Archive for March 2003

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[eccr] Fwd: The Weekly Spin, Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Wed Mar 12 10:37:52 GMT 2003

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, March 12, 2003
>sponsored by PR WATCH (
>The Weekly Spin features selected news summaries with links to
>further information about current public relations campaigns.
>It is emailed free each Wednesday to subscribers.
>Who do you know who might want to receive Spin of the Week?
>Help us grow our subscriber list!  Just forward this message to
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>1. Disinfomania!
>2. Bill Kristol Is Going To Get His War
>3. US-Funded Radio Sawa Big Hit In Middle East
>4. No More French Fries for Congress
>5. Secretive U.S. "Information" Office Back
>6. Pentagon Ready For Primetime
>7. Smart-mobbing the War
>8. Bayer's Headache
>9. News Conference "Scripted," Reporters Silenced
>10. New Warnings from FBI Whistleblower
>11. American Media Dodging U.N. Surveillance Story
>12. Canadian Military Brass Get PR Lessons
>13. The Green Side Of The Pentagon
>14. Airlines Go From Friendly Skies to A Flying Police State
>15. Korea Web Paper Strikes a Blow for Media Democracy
>16. Have A Coke And See Your Dentist
>17. Man Arrested for Wearing Peace T-shirt
>18. A Question of Coverage
>19. Luntz Memo Helps To Greenwash Republicans
>20. Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed
>   Yesterday the PR Watch staff launched a new website - an "open
>   source" encyclopedia of propaganda that we have dubbed the
>   "Disinfopedia." The Disinfopedia lets people like you contribute
>   your knowledge about PR front groups and propaganda to a growing,
>   ever-improving database that will serve as a resource for citizens
>   and journalists. Users have already added 19 new articles to the
>   Disinfopedia. We have also received a number of questions that we
>   have tried to answer in the Disinfopedia's FAQ section, including:
>        * What if someone tries to insert false information into the
>   Disinfopedia itself?
>        * How do I edit a page?
>        * Who came up with that cool Disinfopedia logo?  The
>   Disinfopedia is a self-conscious experiment in alternative forms of
>   information-gathering and publication. We hope you like what you
>   see, and that you'll become one of our regular contributors!
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Five years ago ... The Weekly Standard made the broad, seemingly
>   preposterous assertion that America was entitled and even compelled
>   to engineer regime change in Iraq. But under the current
>   administration, driven by 9/11, that contention has become
>   conventional wisdom. ... 'I am impressed by their success,' said
>   Senator John McCain, whom The Weekly Standard supported for the
>   presidency. ... In June 1997 [founding editor William Kristol]
>   formed the Project for a New American Century, which issued papers
>   supporting essentially unilateralist efforts to police the world.
>   ... Signers at the time included many people who are now in a
>   position of power, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense
>   Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, along with ... Deputy Defense
>   Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle ... . ... The Weekly
>   Standard's willingness to domesticate and Americanize the globe, at
>   gunpoint when necessary, gives a shiver of delight to most
>   conservatives... . ... The man who runs News Corporation [which
>   owns The Weekly Standard], Rupert Murdoch, has seen his Fox News
>   morph from a running joke to a runaway success, and he is ...
>   pleased to match its mass with the class - and growing cachet - of
>   The Weekly Standard."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 11, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Within six months of going on the air Radio Sawa -- Sawa is the
>   Arabic word for "coming together" -- has more listeners than BBC
>   and local stations in Jordan according to the Broadcasting Board of
>   Governors (BBG), the U.S. government agency that oversees Radio
>   Sawa and the Voice of America. The station broadcasts 24
>   hours-a-day from seven transmitters throughout the Middle East and
>   features a mix of Arabic and Western pop music with news headlines
>   every half-hour. According to the Free Press, BBG Chairman Kenneth
>   Tomlinson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week
>   that Radio Sawa "may be the star of our efforts in the war on
>   terrorism." He added that: "In an age when Arab boycotts of
>   American products are widespread, a U.S. government-run radio
>   station almost overnight has become the most popular voice of its
>   kind in major portions of the Middle East, including Baghdad." But
>   "the BBG rejects charges that Radio Sawa is a propaganda tool," the
>   Free Press writes.
>SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, March 11, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   News outlets are gleefully reporting the renaming of French Fries
>   in Congressional cafeterias, now to be called "Freedom Fries."
>   (Parents are no doubt telling their kids, "Behave and get those
>   Freedom Fries out of your nose or we're leaving right now!") The TV
>   media are running with this story as part of the cheerleading
>   buildup for a US attack on Iraq. No word yet whether European
>   governments will retaliate by renaming All-American Hot Dogs as
>   "Dogs of War."
