Archive for April 2005

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[eccr] The Weekly Spin, April 13, 2005

Wed Apr 13 16:34:59 GMT 2005

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, April 13, 2005
>sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy
>To support our work now online visit:
>The Weekly Spin features selected news summaries with links to
>further information about media, political spin and propaganda.
>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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>people you know, encouraging them to sign up at this link:
>1. Porter Novelli's Pyramid Schemes
>2. Lobbyists Double Spending in Six Years
>3. Wal-Mart's PR Sprawl
>4. Warm Feelings for Dirty Energy
>5. Boston Columnist Beaned
>6. Medicare Refuses to Cap VNR Use
>7. Blog Rolling
>8. T-Bones of Contention
>9. Pundit's Boston Bread Buttered on Both Sides
>10. Ketchum's Kotcher Trips Up Blaming Williams
>11. How Far To Fall?
>   "Missions that might be considered conflicting are not new for
>   Porter Novelli," a PR firm that "has worked for both the National
>   Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and for Guinness stout and
>   Johnnie Walker Scotch." But Porter Novelli's $2.5 million contract
>   with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update the food guide
>   pyramid concerns some. "You have a company on one hand pushing
>   McDonald's or almonds or whatever, and on the other providing
>   objective advice on government nutrition programs," said the
>   director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The New
>   York Times reported that "several former or current Porter Novelli
>   clients," including Campbell Soup and Dole, "offered formal comment
>   on the guidelines and the new icon." Co-founder William Novelli said
>   the firm's combination of private and government accounts "benefits
>   both clients. Consumers are not purists."
>SOURCE: New York Times, April 10, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   Lobbying in Washington has quietly grown over the past years into a
>   multi-billion dollar industry, according to a new report by the
>   Center for Public Integrity. Since 1998, lobbyists have spent nearly
>   $13 billion to influence members of Congress and federal officials
>   on legislation and regulations. According to federal records,
>   lobbying expenditures are expected to be at least $3 billion for
>   2004, doubling 1998 expenditures. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tops
>   the list of big spenders, paying out over $193 million to 24 firms
>   since 1998. The Altria Group (formerly known as Philip Morris) spent
>   over $125 million since 1998. CPI's extensive database includes
>   information on all registered lobbyists, top clients, issues
>   lobbied, and tracks the revolving door between lobby firms and
>   government posts.
>SOURCE: Center for Public Integrity, April 7, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   "Roughly a year ago," the retail giant Wal-Mart began moving
>   "corporate communications people" to "key cities and areas of the
>   country," according to vice-president of communications Mona
>   Williams. The company's former public relations director, Gus
>   Whitcomb, is leaving the Arkansas home office to become the Dallas
>   regional corporate affairs director. Wal-Mart's other regional PR
>   heads are in San Francisco, Phoenix and Washington DC. In New York,
>   the company hired a local PR firm, the Marino Organization.
>   O'Dwyer's reports, "Marino has been touting a Wal-Mart-sponsored
>   survey in New York," in which 62 percent of respondents said they
>   would "welcome the retailer," 69 percent said "Wal-Mart stores
>   create jobs," and 75 percent said Wal-Mart's "stated wage of $10.38
>   an hour in metropolitan areas is 'fair and decent.'" In February,
>   Wal-Mart "was dropped from a development push in Queens."
>SOURCE: PR Week (sub. req'd.), April 10, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   At the Australian coal industry's annual conference, Resources
>   Minister Ian Macfarlane chastised attendees "for allowing the debate
>   over the nation's future energy supply to be hijacked by a 'green
>   media machine.'" Macfarlane suggested the industry "start telling
>   consumers about the work being done on low-emissions technology" and
>   warning about renewable energy costs. In other news, New York Times
>   columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, "Nuclear energy is green,"
>   producing "no greenhouse gases," although "radioactive wastes are a
>   challenge." But environmentalist Dr. Helen Caldicott stated,
>   "According to data from the U.S. Energy Department, the production
>   of nuclear power significantly contributes both to global warming
>   and ozone depletion." While "uranium enrichment is a particularly
>   energy intensive process," uranium mining and milling, nuclear
>   reactor construction and decommissioning, and nuclear waste
>   transport and storage all require ozone-depleting chemicals or
>   fossil fuel use.
>SOURCE: The Australian, April 7, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   Following revelations that columnist Charles Chieppo had a second
>   contract with the Massachusetts state government, in addition to the
>   $60-per-hour environmental affairs position, the Boston Herald
>   "decided to sever" their relationship. Chieppo disclosed the
>   environmental contract to the Herald's editorial page editor, but
>   not his $100-per-hour position with the Massachusetts Convention
>   Center Authority. Chieppo said "it did not occur to him" to alert
>   the paper to his convention center work. The director of
>   Northeastern University's School of Journalism said Chieppo
