tagged w/ PR
Every good recipe for deception begins with an ounce of truth.
Whoever is managing the current public relations crisis facing the National Rifle Association clearly understands this fundamental principle. In the days since the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the NRA has offered a textbook execution of the crisis communication playbook, employing everything from ducking out of sight for a few days to clever messaging strategy to an attempt to throttle the public profile of media coverage through timing tactics that are as cynical as they are traditional.Every good recipe for deception begins with an ounce of truth. Whoever is managing... more
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A campaign bankrolled by financially motivated pesticide and junk food companies is expected to lie - a lot. It's what they always do when confronted by inconvenient facts and consumers seeking to protect their rights - like the Right to Know what's in the food we eat and feed our families.
Prop 37 opponents have run one of the most deceptive misinformation campaigns in recent history - a $35 million deluge of one demonstrable lie after another to try and defeat a common sense measure that most Californians support.
Today, the No on 37 campaign's already tattered credibility was dealt yet another big blow with news that its "top scientist" is nothing more than a corporate shill willing to misrepresent himself and the University for which he works.
Meet Henry Miller - a spokesperson the No on 37 campaign has been all too eager to promote as an arbiter of good science and someone we can trust with our families health. Miller has been featured in No on 37 television ads, written outrageously deceptive opinion editorials, and has presented himself as an "unbiased" scientific expert.
And now he's been caught misrepresenting Stanford University- forcing the No on 37 Campaign to pull and reshoot a statewide television ad identifying Miller as "Dr. Henry Miller, MD, Stanford University," without disclosing his affiliation with the Hoover Institute, a right-wing think tank at the University. In other words, he works ON the Stanford campus as a corporate propagandist, but ISN'T a Professor at Stanford University.
The ad was pulled after the Yes on 37 campaign attorney sent a letter to Stanford pointing out that the university's affiliation was being used in a political advertising campaign, in violation of university policy.
Stanford also demanded that the campaign remove the campus from the ad's background.
Join NationofChange today by making a generous tax-deductible contribution and take a stand against the status quo.
But this isn't the most disturbing aspect of Miller's sordid career. Before we trust anything he has to say about something as fundamental as our health, we'd do well to consider his two decades of work dedicated to undermining it:
• Miller shilled for Big Tobacco, where he helped Phillip Morris discredit the links between tobacco products, and cancer and heart disease;
• Miller advocates for the reintroduction of the toxic pesticide DDT, which was banned in the United States and has been linked to pre-term birth and fertility impairment in women;
• Miller aided Exxon's efforts to undercut the reality of climate change;
• Miller attacked the US Food and Drug Administration's efforts to ensure proper vetting and testing of new drugs safety while urging it outsource more of its functions to private industries,
• And Miller claimed Japanese exposed to radiation from Fukushima "could actually have benefited" from it.
Miller isn't the only dubious character the No On 37 stable, but his one man "tour of lies" about Prop 37 includes some especially notable whoppers. He often repeats one claim that includes three lies in a single sentence, stating "The World Health Organization, American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and other respected medical and health organizations all conclude that genetically engineered foods are safe."
The only problem is not one of these organizations has come to such a conclusion:
• A National Academy of Sciences report concluded that products of genetic engineering technology "carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health."
• The American Medical Association has adopted a position calling for mandatory safety assessments of genetically engineered foods.
• And the World Health Organization / United Nations food standards group, Codex Alimentarius, which sets the global science-based standards on food policy issues, states that mandatory safety studies should be required - a standard the US fails to meet.
In fact, within the past few weeks alone, independent peer reviewed studies have raised even more troubling questions about the impact of GMOs on our environment, and potential risks to our health.
Ultimately, to understand the No On 37 campaign's credibility problems, just follow the money: the six largest pesticide corporations in the world have contributed nearly $20 million of its $35 million war chest. The two largest donors - Monsanto ($7.2 million) and Dupont ($4.9 million) - told us Agent Orange and DDT were safe. Now they've telling us we don't deserve to know what's in our food. And the kicker is that while Monsanto spends $ millions to deny our right to know in California, it supported labeling in Europe.
So who should we trust?
On the Yes side stands millions of California consumers and more than 2,000 leading consumer, health, women's, faith-based, labor and other groups; 50 countries that already require GMO labeling; and a growing stack of peer-reviewed research linking genetically engineered foods to health and environmental problems.
