Living in Fear of Nuns With Guitars

Nichols/Dezenhall, a "brass-knuckled, Machiavellian" PR firm that specializes in attacking critics of its corporate clients, is profiled in the June 29 National Journal. "Corporations live in mortal terror of being seen as ungentle," says company founder Eric Dezenhall. "They live in fear of a nun with a guitar showing up at their annual meeting to protest something. But that nun isn't always innocent." Clients of Nichols/Dezenhall have included Motel 6, the Foundation for Biomedical Research, the American Chemistry Council, the Meat Industry Council, and Browning-Ferris Industries. "Fortune 500 companies in such fields as pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and food and beverages." In addition to harassing activists, N/D hires former FBI and CIA agents for assignments "including psychological profiling, following the money of our clients' adversaries, international investigations, and security issues." In a presentation to the National Pork Producers' Council, Dezenhall explained his philosophy by quoting Al Capone: "You can get more with a smile, a kind word, and a gun than with a smile and a kind word."