Politics

Free the Politicians

A recent survey of politicians found that they are as frustrated as the rest of us with the corruption of modern politics. The University of Maryland interviewed 7,500 winning and losing candidates for election and found that most candidates want the focus of campaigning more on the substance of policy ideas and were frustrated by the media's tendency to focus on personal foibles and insider clashes.

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PR Empire Owns Barbour, DC's 'Most Powerful Lobbyist'

Haley Barbour, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, "illustrates the synergistic relationship between lobbying and fundraising," said a July 23 article in the New York Times. His firm has been named by Fortune magazine as the number one lobby firm in the Capital, and Barbour is also the man in charge of raising money for Republican Senate campaigns. The New York Times noted that "Two years ago, Mr.

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Sunday Political Shows Ignore Corporate Power

The Sunday morning political talk shows shut out issues related to corporate power. That is the primary conclusion of a new report issued by Essential Information, a Ralph Nader founded organization based in Washington, DC. A quantitative analysis of transcripts broadcast over a period of eighteen months from four talk shows -- The McLaughlin Group, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week -- found that topics related to corporate power -- such as the environment, corporate welfare, and free trade -- make up less than 4% of the shows' discussion topics.

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Japanese Official Admits Using Foreign Aid to Buy Pro-Whaling Votes

The head of Japan's fisheries agency admitted that his country uses foreign aid to pressure other countries into voting against restrictions on its whaling activities. Masayuki Komatsu added that there is "nothing wrong" with killing whales, comparing them to "cockroaches" and saying, "There are too many." We reported on the PR firms that help greenwash Japanese whaling in the 1st Quarter 2001 issue of PR Watch.

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Lobbying Group Set Up To Back Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives Program

Conservative financiers Capital City Partners have created a lobbying organization to back President Bush's faith-based initiatives program, according to PR Week. Americans for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprises (ACFE) plans to spend "millions of dollars" to push for "faith-based" policies and encourage more private sector support for such initiatives. ACFE will be based in Washington DC. A companion research and education group, the Foundation for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprises will be based in Phoenix, AZ.

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Using "Changing the Tone" to Suppress Criticism

Though some may not admit it, Democrats have been largely ineffective in opposing President Bush during the first few months of his administration. One reason for this is the way that Bush has successfully shaped the political debate. In particular, Bush's seemingly innocuous campaign promise to "change the tone" in Washington has proven to be a powerful rhetorical weapon, helping suppress criticism while portraying the President as above the fray.

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Craig Shirley Does the Disabled

Conservative PR pro Craig Shirley has created a new front group called "Disabled Americans for Death Tax Relief," which recently ran full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, urging Congress to abolish the federal estate tax. DADTR claims that millions of Americans would be adversely affected by the tax which the federal government places on estates over $650,000.

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A More Truthful Use of Political Props

Politicians from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton George W. Bush are increasingly using "everyday citizens" as props to create a working-class appearance for policies that actually benefit the wealthy. "But unless we stop behaving as props and start behaving as citizens, we will be passive spectators at the increasingly contrived sport of politics in America," writes Robert Kuttner.

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Memo Enlists Lobbyists to Trade White Collars for Hard Hats at GOP Tax Cut Rally

A memo from the National Association of Manufacturers urged lobbyists to "dress down" when attending a rally and photo opportunity supporting George W. Bush's tax cut plan. "The Speaker's office was very clear in saying that they do not need people in suits," the memo stated. "If people want to participate -- AND WE DO NEED BODIES -- they must be DRESSED DOWN, appear to be REAL WORKER types, etc. We plan to have hard hats for people to wear. Other groups are providing waiters/waitresses, and other types of workers."

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