More at the linkA campaign bankrolled by financially motivated pesticide and junk food companies is... more
Happy Birthday, Peter Shankman! http://www.mrmedia.com/2010/07/social-media-guru-peter-shankman-threatens-to-toss-mr-media-from-his-manhattan-home-office-window-look-out-below/Happy Birthday, Peter Shankman!... more
Last week, the London Olympics were wrapped in fresh embarassment and controversy as Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘ethics Tzar’ resigned live on BBC Newsnight over fears that her ethics and sustainability concerns with regards to sponsors simply weren’t being listened to. In an interview with Jeremy Paxman she announced that her position at the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) was no longer tenable in light of the LOCOG’s continued relationship with and defence of the Dow Chemical Company.
The moment: Meredith Alexander appears live on the BBC's Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman to announce her resignation from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012
“By coming on air tonight, I’m taking the decision to resign my position and stand up for my principles… I feel that I was part of a body that has been used to legitimize Dow’s involvement in the games.” Dow took over Union Carbide Corporation in 2001, but neither company have addressed the ongoing issue of water and soil contamination in Bhopal that continues to kill thousands and afflict even more with chronic illnesses.
Coverage of the ongoing Bhopal tragedy, and the controversy over Dow and London 2012, went through the roof and Meredith acquired overnight celebrity status in India. Her resignation live on British television resulted in an outpouring of hope, gratitude and optimism from those still living in Union Carbide and Dow’s toxic shadow.
This week, the Bhopal Medical Appeal caught up with Ms. Alexander for a chat…
BMA: What were the main reasons for your resignation from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL) ?
MA: All the evidence I have read has convinced me that Dow Chemicals is responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 people in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas leak. The assets and liabilities of the company involved at the time – Union Carbide – are in Dow’s hands. Londoners, and other people, who are rightly excited about the London games, should not have this toxic legacy on their conscience.
BMA: At what point did your position became “untenable” and why?
MA: The tipping point for me, was the correspondence between Amnesty International and Lord Coe [Chair of LOCOG]. The latest response from Amnesty, just last week, pointed out how LOCOG have become apologists for Dow, falsely legitimising Dow’s stance that it bears no responsibility to the victims of the disaster and their families. I feel that the Olympic bodies are supporting Dow’s line and have failed to take the victim’s views into consideration.
BMA: Last week, Sebastian Shakespeare published a controversial column in the London Evening Standard with the bold headline “The Olympics should be no place for ethics.” Have you read it, and if so, what did you think?
MA: I have read it. And I actually submitted a letter to the editor yesterday about it. I think most Londoners share my view that ethics and sport can and must go hand in hand. Yet as things stand, the enjoyment of the Games risks being hampered by the toxic legacy of one of the sponsors: Dow Chemicals. When London bid to host the 2012 Games, we made a promise to the world that it would be most sustainable Games ever. [Read Meredith's whole letter to the ES newspaper here.]
BMA: Based on your resignation, can you further tell us why you think that ethics, morality, and sustainability are an important part of the Olympics? Why shouldn’t we just accept that commercial sponsorship is inevitable and ‘get over it.’
MA: I think it’s important to remember that there was absolutely no need for the London 2012 organisers to award anyone the contract for this wrap. It’s a completely optional item that is not essential to the design of the stadium. It will not help a single athlete run faster nor will it help spectators have a better view. Dow’s connection to the Olympics is a slap in the face to the victims of Bhopal, but the fact that this wrap is unnecessary makes this particular deal even more galling for those who have spent decades fighting for justice.
More of the interview at the linkLast week, the London Olympics were wrapped in fresh embarassment and controversy as... more
Komen Foundation pretends to change its mind. One corporate communications executive wonders: is the public stupid enough to buy it? | Scholars and RoguesRead. The language. Closely. Contrary to what Komen’s highly-paid PR crisis hacks and gullible headline writers at newsdesks around the nation would ask you to believe, The Susan G. Komen Foundation does NOT promise to fund Planned Parenthood in the future. They promise to let PP APPLY for grants in the future. Applying and receiving are different things, as anyone who ever applied and got rejected for a job ought to know.Read. The language. Closely. Contrary to what Komen’s highly-paid PR crisis... more
Hey PR professionals – thinking of representing a distressed brand? Six important things to consider before signing that retainerThe first thing to understand is that your brand is on the line. And while successes can be quite specific, disasters generalize. For instance, say you sign on to represent the local charitable outreach division of Acme Widgets. And you do a great job, promoting all kinds of positive programs that benefit the communities Acme serves. Then it’s revealed that Acme execs knowingly covered up data demonstrating that their next-generation widget technology causes pregnant women to miscarry. You may have some nice pictures from that Boys & Girls Club opening in Peoria, but what people are going to remember is the dead babies, which are hanging around your neck like so many albatrosses even though you never got anywhere near the company’s product promotion business. Seriously, do you think my mind will ever be able to unhitch Brown Lloyd James from the massacres in Hama?
