Powerful corporations routinely throw their weight around in the local and national media--and get away with it. Before running a piece about Micron Technologies, the Idaho Statesman sent a review copy to...Micron Technologies. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal got a scoop on a big airline merger, under the condition that they not talk to any critics of the deal. In their Fear and Favor 2000 report, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting document these and many more examples of the media caving in to corporate spin.
Feeling brainwashed? The world's most famous spy, John le CarrT (aka David Cornwell) thinks you should be. "We have become the creatures of these people," he said in a recent interview. "Advertising as news. It's prevalent in every aspect of the press. It's very skilfully done. The amount of energy and money and ingenuity applied to corporate spin and corporate lying has never been greater or more effective than it is now."
This news release by Edelman PR explains the rationale for trying to encourage business "partnerships" with activist groups: "You've got an environmental disaster on your hands. Have you consulted with Greenpeace in developing your crisis response plan? Co-opting your would-be attackers may seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you consider that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are trusted by the public nearly two-to-one to 'do what's right' compared with government bodies, media organizations and corporations."
London's Nottingham University has been vigorously criticized for its
Tom Frank is the author of several fascinating books including The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism and One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism and the end of Economic Democracy .
Derailing a multibillion-dollar federal plan to restore the Florida Everglades is just the kind of cause that suits Citizens for a Sound Economy, a conservative think tank. But soon after the group took on the Everglades project in 1998, the Washington-based nonprofit got an incentive that went beyond the purely philosophical. It received $700,000 in contributions from Florida's three biggest sugar enterprises, which stand to lose thousands of acres of cane-growing land to reclamation if the Army Corps of Engineers plan goes into effect.
A scathing item by Tony Seideman ravages Microsoft's PR tactics, arguing that "the company's internal story is so far from what others are seeing that it is enraging members of the media who would rather be friendly, straining people's credibility and ultimately harming its own interests." Through its media relations operatives at Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft has tracked its press coverage with "spreadsheet precision and wooed select tech reporters for key media outlets via command audiences with Bill." The result, Seideman says, is a cult-like atmosphere within the company: "There is a poin