Archive for March 2003

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[eccr] Fwd: The Weekly Spin, Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Wed Mar 26 09:17:38 GMT 2003

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, March 26, 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.
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>1. The Media Giant Behind the Pro-War Rallies
>2. Kurtz Blames Media for War's 'Great Expectations'
>3. War, What Is It Good For?  TV Ratings.
>4. 'Embedded' Reporters Key To White House PR Plan
>5. On NPR, Please Follow the Script
>6. Who Lied to Whom About Iraq's Nuclear Program?
>7. Exxon Mobil Urges Oil Industry PR Offensive
>8. Media Conglomerate Funds Pro-War Rallies
>9. Shocking and Awful
>10. Anti-War Reporting Banned in UK Papers
>11. Media Allowed Bush to Mislead the Public Into War
>12. Secret Bids to Rebuild Iraq
>13. Iraqi Warblogs
>14. Homefront Confidential
>15. "Chicago" Wins Hackademy Award
>16. Media Banned from Free Speech Award
>17. Spinning the "Coalition of the Willing"
>18. Courting Al-Jazeera
>19. Making A Killing On War
>20. A Call For Independent Community Media
>21. If You Take The Cash, You Gotta Learn To Love Us
>22. Media Watchdogs Caught Napping
>23. Ozeki's New Novel Features Biotech Food Flacks
>   Paul Krugman notes that "by and large, recent pro-war rallies
>   haven't drawn nearly as many people as antiwar rallies, but they
>   have certainly been vehement. ... Who has been organizing those
>   pro-war rallies? The answer, it turns out, is that they are being
>   promoted by key players in the radio industry - with close links to
>   the Bush administration. ... Until now, complaints about Clear
>   Channel have focused on its business practices. Critics say it uses
>   its power to squeeze recording companies and artists and
>   contributes to the growing blandness of broadcast music. But now
>   the company appears to be using its clout to help one side in a
>   political dispute that deeply divides the nation."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 25, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post asks, "Why did so many people
>   think this would be a cakewalk? You'd have to say the media played
>   a key role. The pre-war buildup was so overwhelming that it seemed
>   like the war should be called off as a horrible mismatch. There
>   were hundreds of stories about America's superior weaponry, the
>   Bradleys and Apaches and Mother of All Bombs, the superbly trained
>   forces. There were so many 'shock and awe' stories that Americans
>   could be forgiven for thinking they were in for another video-game
>   conflict. There were stories about how Iraqi units would quickly
>   surrender, how Iraqi citizens would hail the advancing Americans
>   and British as liberators. Some of this was driven by the more than
>   500 embedded reporters, who naturally reflected the confidence of
>   the commanders and troops they were covering."
>SOURCE: Washington Post, March 25, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The start of the war caused business at movie theaters to drop by
>   25 percent on Wednesday as people stayed home to watch the war, and
>   snack-food sales and restaurant deliveries thrived. The opening
>   salvos of the war had taken the place of prime-time entertainment,
>   and television stations did their best to serve up gaudily produced
>   coverage: the war in Iraq as the ultimate in reality television, as
>   the apotheosis of every favorite Hollywood genre, from the combat
>   thriller to the coming-of-age tale to the blow-'em-up,
>   special-effects extravaganza. ... Happy-talk anchors ... giddily
>   tossed around terms like "MOAB" (Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or the
>   "mother of all bombs") and "B.D.A." (bomb damage assessment), while
>   fashionistas debated who was this war's hottest Scud Stud and
>   Studette. ABC featured ... video-game-like tours of Iraq from the
>   air. Fox ran exclamatory headlines like 'The Ultimate Sacrifice'
>   and 'Weapons Scandal.' "
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 25, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The eruption of war in Iraq last week set in motion a massive
>   global PR network, cultivated by the Bush administration during the
>   months-long buildup of forces. The network is intended not only to
>   disseminate, but also to dominate news of the conflict around the
>   world," PR Week writes. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer
>   sets "the day's message with an early-morning conference call to
>   British counterpart Alastair Campbell, White House communications
>   director Dan Bartlett, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher,
>   Pentagon spokesperson Torie Clarke, and White House Office of
>   Global Communication (OGC) director Tucker Eskew.... The OGC will
>   be key in keeping all US spokespeople on message. Each night, US
>   embassies around the world, along with all federal departments in
>   DC, will receive a 'Global Messenger' e-mail containing talking
>   points and ready-to-use quotes.... In a dramatic shift from past
>   conflicts, administration officials have made it clear they'll rely
>   on independent journalists, 'embedded' by the Pentagon with
>   military units, to act as one of their most reliable PR vehicles,"
>   PR Week writes.
>SOURCE: PR Week, March 24, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Last week I found out that National Public Radio wants the
>   opinions of antiwar activists -- as long as we follow the right
>   script," writes University of Texas journalism professor and
>   co-founder of the Nowar Collective Robert Jensen. "After the first
>   question, it was clear [NPR's Scott] Simon expected me to follow a
>   script that would go something like this: Yes, I'm against this
>   war, but I know that Saddam Hussein is such a monster that nothing
>   short of war can deal with him. Yes, I'm against this war, but now
>   that the president has made this decision we should unify as a
>   nation. Yes, I'm against this war, but -- in the end -- I realize
>   that I should acknowledge that I am a naive and foolish person who
>   can't deal the harsh realities of a harsh world. Well, I didn't
>   follow the script, and it wasn't long before it was clear in
>   Simon's voice that he wasn't pleased. ... I don't expect ever to be
>   invited back on a show hosted by Scott Simon. He might argue that
>   is because my ideas are so crazy that they don't deserve a hearing.
>   But what Simon either doesn't know -- or doesn't want to know -- is
>   that the analysis I offered that night is hardly unique to me.
>   Simon should acknowledge that millions of people around the country
>   and the world share a radical analysis of this war for oil and
>   empire. And they are growing increasingly weary of the
>   condescension of liberals."
>SOURCE:, March 24, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh asks, "Why did the
>   Administration endorse a forgery about Iraq's nuclear program?" How
>   did the misinformation end up in the President's State of the Union
>   address, and who has been fooling whom to make sure the US attacked
>   Iraq?
>SOURCE: The New Yorker, March 24, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   " Exxon Mobil ... issued a call to arms on Monday, asking other
>   energy firms to work harder to help it combat Big Oil's dirty
>   reputation. The oil giant's vice president of public affairs,
>   Kenneth Cohen, told attendees at the annual National Petrochemical
>   and Refiners Association conference in San Antonio that ... 'In
>   truth our industry has not done nearly enough to communicate the
>   essential role we play and how we go about providing energy and
>   products that contribute to economic growth ... and help improve
>   the lives of millions of people around the world,' he said. ...
>   More recently, the industry has suffered through accusations from
>   anti-war activists that the U.S.-led attack on Iraq was motivated
>   by a desire to control oil wealth..."
>SOURCE: Reuters, March 24, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "These demonstrators wore shorts and ball caps, pushed strollers
>   and carried American flags, but what most set them apart was the
>   support they displayed ... for the American-led war in Iraq. ... It
>   was meant as ... an angry protest against the antiwar sentiment
>   that has been more visible elsewhere, particularly in large cities.
>   'Don't let these peace protesters confuse you,' Glenn Beck, a
>   conservative radio host from Philadelphia, told the crowd estimated
>   at 10,000 here today. ... Over the last few weeks, Mr. Beck, whose
>   three-hour program is heard five days a week on more than 100
>   stations, has helped promote many similar demonstrations under the
>   banner of Rally for America. Some have been financed by radio
>   stations owned by his employer, Clear Channel Communications, the
>   nation's largest owner of radio stations, in an arrangement that
>   has been criticized by those who contend that media companies
>   should not engage in political advocacy."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 24, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Pundits have depicted the U.S. military strategy of "shock and awe"
>   in largely sanitary terms, suggesting that the high accuracy of
>   laser-guided "smart bombs" will make it possible to decapitate the
>   Iraqi command and control structure while leaving the country's
>   infrastructure intact and limiting civilian casualties. Like other
>   examples of doublespeak, however, this term obscures the human cost
>   of war even as it contemplates the massive use of deadly force. As
>   we document in the PR Watch "Disinfopedia," the strategy of "shock
>   and awe" is based explictly on past military strategies such as the
>   Nazi blitzkriegs and the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and
>   Nagasaki.
