Aug 1 1996

Is It Real…Or Is It Astroturf?

PR Firm Finds 'Grassroots' Support for Breast Implants

It’s no small thing to win a public relations fight. A corporation under pressure benefits from the biases of the profit-making news media, but the pro-corporate leanings of commercial journalism don’t guarantee favorable coverage. What you need are propaganda-generating troops, and if you have the money, you can buy some. In the late 1980s, the pressure on silicon breast-implant manufacturers was mounting. After years of private lawsuits in which successful plaintiffs were silenced by gag orders imposed in court, sick women started appearing on television in December 1990, claiming that unscrupulous corporations were knowingly making money from implants that made […]

Aug 1 1996

Walking the Abortion Plank

What the Republican Platform Really Says

One of the biggest dramas of the 1996 election–for the political press corps, at least–has been the question of the Republican platform’s abortion plank. Would Bob Dole alienate the religious right by trying to change the plank? Would he alienate pro-choice voters by not changing it? Will Pat Buchanan walk out of the convention? Can Ralph Reed sell “tolerance” to the Christian Coalition? There have been literally hundreds of these stories in major newspapers across the country, according to a Nexis database search. But only about a dozen times did these papers even let their readers know what the platform […]