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Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
Media, Activist Groups, & PR
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Media, Activist Groups, & PR

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  • 1. Public Relations, Activist Groups, Media, and the Environment A recipe for Crisis Communication!
  • 2. A Little Overview/History: <ul><li>1956: Dawn of the Civil Rights movement . </li></ul><ul><li>1962: Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, predicting that insect life on planet Earth will one day be gone due to the introduction of agricultural chemicals. </li></ul><ul><li>THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT IS BORN. </li></ul><ul><li>1965: Ralph Nader publishes Unsafe at Any Speed . Press follows his lead and begins doing “killer product” stories taken from plaintiff’s legal briefs. </li></ul><ul><li>1965: Vietnam anti-war movement begins, followed by women’s liberation movement. Both Draft cards and bras are publicly incinerated in great numbers. </li></ul>
  • 3. 1973:The Turning Point <ul><li>The Vietnam war is over (we picked up our gear and came home). </li></ul><ul><li>Significant civil rights legislation is on the books addressing inequalities for minorities and women. </li></ul><ul><li>The result: Lots of protestors are left with nothing of real value to protest! </li></ul><ul><li>But that will soon change ………….!! </li></ul>
  • 4. Legislation is born! <ul><li>1971: Congress reacts to publics/media environmental fervor by passing legislation -- signed into law by President Richard Nixon -- establishing: </li></ul><ul><li>The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)! </li></ul><ul><li>A whole new movement -- the GREEN! MOVEMENT -- begins! </li></ul>
  • 5. The result: <ul><li>All the out-of-work activists find a NEW HOME! </li></ul><ul><li>Activist groups spring up like crazy, eventually totaling over 350. </li></ul><ul><li>JUNK SCIENCE REPLACES REAL SCIENCE ………. </li></ul><ul><li>Self-appointed seers arise among us, predicting dire environmental consequences to Mother Earth if huge changes are not made, changes that will require VAST amounts of $$ to be spent. </li></ul><ul><li>Media cover these new activists extensively, greatly hyping the environmental doom stories. </li></ul><ul><li>A whole new cottage industry is born. </li></ul>
  • 6. Activists have learned their trade! <ul><li>While building huge war chests of $$ from both individual contributions and giant corporate foundations (Kellogg,Ford, etc .), they keep a public image of poor flower children. </li></ul><ul><li>They learn the media accepts without question their cause -- no investigative reporting is done on them, and their scary claims and predictions are passed on by the media without question. </li></ul><ul><li>They begin -- and sustain -- a public misinformation campaign of tremendous proportion. </li></ul>
  • 7. Success is soon theirs: <ul><li>The U.S. public -- and soon the developed world -- comes to believe that the environmental sky is falling! </li></ul><ul><li>Vast amounts of money are mandated by Congress to clean up the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>American business, especially farmers come under attack. </li></ul><ul><li>American businesses find it even tougher to compete as unfunded government mandates drastically inflate the cost of doing business. </li></ul>
  • 8. Perception replaces Reality While there are legitimate environmental problems that need addressing, often irrelevant or imagined ones top the activist/media agenda.
