"They called it 'the matrix,' " writes Washington Post reporter Joe Stevens, "a computer program that brought a scientific dimension to Enron's effort to seduce politicians and sway bureaucrats. With each proposed change in federal regulations, lobbyists punched details into a computer, allowing Enron economists in Houston to calculate just how much a rule change would cost.
Robert Cribb, the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, is calling for "a parliamentary inquiry into the effects of media concentration in this country," in response to efforts by the CanWest media empire to muzzle journalists who disagree with management views. "At issue is CanWest's decision to run 'national editorials' in its major dailies, limiting the diversity of viewpoints available to readers," Cribb writes.
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.
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 ...
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,
Ralph Reed, the hard-ball political organizer and brilliant PR strategist behind the rise of the powerful Christian Coalition, went to work for Enron just as George Bush began his drive for the presidency.
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?
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
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").
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