>SOURCE: CNN, March 11, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "A Cold War-era office with a shadowy name and a colorful history
>   of exposing Soviet deceptions is back in business, this time
>   watching Iraq," reports Connie Cass. "The
>   Counter-Disinformation/Misinformation Team's moniker is more
>   impressive than its budget. It's a crew of two toiling in anonymity
>   at the State Department, writing reports they are prohibited by law
>   from disseminating to the U.S. public. The operation has challenged
>   some fantastic claims over the years -- a U.S. military lab
>   invented AIDS, rich Americans kidnapped foreign babies for their
>   organs, the CIA plotted to kill Pope John Paul II. Since the office
>   reopened in October, it's been responding to Iraqi claims about
>   America, which tend to be more plausible and sometimes remain in
>   dispute." The White House Office of Global Communication has
>   produced a report, titled "Apparatus of Lies: Saddam's
>   Disinformation and Propaganda."
>SOURCE: Associated Press, March 10, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   U.S. Military public affairs officers at Central Command in Qatar
>   are putting the finishing touches on their media center. USA Today
>   reports that a $250,000 briefing stage has been shipped in from
>   Chicago at a cost of $47,000. "Painted battleship-gray and backed
>   by a 38-foot repeating world map, the set has five plasma screens,
>   two rear screen projectors, two podiums and five digital clocks,
>   including one giving Baghdad time. Behind the set is a
>   state-of-the-art control room that requires at least three service
>   members to operate," USA Today writes. "It's much cheaper than one
>   bomb, and it can do a lot more. It is the face of the military,"
>   George Allison, who designed the Defense Department set, told USA
>   Today. The Pentagon is expecting 1000 journalists at its daily
>   briefings in Qatar. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that
>   "images of that war are likely to follow not long afterward at the
>   local multiplex - all shot in the latest high-definition digital
>   video. ... From the military point of view,  the project 'is
>   intended to maintain a strong connection with the American public
>   ...' "
>SOURCE: USA Today, March 9, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Largely unnoticed by the press, "hacktivists" like Eli Pariser have
>   used the Internet to create what George Packer calls "an
>   instantaneous movement. ... During the past three months it has
>   gathered the numbers that took three years to build during Vietnam.
>   It may be the fastest-growing protest movement in American history.
>   ... Internet democracy allows citizens to find one another
>   directly, without phone trees or meetings of chapter organizations,
>   and it amplifies their voices in the electronic storms or 'smart
>   mobs' (masses summoned electronically) that it seems able to
>   generate in a few hours. With cellphones and instant messaging, the
>   time frame of protest might soon be the nanosecond."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 9, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   A $100 million lawsuit against Bayer Corp. has yielded e-mails and
>   internal documents that suggest the drug company let marketing and
>   PR concerns trump safety, disregarding disturbing research on the
>   cholesterol drug Baycol before it was pulled off the market because
>   of dozens of deaths. "There have been some deaths related to
>   Baycol. ... So much for keeping this quiet," said one E-mail.
>   Another message wondered, "How will marketing spin this?" Other
>   documents show that Bayer executives worried about studying
>   possible side effects of the drug because any results would have to
>   be reported to the FDA.
>SOURCE: Associated Press, March 7, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter and author of
>   a regular feature "Ari & I: White House
>   Briefings," was at George W. Bush's first primetime news conference
>   in over a year and a half. He says, "Last night's [press
>   conference] might have been the most controlled Presidential news
>   conference in recent memory. Even the President admitted during the
>   press conference that 'this is a scripted' press conference. The
>   President had a list of 17 reporters who he was going to call on.
>   He didn't take any questions from reporters raising their hands.
>   And he refused to call on Helen Thomas, the dean of the White House
>   press corps, who traditionally asks the first question." According
>   to White House communications director Dan Bartlett, the Bush
>   administration rarely uses news conferences, because "if you have a
>   message you're trying to deliver, a news conference can go in a
>   different direction." However, "In this case, we know what the
>   questions are going to be, and those are the ones we want to
>   answer."