  • 9. Some examples: <ul><li>The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: </li></ul><ul><li>Activists claimed the 250,000 birds killed was “…..a disaster of unparalleled magnitude!” Media goes ape! </li></ul><ul><li>FACT: 250,000 birds die from striking plate glass windows in the U.S. every 24 hours! </li></ul><ul><li>FACT: 300,000 birds are killed by mammals -- mostly cats -- in England every 48 hours ! </li></ul><ul><li>Perspective: While the Exxon Valdez spill was unfortunate, it was a mere blip on the scope of annual avian mortality!! </li></ul>
  • 10. Prince William Sound - - - -
  • 11. Energy: <ul><li>Circa: 1970: We were told that the earth would run out of oil by 1990. </li></ul><ul><li>1975 : Newswee k ran a terrifying cover story on the Earth’s rapidly dwindling oil supply and predicted dire consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>1976:CBS/ABC ran documentaries, one entitled “We Are All Going to Freeze in the Dark.” </li></ul><ul><li>A New Ice Age was predicted by 2000! </li></ul>
  • 12. One More Example: <ul><li>Pesticides: </li></ul><ul><li>Activists advocate a total ban on their use. </li></ul><ul><li>Minute pesticide traces on foodstuffs MIGHT cause up to 20 deaths per year in the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>(NOTE: 300 people drown in bathtubs in U.S. every year.) </li></ul><ul><li>FACT: A ban on pesticides would result in less production , greater cost , less consumption , especially by poor. </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated deaths in this scenario: 26,000 per annum! </li></ul>
  • 13. The Great Cranberry Scare (1959) <ul><li>Trace amounts of aminotriazole are found on cranberries in Oregon. </li></ul><ul><li>HEW Secretary Fleming cautions housewives against buying cranberries </li></ul><ul><li>Comments set off full-blown panic -- bans against berries in San Francisco, Chicago, Ohio. </li></ul><ul><li>Public figures try to mitigate effect: Kennedy and Nixon both publicly eat cranberries at campaign stops. </li></ul><ul><li>Ag Secretary Benson says he’ll have cranberries on his Thanksgiving table. </li></ul><ul><li>FACT : Humans would have to eat 15,000# of cranberries EVERY DAY to equal amount fed to test mice. </li></ul><ul><li>Growers hurt; holiday sales trashed. </li></ul><ul><li>LEGACY: Food scares have begun. Delaney Clause (1958) and “mouse as miniature man” idea is set in stone! </li></ul>
  • 14. DDT -- 1962 <ul><li>1940 - DDT discovered as the most effective pesticide with no ill effects to humans </li></ul><ul><li>1962 - Carson’s Silent Spring erroneously says that DDT is poisoning wildlife and environment and endangering human health. </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Activists -- and press -- discount enormous benefits to world health; label DDT a carcinogen based on mouse studies. </li></ul><ul><li>1969: WHO replicates mouse studies: finds major flaws and clears DDT. </li></ul><ul><li>1971 - authority over pesticides transfers to new EPA. </li></ul><ul><li>1972 - Federal Judge declares DDT safe. </li></ul><ul><li>1973 - EPA Secretary Ruckleshaus, despite science to the contrary , declared DDT a human carcinogen and bans nearly all uses. </li></ul>
  • 15. Results of DDT Ban: <ul><li>1948 , malaria deaths in Ceylon number 2.8 million ; after DDT, in 1963, there are ONLY 17! </li></ul><ul><li>1964 : DDT spraying stopped ; 1969 - malaria deaths rose to 2.5 million. </li></ul><ul><li>1978 - American Cancer Society concludes DDT not a carcinogen </li></ul><ul><li>1980’s - DDT cleared of causing low survival rate in birds of prey. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite Carson and the EPA, NONE OF THE CLAIMS AGAINST DDT Were EVER SUBSTANTIATED!! </li></ul><ul><li>YET: DDT remains today the first major enduring victory of the environmental activists!!! </li></ul>
  • 16. A Little Perspective: <ul><li>According to the WHO in a study released April 28, 2003: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In South Africa, a child dies from malaria every :30 SECONDS!! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>That’s 2 kids a minute times 60 minutes times 24 hours or 2880 African children EVERY DAY! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>That’s an awful price to pay for someone’s enviro/political agenda………….! </li></ul>
  • 17. November, 2005 <ul><li>Congress is considering legislation to allow use of DDT. </li></ul>
  • 18. September 2006: <ul><li>WHO publicly acknowledges that malaria is a catastrophic disease out of control. </li></ul><ul><li>It calls for the spraying of DDT in countries – notably sub-Saharan Africa – hardest hit by malaria. </li></ul><ul><li>Old line enviro activist Jay Feldman – today of “Beyond Pesticides” -- says DDT not necessary. Instead, he says, we should concentrate on things such as eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed!! </li></ul>
