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The Weekly Spin, December 27, 2006

The Weekly Spin features selected news summaries with links to
further information about media, political spin and propaganda. It
is emailed free each Wednesday to subscribers.

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THIS WEEK'S NEWS

== BLOG POSTINGS ==
1. What Would the Other George Do? An Interview with the Author of "Saving General Washington"

== SPIN OF THE DAY POSTINGS ==
1. Medical Journal Pulls Column Critical of Patient Group
2. Will Bush Take the Hint?
3. World Diamond Council Seeks to Sterilize "Blood Diamond"
4. Food Marketing-Fueled School Channel "Going, Going Gone"?
5. Growers, Distributors Want Industry-Driven Regulation Despite E. Coli Outbreaks
6. NewsTrust.net: A New Outlet for Citizen Journalists
7. Bush's Christmas Present for Public Broadcasting
8. All I Want for Christmas Is an End to Stealth Marketing
9. Newspaper Bias Study Questioned
10. Read Between the Redacted Lines
11. South Florida: The New Front in the Propaganda Wars

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== BLOG POSTINGS ==

1. WHAT WOULD THE OTHER GEORGE DO? AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR OF "SAVING GENERAL WASHINGTON"
by Judith Siers-Poisson
  I spoke with author J.R. Norton in June of this year about his book,
  "Saving General Washington: The Right Wing Assault on America's
  Founding Principles." The following excerpts are from an interview on
  "A Public Affair" on WORT (89.9 FM), community radio in Madison, WI,
  and from a follow up in-person interview.

JSP: Why do George Washington and the rest of the Founding Fathers
  need to be saved?

J.R. NORTON: Well, it's a bit of metaphor. It's in part aimed at
  rehabilitating and reintroducing these founding figures of American
  history, but on a broader level, on a more important level, it's
  about reintroducing the values that these guys stood for. Certainly
  over the last five or six years, I think we've really lost sight of
  those virtues.
To read the rest of this item or to comment, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5583

== SPIN OF THE DAY POSTINGS ==

1. MEDICAL JOURNAL PULLS COLUMN CRITICAL OF PATIENT GROUP
online.wsj.com/article/SB116709354076459273-email.html
  In November, the New England Journal of Medicine pulled an opinion
  column by Dr. Robert Steinbrook that was critical of ties between
  the National Kidney Foundation and drug companies. The column was to
  accompany the publication of two studies cautioning that the use of
  the drug erythropoietin (EPO), as recommended by the foundation,
  appeared to increase the risk of heart failure and kidney problems.
  Instead, the journal published a softer editorial by Julie
  Ingelfinger, a deputy editor at the journal, but without disclosing
  that she has close ties to the foundation. Steinbrook's article was
  published in The Lancet. He noted that of the 18 members of the
  foundation's group that formulated the EPO guidelines, two-thirds
  had financial ties to the drug's manufacturers or marketers. In 2005
  the foundation, David Armstrong writes in the Wall Street Journal,
  "received $4.1 million from Amgen Inc. and $3.6 million from Johnson
  & Johnson's Ortho Biotech, the current marketers of EPO in the U.S."
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), December 26, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5582

2. WILL BUSH TAKE THE HINT?
www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061226/NEWS07/612260345/1009
  "Public opinion experts say Americans are sending President George
  W. Bush a clear message as he considers his options in Iraq: Bring
  the troops home," reports Ron Hutcheson. "Polling experts say the
  overall sentiment is clear. A majority of Americans think the war
  was a mistake, don't think it will make America safer and don't
  think the United States will win. Large majorities want to see the
  troops come home by early 2008." Bush, however, seems bent on
  sending up to 30,000 more troops into Iraq.
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, December 26, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5581

3. WORLD DIAMOND COUNCIL SEEKS TO STERILIZE "BLOOD DIAMOND"
adage.com/article?article_id=113710
  Concerned about consumer backlash, the World Diamond Council (WDC)
  has pumped $15 million into a public relations and education
  campaign to respond to the new movie "Blood Diamond." The film,
  starring Leonard DiCaprio, opened to generally good reviews and
  ranked among the top ten in popularity during the holiday season. It
  is set in 1999 Sierra Leone, but, a multimillion dollar illicit
  trade in diamonds from African conflict zones (proceeds from which
  are used to fund criminal activity) continues in countries such as
  Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo. WDC created a
  website, DiamondFacts.org, asserting that the industry successfully
  participates in monitoring that all but eliminates blood diamonds.
  WDC also hired the PR crisis management firm, Sitrick & Co., to
  create an education campaign to neutralize the movie's potential
  impact. The stakes are high: "The film makes its debut during the
  heaviest-selling season for the $60 billion-a-year worldwide diamond
  industry, and the U.S. accounts for nearly half of diamond-jewelry
  purchases," writes T.L. Stanley.
SOURCE: Advertising Age (sub req'd), December 11, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5580

