Corporations

Helping Oppressed Corporations Fight the Mighty Activists

Nick Nichols, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Nichols-Dezenhall Communications Management Group, Ltd., has a book out titled Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns, which purports to offer advice for the once-proud corporations hunted into near-extinction by the overwhelming power of left-wing activists and their allies in the anti-corporate media.

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Pity Poor Enron

M.A. Shute, a former staffer from the Hill and Knowlton PR firm, orchestrated the tearful media interview of Linda Lay, wife of embattled former Enron CEO Ken Lay. The Lays are trying to portray themselves as victims rather than villains in the company's financial collapse. According to PR pro Jeremy Garlington, however, putting the wife in front of cameras is a "flawed media strategy." It was a mistake, he says, to claim that the Lays are "on the verge of financial ruin ...

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Enron's Paid Pundits

As Congress debates campaign finance reform, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wonders if we also need "journalistic finance reform -- that is, what are corporations buying when they lard their payrolls with prominent media folks?" Media pundits took fat contracts on the side from Enron -- ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 for Paul Krugman of the New York Times,

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Bad Mileage Is Good For You

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is lobbying again against federal standards requiring automakers to improve automobile mileage of their cars. They claim that Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards force automakers to build smaller, more dangerous vehicles. As we document in our Impropaganda Review section, CEI has been flogging this argument for years, using questionable evidence. And who are they to talk about safety, anyway?

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From Greenwash to Bluewash

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "greenwash" as "disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image." Now a new term has emerged, "bluewash," which the New York Times describes as "allowing some of the largest and richest corporations to wrap themselves in the United Nations' blue flag without requiring them to do anything new." The highest-profile example of this, writes Kenny Bruno, is the "Global Compact," which asks business to adhere to nine principles derived from key UN agreements and is becoming a general framework for UN

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Dot Con

During the heady late 1990s, Wall Street investment firms and bankers deliberately hyped Internet startup companies with no prospect of financial success, bilking countless small investors out of their money. This PBS documentary explains how it all worked, from the "roadshows" used to line up initial capital to the strategy of launching a new company, watch its stock price spike, and selling before the inevitable downturn (known within the trade as "flipping").

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Accountants Hire PR Help

PR trade publication O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has hired Omnicom's Clark & Weinstock "as the Enron bankruptcy has 'put an unprecedented focus on the accounting profession and its self-regulatory system.'" PR Week reports AICPA has retained the Weiser Group in Chicago "to help in its effort to restore faith in the auditing and accounting system." Meanwhile, according to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, one of Anderson's PR flacks has taken issue with an National Public Radio

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White House Enron Spin

When it comes to the Enron scandal, "White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has managed the spin duties expertly," writes William Saletan on Slate. By passing the buck, playing dumb, or dodging the issue, Fleischer uses classic spin tactics to evade the Enron-related questions of the White House press corps.

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Enron's Untold Story

Fortune reporter Bethany McLean was virtually the only journalist in America who dared write about Enron's financial problems prior to November 2001. Now that its collapse has become the nation's hottest story, teams of business journalists are digging into the largest corporate meltdown in American history. But as in the savings and loan debacle a dozen years ago, it took news organizations too long to piece together the clues. "It's fair to say the press did not do a great job in covering Enron," admits Steve Shepard, editor-in-chief of Business Week magazine.

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