Dalia Rabin-Pelossof will head a $12 million public relations offensive to argue Israel's case amid fears that Palestinians are winning the propaganda war. Her father, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated by a Jewish extremist in retaliation for signing the 1993 peace accords. PR advisors to Israel include Gideon Meir, Israel's deputy minister of public affairs, and the New York-based PR firm of Rubenstein & Associates.
Last year Michael Jacobson's Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI, also known as "the food police") received $200,000 from the pro-biotechnology Rockefeller Foundation to be a moderate voice in the raging debate over genetically engineered (GE) foods. CSPI has since made many statements very favorable to GE foods and recently called for government action against companies marketing non-GE foods. Ironically, CSPI's Integrity in Science Project criticizes and reveals the special interest funding and agendas of other nonprofit organizations.
BSMG Worldwide is representing the Movement for Democratic Change, a political party which is trying to oust Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe. The MDC, according to the Aug. 7 New York Times, is the "first party in two decades to pose a serious threat to Mugabe's grip on power." Zimbabwe currently is faced with serious economic problems, which Mugabe blames on the country's 75,000 white farmers and their supposed Western backers. He has supported actions by the National War Veterans Association, whose members have seized and squatted on more than 1,700 white-owned farms.
The Hill and Knowlton PR firm is receiving $500,000 from Hong Kong to persuade skittish Americans and U.S. policymakers that the city retains a "high degree of autonomy" under China's rule.
In the wake of the dot-com meltdown, PR people are asking themselves, "what can PR do now that the IPOs have dried up? Where's the story?" This roundtable featured PR experts with answers like the following:
No public relations agency in America benefited more from the Internet boom than Middleberg & Associates. By the year 2000, Middleberg had established itself as the authority on online media relations, but the dot-com meltdown also means leaner times for its PR firms. Last week, agency founder Don Middleberg closed the firm
The government of Ecuador is paying $180,000 to Burson-Marsteller.
Now that Philip Morris has apologized for its role in commissioning a report claiming that the Czech Republic benefits from the premature deaths of smokers, the August 6 issue of PR Week asked PR pros, "How can Philip Morris regain PR ground following the publication of the Czech report?" Advice from the experts included:
After Children's Memorial Hospital, a private hospital in Chicago, refused to treat 11-year-old Ana Esparza because she was uninsured and could not afford a life-saving liver transplant, Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital agreed to do the surgery for only $225,000 -- discounted from the normal $500,000 cost of the procedure.
Nike has created a website offering an online virtual tour of one of its factories in Vietnam, claiming that the tour demonstrates its commitment to continuous improvement in labor practices overseas. A year in the making, the video depicts a clean, well-run factory where workers are well-treated. But according to Jason Mark, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Global Exchange, a labor rights group, "It seems more like a publicity stunt than a genuine effort to make systematic changes across the board.