4. FOOD MARKETING-FUELED SCHOOL CHANNEL "GOING, GOING GONE"?
adage.com/mediaworks/article.php?article_id=113801
  Channel One, the controversial advertising-funded TV network that
  reaches 7 million secondary schools, faces declining revenue and its
  owner, Primedia, is looking to sell. The station has been especially
  hit by marketing pullbacks on food and beverage ads aimed at
  children, the subject of increasing criticism by prominent members
  of Congress and, most recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  The home page of ChannelOne.com has featured U.S. Army "All American
  Bowl" football ads, as well as Pepsi products.
SOURCE: Advertising Age (sub req'd), December 14, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5579

5. GROWERS, DISTRIBUTORS WANT INDUSTRY-DRIVEN REGULATION DESPITE E. COLI OUTBREAKS
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/10/AR2006121000903.html
  U.S. safety regulations for produce have been relegated to the far
  reaches of federal bureaucracies, tucked into an under-funded
  combination of Food and Drug Administration oversight and state
  agriculture bureaucracies. Despite significant increases in 2006 of
  reported produce-related illnesses compared to previous years
  (ranging from a deadly spinach E.coli outbreak to Taco Bell's
  unsolved, but eventually controlled, East Coast E.coli outbreak in
  December), growers are lobbying for an industry-funded system of
  regulation. The approach is known as "marketing orders" in which
  farmers would pay for Department of Agriculture oversight through
  its "Agricultural Marketing Service," which does not traditionally
  work in food safety. At the FDA--where budget cuts have reduced
  inspections--an official has endorsed the new approach. But there is
  widespread disagreement on the most effective path to produce
  safety. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned
  the FDA and the State of California to set mandatory safety
  standards for fruit and vegetables. Researchers suspect that the
  deadly E. coli strain resulted from industrial livestock production
  methods, including force-feeding grain and antibiotics to cattle.
SOURCE: Washington Post (reg req'd), December 11, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5578

6. NEWSTRUST.NET: A NEW OUTLET FOR CITIZEN JOURNALISTS
beta.newstrust.net
  Late last month, NewsTrust went live. This non-profit online news
  rating service aims to help people identify quality journalism - or
  "news you can trust." The project is led by Fabrice Florin, a former
  journalist and a digital media pioneer at Apple and Macromedia. The
  concept is simple -- NewsTrust members submit articles, then read
  and rate them based on key journalistic principles such as fairness,
  balance, evidence, context and importance. The ratings are compiled
  and each article is given an overall "grade." Based on the positive
  reception it has so far received, NewsTrust plans to launch its full
  service in 2007.
SOURCE: NewsTrust.net
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5577

7. BUSH'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING
www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-et-bell22dec22,1,1016415.story?coll=la-headlines-politics
  The week before Christmas is often a time when government's try to
  bury a controversial decision, safe in the knowledge that most
  people aren't all that focused on politics. This week, President
  George W. Bush appointed Warren Bell to the board of the Corporation
  for Public Broadcasting. The CPB, which is funded by Congress, makes
  grants to public radio and television stations in the U.S. such as
  PBS. Bell, a former television sitcom producer and contributing
  writer to the National Review, describes himself as a "a
  not-so-secret conservative."  Bell was originally nominated to the
  position in June 2006 but was opposed by Democrat members of the
  Senate Commerce Committee. Bush's recess appointment means that
  Bell's term will run until a permanent nominee is approved.
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5575

8. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS AN END TO STEALTH MARKETING
www.sacbee.com/107/story/95652.html
  Charlie "was a hip-hop artist, very 'street.' ... He started a blog,
  alliwantforxmasisapsp.com, where he mused in urban patois about how
  his cousin Pete really, really wanted a Sony PSP for Christmas." The
  website was a "flog," or fake blog, launched by Sony to market the
  game system. "Sony's admission ... comes less than two months after
  it was revealed that Wal-Mart's public relations firm, Edelman, had
  been behind the blog 'Wal-Marting Across America,'" notes Sam
  McManis. "Flogs aren't rampant -- yet," but "marketers often turn to
  alternative forms of advertising. ... For several years now,
  marketers have paid 'real people' to talk up products ranging from
  cell phones to hair gel on city buses, at sporting events or in
  bars. Procter & Gamble, for instance, has 'sponsored' more than
  200,000 teenagers to use products and recommend them to friends."
  The company PayPerPost offers companies a "network of bloggers" to
  promote their goods. Following the Wal-Mart / Edelman incident,
  PayPerPost "developed a disclosure policy for bloggers to
  'accelerate transparency.'"
SOURCE: Sacramento Bee (California), December 21, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5574

9. NEWSPAPER BIAS STUDY QUESTIONED
www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=4309
  After reviewing "two University of Chicago economists' findings
  about the political slant of American newspapers," reporter Chris
  Adams concludes that the study "has structural flaws." For instance,
  the study counted the Washington Post's mentions of "real estate
  tax" as "estate tax," a phrase identified as Democratic (as opposed
  to its Republican counterpart, "death tax"). Many of the
  Democratic-leaning phrases the study found in the New York Times,
  such as "bring our troops home" and "tax cuts for the rich,"
  appeared not in news reports, but in opinion pieces or letters to
  the editor. Moreover, the "partisan phrases" used the most by the
  New York Times -- which the study gave a partisan score similar to
  "a fairly liberal congressperson" like Senator Barbara Boxer -- were
  "credit card" and "Justice Department." The study's
  supposedly-Republican phrases include "assistant secretary" and
  "urge support." Adams further cautions, "Among the most liberal
  newspapers in the study: the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. Among
  the most Democratic phrases: 'Hurricane Katrina.'"
SOURCE: American Journalism Review, December 2006 / January 2007
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5573

10. READ BETWEEN THE REDACTED LINES
www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/opinion/22precede.html
  "Here is the redacted version of a draft Op-Ed article we wrote for
  The [New York] Times, as blacked out by the Central Intelligence
  Agency's Publication Review Board after the White House intervened
  in the normal prepublication review process," write Flynt Leverett
  and Hillary Mann. Leverett, a former CIA analyst and National
  Security Council official, has accused the White House of using the
  CIA vetting process "to silence an established critic of the
  administration's foreign policy incompetence." The column
  accompanying the redacted op-ed includes citations of previous news
  articles, "to demonstrate that all of the material the White House
  objected to is already in the public domain. Unfortunately, to make
  sense of much of our Op-Ed article, readers will have to read the
  citations for themselves." Leverett and Mann vow to "continue to
  press for the release of the article without the material deleted,"
  adding that "national security must be above politics."
SOURCE: New York Times, December 22, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5572

11. SOUTH FLORIDA: THE NEW FRONT IN THE PROPAGANDA WARS
www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/16270804.htm
  "We believe we have the authority to do this," said a spokesperson
  for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), regarding the airing
  of U.S. propaganda on domestic radio and TV stations. For six
  months, programs from TV and Radio Marti will be broadcast in South
  Florida, in an attempt to reach audiences in Cuba. U.S.
  government-run media is "prohibited by law from airing in the United
  States." But the BBG claims that the broadcasts are needed "to
  overcome significant signal-jamming by the Cuban government,"
  especially at a time "when Fidel Castro, Cuba's longtime leader, is
  thought to be dying." The BBG "appears to be relying upon a
  paragraph in the law that terms dissemination in the United States
  illegal unless 'such dissemination is inadvertent.'" Critics say
  that South Floridians don't "inadvertently" turn to local stations;
  "they are the ... main audience." The Florida stations, Radio Mambi
  710 AM and WPMF-38, are being paid $377,500 to air the Marti
  programming. "This is a fraud," said Joe Garcia of the New
  Democratic Network. "It certainly sounds like it's inconsistent with
  the spirit of the federal law," said the associate dean of
  Pennsylvania State University's College of Communication.
SOURCE: Miami Herald, December 19, 2006
To comment on this item, visit:
www.prwatch.org/node/5571

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