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Posts Tagged ‘The Supreme Court’

THIS JUST IN: Canadian Supreme Court Hearts Internet Trolls

THIS JUST IN 2Discussions about offering the full slate of human rights to certain undesirables began with prisoners. Then, the debate extended to deadbeat dads. A small group of people began using that argument for reality stars.

And now, that heated discussion has Internet trolls in its cross hairs. They create a fake profile, use a fake email, keep the egg head avatar, develop a catchy name like “YourMom” and proceed to hurl hate bombs in your direction.

Today, even the worst trolls have a home. If you want to travel north of the border, don’t get those Canucks miffed because the Canadian Supreme Court could care less about your feelers or their anonymity.

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Yelp Going to the Virginia Supreme Court for its Fake Reviews

yelpHaven’t we been here before?

It seems like it was just March 21 when we brought a #PRFail editorial about Yelp and its fake reviews. In the post, we brought three lawsuits to your attention under the premise of Yelp’s plight of “free speech debate” could cause some serious drama for the ubiquitous ratings and reports website.

Whelp, we should have called Vegas because Yelp is in the news about its reviews. You know? Again. And this time, they are visiting the highest court in the land cloaking itself in the warm embrace of the First Amendment. (Well, highest court in Virginia, but you get the point. The s#!t is about to hit the fan.)

Good luck with that…  Read more

Should The Law Require Nonprofits to Reveal Their Donor Lists?

Transparency is always a good thing, right? Maybe not. Nonprofit organizations in New York State, for example, aren’t happy about having to comply with Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s 2011 ethics law, which requires tax-exempt organizations to release lists of donors who contribute more than $5,000.

The issue they raise concerns donors’ privacy and personal safety. The law doesn’t just affect shadowy groups with “freedom” or “victory” in their names that solicit millions to pay for presidential candidates’ attack ads: it also includes groups that support and oppose abortion rights, gay marriage, and other hot-button topics. A disappointing number of people are so politically fanatical that they won’t hesitate to leave threatening messages and even take direct action against those who contribute to these groups. In fact, the state legislature already ruled that Naral Pro-Choice New York doesn’t have to comply.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union say that their donors shouldn’t have to deal with such harassment either.

We get this. It’s a legitimate concern. But nonprofit groups (also known as “lobbying” groups) will only gain greater influence on American politics in the years to come, especially after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. Is it really fair to exempt them from paying the same taxes levied on every other business or organization without requiring them to disclose what it is, exactly, that they do?

Would a federal law requiring groups that don’t have to pay taxes to let us know who’s funding their operations really be such a bad thing? And wouldn’t transparency be good PR for these groups?

About That Bert and Ernie New Yorker Cover…

The New Yorker decided to celebrate gay marriage’s (limited) Supreme Court victory with a cover illustrating its signature brand of humor—the kind that inspires quiet chuckles from its readers and confuses or frustrates everyone else.

Everyone’s joked about Bert and Ernie’s “domestic partnership” for some time (along with the fact that Bert is the biggest bad guy since the Wicked Witch), but as a preview of this week’s cover made its way around the blogosphere, quite a few media observers asked “why?”—and a surprising number of people beyond the usual crowd took offense.

Here go the arguments:

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Brands See Opportunity In Gay Marriage Ruling

We can all agree on one thing: today’s Supreme Court decision invalidating the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was, is, and will continue to be a big deal. It’s not that the justices’ conclusions were a big surprise as most observers did not expect them to uphold existing gay marriage bans on the state or federal level. But it still inspired strong emotions for many Americans.

Of course, politicians of all stripes were quick to offer their takes on the issue.

In other words, the debate will go on. Now for the question of the day: how can brands turn this major cultural and political event into a great PR opportunity?

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Last Night’s Loser: Big Money

From a PR perspective, we’ve already established the winners of last night’s election: no-frills, on-brand messaging and basic math. The loser, in our humble opinion, was big money.

After the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, quite a few observers began to freak out over the growing power wielded by well-funded Super PACs and advocacy groups.

These fears may well be justified; 2012 was the most expensive election in history, with spending on presidential and congressional campaigns amounting to approximately $6 billion, and we can’t quite see that as a positive thing. Still, this year’s contests brought encouraging signs hinting at the fact that “a whole lot of money” just isn’t enough to win an election in this country today.

Take, for example, the unsuccessful Connecticut Senate campaign of former WWE head Linda McMahon. Over three years and two different races, the wrestling executive spent $100 million of her own money, easily breaking all records and providing a nice boost to the Connecticut economy. Yet Chris Murphy defeated McMahon by a healthy margin last night despite the fact that she spent twice as much as he did while eschewing divisive social issues to run as a moderate business reformer.

What does this tell us?

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