We all know it, but let’s say it again: reputations can take years to create and seconds to destroy. This goes for your clients, and it goes for your firm’s brand, too. I’m not saying that you should only cherry pick the easiest and least challenged clients (I mean, I love a challenge and I’m idealistic enough to believe that I can effect change, given the chance), but I am saying – as I have suggested before – that I don’t think every client out there deserves professional representation.The first thing to understand is that your brand is on the line. And while successes... more
Perhaps we can examine client lists and histories and find excuses to mitigate behavior if we try hard enough, but is there some reason why we should? At some point don’t we have to stop the rationalizing and acknowledge that Libya and Syria, at least, are nations with long histories. Long, long histories, and I’m not talking histories of charity, philanthropy and democracy, either. No, we’re talking about things like brutal oppression (you know, like the campaigns they’re waging against dissidents at present) and support for terrorist organizations. There’s simply no way to conclude that the decisions to represent these interests was about anything other than money. If you’d represent Gadhafi, you’d represent Satan if he showed up with a suitcase full of unmarked bills.Perhaps we can examine client lists and histories and find excuses to mitigate... more
Of course, there’s nothing like a Miranda ruling regarding the right to PR counsel. And if you need a spin job but can’t afford one, local agencies are not, I repeat not, available to be appointed by the court of public opinion. There’s no PR analogue to a public defender’s office. If your reputation gets stomped by the local FOX outlet you don’t go to jail (not directly, anyway). You don’t have to go to several years of graduate school and pass the a hellish bar exam to hang your shingle (although the APR certification process is certainly rigorous, as professional standards go).Of course, there’s nothing like a Miranda ruling regarding the right to PR... more
For those unfamiliar with the exciting world of public relations, these kinds of official statements often go through a rigorous process of draft, revision, review, more revision, show it to legal, start over, and finally approval by the person whose name appears at the bottom. S&R has obtained a copy of Murdoch’s original draft and the redline revision produced by Edelman, the PR agency handling the crisis. Edelman, whose client list doesn’t include Charles Manson, Hitler, Simon Cowell or NAMBLA, but would if they showed up with a suitcase full of cash, is very highly regarded when it comes to the task of lipsticking rabid pigs.For those unfamiliar with the exciting world of public relations, these kinds of... more
Analysis: Dillard’s and an unsatisfying response on the Heroic Media controversy | Scholars and RoguesDillard's has an official response it is shopping to people complaining about its support of Houston-based Heroic Media, an anti-abortion group that has been accused of racist campaigns. From both ethical and professional perspectives this communication is unsatisfying.Dillard's has an official response it is shopping to people complaining about its... more
Target/Minnesota Forward and Dillard's/Heroic Media: seven principles for corporate giving | Scholars and RoguesThere's no excuse for the mistakes made by Target (in the Emmer controversy) and now Dillard's, which is supporting an event staged by an anti-abortion advocate that has been accused of racist campaigns. A hard look at the Target and Dillard's cases, with seven principles designed to guide corporations toward productive, pro-community giving and social engagement.There's no excuse for the mistakes made by Target (in the Emmer controversy) and... more
Boing Boing reports, Greenpeace is filing a lawsuit again a number of chemical companies and PR firms which hired private investigators to spy on the group.
According to the report, the hacking, bin searches and surveillance took place in 1999-2000 so they could gather information on planned protests by Greenpeace.
"Greenpeace and Mother Jones said the documents showed that former agents for the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency took part in the work, which was carried out by off-duty police officers from Washington and Baltimore."-NYtimesBoing Boing reports, Greenpeace is filing a lawsuit again a number of chemical... more
When Gallup conducts this poll in years to come I’d like to see my profession moving up the rankings, but that isn’t likely to happen if the public continues to sense our presence defending the indefensible and transforming the 24-hour news cycle into a 24/7 spin cycle.When Gallup conducts this poll in years to come I’d like to see my profession... more
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BBC World Service - One Planet: The Father of Genetic Engineering....