  • 19. Food for Thought . . <ul><li>How would you like to be the spirit of Rachel Carson or one of her descendents, knowing that your environmental nonsense had unnecessarily killed millions and millions of people – primarily children – over the last 40 years? </li></ul>
  • 20. Love Canal, New York <ul><li>1978 - Local reporter raises specter of unusual illnesses among Love Canal residents. </li></ul><ul><li>1979 - Dr. Beverly Paigan in an unscientific, uncontrolled study , “finds” birth defects and miscarriages. </li></ul><ul><li>1980 - EPA back-to-back studies “find” chromosomal and nerve damage in residents. HYSTERIA BREAKS OUT! </li></ul><ul><li>EPA announces it will temporarily relocate 2500 residents of LC. </li></ul><ul><li>EPA studies reviewed and found flawed ; CDC/AMA/NRC and New York State Department of Health studies all failed to show any abnormalities . LC residents often found healthier than control groups </li></ul>
  • 21. Significance of Love Canal: <ul><li>EPA “SUPERFUND!” IS BORN, authorized by Congress months after Love Canal hit headlines. </li></ul><ul><li>Note: SUPERFUND spends $1.7 billion annually to clean up some 2000 identified waste sites </li></ul><ul><li>Today most of the sites NOT reclaimed. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of Superfund budget spent on consulting and attorney&apos;s fees. </li></ul><ul><li>“ It remains unclear whether there will be any benefit to public health when and if all the sites are ever cleaned up.” -- American Council on Science and Health, 1997. </li></ul>
  • 22. Three Mile Island <ul><li>March 28, 1979 - plumbing problem results in cooling capacity loss and some fuel meltdown. </li></ul><ul><li>Radiation in an amount slightly above naturally occurring levels escapes into the atmosphere. </li></ul><ul><li>Initial public reaction negligible </li></ul><ul><li>Governor advises pregnant women and children within 5 mile radius to leave; media frenzy begins! </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately 70% of all residents evacuate. </li></ul>
  • 23. TMI Fallout: <ul><li>From repeated studies of high-risk groups: NO EFFECT! </li></ul><ul><li>1996: All 2100 cases brought against TMI for alleged negative health effects DISMISSED! </li></ul><ul><li>Today: Public still afraid of nuclear power. </li></ul><ul><li>However: With gas at $3/gal there may be some change in the wind ! </li></ul>
  • 24. Ozone <ul><li>Activist Claim: Clorofluorocrbons (CFC’s ) --specifically freon -- are creating a hole in the Ozone Layer that will allow more UV radiation to reach earth. (Translation: We’re all going to get cancer!) </li></ul><ul><li>Fact: Ozone levels vary naturally by 50% every year. </li></ul><ul><li>Fact: Freon is heavier than air , so it doesn’t rise to the stratosphere, it falls to earth , where soil microbes use it as a food source!! </li></ul>
  • 25. Scientific Reality: <ul><li>A single eruption of a Mt. St. Helens or Pinatubo injects more “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere by a multiple in the thousands than all the activities of man to date! </li></ul>
  • 26. Mt. Pinatubo Ash Cloud
  • 27. Ozone is much thicker at the poles during their respective winters <ul><li>Fact: For every 6 miles one moves closer to the equator, UV exposure rises by 1%! </li></ul><ul><li>Between the poles and the equator, ozone levels vary naturally by 5000%! </li></ul>Ozone Layer
  • 28. Global Warming <ul><li>Those folks who brought us dire predictions of a New Ice Age now say we’re going to be toast by Christmas! </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon dioxide emissions are going to melt polar icecaps and flood coastal cities!!! </li></ul><ul><li>1992 Gallup Poll shows 83% of scientific community believes the above is nonsense ; (Media interview the other 17%!) </li></ul><ul><li>Senator Al Gore publishes Earth in the Balance ; calls for a world-wide “carbon tax” estimated to cost more than $200 billion annually!! </li></ul>
  • 29. Now for Reality ……….. <ul><li>90% of the warming occurred before 1940, before the use of CFC’s. </li></ul><ul><li>Global temps plummeted during 60’s and 70’s, which is where the “New Ice Age” nonsense came from. </li></ul><ul><li>1991 : NOAA reports analysis of 750 weather stations world-wide over 40 year period revealing LITTLE OR NO INCREASE IN MEAN MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE!! </li></ul><ul><li>1992: Coldest winter in past 100 years : Mt. Pinatubo! </li></ul>
