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Posts Tagged ‘Wendell Potter’

Author Hopes His New Book Redraws Ethical Lines in Marketing

The picture at left is the packaging that we received along with Martin Lindstrom‘s new book Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. After the jump, we’ve got another picture of the inside of the box, which comes with a little video screen.

Bloggers “receive so much stuff every day, I had to stand out,” Lindstrom told us this morning during a phone conversation. “I thought the kit would be interesting and would be passed around the office.”

Lindstrom also wanted to make a point about being “brandwashed.” He says there’s both positive and negative marketing and far too many companies are crossing the line into negative territory.

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Will Anti-Oscar Campaign Pump Up ‘Gasland’ PR?

While riled-up film students bellyache over Oscar’s decision to include Exit Through the Gift Shop among this year’s Best Documentary nominees, a powerful industry group is challenging the worthiness of Exit’s category-mate, Gaslandand for the first time in Awards history, appealing directly to the Academy for its disqualification.

In an eight-page letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Energy In Depth — a coalition of “independent oil and natural gas producers” — cited Gasland‘s “many errors, inconsistencies and outright falsehoods.” Labeling the Sundance-winning film “stylized fiction,” EiD insisted that Gasland was clearly ineligible for the Best Documentary Oscar.

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Bolton on Trust: Creating Value and Aligning Business and Public Interests

This morning we learned from the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer that creating and maintaining trust is a big issue for organizations around the world, and particularly here in the U.S. where trust has slumped.

For this afternoon’s podcast, we spoke with Roger Bolton about the issue. Bolton is a co-chair of the Arthur Page Society’s Authentic Enterprise Task Force, which helps global companies with their brands and reputations. In addition, he sits on APCO Worldwide’s International Advisory Council, and was just named to Trust Across America’s list of top 100 thought leaders.

“It really does matter not only what value you create, but how you create it,” he says, adding that “aligning business interests with public interests” is key.

We also discuss building trust on a global scale and Wendell Potter‘s recent book Deadly Spin. Bolton, who was also previously SVP of communications at Aetna, expresses surprise over the book.

Click below to listen in.

Potter Seeks to ‘Pull the Curtain Back’ on Deceptive PR Practices

Wendell Potter‘s book Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out On How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans has rankled some in the PR industry. But, Potter told PRNewser that the criticism he’s received overall has “been minimal.”

More important, he says he wants “to pull the curtain back on how public relations practitioners like me worked to influence the debate about health care reform” and show how public relations is able to “influence public policy in a way that’s deception-based.” (Looks like Potter is getting some from Media Matters and The Daily Beast.)

Potter spent 20 years in corporate PR and was the head of communications for CIGNA when he stepped down in 2008. Since then, he has spoken out about the comms practices of the health insurance industry, including a 2009 appearance before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Technology Committee.

“If there’s anything that comes out of this for the PR profession it is for us to take another look at how we operate and whether our ethical standards are what they should be,” he told us.

Author Responds to Edelman Criticism

Deadly Spin author Wendell Potter fired back at Richard Edelman following the CEO’s blog post criticizing the book.

In last week’s guest post from Richard Edelman (which also appeared on the 6A.M. blog) he took issue with Potter for a variety of reasons including “inaccurate representations of the PR industry” that “feed misconceptions of what we do.”

Over the weekend, Potter wrote a response that appears on the Huffington Post as well as the Center for Media and Democracy’s (CMD) PR blog. In it, he turns to the 2006 controversy over Edelman’s “recruited” bloggers who wrote favorably about Wal-Mart and cites research by the CMD about a 1978 Edelman proposal to R.J. Reynolds focused on the health impact of smoking.

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Guest Blog: Richard Edelman Responds to ‘Deadly Spin’

Edelman president and CEO Richard Edelman took to the firm’s blog with his reaction to Wendell Potter‘s new book Deadly Spin. After the jump, read Edelman’s post about the book in its entirety. A sneak preview: “Inaccurate representations of the PR industry—such as yours— ‘not so much for public relations as for public deception’– feed misconceptions of what we do.”

[Image via]

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Arianna Huffington To PR Pros: ‘The Press Release Is Becoming Obsolete’


Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington addressed the PRSA International Conference in San Diego yesterday. Speaking to a variety of topics, Huffington took the time to call out PRSA for not having wi-fi on site. “Make sure people can interact next time,” she said.

Delving into PR tactics, Huffington made a bit of a contradiction in regards to press releases.

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Wendell Potter on Maddow: Healthcare Industry Sees This As A “Potential Bonanza for Them”

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Former Cigna Corporate Communications VP turned health industry whistle blower Wendell Potter appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” last night. Asked about how healthcare executives are feeling about what is happening to their industry, Potter said, “They would be willing to give up pre-existing conditions as a condition to deny coverage, because they see this as a potential bonanza for them, and they’ve already gotten the President to go along, or change his course, that everyone should be forced to get coverage and that would mean if there is no public option, they would have billions of dollars of new revenue.”

In early August, PRNewser co-editor Jason Chupick crunched some numbers and noted, “In the past month, Potter’s name has appeared 154 times in the news, and in over 2,700 blog posts.”

“I’ve just been amazed at the opportunities I’ve had. I don’t think I’ve turned down an interview request yet. I just keep going. I’ll tell almost anybody about what I know and what I’ve learned over the past 20 years,” Potter told reporters, including Politics Daily’s Jill Lawrence last week.

The insurance industry has been largely mum in terms of responding to Potter’s statements, not wanting to make him a bigger story than he is. Perhaps it’s too late?

Banking Lobbyist Awarded First “Golden Throne”


The Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of, have awarded their first “Golden Throne” to banking lobbyist Edward Yingling, for leading the pack of the “behind-the-scenes lobbyists and spinmeisters who have managed to maintain the status quo and hold off any meaningful reform of the financial services sector since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG rocked the world one year ago this week.”

Yingling is the CEO of the American Bankers Association and pulls down $2.1 million a year for his efforts.

I criticized PRWatch before for their ironic inability to get the word out, though now that they have Cigna’s ex-PR chief Wendell Potter thumping the healthcare reform message in the media and before Congress, all has changed.

Related: Ex Cigna PR VP, “Ammo for the Elephant Gun” in Healthcare Fight

Ex Cigna PR VP, “Ammo for the Elephant Gun” in Healthcare Fight


Since appearing on Bill Moyers Journal three weeks ago, former Cigna Corporate Communications VP Wendell Potter has been labeled a healthcare whistleblower and a become a go-to source in articles about the reform debate.

In the past month, Potter’s name has appeared 154 times in the news, and in over 2,700 blog posts. The last time his name appeared in print so many times was in 2002 when Cigna was undergoing multiple rounds of layoffs.

This morning, columnist Stanley Crouch called him the “ammo for the elephant gun,” suggesting he is the best surrogate in the fight for healthcare reform. Ironically, Potter played a role in discrediting another surrogate for reform, “Sicko” filmmaker Michael Moore.

He explained to the St. Petersburg Times why the opposition to reform is gaining traction:

They’re using big PR firms to set up front groups to engage in activities that scare people away from reform. They’re warning of government takeover of the health care system, though nothing like that has been proposed. They’re saying a public plan is the slippery path to socialized medicine.

Potter is currently an independent consultant, and the Center for Media and Democracy’s Senior Fellow on health care.

You can catch part of the Moyers interview below, or visit PBS for the
interview and transcript. Keep an eye out for much more from this man in the coming weeks: