Archive for March 2003

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[eccr] Fwd: The Weekly Spin, Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Wed Mar 19 08:28:31 GMT 2003

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, March 19, 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
>people you know, encouraging them to sign up at this link:
>1. Big Tobacco Claims 1st Amendment Right to Lie, Deceive and Kill
>2. Credibility Bomb
>3. Disinfopedia Up!
>4. The Global Boycott of 'Brand America'
>5. Who Twists the Helix
>6. Bush League Diplomacy: The Empire Strikes Out
>7. A New Definition of "Innocent"
>8. "Fighting Bob" Joins the Fray
>9. Head Games with Media's Help
>10. TV Networks Continue to Ban Ads for Peace
>11. Reporters Warned to Leave Baghdad
>12. Desperate McDonald's Partners with Paul Newman
>13. It's Not a "Market Crash," It's a "Terrific Time to Buy"
>   "The Justice Department is demanding that the nation's biggest
>   cigarette makers be ordered to forfeit $289 billion in profits
>   derived from a half-century of fraudulent' and dangerous marketing
>   practices. Citing new evidence, the Justice Department asserts ...
>   the major cigarette companies are running what amounts to a
>   criminal enterprise by manipulating nicotine levels, lying to their
>   customers about the dangers of tobacco and directing their
>   multibillion-dollar advertising campaigns at children. ... The
>   tobacco industry said the charges were without merit, asserting in
>   new filings of its own that its public pronouncements about
>   cigarettes were free speech protected by the First Amendment. ...
>   [Attorney General] Ashcroft, who opposed the lawsuit when he was in
>   the Senate, has demonstrated occasional resistance to it since
>   becoming attorney general in 2001. ... But with the Justice
>   Department's senior officials preoccupied with terrorism for the
>   last 18 months, Mr. Ashcroft let it go forward ... ."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 18, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The 'powerful odor of mendacity' (to borrow Tennessee Williams'
>   phrase) hung over George Bush's primetime virtual declaration of
>   war Monday night," commentator Doug Ireland writes.
>   "When Bush proclaimed that 'The Iraq regime continues to possess
>   and conceal some of the most  lethal weapons ever devised,' that
>   was a lie. ... Bush asserted that Iraq 'has aided, trained, and
>   harbored terrorists, including operatives of Al Qaeda.' The last
>   part of that was a lie. ... By asserting the United States' right
>   to invade whomever it likes whenever it likes, Bush's speech
>   brought the world to the most dangerous moment in its history since
>   the Cuban missile crisis of 1962."
>SOURCE:, March 18, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   After a temporary outage beginning early this morning, our new
>   "Disinfopedia" web site is back up and running. We apologize for
>   any inconvenience. (An unexpectedly large volume of visitors caused
>   the site to crash. Hopefully we've fixed the problem.)
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   With the help of various PR and advertising gurus the Bush
>   administration has waged an expensive Brand America campaign to
>   change global perception of the world's only superpower. Many
>   critics have pointed out that "America's image is not a product
>   that can be pushed with hype and ads," predicting that such an
>   effort "will end up a box-office flop." Adbusters, the Canadian
>   "culture jamming" magazine, has also critiqued the branding of
>   America. With a US and British attack on Iraq looming, Adbusters
>   has launched a global boycott of Brand America, and already
>   thousands are pledging their participation. Why? "The world
>   struggles to fight global warming, and its biggest polluter thumbs
>   its nose. The world calls for an international criminal court, and
>   'the global supercop' rejects it out of hand. ... It's the new
>   global arrogance. ... And like it or not, the world gets a war. ...
>   Here's an idea: we hit the superpower with a boycott the whole
>   world can see, and that American power can really feel. ... So we
>   empty the McDonald's, the Niketowns and Hollywood cinemas. We clear
>   out Disneyland. We turn off Fox, CNN and MTV. We shut down Esso and
>   Texaco, Gap and Starbucks."
