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Ethics

John Boehner: ‘Unemployed People…Don’t Think They Have to Work’

boehnerIf you ever had any doubt that the primary job of our current and future Congress is to look out for the little guy, may we present exhibit A: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, which amounts to 51 million people currently out of work and unable to support themselves. No one except those 51 million individuals knows how they landed in such an unfortunate predicament, and the reasons are legion: cutbacks, loss of revenue, unpleasant bosses…the point is that people are out of work.

Yet Speaker Boehner seem to have access to insights unavailable to the rest of us mere mortals: last week, he told a crowd at a conservative think tank that unemployed Americans just don’t want to work; they’d rather “just sit around.”

Remember that this man has a driver, a government salary, and a book deal.

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FOX News Loses Copyright Lawsuit Against TVEyes

fox-news-occupy-wall-street-occupysomething

Last July, the head honchos at FOX News caught an ill wind blowing about a Connecticut-based company called TVEyes, which was recording snippets of the network and selling it to others. They were like any other media clipping service, but because people used TVEyes’ product to criticize FOX News, Rupert Murdoch wanted to shut ‘em down.

The lawsuit accuses TVEyes of misappropriating “the entirety of the works that Fox News has developed at great expense and to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform and/or to publicly display verbatim copies of the works” without authorization.

And in the spirit of Public Enemy, the company decided to “Fight the Power.” Fast forward to yesterday when TVEyes did the unthinkable: They ‘brought the noise’ and beat FOX News.

Here’s what happened. Read more

Texas Firm Admits to Bribing Journalists for Coverage

money bags

Well, maybe “bribing” is too strong a word. What’s a synonym for “we will pay this supposedly objective journalist for giving our client favorable coverage?”

In a story that seemed destined to break during PRSA’s Ethics Awareness Month, a Texas firm sheepishly admitted to offering a CNBC freelancer money to include their client in a story.

Guilty pitch email after the jump (emphasis ours).

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Oxymoronic? September Is PRSA’s ‘Ethics Awareness Month’

ethics

The Public Relations Society of America has declared September to be “Ethics Awareness Month.”

This is a banner under which public relations practitioners everywhere should march. Strict ethical guidelines should be that fundamental to an industry that specializes in repairing and maintaining reputations. But does establishing a month for PR types focus on ethics even matter any longer? Does ethics carry as much of a place of importance as it should in this industry?

The younger this industry gets, the more ethics should matter.

How are we doing on that front?

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SEC Charges Investor Relations Exec with Insider Trading

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In news that points toward the darker side of financial PR, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced this morning that it would charge an executive at a top Manhattan investor relations firm with crimes related to insider trading.

The charge is surprisingly simple: Michael Anthony Dupre Lucarelli, director at Manhattan’s Lippert/Heilshorn Investor Relations, allegedly used clients’ unpublished press releases to guide his own investments — and made more than half a million dollars in the process.

The case is notable in that it differs from the common narrative regarding automated trades made with the help of robotic press releases that may run afoul of the law by giving certain traders an advantage that ultimately adds up to fractions of a second.

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What We Should All Learn From Edelman’s Commitment to Become Its Own Client

Edelman ReputationEdelman PR has been in a bad way lately — not for their client outreach efforts but for what they have done to themselves.

First, the global independent juggernaut caused a small kerfuffle by taking a stance against all those pesky “climate change skeptics.” Given their ardent statements of commitment to the cause, this didn’t go over too well.

Then, the agency thought that using Robin William’s unfortunate death to start a conversation about effective pitching would be a good idea. Many disagreed and they apologized, but no one really listened.

Now, Edelman will start to consider itself as a client. Question from the rest of us: What took so long? 

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How Zelda Williams Will Change Twitter’s Troll Policy

A while back, we offered a ’5 Things‘ post about “How to exterminate Internet trolls.” Apparently, some of you didn’t get the memo because something really (expletive) awful happened to the grieving Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams.

The tweet says it all. Thousands of others chimed in because those two aforementioned stains on humanity were sending Zelda pics of … her deceased father. Of course the photos were fake, but the claims were bad enough.

Twitter finally got the message and let the trolls know: “We’re coming for you.

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Is the Public Statement of Advocacy the New PR Stunt?

rainbow_targetMinneapolis-based Target hit a direct bulls-eye with an interesting blog post from Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jodee Kozlak. In the post, she notes her retail chain had signed on to a recent federal amicus brief.

Nothing too exciting, until you see that Target now stands side-by-side with Apple, Nike, Starbucks, and Facebook in support of judges striking down bans on gay marriage in Wisconsin and Indiana.

This announcement came as a stunner to many in the press as the organization has been unclear about its stance on the subject for many years. Target executives do not talk about it, which is why many assumed that they were not supporters.

Then this blog post happened, inspiring headlines everywhere. And a few hacks and flacks of the more cynical nature were left wondering whether it was a sincere statement or a stunt.

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Firm Exposes ‘Billion Passwords’ Breach, Peddles $120 Service to Potential Victims

hackersIn case you missed it, the New York Times reported yesterday that a Russian gang of 20-something hackers has amassed 1.2 billion username and password combinations, plus more than 500 million email addresses. This isn’t Heartbleed—it’s a heart attack.

The records were discovered by the Milwaukee-based firm Hold Security, which also helped uncover the Great Adobe Identity Theft of 2013. 

Here’s what’s super scary about this particular scenario:

“Hackers did not just target U.S. companies, they targeted any website they could get, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites…And most of these sites are still vulnerable.”

And yes, the threat is authentic: the Times enlisted the help of a third-party security expert for confirmation.

Adding fuel to the hysterical fire is the fact that we don’t know whose email addresses are included or which sites are affected—and Holden “[WON’T] NAME the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable.”

What will he name? A price.

For as low as $120 a month, you can pay Hold Security to find out if your site has been affected by the breach.

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Will the Ebola Virus Solve Big Tobacco’s Image Problem?

ebola tobacco

Please be aware that I wrote this post’s headline with my tongue pressed firmly to my cheek. As a former smoker who finally quit the nasty habit, I’m happy to have the positive reinforcement of tobacco’s negative health consequences in the news as much as it can.

That said, this bit of breaking news is quite interesting: Ebola Drug Made From Tobacco Plant Saves U.S. Aid Workers.

Somebody, somewhere out in Marlboro Country is giving a yippee ki yay. Methinks it might be coming from the PR department. Read more

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