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Sir Ray Tindle, the editor in chief of over 100 weekly newspapers
>   across Britain has informed all his editors that they can no longer
>   report any anti-war stories in their newspapers," reports Andy
>   Rowell. Jeremy Dear of the UK's National Union of Journalists,
>   condemned the move: " So much for the right to know, free speech
>   and all those other rights which our forefathers fought to
>   establish and which Sir Ray Tindle seeks to demolish at the stroke
>   of a pen," Dear stated.
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Critics of the war ... blame the news media, asserting that they
>   failed to challenge the administration aggressively enough as it
>   made a shaky case for war. In an interview, Eric Alterman ...
>   argued, 'Support for this war is in part a reflection that the
>   media has allowed the Bush administration to get away with
>   misleading the American people.' ... The strongest indictment of
>   the press, many of these critics argue, are recent polls that
>   suggest many Americans see Iraq as being responsible for the Sept.
>   11 attacks. The Bush administration's assertion of a connection
>   between Iraq and Al Qaeda was an important part of its case for
>   military action against Saddam Hussein, but that link was a matter
>   of some dispute. Still ... nearly half of Americans said they
>   believed that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept.
>   11 attacks" and "half said they believed at least some of the 19
>   hijackers on Sept. 11 were Iraqis. None were."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 22, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Weeks before the first bombs dropped in Iraq, the Bush
>   administration began rebuilding plans," reports ABC News, which has
>   obtained a copy of a 99-page contract worth $600 million from the
>   U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) - the most money
>   the agency has ever spent in a single country in a single year.
>   Among the companies believed to be bidding are Bechtel, Fluor,
>   Parsons, the Washington Group and Halliburton, Vice President Dick
>   Cheney's old firm," ABC reports. "All are experienced. But in
>   addition, all are generous political donors - principally to
>   Republicans."
>SOURCE: ABC News, March 22, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Independent weblogs are "changing not only the way the new war will
>   be waged, but also the way citizens can get information about the
>   conflict," reports Dan Fost. Christopher Albritton, an independent
>   journalist who used to work for AP and the New York Daily News, is
>   offering independent reporting on the war on his weblog, including
>   a well-written recent essay titled "War - What's This One Good
>   For?" Another journalist, CNN correspondent Kevin Sites, posted
>   chatty accounts from Iraq on his personal "warblog" until March 21,
>   when CNN asked him to suspend writing. However, archives of his
>   earlier writings are still available. And while foreign
>   correspondents have mostly fled Baghdad, someone who lives there is
>   posting vivid accounts of life in that city before and during the
>   outbreak of war."
>SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press has issued an
>   updated report showing "how the war on terrorism affects access to
>   information and the public's right to know." The report includes
>   sections on "covering the war," "military tribunals," "domestic
>   coverage," and "the USA PATRIOT Act." The World Press Institute has
>   just issued a similar report. "The situation for journalists has
>   become even more dangerous," states its 2002 World Press Freedom
>   Review.
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The movie musical "Chicago" may be in line for the Best Picture
>   award at this year's Oscars, but it gets a "Thumbs Down" Hackademy
>   Award from the American Lung Association (ALA) for its numerous
>   scenes involving cigarette or cigar smoking. Two of the main stars
>   of the movie smoke regularly throughout the film. Catherine
>   Zeta-Jones smokes even while dancing, even though very few women
>   actually smoked during the period when the movie was set.
>   "Thousands of girls are going to start smoking because of that
>   movie," said physician and anti-tobacco activist Stanton Glantz
>   citing the "That's going to go down as one of the classic
>   pro-smoking movies in history. If they had eliminated every single
>   bit of tobacco from that film it could have been just as good."
>   Glantz believes that tobacco company "product placement" - where
>   corporations pay producers to include their products in films - has
>   helped fuel a cinematic tendency to depict smoking as glamorous.
>SOURCE: Reuters, March 20, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia banned broadcast media from
>   his speech on March 19 at an appearance where he received an award
>   for supporting free speech. "That was one of the criteria that he
>   had for acceptance," said James Foster, executive director of
>   Cleveland's City Club, which gave Scalia its "Citadel of Free
>   Speech Award."
>SOURCE: Associated Press, March 20, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The Bush administration has frequently compared the level and
>   scope of international support for its military operations in Iraq
>   to the coalition that fought the first Persian Gulf War," reports
>   Glenn Kessler. "But the statements are exaggerations, according to
>   independent experts and a review of figures from both conflicts."
>   The so-called "coalition of the willing is almost entirely a
>   U.S.-British campaign, with virtually no military contribution from
>   other countries except Australia. "It's a baldfaced lie to suggest
>   that" the coalition for this war is greater than that for the 1991
>   war, said Ivo H. Daalder, a former Clinton administration official
>   who supports the war against Iraq. "Even our great allies Spain,
>   Italy and Bulgaria are not providing troops."
>SOURCE: Washington Post, March 20, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Bush administration officials once referred to Al Jazeera, the
>   Arab satellite network based here, as 'All Osama All the Time' for
>   its regular showings of Al Qaeda video tapes and frequent
>   appearances by anti-American commentators," write Jane Perlez and
>   Jim Rutenberg. Last week, however, several U.S. officials accepted
>   an invitation to a barbecue in at the home of Al-Jazeera's news
>   director. "The party was one sign of how aggressively the Bush
>   administration has embraced Al Jazeera as Washington fights the
>   propaganda front of the Iraqi conflict. With all but one of the
>   major American television networks now out of Baghdad - only CNN
>   remains - Al Jazeera is likely to become a major source for Baghdad
>   coverage."
>SOURCE: New York Times, March 20, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "As the first bombs rain down on Baghdad, CorpWatch has learned
>   that thousands of employees of Halliburton, Vice President Dick
>   Cheney's former company, are working alongside United States troops
>   in Kuwait and Turkey under a package deal worth close to a billion
>   dollars. According to US Army sources, they are building tent
>   cities and providing logistical support for the war in Iraq in
>   addition to other hot spots in the 'war on terrorism,'" CorpWatch
>   writes. "While recent news coverage has speculated on the post-war
>   reconstruction gravy train that corporations like Halliburton stand
>   to gain from, this latest information indicates that Halliburton is
>   already profiting from war time contracts worth hundreds of
>   millions of dollars."
>SOURCE: CorpWatch, March 20, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The new US war on Iraq has begun: arguably the greatest moral
>   tragedy of a generation, an unprecedented failure of diplomacy and
>   international order, and a profound crime against the principles of
>   democracy," the Independent Media Center wrote in a statement
>   calling on citizens to seek out news from and create news stories
>   for their nearest IMC. "The Bush administration pushed relentlessly
>   towards this war with a long series of incredible lies about
>   virtually every aspect of the current conflict--US intentions,
>   international law, weapons inspections, Iraq's likely military
>   status and the amount of international support for Bush
>   administration aims. Applauded by American corporate interests and
>   cheered on by media institutions, the Bush administration's
>   unilateral drive to war has been actively opposed by most of the
>   world's people, governments and international institutions. Nobody
>   on Earth will wake up safer tomorrow than they did today."
>SOURCE:, March 20, 2003
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Katie Leahy, citing
>   Nike and McDonalds as examples, said that companies could be
>   forgiven for wondering why they should make philanthropic
>   contributions if they only became the subject of increased
>   community criticism. "There is a concern among businesses that they
>   don't necessarily receive the acknowledgment they think their
>   efforts should bring them. ... I think some businesses got into
>   philanthropy to improve their reputation and yet there is enough
>   evidence around now to say that the reputation of big business is
>   going backwards," she told a conference organised by Philanthropy
>   Australia.
>SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald, March 18, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   In the run up to war in Iraq, foreign news websites are seeing
>   large volumes of traffic from America, as U.S. citizens
>   increasingly seek news coverage about the coming war. "Given how
>   timid most U.S. news organizations have been in challenging the
>   White House position on Iraq, I'm not surprised if Americans are
>   turning to foreign news services for a perspective on the conflict
>   that goes beyond freedom fries," said Deborah Branscom, a Newsweek
>   contributing editor, who keeps a weblog devoted to media issues.
>SOURCE:, March 17, 2003
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   Ruth Ozeki's second novel, All Over Creation, is praised today in
>   separate reviews in both the San Francisco Chronicle and the New
>   York Times. Her first novel, My Year of Meats, skewered the beef
>   industry's PR efforts to promote its product in Japan and examined
>   the health hazards of growth hormones. This time Ozeki again looks
>   at food and PR, specifically the the genetic engineering of
>   potatoes. The lengthy, entertaining and educational novel features
>   a number of frightening flacks working for a company much like
>   Monsanto.
>SOURCE: SF Chronicle, March 16, 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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