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[ecrea] The Weekly Spin, June 7, 2006

Wed Jun 07 16:04:14 GMT 2006

>THE WEEKLY SPIN, June 7, 2006
>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.
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>1. Is "Vets for Freedom" A Republican Front Group ?
>2. Scandals, Scandals, Scandals -- Part II: The Investigations
>3. Technorati-Edelman Mashup
>1. Please tell CMD what you think!
>2. Ready for Review:  The Best War Ever
>3. Wal-Mart Fights Healthcare Bill with Fake News
>4. Big Tobacco Attack Ads Blow Smoke in California
>5. Coming Soon To a Theater Near You: Docuganda!
>6. Know Your Fake Radio News
>7. The Fork in the Road
>8. Coal Miner Buys Support
>9. Boosting Business With Nuclear Power
>10. Will Philly PR Exec Turned Media Mogul Silence Liberty Bell?
>11. Telecom Firms Dial Up Ad Spending
>12. Not a PR Job for the Faint of Heart
>by John Stauber
>   Who and what is behind the organization Vets for Freedom, a lobby
>   group for staying the Administration's course in the war in Iraq?
>   Contributors to our investigative website SourceWatch are wondering
>   exactly that. The current article can be reached by clicking here on
>   the name Vets for Freedom. The group has a feel good name -- how
>   many vets are against freedom? -- but its supposedly non-partisan
>   patriotic agenda is looking rather suspect. Will it become to the
>   2006 Congressional elections what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
>   were in 2004? A Republican front for waging ad hominem attacks, this
>   time on politicians like John Murtha who are calling for an end to
>   the US occupation?
>For the rest of this story, visit:
>by Conor Kenny
>   Add new revelations that House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) may
>   be under investigation by the Justice Department to the FBIâ¬"s
>   recent raids on Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), and you could be
>   forgiven for not being able to keep track of the many members of
>   Congress under investigation. At Congresspedia, however, we live and
>   breathe this stuff, so weâ¬"ve created a handy cheat sheet of all
>   the members under investigation by the congressional ethics
>   committees, law enforcement agencies and grand juries. The full list
>   is below, but for future reference you can just check the â¬SMembers
>   of Congress under investigation⬝ link in the â¬SQuick links⬝
>   section—we'll make sure to keep it updated for you.
>For the rest of this story, visit:
>by Sheldon Rampton
>   Technorati, the leading search engine devoted specifically to
>   bloggers, has partnered with the Edelman PR firm. According to
>   Technorati vice president Peter Hirshberg, Edelman is providing
>   support for an "accelerated development effort" to create Technorati
>   offerings in languages including Chinese, Korean, German, Italian
>   and French. In exchange, says Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, his firm
>   will get "an exclusive right to offer Technorati's analytic tools"
>   in those languages.
>        The result, he says, will give companies "world-wide reach" so
>   they can find out what people are saying about them in different
>   languages, and will give Edelman "the ability to improve our work
>   product; specifically, to make PR people valued contributors to the
>   discussion, not the often-reviled spinmeister or hype artist
>   lampooned in the media."
>For the rest of this story, visit:
>   Please take a few minutes to take a survey about the Center for
>   Media and Democracy. This is a chance for you to help us improve our
>   effectiveness and incorporate your input as CMD plans for the
>   future, refines our organizational identity, and develops a logo.
>        Please click here to complete the survey now, or paste this
>   link into your browser:
>        If you complete the survey by Wednesday, June 14th, you will be
>   entered in a drawing to win a signed first-edition copy of Sheldon
>   Rampton and John Stauber's next book, The Best War Ever, to be
>   published September 14th.
>        Thanks for your input!
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber have finished writing The Best War
>   Ever: Lies, Damned Lies and the Mess in Iraq. It is their sixth book
>   together for the Center and a sequel to their 2003 bestseller
>   Weapons of Mass Deception. If you review books or interview authors,
>   please contact us to request a free advance review copy. Our new
>   book won't be in stores until September, but you can place an
>   advance order here. You can also view the book's provocative cover
>   by cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, and read the chapter titles and the
>   back-cover description which begins, "They told us so. The first
>   authors to expose the blatant deceptions that got us into the Iraq
>   War now reveal how the same lies have led us toward defeat. ... Now
>   that even US generals agree that war critics were right in the first
>   place, Rampton and Stauber show us how to wake up and not be misled
>   again."
