News aggregator

Political Rhetoric, Before and After Arizona

PR - Tue, 01/11/2011 - 21:43

Jesse Kelly, a former Marine, Iraq war veteran and Gabrielle Giffords' Republican opponent in last November's election, ran a campaign that used gun imagery as its main eye-catching visual. Several of Kelly's campaign ads show him brandishing an M-16 automatic rifle with the slogan, "Send a Warrior to Congress." A print ad for one of his fundraising events reads, "Sat., 6/12/10, 10:00 AM - Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly." Kelly's spokesman, John Ellinwood, naivley claims he doesn't see any connection between promoting fundraisers featuring weapons and the public shootings in Tucson.

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Rite Aid Healthwashes Cigarette Sales

PR - Mon, 01/10/2011 - 23:04

The Rite Aid drug store chain announced that it is once again teaming with the American Heart Association (AHA) to promote AHA's "Go Red for Women" campaign. Rite Aid collects donations of one dollar or more from customers in exchange for little red paper dresses that contain detachable coupons for merchandise. Rite Aid issued a press release touting the campaign and their free "heart health guide" that contains advice on how to prevent heart disease. Absent from the promotion and the press release, and kept quiet by AHA, is the fact that Rite Aid contributes mightily to causing heart disease in women by selling cigarettes.

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Obama Signals Break with Wall Street - Appoints JPMorgan Exec and Goldman Adviser to Top Jobs

PR - Fri, 01/07/2011 - 13:43

Today, with unemployment in almost the double digits and foreclosure unabated, President Obama decided that America needed more of the same. The President announced the appointment of JPMorgan Executive William M. Daley as White House Chief of Staff, replacing Rahm Emanuel. Tomorrow, news reports indicate that he will announce that Goldman Sachs adviser Gene B. Sperling will be appointed head of the National Economic Council, replacing Larry Summers.

About Daley the Center for Public Integrity reports:

At JPMorgan, Daley’s portfolio has included supervising government lobbying for a bank with $2 trillion in assets that has fought efforts to limit the size of megabanks. Daley co-chaired a U.S. Chamber of Commerce commission that urged the federal government to revise the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform law and protect corporate auditors from lawsuits and investigations.

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Deadly Spin Strikes a Chord

PR - Thu, 01/06/2011 - 23:41

In 2007, Los Angeles transplant surgeon Pauline Chen., M.D. found herself riveted by the case of Nataline Sarkisian, a 17 year old girl desperately in need of a liver transplant. Nataline suffered from recurrent leukemia that required aggressive medical treatment, but the treatment, while successful, had made her liver fail. Doctors recommended a liver transplant, saying it would give Nataline a 65 percent chance of living. Without the transplant, though her death was certain. Shortly after doctors put Nataline's name on the transplant list, a perfectly-suited liver became available, but then her survival was no longer dependent on her doctors, the hospital or even the new liver that awaited her. It depended upon her health insurer, CIGNA, which denied Nataline's doctors' request to perform the transplant.

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PR - Wed, 01/05/2011 - 16:53

A recent Spin of the Day item on PRWatch says that Bank of America bought up hundreds of derogatory Internet domain names related to their business, like and (referring to BofA's CEO). Purchasing derogatory domain names is a quiet but common corporate strategy to try to minimize or contain bad PR.

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Full-Catastrophe Banking in 2011

PR - Mon, 01/03/2011 - 14:13

With a $4.7 trillion dollar bailout under their belts with no harm done to their billion-dollar bonuses, don't expect Wall Street bankers to be chastened by the 2008 financial crisis. Below we list eight things to watch out for in 2011 that threaten to rock the financial system and undermine any recovery.

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CMD’s Wendell Potter Honored as “Most Valuable Author” by the Nation Magazine

PR - Wed, 12/29/2010 - 14:50

This week the Nation Magazine hits the stands with its annual salute to the country's most effective activists and organizations. The Center for Media and Democracy's Senior Fellow Wendell Potter is honored in the "Progressive Honor Roll of 2010" as the nation's "Most Valuable Author" for his many contributions in the health care battles and for his new book Deadly Spin.

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A Banana Republic Once Again?

PR - Mon, 12/27/2010 - 17:55

(Part two of a two-part series)

In the first part of this series, the Center for Media and Democracy reported how the 2009 coup d'etat that toppled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was successfully maintained not through the use of force, but through the power of lobbying and spin. That tale, whose details were revealed through Wikileaks' publication of diplomatic cables and research into lobbying activities, had some echoes of the role PR played in an earlier "regime change" in the region. Here is the story of how the Chiquita banana company successfully used PR spin to help topple Guatemala's left-leaning government in 1954, and how they may have done it again in Honduras, 2009.

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America's Inefficient and Ineffective Approach to Border Security

PR - Thu, 12/23/2010 - 18:00

Last week, the Senate refused to approve the DREAM Act, a bill that would have offered a path to citizenship for children brought into the country illegally if they attend college or serve in the military. Opponents stated that no immigration reform will happen without first "securing" the 1,951 mile U.S. border with Mexico. America's current approach to border security is wasteful and ineffective, and "securing the border" will never be achieved until we redefine our approach to, and definition of, border security. With many in Washington expressing concern about fiscal responsibility, reining in the billions wasted annually on current border security policies should really be a priority. But America's xenophobic preoccupation with an "invasion" by brown-skinned "illegals" may keep us pursuing an expensive and unreasonable approach to border security.

