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"[Influential conservative strategist Frank Luntz has produced a 160-page playbook to advance the right-wing agenda. Think Progress cuts through the spin and gives you the tools you need to fight back. Check here for updates throughout the week.]
Luntz’s playbook is full of things people should never say if they don’t want to undermine the right-wing agenda. Here’s how you can be Frank Luntz’s worst nightmare:"
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Watching WashingtonMore about Subliminal Persuasion
Beware the coming propaganda juggernaut'The president himself has been campaigning vigorously for his 'plan,' as have his surrogates. But we now know that the Bush administration regularly employs less transparent and more deceptive techniques to manipulate opinion. In pursuit of the president's political goals, federal agencies have hired pundits with public funds -- creating bogus news stories that appear on television -- and the administration has permitted at least one fake news organization..."
Blogdigger search for propagandaMore about Subliminal Persuasion
Webs ads blur line between news and advertisingOnline sites are generating new revenue by steering readers to advertisements when they click on certain words. But when keywords are embedded in the text of news articles, the sites are generating questions as well. Two months after forbes.com ended an experiment with such keyword ads, citing unease among its reporters, The New York Post is considering adopting the practice for its site.
Business news articles appearing Wednesday on www.nypost.com included underlined words in green; when a visitor rolled a mouse over those words, a small box labeled 'sponsored link' appeared with an advertising message and a link to more information.
An article about rising oil prices and the falling dollar, for example, referred to the Conference Board, the business-sponsored nonprofit research group that issued consumer confidence index figures Wednesday. About 400 online publishers have adopted it, said Doug Stevenson, chief executive at Vibrant Media in New York, which developed it. (NEW YORK TIMES)"
Agenda Inc. Live FeedMore about News Media Corruption
All the News that's Fit to be Prepackaged
"Comptroller General David Walker has fired off a memo to federal agencies warning them about 'pre-packaged news.' The PR tool has caused problems for at least two cabinet Departments -- for breaking federal anti-propaganda laws.
The prepacked news stories are called 'video news releases' -- or VNRs in the business. They are one-sided, PR pieces that look like an actual news story. They've gotten on the air without changes -- and without any mention that they are produced by your government.
In his memo, Comptroller General Walker wrote, 'Television-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government. We concluded that those prepackaged news stories violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition.'
His memo goes on to say it's not enough that the content is not objectionable nor that the VNR is identified as a government produced spot. He says the disclosures have to be clear to the television viewing audience. (WashPost)..."
Blogdigger search for vnr mediaMore about Subliminal Persuasion
"Bogus and heavily biased ‘scientific’ studies are unfortunately, more common than we’d like to believe. But I have to say, if one were doling out awards for the most idiotic, astoundingly stupid interpretation of study data, then the award will have to go to Lindsay H. Allen, RD, PhD, who apparently masquerades as a professor of nutrition at the University of California, Davis. I say ‘masquerades’ because it is impossible to believe that a real professor, one who is instructing students, could stand up and deliver the statements that she did.
In one of the most irresponsible and flat out ignorant statements of recent days, Allen, who also happens to be the Director, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center (mmm, do I sniff a bias lurking in the shadows?) actually stood up and announced at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that ‘There’s absolutely no question that it’s unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans.’
Okay, we already know that anything that emerges from Allen’s mouth is going to be heavily biased towards the meat and dairy industry, as the USDA ..."
www.nabeepchen.comMore about Hired Experts
"Gates" A Blind For Ads in the Park?: "Robert Lederman, who has championed artists' rights to vend and display work along Central Park, indicts Bloomberg and the Central Park Conservancy of using 'The Gates' as a stepping stone to ad kiosks in Central Park. Christo vends in the park, and the 'Street Furniture Initiative' takes one step closer to mutilating our landscapes."
