A Herculean Effort to Get Your Gold

"An event once notable for celebrating the spirit of amateurism has achieved an almost unimaginable level of crass commercialism," writes PR commentator Paul Holmes. The Olympics' organizers "are clamping down on anything that might allow TV audiences a glimpse of a non-sponsor's logo. People carrying bottles of Pepsi (or any bottled water not made by Coca-Cola) will have them confiscated ...


Big Money, Bad Medicine

"It's been pretty well established that publication bias is associated with industry funding," says Brown University epidemiologist Kay Dickersin, about drug companies squashing unfavorable research results. Yet the "overwhelming majority" of drug researchers receive industry funding, according to Canadian clinical pharmacist Muhammad Mamdani.


Sweet Smelling Ash

British American Tobacco is carrying out animal tests on chocolate, wine, sherry, cocoa, corn syrup, cherry juice, maple syrup and vanilla-flavored tobacco. Former British health secretary Frank Dobson remarked, "We all know that hardly anyone takes up smoking when they are grown up. That is why the tobacco industry wants to target children [with flavored tobacco]." Flavored cigarettes, which were first sold by R.J.


First, Do No Harm

"As food companies look for ways to cash in on the nation's obsession with healthy eating, an increasing number are copying marketing tactics that long have been used by the pharmaceuticals industry: They are pitching their products directly to doctors. The hope is that doctors will start recommending specific foods - and even brand names - to patients," reports the Wall Street Journal.


Not Your Parents' Video Games

"To promote America's Army: Overmatch, a free game created by the Army as a recruitment tool, a group of Army Special Forces personnel staged an urban tactical assault exercise outside the [Los Angeles] convention center" hosting the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. The "helicopters, machine guns and face-painted soldiers leaping off tall buildings" startled and even "panicked" passersby. One retired Army major with the game project said: "This game is what we do in reality.


Hummer Bummers

Chrysler "is recalling more than 326,000 pickup trucks and Durango sport utility vehicles because of two potential safety problems," reports Reuters. Meanwhile, Hummer sales were down 21 percent in April, possibly due in part to "rising gasoline prices." General Motors is responding by "offering discounted financing on its Hummer H2, the icon of the market for supersize sport-utility vehicles," according to the Wall Street Journal.


Torture, Brand America and the Bottom Line

In its damning report, the Red Cross states that "physical and psychological coercion were used by [U.S.] military intelligence in a systematic way to gain confessions and extract information and other forms of cooperation" from Iraqi detainees.



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