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A Cheery Holiday Message from Bankster: Death Eaters on Wall Street

PR - Tue, 12/21/2010 - 19:21

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a stunning exposé on a publicly-traded company called Life Partners Holdings. Are you ready for this? Life Partners creeps around asking the unemployed, the elderly and the sick (especially people with HIV/AIDS) to sell them their life insurance policies for cash. Then they bundle these policies into securities and sell them to vultures -- oh, I am sorry, “investors.” Then the “investors” sit around and wait for people to die -- the sooner the better for the purchasers of these death bonds. The future of this industry “looks bright,” chirps National Underwriters.

Reminds you a little of those Death Eaters in Harry Potter, doesn’t it?

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Honduras' PR Coup

PR - Tue, 12/21/2010 - 02:03

Part one of a two-part article. The second article will be published next week.

Wikileaks recently published documents suggesting that PR spin helped determine the final outcome of the June 2009 Honduran coup. At the same time that a July 2009 diplomatic cable from the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras to top government officials confirmed that the Honduran president’s removal was illegal, professional lobbyists and political communicators were beginning a PR blitz, eventually managing to manipulate America into believing the coup was a constitutional act.

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Will Cutting Taxes for the Rich Really Create Jobs?

PR - Sat, 12/18/2010 - 21:44

The White House and many Congressional Democrats recently caved to Republicans in a deal extending all of the Bush tax cuts for two years in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. The deal reverses stated opposition by many Democrats to an extension of tax cuts for the top income bracket, with 25 percent of the savings from the deal going to benefit the richest one percent of Americans. While Democrats who supported the bill claimed to do so begrudgingly, the plan has many avid supporters who justify its lopsided benefits by insisting that tax cuts for the rich and for businesses create jobs and benefit the economy. This is a big myth.

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Trapped in Bank of America Hell

PR - Wed, 12/15/2010 - 15:13

Are you one of the lucky ones? Have a good job, live in a nice neighborhood, enjoy your cozy home? Think foreclosure only impacts the reckless or the unemployed?

Think again.

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Insurers Spin Court Decision on Health Insurance Mandate

PR - Tue, 12/14/2010 - 18:35

When I testified before Congress last year, I told lawmakers that if they passed a health care reform bill with an individual mandate but no public option, they might as well call their bill the "Health Insurance Profit Protection and Enhancement Act." Well, of course, that is exactly what Congress did, but they didn't change the name of the new law as I suggested.

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Hell Freezes Over: Philip Morris Settles a Wrongful Death Suit

PR - Tue, 12/14/2010 - 17:52

Philip Morris (PM) broke from its longstanding policy of never settling a personal injury case recently after it quietly paid $5 million to settle a wrongful death suit brought against its subsidiary, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco (USST), maker of Copenhagen and Skoal brands of spit tobacco. PM's parent company, Altria Group, acquired USST in 2009.

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More on Fox "News" and its Party

PR - Fri, 12/10/2010 - 16:29

In light of the new memos out about Fox News helping to orchestrate the Republicans' deceptive PR campaign on the health care bill that that Wendell Potter wrote about this week, the Center for Media and Democracy is reprinting and updating an excerpt from one of my personal encounters with Fox News' efforts to stage-manage political theatre. The piece below also includes material from documented sources compiled in SourceWatch.

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Quietly Ticking Time Bomb in Fed Data

PR - Fri, 12/10/2010 - 13:40

Last week, the Federal Reserve was finally forced by law to release some (not all) of the details of its back-door bailout of the global financial system. The Fed data focuses on the emergency lending programs initiated in 2007/2008, but it also includes data for the Fed’s more recent purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

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Build Settlements, Be Intransigent, Get Weaponry

PR - Thu, 12/09/2010 - 21:11

Op-ed by Steve Horn--On Dec. 9, 2010, Haaretz, one of Israel's top newspapers and news sources, reported that the United States would allocate some $205 million for something called an "Iron Dome anti-rocket system." As a reward, then, for the non-stop building of settlements, Israel was showered with weapons by the U.S., thanks mostly to the Pro-Israel lobby, which has remained a huge obstacle in solving the Israel-Palestine conflict from time immemorial.

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"Friendly Reminder": Fox's Unbalanced Ethics Threaten Democracy

PR - Thu, 12/09/2010 - 20:12

Anyone who still clings to the notion that Fox News is actually a news organization rather than a propaganda machine for special interests -- and that it actually is led by journalists who adhere to the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists -- must read the leaked memos Media Matters disclosed this morning.

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CPJ, OPC Need to Focus on Embattled U.S. Journalists

PR - Fri, 12/03/2010 - 03:44

Guest blog by Jack O'Dwyer

A banquet of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) grossed $1.47 million at the Waldorf-Astoria Nov. 23 with the profits going to oppressed reporters and their families throughout the world.

It is a noble effort supported by many blue chip corporate and media companies. Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, chaired the banquet. It was held on the first anniversary of the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, in the Philippines. A video commemorated the tragedy.

CPJ has tracked the deaths of 840 journalists since 1992, most of them murdered in cold blood.

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