The Stop Shopping MonitorMore about Subliminal Persuasion
Bill Berkowitz writes that the Center for Media and Democracy's 'sleuths of spin John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton have exposed how corporate shills and government spokespersons manipulate the media and undermine democracy for more than a decade,' and are now 'setting about an ambitious - yet necessary - undertaking: reinventing journalism.' Berkowitz interviews Center founder Stauber about recent media scandals involving PR, payola, and fakejournalists.
Alternet, February 22, 2005
PR Watch's Spin of the DayMore about Subliminal Persuasion
PR Damage Control for Halliburton's Iran Deals
'Only weeks before Halliburton made headlines by announcing it was pulling out of Iran ... the Texas-based oil services firm quietly signed a major new business deal to help develop Tehran’s natural gas fields,' Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball write. 'But overlooked in most of the press coverage of the announcement was that [Halliburton CEO David] Lesar’s statement contained enough wiggle room to permit Halliburton to continue participating in the new South Pars project.
Newsweek, February 16, 2005
More about Subliminal Persuasion
'The Syrian government, increasingly under fire for its suspected role in sponsoring terrorist activity, has launched a PR offensive to improve its image in the West,' reports PR Week. The Syrian Society for Public Relations, in collaboration with the British International Society for Public Relations, 'will educate officials about how to maintain good relations with foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, the media...
PR Week (reg. req'd.), February 17, 2005
More about Subliminal Persuasion
PR, as in Profit and Propaganda
'The Armstrong Williams scandal is an example of the close coordination between the advertiser and the commentator ... that violates disclosure and conflicts-of-interest principles,' the Center for Media and Democracy's Sheldon Rampton told the New York Times' Timothy O'Brien. O'Brien's article gives a historical overview of the PR industry, including many firms' consolidation into marketing and communications companies.
PR Watch's Spin of the DayMore about Subliminal Persuasion
Stop Government Propaganda Act: "NEW YORK In response to continued revelations of government-funded 'journalism' -- ranging from the purported video news releases put out by the drug czar's office and the Department of Health and Human Services (news - web sites) to the recently uncovered payments to columnists Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher,who flacked administration programs -- Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) will introduce a bill, The Stop Government Propaganda Act, in the Senate next week."
Phase IIIMore about Government Propaganda
The Advocate - Connecticut guard taking measures to increase enlistment: "The Connecticut National Guard, facing a large enlistment shortage, is planning a cable television show, a magazine for young people and more recruiters as part of a new plan to boost its ranks.
The strategy also includes more recruiting visits to high schools and efforts to entice soldiers leaving active duty to remain.
guerilla PR boast some fairly heavy persuasion services: in their "CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY DIVISION they offer
* Social Movement Creation
* Sub-Cultural (Segment) Insight
* Product Ideation
* Promotional Platform Development
Defining Domestic Propaganda:
Day to Day, February 10, 2005 · The Government Accountability Office is investigating three cases where the Bush administration paid journalists to promote a certain policy. NPR's Madeleine Brand examines the cases and explores the definition of propaganda."
Real time subliminal encoding equipment: "The System99 works by transmitting silent subliminal affirmations via radio waves using a Psycho-Acoustic masking technique. The System99 is played via a main audio amplifier and speaker system transmitting the silent subliminal affirmations into the environment... The System99 transmits subliminal messages into any environment without a background or foreground music source. The System99 is one of the most effective (mind manipulation) systems sold world-wide."More about Subliminal Persuasion
Misleading drug promotion is a major problem: "Six good reasons to be concerned about drug promotion:
> Drug companies spend on average around 35% of sales on promotion.
> Companies would not spend such massive amounts on promotion if it were not effective at influencing prescribing. In Australia spending on drug promotion has now reached somewhere between $ 1.3 billion to $ 2.0 billion per year. (See calculations)
> Promotion influences prescribing much more than most health professionals realise.[2-5]
> Many advertisements and statements from pharmaceutical representatives are misleading.[6,7]
> Promotion which exaggerates benefits and glosses over risks, threatens optimal treatment.
