," observes Philip Agre, a professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
A well-funded business front group, the Washington Legal Foundation, is one of many using September 11th to condemn the patriotism of public interest activists.
Notwithstanding the Bush administration's calls for national unity, right-minded Republicans are still trying to demonize Democrats. American Renewal, the lobbying wing of the Family Research Council, has launched an advertising campaign suggesting that Tom Daschle is a Saddam Hussein sympathizer. "What do Saddam Hussein and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle have in common?" stated a news release announcing the ad campaign.
Pacifica Foundation vice chairman Ken Ford is playing the "terrorist card" at the formerly progressive radio network, currently in a financial crisis as it faces mounting bills from lawyers and PR firms. Outside vendors are not being paid, employee paychecks are in question, and four lawsuits alleging everything from financial malfeasance to by-law violations are scheduled to go to trial in January. Responding to charges of mismanagement, Ford characterized critics of Pacifica as "zealots," adding, "I see parallels between this group and al Qaeda, the terrorists who bombed New York.
"In the days since the United States launched its armed and diplomatic responses to the Sept. 11 atrocities, few phrases have passed the lips of American leaders as often as 'this is not a war against Islam.' But as civilian casualties from American airstrikes in Afghanistan begin to pile up, and as the timeline for military action threatens to stretch into months, growing anti-American riots in the Muslim world are underscoring the message's limited reach."
"As this new, modern war unfolds, it has become inarguable that the weapon of speech craft is among the most powerful in the military arsenal," writes PR counselor Fraser Seitel, who examines the rhetorical techniques in speeches by George Bush, Tony Blair and Osama Bin Laden. "CEOs and communicators alike can learn from the skillful ways that Bush, our allies and even adversaries have used the content of their speeches to further their objectives," he writes.