First broadcast 10:32am, 7 Oct 2010
GMWatch comment: This programme, part of the BBC World Service’s One Planet series on the environment, interviews genetic engineer Dr Roger Beachy. Beachy's interview appears to be part of a new evangelical push on the part of the US government hyping GM crops as the solution to world hunger.
In the BBC interview, Beachy claims GM is being demonized but then proceeds to demonize organic production, as he has done before (even suggesting organic food may be dangerous to eat!) http://www.grist.org/article/usda-research-chief-concerned-about-safety-of-organic-food
Beachy characterizes people who oppose GM crops as anti-science or just plain ignorant. He also uses straw man arguments, dismissing scientifically valid concerns about the uncontrollability of GM contamination with a story about a man who (according to Beachy) had an irrational concern about potatoes being contaminated by GM corn or cotton.
This strategy exactly fits with what Guy Cook, Professor in Language and Education at the Open University (OU) and author of Genetically Modified Language, a book which critically analyses the war of words waged by those arguing for GM crops, found in research investigating the type of language deployed by GM crop scientists. The 'public', Cook's data revealed, tend to be portrayed as as frequently emotional, rather than rational, and as uniformly ignorant. Cook notes that this "characterization of the public is often achieved through anecdotes of some farcical encounter with a particularly 'uninformed’ member of the public: a commonly voiced one concerns people who are worried that they may be 'eating genes'." Interestingly, research suggests that technical knowledge of GM does not necessarily lead to increased acceptance of GM crops.
Beachy also seems to suggest, by implication, that those concerned about GM foods may be candidates for psychiatry ("They choose, not based on science. Where have those attitudes come from?"). He also deliberately attempts to link those concerned about GM with people typically characterised as anti-technology or anti- modern medicine.
It is therefore amusing that another interviewee in this BBC programme is a genetic engineer working in the field of medical biotechnology (Dr Michael Antoniou) who does not share Beachy's confidence about the safety of GM when applied to agriculture.
The BBC calls Beachy "the father of GM foods" and mentions in passing one of Beachy's links to Monsanto: "Two decades ago, his research - in collaboration with Monsanto - helped develop the world's first genetically modified crop (a tomato)".
But the BBC does not mention that Beachy was the founding president of St. Louis' Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, which was principally established by Monsanto, or that he is still a trustee and a member of its scientific advisory board (along with the Monsanto-connected British GM promoter Jonathan Jones, and Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant).
Beachy is now working for the US government. In September 2009, President Obama put Beachy in charge of a USDA agency, the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture, that will fund R & D in agricultural "technological innovations". So don't expect a lot of research dollars for badly needed agro-ecological approaches.
Beachy is also joined in the BBC programme by Jack Bobo, senior advisor for biotech in the US Dept of State, and Beachy's BBC appearance seems to coincide with a new GM push on the part of US government. On 7 October, the same day that the BBC broadcast Beachy's GM hype, the USDA put out a press release flagging up research claiming there were benefits from GM crops for neighbouring non-GM farmers as they have fewer corn borer pests. The release quoted US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plugging GM. (But see why the corn borer may not be such a problem on organic farms: here and here)
On 8 October, Jose Fernandez, the US assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs published an article in the Huffington Post claiming - surprise - that "Unjustified and impractical legal obstacles are stopping genetically-enhanced crops from saving millions from starvation and malnutrition".
So stand by for more evangelical efforts to win us all over to the U.S. GMO way.BBC World Service - One Planet: The Father of Genetic Engineering.... First broadcast... more
"THR: Are you concerned that American Netflix subscribers will look north and ask for the same discount Canadians get at $7.99?
Hastings: How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It's something we'll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed."
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3if1d3902d12574ec222961f1deec0fd2b"THR: Are you concerned that American Netflix subscribers will look north and ask... more
NOTE: Internal company documents show Monsanto paid a Blackwater entity (Total Intelligence) over $200,000 to scan "activist blogs and websites", and suggest the issue of infiltration also arose.
Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater's work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater's owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation. Officials from Total Intelligence, TRC and Blackwater (which now calls itself Xe Services) did not respond to numerous requests for comment for this article.
