Propublica has obtained a tranche of leaked internal communications between the Sackler family's Purdue Pharma, makers of the lethal opioid Oxycontin, and Dezenhall Resources, known as "The Pitbull of Public Relations," whose previous client roster includes Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, Exxon and other "beleaguered corporations," who masterminded a "blame the victim" strategy that apportioned responsibility for Oxycontin's mounting death toll on the people who became addicted to it -- not the Sacklers and Purdue, who falsified science, bribed doctors, and made billions from an epidemic that has now claimed more American lives than the Vietnam War.
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Edelman is one of the world's leading PR firms, and despite the fact that they're the go-to if you want to launder the reputations of the House of Saud or the Transcanada pipeline by running massive fake-grassroots campaigns on social media, they also bill themselves as an ethical firm, refusing to take engagements for coal, tobacco or gun companies (they will, however run smear campaigns against vegan mayo).
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James Schwab worked as federal employee for 17 years, serving in the military, at the Department of Defense and NASA. His last gig with the government was as a spokesperson for ICE under President Obama and President Trump. After close to 20 years in the trenches, many career government employees would have a thousand-yard stare fixed squarely on their retirement. Schwab? Not so much: he resigned from ICE three months ago, rather than be complicit in spreading significant levels of disinformation to the American people. Put an emphasis on significant: Schwab, like many PR pros, was comfortable with a certain amount of bullshit flowing out from between his lips. But as he outlines in this video, there are limits.
Three months after he resigned, two Department of Homeland Security investigators showed up at his front door, looking to question him, allegedly, to intimidate him into keeping quiet about what he was privy to while working for ICE. It just so happened that a CBS This Morning news crew was at Schwab's home, interviewing him when the investigators knocked on his front door.
The Investigators told CBS' Jamie Yuccas and a surprised sounding Schwab that they were there to investigate the leaking of information to the Mayor of Oakland about an ICE operation that took place earlier this year.
Not greasy at all. Nope. Read the rest
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The homepage is a great exemplar of the minimalist-but-not-really monosite that's basically every website now. Read the rest
The Saudi royals -- you know, the charming people who exported intolerant, extremist Wahabiism and whose scions get to rape their US-based servants with impunity -- have hired the biggest, most ruthless PR firms in America to run their PR machine. Read the rest
The leaked slides were prepared by Edelman, the largest PR company in the world, at the behest of Transcanada, and they constitute a blueprint for tracking and influencing platform that spies on its participants in order to psychologically profile them and nudge them into becoming advocates for the oil industry. Read the rest
The Weather Channel posted an internal marketing pitch, I mean feature article, about why they've deemed themselves the official naming entity for big winter storms. From the article:
During the upcoming 2012-13 winter season The Weather Channel will name noteworthy winter storms. Our goal is to better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation…
This is an ambitious project. However, the benefits will be significant. Naming winter storms will raise the awareness of the public, which will lead to more pro-active efforts to plan ahead, resulting in less impact and inconvenience overall…
Finally, it might even be fun and entertaining and that in itself should breed interest from our viewing public and our digital users.
"Why The Weather Channel is Naming Winter Storms" (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!) Read the rest
Last weekend, I posted about the UK record industry lobby's strategy of legally threatening executives of the UK Pirate Party over the party's Pirate Bay proxy. Now, Adam Liversage, BPI Director of Communications, wants you to know that his employers had no choice but to threaten the personal finances of Pirate Party officers:
The facts are that despite our efforts over a number of weeks to resolve the matter amicably, Pirate Party UK continued to make clear that they had no intention of removing the proxy to The Pirate Party.
The Pirate Party claims the opposite. I've never known the Pirate Party to knowingly utter a falsehood. I've never known the record industry to knowingly utter a truth, so you make up your own mind.
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Our solicitors then wrote to PPUK's National Executive seeking legal undertakings that they would remove the proxy. 'Pirate Party UK' as an entity cannot give undertakings - it has no form of legal personality and it isn't incorporated - so the proper legal course is to write to the members of PPUK's National Executive personally.
