Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Weekly Spin, May 10, 2006

THE WEEKLY SPIN, May 10, 2006

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1. New CIA nominee Michael Hayden: SourceWatch has been on the case since 2003

1. Facing the Media Crisis - October 6-8, Burlington, VT
2. USDA Officials Asked to Spread Iraq Manure
3. Former Oilman Aims To Overturn WWF's Anti-Nuclear Policy
4. Covert Recruiting Video in Schools, on Planes and TV
5. They Really CARE -- About Energy Profits
6. Green - or Greenwash - TV?
7. Pity the Poor, Misunderstood Oil Industry
8. New Homes for Corporate Video, Robin Raskin
9. The Telecom World's Payola Pundit
10. Lobbyists-Loot Dot Con: Berman Flees, Martosko Plays Dumb



by Conor Kenny

The man nominated today to head the CIA by President George W. Bush,
General Michael V. Hayden, has been tracked by SourceWatch (the
"mother-wiki" of Congresspedia) users on his own profile page since
2003. It's still basic, but now that he's famous for more than not
knowing what the 4th amendment says while serving as the Principal
Deputy Director of National Intelligence (see his profile), we hope
it will be expanded by our community of contributors.
As he moves through his confirmation process I also expect to
see postings to the pages on the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence and its members as that committee's confirmation
hearings for Hayden approach.
For the rest of this story, visit:


Action Coalition on Media Education (ACME) convenes its national
conference this October 6 -8 in Burlington, Vermont, and
registration has begun on ACME's website. Dozens of presenters will
include Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Jean Kilbourne, Robert Jensen,
Jerome Armstrong, Carrie McLaren, Jeff Chester, Sut Jhally, Bob
McCannon, Diane Wilson, Josh Silver, Peter Phillips, Anthony Riddle,
Lauren-Glenn Davitian, Hannah Sassaman, Pete Tridesh, and Sara
Voorhees. CMD's John Stauber will deliver one of the keynotes titled
"What’s Reality? Fake News, Real News and Weapons Of Mass
Perception." Stauber will examine the Lincoln Group's planting of
fake news in Iraq and other issues in The Best War Ever, the new
Rampton/Stauber book to be published on September 14.
SOURCE: ACME, May 10, 2006
For more information or to comment on this story, visit:

On May 2, a U.S. Department of Agriculture speechwriter emailed 60
USDA staff that "the President has requested that all members of his
cabinet and sub-cabinet incorporate message points on the Global War
on Terror into speeches, including specific examples of what each
agency is doing to aid the reconstruction of Iraq," reports Al
Kamen. An email attachment listed "examples of GWOT messages within
agriculture speeches," such as, "Several topics I'd like to talk
about today -- Farm Bill, trade with Japan, WTO, avian flu ... but
before I do, let me touch on a subject people always ask about ...
progress in Iraq." The email said such language is "being used by
[USDA] Secretary Johanns and deputy secretary Conner in all of their
remarks," and urged recipients to "use these message points as often
as possible" and report back when they do, for "a weekly account
sent to the White House."
SOURCE: Washington Post, May 8, 2006
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Greg Bourne, the former president of BP Australia and current head
of WWF Australia (formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund), last
week argued that Australian environmentalists should learn to live
with uranium mining. "The key issues are if we're going to be a
nation exporting uranium, we have to know absolutely it's only being
used for peaceful purposes and waste products are being stored
safely," he said. This week, Bourne is in London at WWF
International's global energy taskforce, where he wants to overturn
the group's stance that "WWF does not believe that nuclear power is
the solution to global warming. In fact, WWF has a vision for the
future which phases out the use of fossil fuel and nuclear in the
share of energy use across the globe." The Australian reports that
in March, Bourne apparently "ordered the organisation's global
anti-nuclear policy be removed from WWF Australia's website."
SOURCE: The Australian, May 9, 2006
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4. COVERT RECRUITING VIDEO IN SCHOOLS, ON PLANES AND TV,1,212661.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed
United Airlines' new in-flight video "was produced and funded by the
Department of Defense -- a fact passengers do not learn from
watching it," reports Jason George. The 13-minute segment, "Today's
Military," profiles five "military glamor jobs." It shows only "one
soldier beyond U.S. borders," who's "doing humanitarian work in
Thailand" -- a remarkable focus at a time of war. The Defense
Department paid United $36,000 to run the video for one month. A
United spokesperson said "between 7 to 15 minutes" of their two-hour
programming is sponsored video. The military video was excerpted
from a 48-minute feature, produced by the Mullen firm, that's aired
on at least two Illinois TV stations: Springfield's ABC and Peoria's
UPN affiliates. The feature "does not say who produced it until the
final credits roll" and the Defense Human Resources Activity is
listed. The goal is to educate "influencers," including parents and
teachers. "This fall, 40,000 copies" of the feature "will be shipped
to high school guidance counselors for distribution to students."
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, May 6, 2006
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Wendy Brown reports, "Critics say the Citizens' Alliance for
Responsible Energy ... is a classic front group for the oil-and-gas
industry. CARE claims its purpose is to educate people about energy
policy and undo some of the spin that left-wing groups have
propagated about alternative fuels like ethanol and hydrogen. But
John Stauber ... disagrees. 'If the big, polluting, price-gouging
energy corporations funding this group of 'citizens' were out in
front pushing their agenda, the press and public would be
appropriately skeptical. Instead, industry uses the tried-and-true
method of hiding behind a front group with a consumer-friendly
name.' ... CARE's Web site contains position papers arguing that
global warming is not a man-made problem, that nuclear power is an
environmentally responsible power source and that the public should
proceed with caution in developing renewable energies like solar and
hydrogen." CARE is staffed by Mark E. Mathis, a former TV anchor,
current radio talk show host and consultant with the Independent
Petroleum Association of New Mexico.
SOURCE: The New Mexican, May 7, 2006
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"A new broadband TV channel dedicated to showing films about the
environment is offering companies a chance to broadcast their
green-tinged messages -- for nothing," reports BBC News. "Already,
films by energy giant Npower and ice cream maker Ben & Jerry have
been shown by the channel," called Founder Ade Thomas
said, "Anyone who makes films about environmental issues can
broadcast them for free via ... We're an aggregator of
editorial content." Thomas explained that initial plans called for
an editorial board to oversee content, but now the channel will
"clearly mark who has made each film," and allow viewers "to prick
holes in any film peddling lies or misleading praise of companies"
on its blog. partners include Greenpeace and Friends of the
Earth. Internationally, it receives support from the United Nations
Environment Program, Water Aid and The World Conservation Union.
SOURCE: BBC News, May 2, 2006
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As gas prices rise and oil companies enjoy record profits, the
industry is increasing its PR efforts. The American Petroleum
Institute (API) hired The Hawthorn Group and Edelman's advertising
practice, spending "more than $20 million over the last few months."
Talking points developed by API and others include: "forces of
demand have outstripped supply," especially with China's economic
growth; "oil industry profits are not outsize by the standards of
other major industries"; and "Western oil companies have only a
limited share of the crude oil market." The industry has retained
"familiar Washington figures like the former Reagan official,
Michael K. Deaver, and former Senator J. Bennett Johnston of
Louisiana," to gain Congressional support. PR Week reports that
ExxonMobil is "discussing its Energy Outlook presentation ... with
policymakers, citizen groups, and the media." Shell Oil is promoting
its "Fuel Stretch Principles," which "help people improve their fuel
economy," and its credit card, "which offers a 5% rebate on gas
SOURCE: New York Times, May 3, 2006
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"Putting VNRs, b-roll, and SMTs on the Web is quickly becoming a
corporate necessity," claims PR Week, referring to sponsored "news"
packages, interviews and other video. A MultiVu executive "notes
that pharma companies in particular are using broadcast content on
the Web to reach out to a different audience. ... MultiVu recently
produced a VNR package about osteoporosis for spinal-product company
Kyphon and later incorporated the footage into a multimedia news
release ... to target physicians." PR Week also suggests
distributing corporate video via podcasts, RSS feeds and iTunes. In
related news, "VNR Queen" Robin Raskin is featured on the new Yahoo!
Tech website. In their release announcing the site, Yahoo! calls
Raskin "The Boomer," and says she will provide "regular coverage
focused on a maturing audience." Red Herring writes that Yahoo! Tech
is "designed to help consumers and provide a preferred advertising
platform for product marketers."
SOURCE: PR Week (sub req'd), May 1, 2006
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The New York Times, Washington Post and other "major U.S. newspapers
often quote Jeff Kagan -- regarded as one of the most influential
telecommunications analysts -- but invariably leave out the fact
that he is paid by many companies in the industry to offer his
comments to the media," reports Tim Arango. Kagan's web site
describes him as a "'fee-based' analyst" who "gives interviews,
analysis and insights to the media for free, and charges everyone
else." Sprint, Verizon and BellSouth are among the companies that
have hired Kagan. "Kagan admits he is rarely asked by reporters if
he is being paid by the companies he is speaking about," writes
Arango. "He said he is more frequently asked if he has an investment
relationship with a particular company, and does not hold stock in
the companies he counts as clients."
SOURCE: New York Post, May 3, 2006
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Mark Matthews, reporter for KGO, the ABC TV affiliate in San
Francisco, traveled to Washington, DC, to investigate Rick Berman,
the booze, food and tobacco lobbyist behind and
many other front groups. Reports Matthews, "Berman set up the Center
for Consumer Freedom and a number of other tax exempt educational
organizations. And those educational non-profits all seem to support
messages that dove tail nicely with the food beverage and tobacco
industries that have hired Richard Berman. ... When we tried to ask
Rick Berman himself about that, he ducked out of our interview. ...
Berman wouldn't talk with us about how his non-profits are connected
financially to his lobbying business, and his research director
(David Martosko) didn't tell us. 'I don't know the firms that send
the Center for Consumer Freedom money. I don't want to know. It's
not my business to know.' ... The most recent available tax records
for the Center for Consumer Freedom show in 2004 Berman and Co. took
in a million-and-a-half dollars from the Center for Consumer
Freedom. ... Representative Pete Stark of Fremont, calls Berman's
operation an abuse."
SOURCE: KGO TV, San Francisco, May 3, 2006
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