  • 30. Speaking of Al Gore: <ul><li>His movie is nonsense, hype and half truths. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.Film shows 2% of Antarctica that is warming , but ignores the 98% that has been cooling the past 35 years. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. He shouts about the shrinking sea ice in the Northern hemisphere and totally ignores the fact that sea ice in the Southern hemisphere is increasing . </li></ul></ul>
  • 31. <ul><li>John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, calls the whole global warming bit “ . . the greatest scam in history.” </li></ul>“ I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril . I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments. . . In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious .” ICECAP, November 2007
  • 32. “ It’s a hoax.” <ul><li>William Gray, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus at Colorado State University and the leading meteorologist on hurricane predictions noted the above in Orlando, FL April 5, 2008. </li></ul>
  • 33. Stick to Reality! <ul><li>Following the Christmas 2004 tsunami, Activists wasted no time blaming it on the activities of man, especially the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>NEWS FLASH: Man had NOTHING to do with it! </li></ul><ul><li>Earth is composed of 8 tectonic plates which shift constantly far below the earth’s crust. </li></ul><ul><li>Between the Crust/Mantle/Outer core/ Inner Core, it is 4000 MILES to the center of the earth. The deepest hole man has ever drilled is 7 miles . </li></ul><ul><li>If you fell into a “hole” that took you to the center of the earth, it would take you 32 hours to hit bottom!!! </li></ul><ul><li>The idea that man’s activities cause tsunamis is nothing short of breathlessly stupid! </li></ul>
  • 34. Speaking of Law &amp; Crisis Management . . <ul><li>Erin Brokovich </li></ul><ul><li>The basic story: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal assistant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>found 650 plaintiffs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>claimed chromium 6 in water supply, leaching from PG&amp;E plant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>blamed PG&amp;E for nosebleeds, miscarriages, Hodgkin’s disease, breast cancer, spinal deterioration, etcetc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hired Lawyer Thomas Girardi </li></ul><ul><li>PG&amp;E settled for $333mm </li></ul>
  • 35. However: <ul><li>While EPA considers chromium 6 a human carcinogen: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>it is linked ONLY to cancer of the lung and the septum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it must be INHALED (NOT INJESTED) to be a carcinogen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it takes massive exposure over a long period of time to cause cancer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The only problems yet discovered are those involved in the production of the compound. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From the EPA Integrated Risk Information System: “No data were located in the available literature that suggested that it is carcinogenic by the oral route of exposure.” </li></ul></ul>
  • 36. Moreover: <ul><li>Exhaustive, replicated studies of communities adjacent to landfills full of chromium 6 -- including that detectable level in residents’ urine -- have found NO ILL HEALTH EFFECTS, CANCER OR OTHERWISE! </li></ul><ul><li>William Blot, head of International Epidemiology Institute study of 52,000 workers at PG&amp;E plants -- including the one at Hinkley, CA -- found cancer rates the same as for the population in general, and LOWER DEATH RATES! </li></ul>
  • 37. More Scientific Information: <ul><li>The amount of chromium 6 in Hinkley’s water supply was .058 ppm. </li></ul><ul><li>Animal studies on rats and dogs dosed with 25ppm and 11.2ppm showed no ill health effects whatsoever. </li></ul><ul><li>When pregnant rats were dosed at 15-400 ppm of chromium 6 they found that the compound “ . . , was not a reproductive toxicant in either sex.” </li></ul><ul><li>BOTTOM LINE: THE CLAIM THAT THE LEECHED CHROMIUM 6 CAUSED HEALTH PROBLEMS IN HINKLEY, CALIFORNIA IS BOGUS! </li></ul>
  • 38. Regarding Law,Lawyers, and the Public: <ul><li>The PG&amp;E case is instructive. </li></ul><ul><li>Why did PG&amp;E settle? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All the science is very recent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they feared Lawyer Girardi and his reputation for winning class action suits involving toxicants. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A sympathetic witness and an emotional jury trial could have resulted in awarded damages in the billions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NOTE: One should always think twice (or more) before settling when one is not guilty of anything. One payoff can lead to another .. and another … and another! </li></ul>
