"Astroturf" Lobbyists Overshadow Grass-roots Efforts

Front groups with high-minded names often obscure the financial interests behind them. Examples cited in this story include a "nonprofit" group called the Asia Pacific Exchange Foundation that accepts corporate money to pay for trips to Asia for politicians; a campaign by drug gian Glaxo Wellcome to mobilize asthma patients against rules that would phase out inhalers using ozone-harming propellants; and front groups created by utility companies to campaign on both sides of the electricity deregulation issue.

PR Newsletter Gathers "Intelligence" on Environmental Reporters

TJFR, a publisher of media insider news for the PR industry, has launched a new publication, the Environmental News Reporter, to provide "in-depth intelligence on the nation's most important environmental news organizations and journalists." TJFR says having this information will help public relations pros "manage potentially negative situations." TJFR's other publications include the Business News Reporter and the Health News Reporter.

Tobacco Industry "Goons" Harass Petition Gatherers

To block a petition drive for higher cigarette taxes in Arizona, tobacco industry goon squads used verbal harassment, blew smoke in the face of petition gatherers, and engaged in physical intimidation.

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