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Republican Spin Manual Exposed

Track Details Here
"[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:"

Download Manual Here

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Choicepoint is watching you

Expect a Few Choice Words for ChoicePoint: "

Even if you don't know what ChoicePoint is, they probably know something about you. A spin off of a credit reporting agency, ChoicePoint has 19 billion public records in it's files. And criminals accessed as many as 500,000 The Senate plans hearings on identity theft as a result. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee want more regulation of information brokers to safeguard against identity theft. And Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) agreed to the hearings the minute they asked for it.


Watching Washington

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Bogus New Stories Under Production

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 propaganda

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News stories disguise 'rollover ads'

Webs ads blur line between news and advertisingwads0205.jpgOnline 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 Feed

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Prepackaged VNR news under microscope

All the News that's Fit to be Prepackaged
from: http://watchingwashington.blogspot.com/
"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 media

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Biased experts distort nutrition news

Scare Tactics and Really Bad Science

"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 ..."


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Ad Creep in Central Park?

"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 Monitor

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Researchers Expose Corporate Spin

The Sleuths of Spin: "

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 Day

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PR Damage Control for Halliburton's Iran Deals

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
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Syria steps up opinion engineering

See Syria Spin

'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
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Close-up on Armstrong Williams Propaganda

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 Day

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Movement to Stop Government Propaganda

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 III

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Army Propaganda drive targets highschoolers

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.

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Company offers "Social Movement Creation"

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

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Govt Accountability Office Probes White House Propaganda

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."

More about Subliminal Media Persuasion

Subliminal Encoding Machine Available to Stores

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."

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Deceptive Drug Promotion Tricks Patients

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.[1]
> 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.[8]"

More about Subliminal Persuasion

Social Control Via New ID Cards

National Wireless ID Cards:

nationalid.jpg image"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.

From high-tech driver's licenses to national ID cards? [CNet]

Disturbing New Revelations About MATRIX Surveillance Program

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 demonstrated

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.)


Bogus White House Reporter Quits

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.)

Fake Blogs Wiki

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."

(Via Cutting Through - A live case study.)

California School Institutes Mandatory RFID Chips

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."

(Via AboveTopSecret.com.)

Out Come the Talons

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 chipping raises legal issues

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.)


McDonald's Product Placement Plan

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.


Manipulating Government for Profit

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

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)."

(Via Disinformation.)

Defining Domestic Propagand

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..."

(Via Captology Notebook - Stanford University.)


Customer Surveillance at Tesco

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

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.


Top 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories

Have you heard about these humanitarian disaster stories? If not, you need to get better news coverage... Uganda | Democratic Republic of Congo | Colombia | Tuberculosis | Somalia | Chechnya | Burundi | North Korea | Ethiopia | Liberia

The Top 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2004.


Companies paying to get on the news

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."

(Via Blogdigger search for vnr media.)

Monsanto Manipulated Pollution Assessment

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.)

Human Surveillance Chip Tested "for Hospitals"

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.)

Cult Leader Helps Fund Bush Celebrations

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

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"

(Via Adrants)


Govt propaganda agent engineered war opinion

Shill to the Stars and Stripes: The Independent profiles secretive PR executive John Rendon, whose firm often works for the U.S. government and military. 'In 2001 he won a contract to handle the PR aspects of U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan. ... The following year the Pentagon hired the Rendon Group to assist its own propaganda agency, the Office of Strategic Information, which was later publicly disbanded amid claims it would engage in 'black' propaganda. Independent, January 31, 2005(Via PR Watch )

Propaganda poster uses deceptive image

Photoshopped propaganda image
Linda Eddy's photoshopped poster, which takes an Iraqi child whose mother has just been killed and turns it into propaganda saying the child is 'glad' for the war in Iraq."(Via PR Watch)

Voicemail broadcast aimed at elderly

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

(Via PR Watch's Spin of the Day)