>   "couldn't go near two big subject areas" - the environment and
>   tourism - "without creating a conflict." Chieppo previously "earned
>   a six-figure salary as a top fiscal aide" for Massachusetts Governor
>   Mitt Romney and worked at the conservative think tank the Pioneer
>   Institute.
>SOURCE: Boston Globe, April 9, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   In testimony before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and
>   Governmental Affairs Committee, Medicare administrator Mark
>   McClellan "would not rule out using government-produced news
>   releases to inform seniors about the new Medicare prescription drug
>   benefit," although they would not be a "main part" of a senior
>   outreach program. In May 2004, the Government Accountability Office
>   ruled that video news releases "touting the Medicare drug benefit"
>   were covert propaganda, due to "the videos' failure to name Medicare
>   as their source." McClellan dismissed the GAO findings, saying "the
>   binding interpretation for him was a determination by Justice's
>   Office of Legal Counsel that video news releases were legal so long
>   as the information was accurate."
>SOURCE: Philadelphia Inquirer, April 6, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   "Fortunately for PR professionals," writes PR Week, technologies
>   including blog search engines and tagging "allow companies and
>   agencies alike to monitor the dialogue regarding their
>   organizations." One product "allows companies to compare evocations
>   of its name versus the names of competitors." A "marketing
>   intelligence" executive said savvy companies see "blogs as a way to
>   create stakeholder goodwill." The PR firm Edelman recently "released
>   a directory of the most influential bloggers." The directory (only
>   available to clients) also "gives advice on blogger behavior and
>   jargon." Edelman's Rick Murray warned that companies face risks when
>   "attempting to communicate with the blogosphere -- you will do
>   yourself harm."
>SOURCE: PR Week (sub. req'd.), April 7, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   The Meat Promotion Coalition, a group of meat packers and
>   agribusiness companies seeking "to block the U.S. Department of
>   Agriculture from requiring meat to be packaged with a
>   country-of-origin label," is circulating a position paper among
>   Washington DC policymakers. The paper "notes that USDA estimates now
>   place regulatory and implementation costs at between $583 million
>   and $3.9 billion during the first year." However, the nonpartisan
>   Government Accountability Office has questioned the USDA figures
>   (which include "the cost of labeling fish and fresh fruits and
>   vegetables, in addition to meat"), calling them "not well
>   supported." The Coalition also claimed that meat packers would "have
>   to invest $25 million per plant to comply with the new rule." The
>   labeling issue has received greater attention after mad cow disease
>   was discovered in one U.S. and three Canadian cattle.
>SOURCE: The Hill, April 7, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   Massachusetts' Executive Office of Environmental Affairs "awarded a
>   $10,000 contract to a Boston Herald op-ed columnist to promote the
>   governor's environmental policies." The contract involves writing
>   op-ed pieces and internal documents "to promote education,
>   awareness, and acceptance of major policy initiatives." Three days
>   after the columnist, Charles Chieppo, applied for the position, he
>   filed a column praising Governor Mitt Romney's mass-transit plan,
>   which was designed by "the person who oversees the Environmental
>   Affairs office that now employs Chieppo." A Boston Herald
>   spokesperson said their editorial page editor "decided to allow
>   [Cieppo] to continue writing his weekly column as long as he
>   refrains from writing about 'those topics he's consulting on.'"
>SOURCE: Boston Globe, April 8, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   A week ago Ray Kotcher, the CEO of the PR firm Ketchum, responded in
>   writing to a series of questions from PR Week about the controversy
>   over Armstrong Williams promoting the U.S. No Child Left Behind law.
>   Kotcher wrote that, "in addition to speaking on his own show,
>   Williams discussed NCLB on the record with other media outlets on
>   his own initiative before and during the contract." This week
>   O'Dwyer's PR Daily, which Kotcher has yet to communicate with,
>   points out that Ketchum's contract with Williams stipulates, "Mr.
>   Williams shall utilize his long term working relationship with
>   America's Black Forum, where he appears as a guest commentator, to
>   encourage the producers to periodically address the NCLB Act (67
>   million viewers; reach 87% of urban market)."
>SOURCE: O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub. req'd.), April 6, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   At last weekend's Midwest Journalism Conference in Bloomington,
>   Minnesota, Dave Beal reports that Lynn Casey, the CEO of the PR firm
>   Padilla Speer Beardsley, referred to the controversy over video news
>   releases as a "wake-up call" for the PR industry. Casey, who is a
>   director of the Council of Public Relations Firms, told the audience
>   that a task force has been created to review the voluntary
>   guidelines on VNRs. "Sometimes you need to hit bottom before a true
>   cleansing can begin," she said.
>SOURCE: Pioneer Press (reg. req'd.), April 6, 2005
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>The Weekly Spin is compiled by staff and volunteers at the
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Carpentier Nico (Phd)
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