One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the "intel arm" of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.
Governmental recipients of intelligence services and counterterrorism training from Prince's companies include the Kingdom of Jordan, the Canadian military and the Netherlands police, as well as several US military bases, including Fort Bragg, home of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and Fort Huachuca, where military interrogators are trained, according to the documents. In addition, Blackwater worked through the companies for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the US European Command.
On September 3 the New York Times reported that Blackwater had "created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq." The documents obtained by The Nation reveal previously unreported details of several such companies and open a rare window into the sensitive intelligence and security operations Blackwater performs for a range of powerful corporations and government agencies. The new evidence also sheds light on the key roles of several former top CIA officials who went on to work for Blackwater.
The coordinator of Blackwater's covert CIA business, former CIA paramilitary officer Enrique "Ric" Prado, set up a global network of foreign operatives, offering their "deniability" as a "big plus" for potential Blackwater customers, according to company documents. The CIA has long used proxy forces to carry out extralegal actions or to shield US government involvement in unsavory operations from scrutiny. In some cases, these "deniable" foreign forces don't even know who they are working for. Prado and Prince built up a network of such foreigners while Blackwater was at the center of the CIA's assassination program, beginning in 2004. They trained special missions units at one of Prince's properties in Virginia with the intent of hunting terrorism suspects globally, often working with foreign operatives. A former senior CIA official said the benefit of using Blackwater's foreign operatives in CIA operations was that "you wouldn't want to have American fingerprints on it."
While the network was originally established for use in CIA operations, documents show that Prado viewed it as potentially valuable to other government agencies. In an e-mail in October 2007 with the subject line "Possible Opportunity in DEA—Read and Delete," Prado wrote to a Total Intelligence executive with a pitch for the Drug Enforcement Administration. That executive was an eighteen-year DEA veteran with extensive government connections who had recently joined the firm. Prado explained that Blackwater had developed "a rapidly growing, worldwide network of folks that can do everything from surveillance to ground truth to disruption operations." He added, "These are all foreign nationals (except for a few cases where US persons are the conduit but no longer 'play' on the street), so deniability is built in and should be a big plus."
Through Total Intelligence and the Terrorism Research Center, Blackwater also did business with a range of multinational corporations. According to internal Total Intelligence communications, biotech giant Monsanto—the world's largest supplier of genetically modified seeds—hired the firm in 2008–09. The relationship between the two companies appears to have been solidified in January 2008 when Total Intelligence chair Cofer Black traveled to Zurich to meet with Kevin Wilson, Monsanto's security manager for global issues.
After the meeting in Zurich, Black sent an e-mail to other Blackwater executives, including to Prince and Prado at their Blackwater e-mail addresses. Black wrote that Wilson "understands that we can span collection from internet, to reach out, to boots on the ground on legit basis protecting the Monsanto [brand] name.... Ahead of the curve info and insight/heads up is what he is looking for." Black added that Total Intelligence "would develop into acting as intel arm of Monsanto." Black also noted that Monsanto was concerned about animal rights activists and that they discussed how Blackwater "could have our person(s) actually join [activist] group(s) legally." Black wrote that initial payments to Total Intelligence would be paid out of Monsanto's "generous protection budget" but would eventually become a line item in the company's annual budget. He estimated the potential payments to Total Intelligence at between $100,000 and $500,000. According to documents, Monsanto paid Total Intelligence $127,000 in 2008 and $105,000 in 2009.
Reached by telephone and asked about the meeting with Black in Zurich, Monsanto's Wilson initially said, "I'm not going to discuss it with you."
continuedNOTE: Internal company documents show Monsanto paid a Blackwater entity (Total... more
To show off its new Ping service Apple showed what the latest tweets from LadyGaga to fully example the service. Though some eagle eyed apple users noticed a number of missing tweets from the Gaga feed, mainly the posts about gay equality.
"Oh Apple. Gambling and strip clubs make the cut, but not gay rights? Nope, chop those out with the references to hookers, manwhores, and gingers."-Blaghag (website has more pics)
hopefully it is more like a PR mess up, rather than a new social network service which will be censoring celeb tweets. I hope that's what happened, because what will we do without the full wisdom of 50cent http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/the-wisdom-of-50-centTo show off its new Ping service Apple showed what the latest tweets from LadyGaga to... more