>SOURCE: Adbusters, March 17, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The "Who Twists the Helix" international conference taking place at
>   the University of Cambridge this week is one of many meetings
>   around the world marking the 50th Anniversary of the discovery of
>   DNA. The conference bills itself as "a trans-disciplinary
>   exploration of the powers that could decide our genetic futures"
>   that includes a "Genetic Futures Jury," a panel of non-specialist
>   citizens who will vote on the key issues discussed at the
>   conference. British journalist Andy Rowell will be presenting a
>   talk looking at who is spinning the pro-GM agenda in the UK, based
>   on research to be published in PR Watch's First Quarter 2003 issue.
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   As PR Watch reported last year, the Bush administration has always
>   intended to attack Iraq no matter what the results of UN
>   inspections. The US's expensive post-911 propaganda and PR campaign
>   to win foreign friends and change minds about US policy has
>   predictably failed given Bush's bullying insistence on going to
>   war. The Washington Post notes that "Six months after President
>   Bush first appeared before the United Nations and urged a
>   confrontation with Iraq, the United States appears to have lost
>   diplomatic ground, not gained it, leaving it in a precarious
>   international position as it prepares to launch a war. A resolution
>   authorizing military action has been blocked at the United Nations
>   not only by permanent members with veto power such as France and
>   Russia but also by close U.S. neighbors such as Chile and Mexico.
>   Some of the president's closest allies, British Prime Minister Tony
>   Blair foremost among them, are in desperate political straits over
>   their support of Bush's Iraq policy ... ."
>SOURCE: Washington Post, March 16, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The United States and France were the source in the 1980s for "all
>   the foreign germ samples ... used to create the biological weapons
>   that are still believed to be in Iraq's arsenal, according to
>   American officials and foreign diplomats who have reviewed Iraq's
>   latest weapons declaration to the United Nations. ... The
>   bioweapons declaration was obtained by Gary B. Pitts, a Houston
>   lawyer who is representing ailing gulf war veterans in a lawsuit
>   claiming that their illnesses were explained by exposure to
>   chemical or biological weapons that were known to be in Iraq's
>   arsenal in the war." Commenting on the disclosure, former UN
>   weapons inspector Jonathan Tucker said the 1980's "were a more
>   innocent time. ... At the time, the U.S. government was tilting
>   toward Iraq, was trying to improve relations with Iraq, and the
>   tendency was not to scrutinize these requests."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 16, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   A new website combining community activism and investigative
>   reporting is up and running here in PR Watch's home state of
>   Wisconsin. is named after reformer, peace
>   campaigner and Wisconsin Senator Bob La Follette who served in the
>   US Senate from 1906 to 1925, running for president in 1924 on the
>   Progressive Party ticket. features articles
>   relevant to environmental, peace and justice struggles in the
>   Badger state, such as the ongoing fight to expose the deceptive PR
>   greenwashing efforts of the ethanol industry trying to build plants
>   in Wisconsin communities but being thwarted by informed opposition
>   at the grass roots. is one more example of the
>   innovative ways that progressive voices, typically marginalized in
>   mainstream corporate media, are using the web to communicate and
>   organize.
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   So confident is the U.S. military about a swift victory in Iraq
>   that plans are already afoot to fly a CNN correspondent and a BBC
>   reporter to the southern Iraqi city of Basra the moment it falls.
>   "I'm not doing this so that the CNN correspondent gets another
>   £100,000 in their salary," he said. "I'm doing it because the
>   regime watches CNN. I want them to see what is happening." The plan
>   is part of a psychological warfare campaign, what the British
>   officer called "white pys-ops." "Yes, we are using them," he said.
>   "We use everything we have." Among some of the media accompanying
>   military units, there is a palpable gung-ho attitude. Many
>   reporters have decked themselves out in uniforms virtually
>   indistinguishable from those of the soldiers they will be covering,
>   some even going so far as to have their names and the word
>   "Correspondent" embroidered on their breast pockets.