>SOURCE: Institute for Public Accuracy, March 7, 2003; Democracy Now! March 
>7, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Minneapolis FBI agent Colleen Rowley, who last year exposed the
>   agency's mishandling of warning signs prior to September 11, has
>   written a new letter to FBI director Robert Mueller, warning that
>   "the diversion of attention from al-Qaeda to our government's plan
>   to invade Iraq ... will, in all likelihood, bring an exponential
>   increase in the terrorist threat to the U.S., both at home and
>   abroad. ... It is altogether likely that you will find yourself a
>   helpless bystander to a rash of 9-11s. The bottom line is this: We
>   should be deluding neither ourselves nor the American people that
>   there is any way the FBI ... will be able to stem the flood of
>   terrorism that will likely head our way in the wake of an attack on
>   Iraq." Rowley also alludes to "immense pressures you face as you
>   try to keep the FBI intact and functioning amid persistent calls
>   for drastic restructuring. You have made it clear that the FBI is
>   perilously close to being divided up and is depending almost solely
>   upon the good graces of Attorney General Ashcroft and President
>   Bush for its continued existence." She hints broadly that recent
>   FBI statements about al-Qaeda and its alleged link to Iraq are
>   "largely the product of a desire to gain favor with the
>   administration," and states that government detentions of more than
>   1,000 illegal alients following 9/11 were done "for what seem to be
>   essentially PR purposes."
>SOURCE: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, March 6, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The London Observer on March 2 reported a leaked U.S. National
>   Security Agency memorandum written by a top official calling for
>   "aggressive surveillance" of UN Security Council delegations. The
>   story received much media attention worldwide, but the US media has
>   shown little interest in the story. Media Beat columnist Normon
>   Solomon writes, "Several days after the 'embarrassing disclosure,'
>   not a word about it had appeared in America's supposed paper of
>   record. The New York Times -- the single most influential media
>   outlet in the United States -- still had not printed anything about
>   the story. How could that be? 'Well, it's not that we haven't been
>   interested,' New York Times deputy foreign editor Alison Smale said
>   on the evening of March 5, nearly 96 hours after the Observer broke
>   the story. 'We could get no confirmation or comment' on the memo
>   from U.S. officials."
>SOURCE: Media Best, March 6, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Canada's military has launched a major effort to help senior
>   officers express empathy during tragedies, avoid nervousness, craft
>   sound bites, avoid gaffes and 'deflect' questions," CanWest News
>   Service's Peter O'Neil reports. A critic of the effort says that
>   the federal government should focus on policy and performance
>   rather than spin, suggesting that the military believes "that we're
>   going to be the author of a lot of bad news over the next while, or
>   associated with a lot of bad news and, therefore, we better figure
>   out how to spin it."
>SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen, March 6, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   In an effort to "preserve Iraq's oil for the Iraqi people," the
>   Pentagon plans to prevent the destruction of Iraq's oil fields by
>   "securing" them as quickly as possible. "In light of past acts of
>   eco-terrorism by the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Department of
>   Defense has developed plans to extinguish oil well fires and to
>   assess damage to oil facilities that might occur in Iraq in the
>   event of hostilities," a DoD release states. Reports exist,
>   however, that U.S. troops and allies were responsible for the oil
>   field fires and spills during the first Gulf War. The New
>   Internationalist reported in October 1992, "When, on 24 January
>   1991, Baghdad Radio announced that the US-led forces had bombed two
>   oil tankers in Kuwait harbour, releasing large quantities of oil,
>   the US military was quick to dismiss these claims as entirely
>   false. Two days later they announced that Iraqi forces had opened
>   the valves on several pipelines, allowing oil to spill directly
>   into the Gulf. Cries of outrage and accusations of 'environmental
>   terrorism' filled the press. Pictures of oil-soaked, panic-stricken
>   cormorants splashed across the front page of every newspaper.
>   Several days afterwards - in a minor briefing note - the US
>   admitted that the slick caused by the Iraqis had not yet hit land.
>   The dying birds were in fact being killed by the slick from earlier
>   attacks on installations - including the US bombing of the
>   tankers."
