Archive for August 2004

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[eccr] The Weekly Spin, Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Wed Aug 18 07:48:29 GMT 2004

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, August 18, 2004
>sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy (
>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?
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>1. Ad and PR Campaigns of Arabia
>2. White House Regulatory Actions Overlooked
>3. Big Box Buys Buddies
>4. A Herculean Effort to Get Your Gold
>5. Pre-Emptive "Traitor" Baiters
>6. Spinning Spies for Fun and Electoral Profit
>7. Red News or Blue News?
>8. PBS Adds Insult to Injury
>9. Hacking Young Minds
>10. Another Media Mea Culpa
>11. Poison Ivy On Display
>12. The Presidential Race Card
>   "For too long, rumors have been accepted as truth," says one of two
>   new U.S. radio ads launched by Saudi Arabia, to highlight 9/11
>   Commission findings favorable to the country. "The ads don't
>   address commission criticism of Saudi Arabia, which the report
>   called 'a problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism,'" writes
>   Associated Press. Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Kerry campaign have
>   increased scrutiny of Saudi-Bush ties. Through PR firm Qorvis
>   Communications, Saudi Arabia is disputing charges by Daniel Pipes
>   that the Kingdom pays Middle East academic experts to speak on its
>   behalf. But Qorvis is doing "ongoing education to communities
>   around the country regarding the importance and value of strong
>   U.S.-Saudi relations," including offering pro-Saudi speakers to
>   universities.
>SOURCE: Associated Press, August 17, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The Data Quality Act -- written by an industry lobbyist and
>   slipped into a giant appropriations bill in 2000 without
>   congressional discussion or debate -- is just two sentences
>   directing the [White House Office of Management and Budget] to
>   ensure that all information disseminated by the federal government
>   is reliable. But the Bush administration's interpretation of those
>   two sentences could tip the balance in regulatory disputes that
>   weigh the interests of consumers and businesses," the Washington
>   Post reports in a 3-part series on the direction of regulatory
>   action under George W. Bush. "Environmental and consumer groups say
>   the Data Quality Act fits into a larger Bush administration agenda.
>   In the past six months, more than 4,000 scientists, including
>   dozens of Nobel laureates and 11 winners of the National Medal of
>   Science, have signed statements accusing the administration of
>   politicizing science," the Post writes. The New York Times also
>   recently looked at the regulatory issue, writing, "Allies and
>   critics of the Bush administration agree that the Sept. 11 attacks,
>   the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq have preoccupied the
>   public, overshadowing an important element of the president's
>   agenda: new regulatory initiatives."
>SOURCE: Washington Post, August 16, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Stung by criticism of its labor practices, expansion plans and
>   other business tactics," Wal-Mart "has become a sponsor on National
>   Public Radio," underwritten the "Tavis Smiley" talk show, and
>   "plans to award $500,000 in scholarships to minority students at
>   journalism programs around the country." A Wal-Mart spokeswoman
>   said there's "no hidden agenda," but "we've really been in the
>   spotlight and I think that's made us especially sensitive to the
>   need for balanced coverage." NPR's ombudsman wrote, "Wal-Mart
>   symbolizes values that some listeners believe to be antithetical to
>   the values of public radio." Mounting opposition has rejected or
>   stalled new Wal-Mart stores in California, Illinois and Louisiana.
>SOURCE: New York Times, August 16, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "An event once notable for celebrating the spirit of amateurism has
>   achieved an almost unimaginable level of crass commercialism,"
>   writes PR commentator Paul Holmes. The Olympics' organizers "are
>   clamping down on anything that might allow TV audiences a glimpse
>   of a non-sponsor's logo. People carrying bottles of Pepsi (or any
>   bottled water not made by Coca-Cola) will have them confiscated ...
>   people with a Nike logo on their T-shirts will be asked to turn the
>   shirts inside out. Stewards ... have been warned about wearing
>   footwear that isn't made by official sponsor Adidas." Holmes
>   concludes, "I'd rather see the Olympic organizers worry about
>   concerns that official merchandise is being made in sweatshops."
>SOURCE: PR Week (reg. req'd), August 16, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "Federal agents and city police are keeping tabs on people they say
>   might try to cause trouble at the Republican National Convention,
>   questioning activists, making unannounced visits and monitoring Web
>   sites and meetings. ... The intelligence unit of the New York
>   Police Department ... also has sought to infiltrate protest
>   groups." An ACLU lawyer for three Missouri men subpoenaed by the
>   FBI told the New York Times, "What's so disturbing about this is
>   the pre-emptive nature - stopping them from participating in a
>   protest before anything even happened." Her clients "got the
>   message loud and clear that if you make plans to go to a protest,
>   you could be subject to arrest or a visit from the FBI."
>SOURCE: Associated Press, August 16, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   PR Week's Douglas Quenqua applauds "how effortlessly George Bush
>   changed the conversation last week. Political debate ... had
>   centered on the 9/11 Commission's recommendations." This was
>   problematic, since "John Kerry unhesitatingly endorsed
>   implementation of every recommendation - and quickly passed Bush's
>   poll numbers on matters of national security." But Bush's
>   nomination of Rep. Porter Goss for CIA director shifted attention
>   to "Goss and what the Democrats were going to do to stop the
>   nomination - something Bush had counted on." Newsweek reports that
>   Goss' recently introduced "intelligence reform" bill "would enable
>   the president to issue secret findings allowing the CIA to conduct
>   covert operations inside the United States - without even any
>   notification to Congress."
>SOURCE: PR Week (reg. req'd), August 16, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The ascendancy of 'news' with an attitude - a spin, a bias - is
>   undeniable," reports Newsweek, which cites Fox News Channel, Air
>   America Radio, Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Drudge Report as examples.
>   The director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the
>   Press is worried: "If news choices are increasingly driven by
>   partisanship, either because they're biased or because they're
>   perceived to be biased, then I think the risk is that people will
>   turn inward. They're going to be exposed to fewer things that may
>   challenge their points of view. And it would make sense that this
>   is not an especially good thing for a democracy."
>SOURCE: Newsday, August 15, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "The far right's decades-long campaign to falsely brand PBS a
>   leftist conspiracy - one that apparently included giving shows to
>   such commies as William F. Buckley, Louis Rukeyser, Ben Wattenberg
>   and Fortune magazine - has really hit pay dirt this year, first in
>   creating a show around CNN's conservative talking head Tucker
>   Carlson, and now, far more egregiously, in creating a program for
>   the extremist editorial board of the Wall Street Journal," the
>   Nation's Eric Alterman writes. "In a lengthy examination in the
>   Columbia Journalism Review, Trudy Lieberman found six dozen
>   examples of disputed Journal editorials and op-eds. She discovered
>   that 'on subjects ranging from lawyers, judges, and product
>   liability suits to campus and social issues, a strong America, and
>   of course, economics, we found a consistent pattern of incorrect
>   facts, ignored or incomplete facts, missing facts, uncorroborated
>   facts.' In many of these cases, the editors refused to print a
>   correction, preferring to allow the aggrieved party to write a
>   letter to the editor, which would be printed much later, and then
>   let the reader decide whose version appeared more credible. Almost
>   never does the paper correct the record or admit its errors."
>SOURCE: Common Dreams, August 13, 2004
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The Business Software Alliance's "copyright-crusading cartoon
>   ferret" appears in "marketing campaigns to teach kids to be good
>   cybercitizens," and its "antipiracy comic book and teacher's guide"
>   is mailed to grade-school classrooms. The Motion Picture
>   Association of America sponsored "an essay contest in which
>   students competed to write the most creative plan to convince their
>   peers not to download content illegally." Concerned by
>   industry-funded "claims ... that far exceed what copyright is all
>   about," the American Library Association is developing its own
>   copyright issues classroom materials. The National Education
>   Association applauded the ALA, saying students should not "parrot
>   for some corporate agenda."
>SOURCE: Wired News, August 13, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   An internal Washington Post review found that, before the invasion
>   of Iraq, "Administration assertions were on the front page. Things
>   that challenged the administration were on A18 on Sunday or A24 on
>   Monday. There was an attitude among editors: Look, we're going to
>   war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?" - in the
>   words of the paper's Pentagon correspondent. Managing editor Bob
>   Woodward said "groupthink" compromised coverage of weapons of mass
>   destruction charges, but "we had no alternative sources of
>   information." One reporter stated, "We are inevitably the
>   mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power." A national
>   news editor said, "Do I feel we owe our readers an apology? I don't
>   think so." Editor and Publisher criticized the piece as having
>   "more excuses than admission of mistakes" and lacking any "promise
>   of corrective action."
>SOURCE: Washington Post, August 12, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   The seminal PR work of Ivy Lee, sometimes called "the real father
>   of modern PR," is currently on display in the Transit Museum in
>   Grand Central Station in New York City. In 1908, Lee became the
>   first publicity director for Pennsylvania Railroad, developing
>   campaigns to influence public opinion in support of the railroad's
>   lobbying efforts. Lee gain notoriety when he was hired by John D.
>   Rockefeller, Jr. to turn public sentiment about the 1914 Ludlow
>   Massacre. His work supporting turn-of-the-century robber barons
>   earned him the nickname "Poison Ivy." NYC's Interborourgh Rapid
>   Transit hired Lee in 1916. He created the Subway Sun newspaper as
>   part of an effort to publicize New York's subway system. In the
>   early 1930s, Lee was a consultant to a German company linked to
>   Hitler, which, in part, led to the passage of the Foreign Agents
>   Registration Act of 1938.
>SOURCE: O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), August 11, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>   "A Washington nonprofit group with ties to the Republican Party is
>   airing radio ads ... asking if U.S. Senator John Kerry takes 'the
>   black community for granted?'" The group, People of Color United,
>   was founded last week by DC Parents For School Choice, which
>   supports school vouchers. Major GOP donor J. Patrick Rooney gave
>   $30,000 towards the ad campaign. Rooney, who is white, said, "For
>   21 years I have gone to an all-black church. ... I'm one of them. I
>   don't know what it has to do with health savings accounts."
>   Rooney's former and current firms specialize in health savings
>   accounts, which "were created by President Bush's 2003 Medicare
>   prescription drug legislation."
>SOURCE: Philadelphia Daily News, August 11, 2004
>More web links related to this story are available at:
>To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit:
>The Weekly Spin is compiled by staff and volunteers at the
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>PR Watch, Spin of the Day and the Weekly Spin are projects
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