THE WEEKLY SPIN, Wednesday, September 8, 2004
 
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THIS WEEK'S NEWS

1. Dem Advisors Flip Flop Hats
2. When Is A Front Group Not A Front Group?
3. The Pampered Press
4. Spreading Freedom at the RNC
5. Oily (Not Girly) Men
6. They Fought the Law and the Law Won
7. The Right Angle
8. In a Class of Their Own
9. Back to the Future
10. Winning the War on Terror?
11. Moore Bad News
12. Hijacking Catastrophe
13. Tick Tock TV Set Convention Coverage
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1. DEM ADVISORS FLIP FLOP HATS
www.nytimes.com/2004/09/08/politics/campaign/08adviser.html “Just last week, Stanley Greenberg was the polling mastermind guiding the way three liberal groups spent tens of millions of dollars attacking President Bush and registering voters. But he quit that position to be an unpaid adviser to the Kerry campaign as it presses to sharpen its message in the final 56 days before the election. Mr. Greenberg is just the latest in a procession of top strategists who have moved between the campaigns and advocacy groups called 527's – the very organizations that are not supposed to coordinate their activities under campaign finance rules.”
SOURCE: New York Times, September 8, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094616000
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2. WHEN IS A FRONT GROUP NOT A FRONT GROUP?
www.prweek.com/news/news_story.cfm?ID=221378&site=3 “We have been wrongfully labeled as an auto industry front group,” Ron DeFore, communications director for SUV Owners of America, told PR Week. The group is running a campaign opposing proposed regulations in California to limit truck and SUV emissions. Defore is also a principal at Stratacom, a PR firm that counts the auto industry as one of its biggest clients. Defore also told PR Week that Stratacomm had created the non-profit status of the SUV group two years ago after buying the name and other assets from its founder. “There was a tremendous need in the public-policy arena, as well as the media, for some balance to be brought to the coverage on SUVs,” Defore said. California represents 10% of the US auto market.
SOURCE: PR Week (sub. req'd.), September 6, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094600434
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3. THE PAMPERED PRESS
www.prweek.com/news/news_story.cfm?site=3&ID=221135&site=3&/news/news_story.cfm&setcookie=1 “Reporters who cover political conventions are accustomed to tiny workspaces, often shoddy technical setups, and few, if any, luxuries,” PR Week writes. “Last week, New York City and the GOP – with the help of GCI Group- went to great lengths to break the mold. Journalists covering the Republican National Convention … were treated to world-class accouterments, including facials, tailoring services, and gourmet food – drawing a marked contrast from the rather cramped conditions at the Democratic National Convention held last month in Boston. Most of the pampering took place across the street from [Madison Square] Garden in The Barneys Lounge, sponsored by upscale clothier Barneys … The services were arranged by the 2004 New York City Host Committee and supervised (and aggressively publicized) by GCI.” The PR firm told PR Week, “We're basically saying to the reporters, 'We know you're working hard. Let us make your lives easier while you're in New York.'”
SOURCE: PR Week (sub. req'd.), September 6, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094443200
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4. SPREADING FREEDOM AT THE RNC
www.alternet.org/election04/19783/ “Over the first three nights, the Republican Convention speakers carefully crafted a tri-partite frame for George W. Bush's Thursday acceptance speech: Night 1: The Global War on Terror defines our lives and our generation. Night 2: With enough discipline, all Americans can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become prosperous. Those girly men have only themselves to blame. Night 3: Kerry is weak, unpatriotic, antimilitary, against national security, without resolve, soft-hearted, confused, and totally unfit to be commander-in-chief,” linguistics professor George Lakoff writes. Examining the domestic agenda section of Bush's speech, Lakoff observes, “The 'opportunity society' rhetoric is crafted to sound like it will remedy the same ills that the Democrats are talking about. But it is virtually the opposite in real content.” The rest of Bush's speech was on the War on Terror, “though he never once used the phrase. The frame inspiring terror had been well established on previous nights, leaving Bush to talk about spreading freedom. Significantly, he did not once use the phrase 'war on terror,' but did use the word 'liberty' 11 times and 'free' or 'freedom' 23 times,” Lakoff writes.
SOURCE: Alternet, September 3, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094184003
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5. OILY (NOT GIRLY) MEN
www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/state/9571776.htm?1c “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ambitious plan to reorganize almost every aspect of state government was influenced significantly by oil and gas giant ChevronTexaco,” including “streamlining the permit process for the construction of new oil refineries” and “reorganizing the regulatory process for … energy facilities,” reports Associated Press. ChevronTexaco, “one of about 20 companies that paid the send the governor and his staff to this week's Republican National Convention,” has contributed more than $200,000 to Schwarzenegger committees and $500,000 to the California Republican Party since the October recall election. “That is what we are here for,” said ChevronTexaco's general manager over state government relations.
SOURCE: Associated Press, September 3, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094184002
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6. THEY FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON
www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/09/03/protest/ “As Republicans inside Madison Square Garden praised the NYPD for keeping order,” writes Michelle Goldberg, “grim stories of preemptive, arbitrary arrests, filthy jail conditions and long detentions without access to attorneys circulated among protesters, lawyers and quite a few ordinary New Yorkers who were arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. … Whenever groups of activists gathered, row upon row of riot cops would surround them with orange plastic netting and often arrest everyone inside, including journalists and bystanders. Police then defied state law by holding many people well over 24 hours without access to attorneys.” According to Elspeth Schell, whose daughter was among the detainees, “this is looking more and more like a South American Republic.”
SOURCE: Salon.com, September 3, 2004
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7. THE RIGHT ANGLE
www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=70970 “Stephan Savoia glowed about the picture he would take at the end of the Republican National Convention,” writes Karen Brown Dunlap.†”He planned it hours before the President's speech by suspending a camera high in Madison Square Garden for the right angle.†He imagined the beauty of the moment, but he also growled in anger. 'The picture will be exactly what the White House wanted,' he said. It would show President George W. Bush surrounded by a cheering crowd, family, confetti, and balloons after his nomination acceptance speech. He would be standing on a special stage with the Presidential seal underfoot.†'Why do you think they put the Presidential seal on the floor?' Savoia said. “We're sucked into the photo op.'”
SOURCE: Poynter Online, September 3, 2004
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8. IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN
news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=42547 “Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist hijackings, the Pentagon hired the Rendon Group to orchestrate sympathetic media coverage around the globe, including Muslim countries. The firm has worked for the government of Kuwait since the Persian Gulf War. In the 1990s, the CIA hired the Rendon Group to wage a public relations war against Saddam Hussein. … Rendon helped create and promote the Iraqi National Congress, the exile group headed by Ahmed Chalabi.” The PR firm has come under scrutiny again, for receiving more than $14,000 of Massachusetts' anti-terrorism funds to videotape a state police graduation ceremony in August 2002.
SOURCE: Boston Herald, September 2, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094097603
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9. BACK TO THE FUTURE
www.slate.com/id/2106214/ “For $2.4 trillion, guess what word other than 'a,' 'and,' and 'the' – occurs most frequently in the acceptance speech George W. Bush delivered tonight,” writes William Saletan. “The word is 'will.' It appears 76 times. This was a speech all about what Bush will do, and what will happen, if he becomes president. Except he already is president. He already ran this campaign. He promised great things. They haven't happened. So, he's trying to go back in time. He wants you to see in him the potential you saw four years ago. He can't show you the things he promised, so he asks you to envision them. … Bush pointed to the wars he had launched and the bills he had signed, but he couldn't point to the benefits those laws and wars were supposed to deliver. The benefits haven't happened yet. They 'will.'”
SOURCE: Slate, September 2, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094097602
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10. WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR?
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5889435/ “As speakers at the GOP convention trumpet Bush administration successes in the war on terrorism, an NBC News analysis of Islamic terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, shows that attacks are on the rise worldwide – dramatically,” report Robert Rivas and Robert Windrem NBC News. “Of the roughly 2,929 terrorism-related deaths around the world since the attacks on New York and Washington, the NBC News analysis shows 58 percent of them – 1,709 – have occurred this year.”
SOURCE: MSNBC, September 2, 2004
To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit: www.prwatch.org/forum/discuss.php?id=1094097601