>SOURCE: Center for Media and Democracy, June 5, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   The radio segment begins, "As summer vacation season gets underway,
>   high fuel prices and high air fares are limiting the ability of
>   vacationers to travel far. And close to home, new legislation may
>   force costs to soar even higher." The segment -- an audio news
>   release (ANR) from Wal-Mart -- warns of proposed legislation in New
>   York that would require large employers to put a minimum percentage
>   of their payroll towards employee healthcare. The bill is one of
>   dozens introduced in response to Wal-Mart employees' reliance on
>   publicly-funded health programs. The ANR features Mark Alesse of New
>   York's National Federation of Independent Business, who says that
>   while "health insurance is vitally important," better coverage won't
>   be accomplished by "adding an eight and a half billion dollar
>   job-killing tax to the economy. If we do that, we'll not only have
>   more uninsured, we'll have more unemployed" people. If you hear this
>   ANR, please contact the Center for Media and Democracy!
>SOURCE: PR Newswire, June 2, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   It's not surprising that big tobacco is funding attack ads around
>   the primary election for California's State Board of Equalization,
>   which regulates state cigarette sales and oversees $40 billion in
>   tax collections. What is surprising is that the mailing, from a
>   group called the California Political Empowerment Committee, accuses
>   one candidate of "being a shill for Big Tobacco," according to the
>   Los Angeles Times. The group has received at least $57,000 from
>   Altria's Kraft subsidiary, Lorillard and UST. Its mailing targeted
>   state Assemblywoman Judy Chu, saying she "accepted money from
>   tobacco companies and then voted to reduce penalties on them for
>   illegally selling cigarettes to minors." Chu is actually a "staunch
>   foe of the industry and refuses to accept its campaign cash." Public
>   health activists called the mailing "a cynical attempt to drive
>   voters toward her opponent," state Assemblyman Jerome Horton, who is
>   "one of the Legislature's biggest beneficiaries of tobacco money."
>SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   Several recent and forthcoming documentaries are, according to PR
>   professionals, "docugandas." Those noted include "An Inconvenient
>   Truth," which features Al Gore warning about global warming, last
>   year's "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," "Enron: The Smartest
>   Guys in the Room," and 2004's "Super Size Me," as well as the
>   upcoming film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" "We need to clarify
>   that this new wave of â¬Üdocumentariesâ¬" are not, in fact,
>   documentaries,⬝ says Christopher Ian Bennett of New School Media,
>   a communications and public-relations firm in Vancouver. â¬SThey
>   fail to meet the Oxford Dictionary definition, in that they
>   editorialize, and opine far too much.⬝ Robert Greenwald, director
>   of "Wal-Mart" and 2004's "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on
>   Journalism" comes at it from a slightly different perspective. When
>   asked whether he feels the need to present more than one side of an
>   issue, Greenwald said, "Is it my job to tell the story that everyone
>   is already getting over and over 24/7? I don't think so. In a
>   democratic system you want to hear something that hasn't been told."
>SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor, June 2, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   In its "PR Toolbox" section, PR Week answers the question, "What is
>   the difference between a guaranteed-placement ANR (audio news
>   release) and a traditional one?" According to Maury Tobin of Tobin
>   Communications, "Research indicates that most radio stations do not
>   use ANRs." PR Week explains, "Some vendors offer
>   guaranteed-placement ANRs -- or Sponsored Radio Features (SRFs). ...
>   Unlike a traditional ANR, a guaranteed-placement one is certain to
>   air because advertising time is purchased." Tobin adds that his firm
>   "includes an indentification of the organization sponsoring the
>   piece," for guaranteed-placement ANRs. "This is clear:
>   Guaranteed-placement ANRs or SRFs would not exist if radio stations
>   really ran traditional ANRs."
>SOURCE: PR Week (sub req'd), May 22, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   "How serious is it for PR that the man who runs the foremost center
>   for press and public policy in the US is fundamentally skeptical
>   about our profession?" asks Richard Edelman, CEO of the Edelman PR
>   firm. On his blog, Edelman reports on comments by Alex Jones of
>   Harvard University's Shorenstein Center at a recent gathering of the
>   PR Seminar, a rather secretive annual gathering of top PR
>   executives. Jones said that news is moving away from objectivity, as
>   "subjectivity, finding underserved markets, ideologically targeted,
>   is a viable business strategy." The result is that we are "fast
>   approaching a time of relative truths, resulting in an even more
>   toxic partisan environment." Jones lamented the cheapening of news,
>   saying that "media with reduced staff is looking for packaged
>   content. The temptation will be high for PR people to do in print
>   what has been done in video news releases." Edelman calls Jones'
>   remarks a "very important speech" and calls on PR pros to "to
>   recognize that with our enhanced opportunity comes a very real
>   responsibility" to "be more credible" and adopt a policy of "total
>   transparency." Maybe they should start by lifting the veil of
>   secrecy that has shrouded PR Seminar events for more than half a
>   century.