The subsequent allegation made by Loz Kaye that BPI has threatened him or other party officers with "bankruptcy" is completely untrue. We have not "individually sued the party's executives" as you assert - we have asked for undertakings to remove the proxy. At no time have we threatened "bankruptcy", so your subsequent narrative about "corporate bullying" and "terrorising people who organise against them" is, in our view, difficult to justify.
Syria's brutal Assad regime has damned few allies left in the world, but one of them, Russia, is governed by a dirty-tricking ruling elite who've made a science out of manipulating Internet opinion. This may explain the weird, stilted pro-Assad astroturf army who appear in any discussion of the regime's atrocities to explain that it's all a Jewish conspiracy.
And on like that. SyriaTribune maintains a YouTube channel stocked with clips from — surprise — Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today portraying Assad as the victim of a bloody-minded western conspiracy. A self-described French intellectual named Thierry Meyssan — author of 9/11 The Big Lie — reveals that TV images purporting to show Assad’s massacres of civilians were prepared by the CIA, along with White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, and “aims at demoralizing the Syrians in order to pave the way for a coup d’etat.” The #FakeRevolution hashtag on Instagram provides pictorial, meme-filled boosterism for Bashar, like a screengrab from Time’ app kindly telling user mybubb1e to stop voting for Assad for Person of the Year or Hillary Clinton with flames shooting out of her eyes and ear, courtesy of Bashar4Ever.
Meet the Assadosphere, the Online Defenders of Syria’s Butcher [Spencer Ackerman/Wired] Read the rest
Richard O'Dwyer, creator of the legal UK website TVShack, faces extradition to the USA (even though TVShack is probably legal in the USA too). As usual, the MPAA has managed to get lawmakers to do their bidding so well that it has made them look like the villainous corporate scumbags everyone suspects them of being. A freshly leaked memo described by TorrentFreak documents Big Content's strategy for winning hearts and minds:
“The overall media coverage has been and will continue to be challenging,” the MPAA writes.
They mention the petition of Wikipedia founder jimmy Wales, the Demand Progress campaign, and note that a recent survey showed that 95% of the public does not support the extradition. According to the MPAA, public opinion is skewed because people are being led to believe that TVShack was operating perfectly legal in the UK.
“To counter these assertions, the MPAA and its allies need a coordinated effort to focus more on the criminal activity involved in the operation of TVShack and other similar linking sites,” the MPAA notes...
“Ideally, this would be done through third parties – but finding third parties – especially in the United Kingdom – has been very difficult so far, so the MPAA must be prepared to respond to media requests on the issue and set the record straight to counter the misinformation campaign by our opponents.”
MPAA Recruits “Surrogates” to Support Extradition of UK Student
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PR people sometimes say "I loved your coverage of x, perhaps you'd like to hear about y!". The idea is to ensure that I, Esteemed Journalist, know that I am worthy of personalized attention, rather than being an entry on a mailing list.
Some of them, however, are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. I've started getting emails that contain computer-generated personal touches. Computers trying to copy what humans would say to avoid looking like computers!
Here's one that just came in. He/she/it even tweeted me about an unrelated subject--a nice proofing touch--shortly before the email came in. Needless to say, the pitch is terrible. As the named sender might be a real person, I've changed the name to spare them the embarrassment.
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My name is [horse_PR] and I work with BlueGlass Interactive, Inc. During SOPA, I found a particular interest in, "Infographic: Hollywood's long war on technology." This infographic did a great job at presenting SOPA, in a way that the average consumer could understand.
I noticed a good portion of your site is dedicated to Gweek and Computers. I thought you might enjoy a related infographic, "12 Cities to Find an IT Job." With product and service development growing, more IT jobs are emerging across the states. This IG reviews the top 12 cities that are currently growing and hiring in the IT realm. I believe a good portion of your readership would find this IG to be a great resource!
Do you agree?