>SOURCE: Newsday, March 13, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "MTV has refused to accept a commercial opposing a war in Iraq,
>   citing a policy against advocacy spots that it says protects the
>   channel from having to run ads from any cash-rich interest group
>   whose cause may be loathsome. ... 'It is irresponsible for news
>   organizations not to accept ads that are controversial on serious
>   issues, assuming they are not scurrilous or in bad taste,' said
>   Alex Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press,
>   Politics and Public Policy at Harvard. 'In the world we live in,
>   with the kind of media concentration we have, the only way that
>   unpopular beliefs can be aired sometimes is if the monopoly vehicle
>   agrees to accept an ad.' ... Broadcast operations with blanket
>   no-advocacy policies include CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting,
>   along with cable channels like CNN and MTV, a Viacom subsidiary.
>   The policy at CBS protects the integrity of its news department,
>   the public discourse and local sensibilities around the country,
>   said Martin Franks, executive vice president. ... 'On the CBS
>   television network,' he added, 'we think that informed discussion
>   comes from our news programming.' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 13, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Defense Department officials are warning reporters to clear out of
>   Baghdad, saying this war will be far more intense than the 1991
>   gulf war. "If your template is Desert Storm, you've got to imagine
>   something much, much different," said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman
>   of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Pentagon says it is warning
>   journalists in the interest of their safety, but some critics see
>   the heads-up as an attempt to control the news, with the goal of
>   minimizing politically damaging images of suffering Iraqi
>   civilians. "It's not a friendly warning," said John MacArthur,
>   publisher of Harper's Magazine and author of Second Front:
>   Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War. "They don't want
>   witnesses. The information-control game is all about keeping people
>   back home uninformed so they don't question the policy. And the
>   first thing to make you question a policy is casualties."
>SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, March 12, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>    "In an effort to burnish its tarnished image on Wall Street and
>   Main Street, McDonald's has formed a partnership with ... Paul
>   Newman. Mr. Newman ... has agreed to sell McDonald's a line of
>   salad dressing, similar to the bottled dressing made by his
>   company, Newman's Own. Under the same philanthropic principle that
>   guides Newman's Own, Mr. Newman said, all after-tax profits from
>   the deal will be given to charity. ... The partnership does give an
>   aura of wholesomeness to McDonald's and its food, said the food and
>   science writer Michael Pollan, the author of The Botany of Desire:
>   A Plant's-Eye View of the World. 'All this is about buying the
>   image of Paul Newman,' Mr. Pollan said. 'McDonald's is in the hole.
>   It is trying to freshen and go upscale. It's redoing its flavor
>   profile and making it more sophisticated and giving it an aura of
>   health-consciousness and virtue, and this is a way to connect with
>   virtue. If McDonald's did what was politically correct, humanely
>   correct and nutritionally correct and sophisticated,' Mr. Pollan
>   said, 'if they did all those things, they wouldn't be McDonald's.'
>   "
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 12, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Have you heard journalists and commentators using the term "market
>   crash?" Neither have we, and we wonder why not given the facts.
>   Reuters reports today that British "blue-chips slumped ... as
>   investors bailed out of financials and oils and fretted over the
>   outlook for firms like Canary Wharf and Reuters. Heavyweight banks,
>   insurers and pension funds -- formerly prime supporters of equities
>   -- sold each others' stocks to move deeper into the safety of cash
>   and bonds, while oil giant BP sagged after a downgrade of oil
>   companies. Traders struggled to find buyers willing to snap up
>   bargain-value stocks ... ." On February 24, USA Today noted that in
>   the past three years the S&P 500 is down more than 40%. The Nasdaq
>   composite has plunged more than 70%. Most people who bought stocks
>   five years ago are sitting on losses -- and waiting for a good
>   rally to get out. That's a trend that will continue for years to
>   come, if history is a guide." But, both Reuters and USA Today and
>   other economic reporters carefully avoid using the "C" word
>   preferring to cast the market crash as "a terrific time to buy."
>SOURCE: Reuters, March 12, 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
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E-mail: (Nico.Carpentier /at/

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