Only the Convenient Facts, Ma'am

Congressional testimony that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Julie Gerberding gave "about the impact of climate change and health was significantly edited by the White House," reports AP. "A CDC official familiar with both versions said Gerberding's draft 'was eviscerated,' cut from 14 pages to four," by the White House Office of Management and Budget.



An extract from Bob Burton's Inside Spin: The Dark Underbelly of the PR Industry.

Cover of Inside Spin: The dark underbelly of the PR industryBrian Page, a 42-year-old railway worker, had been busy before Easter 1992 buying furniture for a house he had just moved into at Mt Pritchard, a south-western Sydney suburb. On their way home, his daughter Melissa wanted to stop at McDonald's in Fairfield for lunch. Shortly after returning home, Brian Page began vomiting and had diarrhoea. As Page's symptoms were initially indistinguishable from a bout of the flu, his doctor gave him a medical certificate and sent him home. Page took to bed for the next three days but on the fourth day went back to work, even though he wasn't feeling well. His boss noticed that Page was unable to write properly and seemed disoriented and confused by his work. He was so concerned about Page that he called a taxi and sent him home, but by then Page recognised something was seriously wrong and went straight to Liverpool Hospital. What was unknown to Page and his doctor was that he had been exposed to Legionella bacteria. If detected early, Legionnaires disease can be treated with antibiotics. Untreated, it can be a killer. Two days after being admitted to the intensive care unit of Liverpool Hospital, Page died. On what would have been his 43rd birthday, more than 100 family and friends attended his funeral.14

My Own Private Idaho Poll

In Twin Falls, Idaho, an opponent of a proposed nuclear power plant is wondering who's polling local residents about nuclear energy. Last weekend, Peter Rickards was called by "a man who said he was conducting a survey about energy in Idaho. Most of the questions ... involved nuclear power and alluded to the Idaho Energy Complex, a controversial nuclear facility proposed by Virginia-based Alternate Energy Holdings" (AEH). Rickards "suspects AEH or its affiliates may have commissioned the survey to test the waters of public opinion as plans for the project move forward. ...


Loose Lips Sink Ships, NSA Warned Reporters

Concerned at news reports on its electronic surveillance, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has held "an unprecedented series of off-the-record 'seminars' in recent years to teach reporters about the damage caused by such leaks and to discourage reporting that could interfere with the agency's mission to spy on America's enemies," reports Josh Gerstein.


Australian Government Lays Information Smokescreen

Faced with opposition to increasing government secrecy by Australia's Right to Know, a coalition of Australian media companies and the journalists' union, the Australian Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, has announced a review of the


Flacks Get a Chill Up the Spine

James L. Horton of the Robert Marston & Associates PR firm is worried about Wikileaks, a new website that provides a means for people to share information about unethical behavior by governments and corporations. Wikileaks says it "is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and participatory analysis.


Wikis Prove Tricky for PR Firms

Thanks to WikiScanner, more PR firms are coming under fire for making anonymous edits to Wikipedia that favored their clients. "Freud Communications' London office was caught making edits" on articles about Pizza Hut and Carphone Warehouse, reports PR Week.


We Know What You Did Online Last Summer

WikipediaSelf-described "disruptive technologist" Virgil Griffith lists as his top aim in developing WikiScanner: "To create a fireworks display of public relations disasters in which everyone brings their own fireworks, and enjoys."

Here at the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), we see WikiScanner as a great way to better understand how public relations firms and other "perception managers" are subverting online discussions and social media. And what better website to track this on than Wikipedia, the world's most popular wiki, or collaboratively edited website?


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