> Reliance on promotional information may endanger lives and expose prescribers to the risk of litigation."
"CNet's Declan McCullagh breaks it down one time like they used to in 1984, when men were women, and the gradual erosion of anonymity was just an ironically distant rumbling. It seems Congress has endorsed a 'standardized, electronically readable driver's license' initiative that would effectively end up being a Federal-level ID card. That's bad, I've been told, because such a technology will eventually have something to do with fiery demons taking our jobs as local grocery clerks or something like that. Honestly, as long as they wear flame-retardant aprons, I'm fine with it.
It seems that new US Passports will be RFID capable soon already, so I'd imagine a national standard driver's license would be something similar. That's not something they can track you from space with, but that's why we have satellites.
American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Unveils Disturbing New Revelations About MATRIX Surveillance Program: "Matrix operators sent to federal law enforcement authorities a list of 120,000 names of individuals who had been scored with a high 'terrorism quotient.' Seisint, the company that operates Matrix, claimed that scores of arrests resulted from the list. "
Unethical persuasive technology example: "Here's a great (and terrifying) example of what designers could use technology for if no ethical checks existed. Imagine you called your local pizza place in the year 2020...
Also note the effectiveness of this simulation as a way..." (Via Captology Notebook - Stanford University.)
Gannon Quits After Blogger Inquiry'The Talon News correspondent at the center of a scandal over his White House press credentials quit last night amid a growing online investigation into his history, including allegations of involvement with several websites appearing to support gay pornography and promote male prostitution,' reports Timothy Karr.
MediaCitizen, February 9, 2005
(Via PR Watch's Spin of the Day.)
The Fake Blogs Wiki: "With all the recent fuss about fake blogs (and acting on a suggestion from Steve Rubel) we’ve set up a wiki as a ‘clearing house’ for details of blogs that marketing functions would like to have us all think are genuine, but are actually about as real as Piltdown Man."
California Elementary School Institutes Mandatory RFID Chips - Parents Outraged: "A California grade school has taken the adventurous and somewhat alarming step of launching a compulsory RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) program to identify its students. Citing more efficient attendence checking and improved security, school authorities notified parents of the impending introduction of the program via mail, in addition to a publication in the school newsletter. Concerned parents have complained to school authorities and submitted their case to civil liberties groups."
Out Come the Talons: "As you likely know by now, critics of the White House press corps don't have 'Jeff Gannon' to kick around anymore. Gannon, whose real name is James D. Guckert, quit his post at the conservative Talon News, a website operated..."
(Via CJR Campaign Desk.)
RFID & The Law: "Below is the conclusion of a good article about the potential of existing laws to be altered to address RFID privacy issues. The writers end on an optimistic note. I'm not so sure lawmakers will do what's best, however. The battle over privacy and RFID is already ..."
(Via Blogdigger search for rfid.)
Shill to the Beat of the Drum
McDonald's and MTV Networks have partnered, in a bid by the fast-food giant 'to reach young people without running advertisements.' Instead of ads, a new '30-minute monthly programme called MTV Advance Warning' will 'feature new musical talent combined with McDonald's advertising imagery.' The program will run in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia.
A Lobbyist's Progress: "...they are what Republicans in Washington used to call 'Beltway Bandits,' profiteers who manipulate the power of big government on behalf of well-heeled people who pay them tons of money to do so. Sometime around 1995, Republicans in Washington stopped using the term 'Beltway Bandits.'..." (Via MetaFilter.)
Fake News, Fake Reporter: "'When President Bush bypassed dozens of eager reporters from nationally and internationally recognized news outlets and selected Jeff Gannon to pose a question at his Jan. 26 news conference, Bush's recognition bestowed instant credibility on the apparently novice reporter, as well as the little-known conservative organization he worked for at the time, called Talon News. That attention only intensified when Gannon used his nationally televised press conference time to ask Bush a loaded, partisan question -- featuring a manufactured quote that mocked Democrats for being 'divorced from reality.'