  • 39. Some things to note: <ul><li>Media is now in the picture. </li></ul><ul><li>Brockovich -- through the persona of actress Julia Roberts -- has been elevated to heroine status . </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore: It is highly unlikely that -- without significant public relations crisis management -- that the truth of the Hinkley, CA case will ever be widely known among the movie-going public. </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyers for Hinkley get $133mm for winning the case. </li></ul><ul><li>Brockovich was given $2mm for her work. </li></ul>
  • 40. The Fallout: <ul><li>The settlement, though not a court case, nonetheless sets a precedent . </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands of people in Hinkley, California, will live the rest of their lives believing -- incorrectly -- that they have been poisoned. </li></ul><ul><li>PG&amp;E -- if it’s going to survive as a company -- is going to have to pass along the cost of the lawsuits to its customers. </li></ul>
  • 41. And as for Brockovich: <ul><li>Ms. Brokovich’s firm has currently identified 1500 clients in Kettleman, CA and are about to file suit against PG&amp;E … again! </li></ul><ul><li>She is also soliciting public interest groups in Alaska, working on a case against Exxon/Mobil alleging negative health effects from the cleanup of the Exxon Valdiz oil spill </li></ul><ul><li>She is touring the country commanding $15,000 fees from audiences. </li></ul>
  • 42. The Result:                                                                     
  • 43. Some Bottom Lines: <ul><li>1.The symbiotic relationship between reporters and activists has ruined media coverage of things environmental. </li></ul><ul><li>2. When it comes to learning about our health and the environment, the media are -- almost always -- less than worthless! The Scary Story that brings in viewers and advertising dollars trumps science almost every time </li></ul><ul><li>3. Activists enjoy entirely too much positive media attention. They are rarely, themselves, examined critically. </li></ul><ul><li>The result: Americans -- from DDT to nuclear power -- “know” a great deal of “stuff” that flat isn’t true! </li></ul>
  • 44. One Example: <ul><li>For the past 30 years, environmentalists have ruled over U.S. energy policy, so: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No new oil fields have been brought on line. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No new refineries have been built in the U.S. for 23 years. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As a result: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We produce only 32% of the gas/diesel needed to run the country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>68% of our energy we import form primarily three countries, all of whom hate us: Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Welcome to $4/gallon gas!!! </li></ul>
  • 45. More Bottom Lines: <ul><li>We’re wasting a lot of valuable time , money , and resources on crises that aren’t . </li></ul><ul><li>We’re doing the above at our peril , ignoring or giving a low priority to those things that are, indeed, impending crises: Food, Energy, Freedom!! </li></ul><ul><li>These issues surely will -- and perhaps are -- catching up with us, and perhaps it is time for some serious self-correction. </li></ul>
  • 46. There are real consequences: <ul><li>Near Zellwood, FL there are thousands of acres that once produced tons and tons of vegetables for the people of the world. The farms were breathtaking to behold! </li></ul>
  • 47. No More <ul><li>Today that land is abandoned and fallow, bought by the state and returned to swampland, and the food that was once produced there is no longer grown. </li></ul><ul><li>With world populations growing, taking land out of food production for dubious reasons is the height of stupidity!! </li></ul>
  • 48. What does this mean to us? <ul><li>Crises, both real and imagined , can strike any organization at any time </li></ul><ul><li>They can have dire, sometimes terminal consequences </li></ul><ul><li>The greatest weapon in the arsenal of crisis management is communication </li></ul>
  • 49. To Learn More: <ul><li>ActivistCash.com: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lists the groups, their affiliated foundations, the people who are behind the groups and several celebrities and their ties to the organizations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ConsumerFreedom.com: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides information about activist groups that appear to be on the side of the consumer but actually do severe societal damage (PETA/Greenpeace/NRCD. Etc.) </li></ul></ul>

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