>SOURCE:, May 30, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   Private landowners who sell their land to Centennial Coal for a new
>   coal mine in New South Wales have been offered an extra $A25,000 if
>   they sign contract provisions that require them to support the mine.
>   One contract clause states that "the landholder must not in any way
>   make any objection or complaint to any authority regarding the grant
>   of project approval." Another clause states that the landowner "must
>   do all things and sign all documents reasonably required by
>   Centennial to support the grant of project approval." Asked what a
>   landowner could be required to support, the Managing Director of
>   Centennial Coal, Bob Cameron, retreated, stating, "There probably
>   will be none. What we are saying, though, is that you cannot
>   actively oppose the project, having entered into a contract."
>SOURCE: Ethical Investor (Australia), June 1, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   A report (PDF) prepared for the Australian Nuclear Science and
>   Technology Organisation (ANSTO) by British nuclear proponent
>   Professor John Gittus optimistically concluded that nuclear power in
>   Australia would be cost-competitive with coal and gas. In a synopsis
>   of his report Gittus is described only as "a consultant and adviser
>   to government ministries, public bodies and private industry." But
>   Australian Financial Review journalists Adrian Rollins and Julie
>   Macken report, "Professor Gittus's Who's Who entry says he helps run
>   Lloyd's of London Insurance Syndicate 1176, the biggest commercial
>   insurer of nuclear power stations and other facilities in the
>   world." ANSTO insures its small research reactor with Lloyd's of
>   London. ANSTO defended Gittus from conflict of interest concerns
>   stating that there were more details of Gittus's background "in
>   Annex 12 of the main report." However, the full report, including
>   Annex 12, has not been publicly released.
>SOURCE: Australian Financial Review (sub req'd), June 1, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   Philadelphia Weekly profiles Brian Tierney, the public relations and
>   advertising executive who will be heading Philadelphia's former
>   Knight-Ridder papers. As a PR man, "when reporters called his
>   customers," Tierney "called the reporters -- and their editors."
>   Reviewing Tierney's often-heated arguments with reporters on their
>   coverage of the Philadelphia Orchestra, banking executives, and --
>   most infamously -- the Catholic Church, Steve Volk writes, "The most
>   disconcerting thing about his taking control of the [Philadelphia]
>   Inquirer and Daily News may not even be Tierney's noted conservative
>   tilt, which is considerable. ... What really has some people quaking
>   is Tierney's unique diet, which for a time included journalists. For
>   breakfast, lunch and dinner." Former Inquirer reporter Ralph
>   Cipriano, whose story on the Catholic Diocese's questionable
>   spending was squashed by the newspaper after Tierney's repeated
>   contacts, said of Tierney, "He doesn't understand what reporters do,
>   and more important, he doesn't think it should be done."
>SOURCE: Philadelphia Weekly, May 31 - June 6, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   "Telecommunications companies are spending serious green on
>   advertising in recent weeks," as several telecom-related bills,
>   including on network neutrality, come before Congress. A study by
>   Arlen Communications estimates that the U.S. Telecom Association,
>   which "represents the majority of the Bell telecommunications
>   firms," has spent $250,000 a week over six weeks. And SBC/AT&T has
>   spent some $600,000 a week, according to Arlen. A U.S. Telecom
>   executive would not comment on the numbers, but said TV ads have
>   been effective in "the campaign to allow telecom companies to
>   compete with cable companies for TV service." Ads on the network
>   neutrality issue, which criticize "proposed legislation that would
>   block telecom and cable companies from charging preferred customers
>   higher rates for high-speed Internet access," are more recent. These
>   ads have appeared "anywhere a congressional staffer is likely to be
>   -- including the Washington area transit system" and "at
>   Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport," and direct people to
>   sites like
>SOURCE: National Journal's Insider Update, May 31, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
>   "APCO Worldwide is supporting Merck's PR efforts for the
>   controversial" -- and deadly -- "arthritis drug Vioxx, which was
>   found to increase heart attack risk in patients," reports O'Dwyer's.
>   The PR boost comes as the pharmaceutical company "acknowledged that
>   it misidentified a statistical method used in the study that led it
>   to pull Vioxx from the market," reports the Wall Street Journal. The
>   admission calls into question Merck's claim that patients were only
>   at risk if they took Vioxx for 18 months or longer. Doctors who
>   oversaw the study "are planning to release new data" that "show risk
>   as soon as four months after taking the drug," according to
>   O'Dwyer's. More than 11,000 Vioxx-related lawsuits have been filed
>   against Merck. The company had retained Burson-Marsteller for a $20
>   million "image campaign," after withdrawing Vioxx in 2004.
>SOURCE: O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), May 31, 2006
>For more information or to comment on this story, visit:
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Carpentier Nico (Phd)
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