Corporate Damage Control Turns Tough

Alicia Mundy writes that "I was about to go live on the
Today show to discuss my book on the fen-phen scandal when the host,
Maria Shriver, leaned forward and very kindly said, 'I'm really sorry
about the way we're doing this interview and the questions I have to
ask. You understand, don't you?' ... It seems that the pharmaceutical company, Wyeth-Ayerst, had been
calling. Wyeth, a major conglomerate, makes Dimetapp and Robitussin, as
well as hormone replacement products and other drugs, and was a huge
advertiser with NBC. They'd apparently been in negotiations with NBC's
counsel over my pending appearance. ... I left satisfied, but remained curious about the dynamics
behind the scenes. The answer came this summer in an extraordinarily revealing panel at the
annual convention of Investigative Reporters and Editor,, in Washington. ... The panel, titled 'PR Attacks and Counterattacks,' was moderated by Mark
Feldstein of George Washington University. With him was a former local
TV news colleague, Kent Jarrell, who went over to the dark side to
P.R. and 'crisis management' in 1996, and is now a senior vice
president for litigation communications at APCO Worldwide. Jarrell was
joined by Don Goldberg, a survivor of the Clinton White House, who toils
for the government relations firm Navigant Consulting."