Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, and the Public Relations Industry

by John Stauber (Author), Sheldon Rampton (Author)

Editorial Reviews

Sure, many of us in this modern world are cynical. The most cynical may even
suspect that the news is manipulated and massaged by sponsors, that corporations
act in their best interests, that political campaigns are determined not by
votes, but by bucks, and that we don't get "all the news that's fit to print"
but instead, "all the news that gets the ink". But even the most media-savvy
amongst you will be awed by the behind-the-scenes descriptions of the Public
Relations industry in action so masterfully described in this book. If you want
your eyes to be opened, open them upon the pages of this book. (But remember:
there are some very important people counting on you, and they really would
prefer that you didn't ever hear about this book, much less buy it.)

From Publishers Weekly
Stauber and Rampton cite a classic example of image manipulation in this
chilling analysis of the PR business. During the aftermath of the 1975
Three-Mile Island nuclear accident, a company spokesman said that a spark in the
accumulated hydrogen bubble could result in a "spontaneous energetic
disassembly" otherwise known as an explosion. The authors trace certain specious
practices of the $10 billion PR business to P.T. Barnum, who in 1836 wrote
anonymous pro and con letters to editors about himself, generating heated
interest. Modern public relations has evolved "crisis management" and "anti-" PR
campaigns including sabotaging the tours of authors who challenge industry
clients, for example, Jeremy Rifkin, author of Beyond Beef. The new euphemism
for sewage sludge, "biosolids," is part of a campaign to convince the public
that municipal sludge, replete with an astounding array of toxic substances, is
good for farm soil. The authors point to Business for Social Responsibility, an
organization that includes The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry's and others, as now
containing "some of the most environmentally destructive corporations on the
planet." Giant agencies extend their contracts to selling national policies, as
Hill & Knowlton did in selling the Gulf war to the American public. Although
most large news organizations at least rewrite PR materials, many smaller
markets "rip and read" prepackaged video news releases. This is a cautionary
reminder that much of the consumer and political world is created by for-hire
mouthpieces in expensive neckties.

Product Details

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Common Courage Press (September 1995)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1567510604



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