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Credit Card Fine Print You Missed

secret history of the credit card: the fine print: "The detailed agreement that comes with a new credit card contains provisions that can add up to hefty fees, penalties and rising interest rates. A look at some of the important sections of a typical contract."

(Via Frontline PBS)


BBC reveals use of Fake News

The Controller of Editorial Policy for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Stephen Whittle, has written to David Miller from the European PR watchdog group Spinwatch stating that the use of audio news supplied by the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), an agency funded by the UK Ministry of Defence, was 'not ideal'. Miller revealed the use of fake news by the BBC a little over a week ago.
Main source:
Scoop, March 24, 2005
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0503/S00240.htmPR Watch's Spin of the Day

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Review: We Know What You Want

News From Nowhere - reviews » “We Know What You Want: How They Change Your Mind” by Martin Howard: "Did you know that the classic business self-help text How To Win Friends and Influence People is part of the CIA’s training on interrogation techniques? Or that product placement doesn’t just happen in films, that people in the street or a bar enthusing about a product or brand might have been paid to do so? The book is packed with fascinating information like this."

(Via News From Nowhere.)


Neuroeconomics - Hacking your head gently

via MetaFilter: "Neuroeconomics: 'Eventually it could help economists design incentives that gently guide people toward making decisions that are in their long-term best interests in everything from labor negotiations to diets to 401(k) plans.' Note the ambiguous use of the pronoun 'their'--are we talking about the long-term interests of people in general or of economists?"

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Choicepoint stores 77 page dossiers on citizens

My Life, according to the data merchants

"To find out just what these companies have on us, I bought dossiers on myself from both, spending less than $30. Like most major news organizations, the AP has accounts with data brokers...
...Accurint's list of my possible relatives was brief and dead-on, almost scarily so. That was in distinct contrast to ChoicePoint, whose 200-person list of possible relatives, while rich with celebrities, was largely inaccurate. (If I had my choice between being related to former Go-Go's band leader Belinda Carlisle and dyspeptic playwright Neil Simon, both of whom are in my ChoicePoint dossier, I'd pick Belinda in a heartbeat.)
My Accurint file was 17 pages of small type. For about $25, my ChoicePoint file was 77 pages long. It covered much of the same ground Accurint did but included many more digressions, such as those 200 possible relatives."

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Fake News is Global

(Via AboveTopSecret.com.)

Propaganda Report Finds Bias in Iraq Coverage: "At least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department, have produced and distributed hundreds of phony television news segments in the past four years. Three times in the past year alone, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that government-made news segments push the window on covert propaganda. The Pentagon Channel now is offered to all US media - army public affairs specialists beam news reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. The military-financed Web site at http://www.dvidshub.net provides US TV stations with free news segments. US law and FCC regulations prohibit government propaganda, but the White House is using legal technicalities to fight the restrictions. On Friday, the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget circulated a memorandum instructing all executive branch agencies to ignore the G.A.O. findings."

14 Words Never to Use

Political Strategy - Politics, Strategies, Tactics, News and Opinion: "In the tenth and final installment of the text version of the Luntz Republican playbook, Frank warns conservatives of the 14 words they should never, ever use -- and then graciously provides 'proper' alternatives."

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Language: A Key Mechanism of Control

Time to revisit a classic propaganda guide...

Language: A Key Mechanism of Control: "Language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party, along with Agenda, Rules, Attitude and Learning. As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates we have heard a plaintive plea: 'I wish I could speak like Newt.'...That takes years of practice. But, we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases."

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White House Fake News Probe: NY Times

From Chuck Currie:

"1984 Bush-style The New York Times is reporting in an extensive article that the Bush Administration has attempted to manipulate the media in unprecedented ways:

Under the Bush administration, the federal government has aggressively used a well-established tool of public relations: the prepackaged, ready-to-serve news report that major corporations have long distributed to TV stations to pitch everything from headache remedies to auto insurance. In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.

It is clear that an independent counsel is required to investigate this White House and their role in pushing propaganda as news to the American public.

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Lebanese opposition buys US support

Pro-Cedar, Anti-Syria

The Lebanese American Council for Democracy, the 'group that played a key role in the passage of the Syrian Accountability Act,' retained 5W Public Relations for 'strategic counsel and media relations.' The group's goal is 'to gain support from U.S. political leaders and United Nations officials to pressure Syria to withdraw its troops.' The group is reportedly 'closely aligned with Michel Aoun, the former Prime Minister who was ousted by the Syrians' in 1990.

PR Week (reg. req'd.), March 10, 2005

PR Watch's Spin of the Day

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Book shows risks of surveillance society

Daniel J. Solove, The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the
Information Age

"A pathbreaking account of the threat to privacy in today’s digitized world.

Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, electronic databases are compiling information about you. As you surf the Internet, an unprecedented amount of your personal information is being recorded and preserved forever in the digital minds of computers.  These databases create a profile of activities, interests, and preferences used to investigate backgrounds, check credit, market products, and make a wide variety of decisions affecting our lives. The creation and use of these databases--which Daniel J. Solove calls ‘digital dossiers’--has thus far gone largely unchecked.  In this startling account of new technologies for gathering and using personal data, Solove explains why digital dossiers pose a grave threat to our privacy."