11. MOORE BAD NEWS
www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000623684 “Security guards at the Republican National Convention overreacted when USA Today guest columnist Michael Moore entered Madison Square Garden Monday night and were responsible for a disruption that made it difficult for several members of the press, including Moore, to cover the proceedings, said the U.S. House Daily Press Gallery, which oversees press credentials for the convention. The gallery conducted a review of the Monday incident, which it calls the worst case of police media control since the 1968 Chicago convention.”
SOURCE: Editor and Publisher, September 2, 2004
To discuss this story in the PR Watch Forum, visit: www.prwatch.org/forum/discuss.php?id=1094097600

12. HIJACKING CATASTROPHE
www.mef.tv/index.php?module=pagesetter&func=viewpub&tid=2&pid=1 A new video from the Media Education Foundation examines how the Bush administration uses the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to manipulate Americans. Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire places the last three years of White House deceptions in a global context, asking questions seldom posed by mainstream corporate media. The hour-long documentary features nearly twenty political observers, including Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, former Chief UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, former Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams, international activist Vandan Shiva, journalism academic Robert Jensen, and musician Michael Franti. “By helping us understand how fear is being actively cultivated and manipulated by the current administration, Hijacking Catastrophe stands to become an explosive and empowering information weapon in this decisive year in U.S. history,” writes Naomi Klein, author of No Logo.
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094070476
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13. TICK TOCK TV SET CONVENTION COVERAGE
journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/08/31/cnn_rnc.html “The idea was to grab a location 'that screamed New York.' And said politics,” PressThink's Jay Rosen writes of his meeting with Sam Feist, CNN senior executive producer for political programming, at the Tick Tock Diner, a “real” New York City diner catty corner from Madison Square Garden that is being used as a TV set for CNN's convention coverage. While CNN sees the story of the RNC taking place inside the convention hall, Feist told Rosen the network is ready to cover the protests “a little or a lot, it depends on the size of the protests, it frankly depends on whether any protests turn violent, … and obviously whether or not the protests disrupt the convention.” Rosen asked Feist, “The protests disrupt the convention if they disrupt the televising of the convention— isn't that so?” He answered, “I don't see that the protests have disrupted the televising of the convention and I don't see that happening.” Rosen writes in his blog: “New York and Boston are parallel events, they will get equal coverage. There was nothing to puzzle over, even with the signs of a counter convention on the streets of New York. We cover the news, Sam reasoned. If the protests make news, we'll cover that.”
SOURCE: Press Think, September 1, 2004
More web links related to this story are available at: www.prwatch.org/spin/September_2004.html#1094011200
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