(Salon Magazine article)."
Defining Domestic Propaganda: "The Government Accounting Office is investigating three cases where the Bush administration paid journalists to promote a certain policy. NPR's Madeleine Brand examines the cases and explores the definition of propaganda."(Via Blogdigger search for propaganda.)
Recent developments in Advergaming: "As part of an 18-month global campaign that kicks off on May 5, Disney will roll out an interactive, multiplayer game called "Virtual Magic Kingdom." It aims to provide a virtual visit to Disney's five global resorts and 11 theme parks to anyone with an Internet connection. The target: "tweens" ages 8 to 12 and young teens.... The goal: push kids to urge their parents to visit a Disney park during the anniversary promotion that also includes the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland on Sept. 12. "eens 'As part of an 18-month global campaign that kicks off on May 5, Disney will..."
Tesco RFID's "The group CASPIAN has called for a worldwide boycott of Tesco stores, after they announced plans to use RFID tags to track some individual items, giving them the ability to link a purchase to a crdit card sale, and from there track the purchasers behavior. FIGHT THE MAN!" (Via Blogdigger search for rfid.)
Manipulating Minds: A Closer Look at Bush's Speeches: "Like many other recent Bush speeches his inaugural address was charged with ideology and emotive symbolism. His speech writers, whatever else one may think of them, are particularly adept at manipulating ideological platitudes, popular psychology and mass culture.
Achieving success with your VNR in 2005: "This article from PR Week details the increasing opportunities for the use of 'Video News releases', or VNRs -- ads disguised as news reports distributed by PR companies to be broadcast as news -- thanks to 'a shrinking news hole'."Some companies are paying to guarantee their story appears on the news: "Ed Lamoureaux, SVP of sales and marketing for West Glen Communications, says he has noticed a significant rise in the use of guaranteed or paid placements for VNRs.
“The idea of securing a placement and using a VNR is more of a grassroots outreach and has become very popular,” Lamoureaux says. “It goes hand in hand with the coming together of advertising and PR."
Monsanto pays up: "What do you do if you're trying to plant genetically engineered cotton in a hurry, but the government wants to make sure there won't be any environmental damage from doing so? If you're the giant Monsanto corporation, one answer might be: bribe somebody to skip over that pesky environmental assessment. Who knows how many times this tried and true practice has worked before? This time, they've been caught red-handed in Indonesia, and fined US$1.5 million."
(Via News from Greenpeace.)
Harvard Medical School CIO Tests Embedded RFID Chip: "The CIO of the Harvard Medical School has offered himself as a guinea pig in order to determine how the human body affect the functioning of wireless RFID (radio-frequency identification) devices and whether RFID can be a practical technology in hospitals."
(Via Blogdigger search for rfid.)
Rev. Moon funnels $250,000 for Bush inaugural bash: "Rev. Moon, purported ‘Messiah’ and 'cult leader' of the Unification Church has ‘funneled’ $250,000 to help pay for President Bush’s inaugural festivities reports John Gorenfeld of I approve this messiah.com. The $250,000 cash contribution, which represents the limit set for..."
(Via Cult News.com.)
Goodyear Advertises on Basketball Player's Head: "Seems there's no end to the use of the human body as a walking billboard. Just a few days ago, Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton wore the pattern of Goodyear's Assurance TripleTred tire pattern as a hairstyle during the game against the Knicks in Det"
Who May I Say Is Calling?
'Automated callers are phoning seniors in at least a dozen Republican congressional districts across the country telling them their representative favors 'privatizing Social Security,'' reports the Hill. The calls are targeting 'Republican members with high concentrations of senior citizens ... in potentially close districts.' They warn of a two trillion dollar cost to taxpayers and decreased retiree benefits, saying Social Security 'should be in a lock box, not a Wall Street slot machine.' No group has claimed responsibility for the calls. Main source: The Hill, January 27, 2005