The propaganda you paid for

Watching the spinners paid by US: "Ever wonder who gets the spin money from the government to sell us everything from wars to reforms to reconnect the Army with the American people. A rundown on the seven biggest PR firms doing business with the government, and their refusal to come clean about what it is they're doing with our tax money. PRWatch has much, much more, including exposing the funding and associations pushing Social Security 'reform'"


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Choicepoint personal data files riddled with errors

Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography): "Deborah Pierce held a rare and precious document in her hands. It was the story of her life, as told by ChoicePoint Inc. She wasn't supposed to see it; an anonymous source had smuggled the report to her. But there it was, her "National Comprehensive Report," 20 pages long, a complete dossier of all the digital breadcrumbs she's left behind during her adult life ... Pierce said she felt an uneasy twinge in her stomach as she began to flip the pages. A dozen former addresses were listed, along with neighbors and their phone numbers. Almost 20 people were listed as relatives -- and their neighbors were listed, too. There were cars she supposedly owned, businesses she supposedly worked for.

But the more closely she looked, the more alarmed she became: The report was littered with mistakes.

ChoicePoint, the now embattled database giant, aggregates data from hundreds of sources on millions of Americans. The reports are then sold to thousands of companies and government agencies that want to know more about their clients, customers, or employees.

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Your online behaviour being recorded to use against you

Customer Surveillance intensifies...

TACODA: "With TACODA's Audience Management Services™ (AMS) publishers can dramatically expand the value of their inventory using behavioral targeting.

AMS gives publishers an eye into the behavioral value of their audience and enhances their ability to sell their Inventory and audience to high-value advertisers."


[Your Name Here] University

[Your Name Here] University: "

Philip G. Altbach has a fine op-ed in tomorrow's Christian Science Monitor about the sale of naming rights at colleges and universities. The trend towards sale of naming rights, Altbach writes, will 'inevitably weaken the concept of the university as an institution that is devoted to the search for truth and the transmission of knowledge, of an institution with almost a millennium of history.'

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Profile: Frank Luntz, Opinion Engineer

Read a comprehensive profile on Frank Luntz at Source watch including leaked memos describing his controversial insights on opinion management via language tricks.

Frank Luntz - SourceWatch: "Frank Luntz, the Republican Party pollster and political consultant, is president and CEO of Luntz Research Companies, which offers 'Strategic Consulting and Message Development,' focus groups, surveys and other research for political and corporate campaigns.[1]


VNR on CNN Domestic: "Are you watching the free advertisement for Virgin Atlantic? The GlobalFlyer's landing has been live on CNN for the past half hour or so. It's a nice story, but why are they live for this long? In true VNR format the video is coming directly from the GlobalFlyer folks. Jeez."

Source: Lost Remote

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ASVAB Army Recruiters Tricks

ASVAB Recruiters' Tricks Revealed in Their Own Handbook: "The most striking feature of the Army's School
Recruiting Program Handbook is the forthright way in which it states the purpose of recruiter presence in high schools. Page 1, paragraph 1.1 says it all: 'School ownership is the goal.' It is hard to imagine that any educator or school administrator, no matter how supportive of the military, would not be outraged and deeply offended by this statement."

(Via From Akins Journalism Blog.)

RFID Spychip ban bid in California

Someone is taking action to place limits on the emerging RFID technology...

Anti-RFID Legislation: "California spy-chip ID card ban? p2pnet.net News:- A California senator has introduced a bill aimed at banning spy chip ID cards in the state. Joe Simitian’s SB 682 would, ‘would prohibit identity documents (including library cards) created, mandated, or issued by various public entities from containing a contactless integrated ..."

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Neuromarketing Probe for Subliminal Triggers

Marketers Peer Into Our Brains to Sell, Sell, Sell

fmribrain.jpg"Tomorrow's Los Angeles Times has a front page article on neuromarketing -- the use of fMRIs not for healing but for marketing purposes.

The article has excellent reporting of what some neuromarketers are actually do. But it doesn't well explain the core problem of neuromarketing: what happens if it makes commercial and political propaganda more effective? ...This is no trivial matter. If neuromarketing really makes propaganda more effective, then the implications are serious, because it could lead to more marketing-related diseases, and the stirring up of ethnic & racial hatreds, totalitarianism, fascism, and genocide."

Commercial Alert

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Secret Scents Influence Customers

De-Scent into Madness

nose.jpg"Is this the smell of victory for the shopping mall chains?

Yesterday's Washington Post reported on a study which found that shoppers spent $20 more per outing when under the influence of a citrus aroma....What will the marketeers do next?"

Commercial Alert
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Front Group Under Criminal Investigation

Back Scratching and Greenwashing
The Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, a nonprofit organization founded by Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Grover Norquist, has been subpoenaed by 'an interagency criminal task force investigating former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.' Abramoff and associates are being investigated for 'their dealings with Indian tribes.' CREA received significant contributions from tribes represented by Abramoff, as a quid pro quo for help with 'the tribes' lobbying of the Interior Department,' according to anonymous sources.

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Hidden Language Style Helps PR Pros

You Don't Say

"Communications professor Nancy Snow deconstructs GOP pollster Frank Luntz's memo titled 'The 14 Words Never to Use.' Luntz writes, 'Effectively communicating the New American Lexicon requires you to STOP saying words and phrases that undermine your ability to educate the American people.' Included on the blacklist are 'privatization' ('it evokes images of fat cats on Wall Street picking our pockets,' explains Snow), 'global economy / globalization / capitalism' (these words remind us 'of a world of winners and losers,' writes Snow), and 'outsourcing.' Instead of discussing 'outsourcing,' suggests Luntz, 'we should talk about the 'root cause' ..."

Common Dreams, February 26, 2005

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