"Despite the colder realities of the business, the gun industry packages firearms in the sepia tint of nostalgia, conjuring up the Western frontier, fathers and sons hunting at the turn of the century, and grand moments of martial history," writes Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center. "For decades, the gun industry has portrayed itself in this way as a repository and guardian of fundamental U.S. cultural values.
The corporate media pay little attention to the growing grassroots movement seeking to do something about corporate power and propaganda run amok. All over the US groups of citizens are organizing meetings, discussions, conferences, protests, websites, initiative campaigns and other efforts focused on a common problem: corporate power's subversion of American democracy. The Democracy Revitalization Project is hosting its inaugural conference in Duluth, Minnesota, July 28 - 30.
Gary Winnick, the Global Crossing founder/chairman who is trying to raise $1 billion to rescue his once-mighty company from bankruptcy, has hired Rubenstein and Associates, the PR firm that specializes in "reputation management" for clients such as Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, Leona Helmsley, Adnan Khashoggi, Kathie Lee Gifford and the state of Israel.
"CEOs, once admired as the bastion of ethical leadership, are today in decline and disgrace," writes PR counselor Fraser Seitel.
"A series of revelations of corporate malpractice and number fiddling" have destroyed investor faith in Wall Street, reports the Economist. "Investors have not only lost patience with corporate America's greed and its inability to do what it says it is doing; they have also lost confidence in Wall Street's ability to act as an honest broker between them, the providers of capital, and the corporate users of it.
The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (ADTI), a libertarian think tank that gets part of its funding from Microsoft, has issued a new white paper that seems calculated to tell computer buyers, "If you are not with Microsoft, you are with the terrorists." Some government agencies, including the U.S.
Dave Itzkoff has written a confessional based on his two and a half years editing Maxim, one of the so-called "lad magazines" that cater to male interest in topics like beer, sex and gadgets. Itzkoff describes the magazine's formula as "unrealistically retouched photographs, patently invented pillow talk, obvious editorial concessions to advertisers and a pervasively smug attitude. ... We didn't do issue-oriented news features or authoritative first-person narratives, and hadn't published a proper profile in almost a year -- all hallmarks of basic magazine journalism.
The race for profits is undermining quality journalism, according to panelists at the annual conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). As publications cut spending and staffing levels in newsrooms, "Quick and cheap celebrity gossip, gruesome snippets on accidents and crimes, and fluffy features about cute pets usually drive out costly, complex reporting on politics and economics, creating the media equivalent of a sugary, junk-food diet," reports David Armstrong.
"A mall (development) war ... has heated up after one developer secretly launched a hard-hitting public relations strike against a competitor, warning that the rival's plan could lead to traffic gridlock and adult businesses. ... After The Cincinnati Enquirer obtained a plan that outlined part of the campaign, David Kass, Continental Retail Development's president, admitted Wednesday to unleashing it against (competitor) Steiner. But he said it was a legal effort similar to development campaigns elsewhere in the country. ... 'We're coming clean,' Mr.
Two weeks ago, Guardian columnist George Monbiot described how the Bivings Group, a PR company contracted to Monsanto, invented fake citizens to post messages on internet listservers. "These phantoms had launched a campaign to force Nature magazine to retract a paper it had published, alleging that native corn in Mexico had been contaminated with GM pollen," Monbiot writes in today's column. "But this, it now seems, is just one of hundreds of critical interventions with which PR companies hired by big business have secretly guided the biotech debate over the past few years. ...