Public Relations

University of Colorado at Boulder Falls Prey to Philip Morris' Strategic Philanthropy

The University of Colorado at Boulder has accepted a $12.1 million grant from cigarette maker Philip Morris (PM) to put on "Life Skills Training" (LST) programs in middle schools, nominally aimed at reducing students' use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

Notwithstanding that a federal court in 2006 found Philip Morris guilty of engaging in 50 years of public fraud and racketeering, a 2006 peer-reviewed study of tobacco industry documents conducted by the University of California San Francisco's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education looked at why tobacco companies so robustly promote Life Skills Training. They found that since 1999, PM and Brown & Williamson have both worked to disseminate Life Skills Training programs into schools across the country. Why? As part of their effort, the two companies hired a public relations firm to evaluate the program. The evaluation showed that LST was not effective at reducing smoking, after either the first or second year of implementing the program. Despite this, the tobacco companies have continued to eagerly award grants to implement the program.

Five Questions, Five Doses of Spin

The Lansing State Journal is the latest in a long line of media outlets to provide a pro-nuclear platform to former Greenpeace activist turned corporate PR consultant, Patrick Moore, without disclosing his consultancy with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

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Hill & Knowlton's Carbon Two-Step

In a media release, the PR firm Hill & Knowlton (H&K) boasts that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded the company a short-term consultancy for "an information campaign to encourage climate conscious behavior by delegates and others to help reduce GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions" related to the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen in December.

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Sugar-Coated Counterattack

The PR firm Edelman is handling a crisis management campaign for Imperial Sugar to "pick apart claims" by a whistleblower about poor safety standards at the Port Wentworth refinery near Savannah, Georgia. Graham H. Graham, who was Vice President of Operations for Imperial, testified that the refinery was a "dirty, dangerous facility" before a February 2008 explosion which killed 14 people.

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How Business Propaganda Hijacks Canadian Democracy

A book review in western Canada's Georgia Straight newspaper asks, "Do you ever wonder why so many of the Fraser Institute’s right-wing commentaries get into Canadian daily newspapers? Perhaps you’ve been disturbed by the spate of articles about the inevitability of Canada forming closer ties with the United States.

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Flooding Chile's Media with Pro-Dam Ads

With opposition mounting to the proposed US$3.2 billion HidroAysen hydropower scheme in southern Chile’s Patagonia, the project proponents have launched a "multi-million dollar public relations campaign to sell their project to Chile." The HidroAysen project, which involves five major dams, is being proposed by a consortium of the Chilean utility ColbUn and the and Italian-owned electricity utility Endesa.

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Yet Another PR Ploy: The Un-Spokesperson

The Seattle Times' Jonathan Martin reports, "In response to a request to talk with [T-Mobile] CEO Robert Dotson and other executives this week, I got an email back from the PR firm Waggener Edstrom Worldwide that ended with a strange request.

Hi Jonathan, Thank you for your phone call this afternoon and your patience while I looked into your request. While we won't be able to provide you with an interview we are able to provide the following statement. ... Please note that if you plan to use this statement in your piece, I am not a T-Mobile spokesperson and to use my name would be inaccurate.

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