>SOURCE: Department of Defense, March 6, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The travel industry and civil liberties groups are sharply
>   objecting to government plans for a new airline passenger screening
>   program .... . The proposed program ... would involve electronic
>   checking of the credit records and criminal histories, along with
>   checking whether the passenger is on watch lists of suspected
>   terrorists. The screening would be done by the federal
>   Transportation Security Administration. ... Based on the results,
>   each traveler would be assigned a risk level. Those deemed to pose
>   a danger would be barred from flights. The critics worry how the
>   information about other passengers - whose risk rating will appear
>   in encrypted form on boarding passes - will be used and protected
>   from abuse. ... The program has so angered some passengers that a
>   movement is brewing on the Internet for a boycott of Delta if it
>   carries out the test of the system, known as CAPPS II, for Computer
>   Assisted Passenger Prescreening System."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 6, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "For years, people will be debating what made [South Korea] go from
>   conservative to liberal, from gerontocracy to youth culture and
>   from staunchly pro-American to a deeply ambivalent ally - all
>   seemingly overnight. ... But for many observers, the most important
>   agent of change has been the Internet. ... In the last year, as the
>   elections were approaching, more and more people were getting their
>   information and political analysis from spunky news services on the
>   Internet instead of from the country's overwhelmingly conservative
>   newspapers. Most influential by far has been a feisty
>   three-year-old startup with the unusual name of OhmyNews. ... 'The
>   professional news culture has eroded our journalism,' [founder Oh
>   Yeon Ho] said, 'and I have always wanted to revitalize it. Since I
>   had no money, I decided to use the Internet, which has made this
>   guerrilla strategy possible. ... Pat Robertson and I are very
>   different in temperament and ideology, but we are very similar in
>   strategy,' said Mr. Oh ... . 'They are very right-wing and wanted
>   to overthrow what they saw as a liberal media establishment. I
>   wanted to overthrow a right-wing media establishment, and I learned
>   a lot from them.' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 6, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's has a new partnership
>   with soft-drink giant Coca-Cola. The $1-million deal involves a
>   research grant to the academy to "support important clinical, basic
>   and behavioral research" and "create public and professional
>   educational programs, based on science, that promote improved
>   dental health for children." The AAPD told Reuters that Coca-Cola
>   "will have no say-so" into the specifics of that research. The
>   non-profit group Center for Science in the Public Interest,
>   however, has criticized AAPD's partnership with the world's largest
>   soft drink manufacture. "Regardless of what the money is used for,"
>   CSPI writes, "the grant will make the AAPD a captive of Coca-Cola,
>   making it extremely unlikely that the AAPD will take positions
>   antagonistic to the company, like opposing soft-drink machines in
>   schools, or supporting labeling of the added-sugar content of
>   foods."
>SOURCE: CorpWatch, March 6, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   A man was arrested and charged with trespassing in a mall in
>   Albany, New York after he refused to take off a T-shirt that said
>   "Peace on Earth" and "Give peace a chance."
>SOURCE: Newsday, March 5, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   More than two dozen journalism school deans and professors,
>   independent editors, journalists and authors have sent an open
>   letter to major media editors, criticizing media coverage of Iraq
>   and warning that "this is no time for relying solely on official
>   sources and their supporters." Signers of the letter include:
>   retired New York Times columnist Tom Wicker; former New York Times
>   reporter William Serrin; Ben Bagdikian, former dean of the Graduate
>   School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley;
>   author Studs Terkel; independent journalist and filmmaker Barbara
>   Koeppell; and author Ralph Nader.
>SOURCE:, March 3, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Over the last six months, the Republican Party has subtly
>   refocused its message on the environment, an issue that a party
>   strategist [Frank Luntz] called 'the single biggest vulnerability
>   for the Republicans and especially for George Bush' in a memorandum
>   encouraging the new approach. The Republicans, as the memorandum
>   advised them, have softened their language to appeal to suburban
>   voters, speaking out for protecting national parks and forests,
>   advocating investment in environment technologies and shifting
>   emphasis to the future rather than the present. ... National
>   environmental groups say the shift has blunted the edge of
>   Republican attacks. 'They are not playing defense anymore,' said
>   Kim Haddow, a consultant for the Sierra Club who has helped counter
>   some Republican advertisements. 'It's like a tennis game. The ball
>   is back in our court, and we need to spend time and energy
>   educating voters.' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 2, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of
>   the Iraq crisis," FAIR writes. "In a revelation that 'raises
>   questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction]
>   stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist,' the magazine's issue
>   dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected
>   from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had
>   destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons
>   and banned missiles, as Iraq claims." The CIA denied the Newsweek
>   story. FAIR reports a copy of the complete transcript of Gen.
>   Hussein Kamel's debriefing by International Atomic Energy Agency
>   (IAEA) and the U.N. inspections team known as UNSCOM was obtained
>   by Glen Rangwala, "the Cambridge University analyst who in early
>   February revealed that Tony Blair's 'intelligence dossier' was
>   plagiarized from a student thesis."
>SOURCE: Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, February 27, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
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Carpentier Nico (Phd)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Free University Brussels
Studies on Media, Information & Telecommunication (SMIT)
Centre for Media Sociology (CeMeSO)
Office: C0.05
Pleinlaan 2 - B-1050 Brussels - Belgium
T: ++ 32 (0)2-629.18.30
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E-mail: (Nico.Carpentier /at/

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