Utne Blogs > Media

The Evilest People in Public Relations

by Rachel Levitt


Tags: Media, mainstream media, media criticism, Falsies Awards 2008, PR Watch, Center for Media and Democracy,

2007 Falsies AwardsFor the past five years, the Center for Media and Democracy has singled out the PR hacks most deserving of negative attention, handing out Falsies Awards each year to those guilty of “polluting our information environment” with spin, subversion, and downright dishonesty.

This year’s nominees include Mail Moves America, which insists that junk mail is actually important communication, to “Clean Coal” campaigns from Americans for Balanced Energy Choices. (Both are front groups funded by advertisers and coal producers, respectively). There’s also an opportunity for write-ins if you think a particularly deserving person or organization is missing from the list.

In addition to pinpointing these media evils, the Falsies committee gives out the “Win Against Spin” award to honor those who have been a sharp knife of truth cutting through the B.S.

Voting ends December 1, so cast your ballot and give these nefarious nominees what they deserve!

Image courtesy of the Center for Media and Democracy.

paul_2
12/2/2008 10:53:41 AM

Dear Mr. Broder, I understand you have a very nice house with a beautiful yard and flower gardens. Here, let me dump this load on manure on your front yard. What? You didn't ask for it? But it's free and you do want greener grass and more beautiful flowers than your neighbors don't you? I'll be dropping off another load each week, free of charge. No need to thank me. Merry Christmas! Paul


teona henderson
11/24/2008 5:00:19 PM

Dear Mr. Broder, I wonder if you have heard of the phrase "banality of evil?" (coined by Hannah Arendt). It suggests that many people who love dogs and are great parents are engaged in nefarious activities. After all, they justify what they do by a) providing for their families and b) if I am not going to do it, someone else will. Most evil deeds were done by people just "doing their job." It is a shame you are using your talent for sophistry to further the interests of industry that should never further their interest. If, as you suggest, you want to have a conversation based on facts, why does your industry dismiss so many facts detrimental to your cause and combats real facts from getting out? If you accuse environmentalists and consumers of distorting facts, why should that not apply to your industry? After all, your industry has much more to lose. "All forms of communication have an environmental footprint, even the Utne Reader and its companion website." Your quote is a red herring. No one suggest otherwise, it is you who are using this superfluous comment to distract from the real facts like the fact that Utne readers SUBSCRIBE to the magazine or buy it while junk mail is unwanted and efforts to block junk mail are met by false earnest pleas for dialogue pereptuated by industry sophists like you. Yes, let's have real dialogue and honest dialogue, but I wonder how long your chicanery will work and if it does, what have you really won? It will be your nice family and dog that will be the real victims of your deceit. I am always amazed at the confidence of people who are digging their own graves. Happy Thanksgiving to you Mr. Broder, Sofia


matt broder
11/21/2008 8:19:16 AM

Dear Ms. Levitt -- It's a shame when emotionally-loaded words like "evil," "hacks," and "front groups" are used to describe our work, when all we want is simply to have an honest exploration of the pros and cons of direct mail based on actual facts. All forms of communication have an environmental footprint, even the Utne Reader and its companion website. The mailing industry is working to reduce its carbon emissions, presumably just like you are. The more quickly we can engage in a fact-based conversation where both sides are truly listening to each other and learning from each other, the better off we will all be. We're not evil. Many of us come from nice families and have dogs that we treat well. Happy Thanksgiving! Matt Broder VP, External Communications Pitney Bowes Inc.