Bad news for endocrine disruptors, Walmart, BP, an
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Bad news for endocrine disruptors, Walmart, BP, an

Paul Holmes

Via Mother Jones and (originally) Nicholas Kristof—who’s behind the New York Times news rationing barricades—comes this story about endocrine disruptors. “Endocrine hormones regulate growth, blood pressure, serum glucose levels, and a whole host of other things,” MJ’s Drum explains. “In other words: they're important! Naturally, then, we're doing our best to screw up our endocrine systems.” Prediction: the next 12 months will see much more on this story, followed by moves to regulate endocrine disruptors, followed by Republican claims that either (a) the entire endocrine system is either just a theory or (b) there’s no evidence that disruption is caused by human activity. The observation that “In the Wal-Mart C-Suite, it's the PR Battle That Matters,” wouldn’t be particularly interesting if that headline had appeared in a PR magazine, but since it’s in Corporate Counsel magazine, it’s worth noting. Author James Hagerty is a longtime litigation PR counselor, and he predicts that “any punishment that might be levied under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars U.S. companies from paying bribes overseas, will likely pale in comparison to the reputational loss and its subsequent impact on Wal-Mart’s market value.” The 10th annual survey of employee benefits, trends and attitudes released in March by MetLife puts employee loyalty at a seven-year low and says one in three employees plans to leave his or her job by the end of the year. [email protected] takes a look at declining employee loyalty and management professor Adam Cobb makes the eminently sensible suggestion that we “imagine a different world where firms took care of their employees, and loyalty was reciprocal. Would employees be job hopping to the extent they are now?" Continuing scrutiny of BP, post oil spill reminds us that “it’s not the crisis, it’s the cover-up.” In India, meanwhile, another natural resources company provides us with a reminder that when it comes to public relations, communication should never get ahead of reality. “If social media mattered in elections, Ron Pail would have a realistic shot at being the Republican nominee and Barack Obama would be on track to crush Mitt Romney in the biggest landslide in American history,” says Gregory Ferenstein in the introduction to a post at TechCrunch. Needless to say, nothing in the article even comes close to supporting that claim, or even tries. Ferenstein’s actual case is somewhat less dramatic, which is that social media success is not the sole determinant of electoral success. Of course, nobody ever suggested that it was. Outrage is the Daily Mail’s stock in trade, so no surprise at its treatment of this rather silly story, involving police press officers wasting time Tweeting photographs of cakes. On the one hand: what, journalists never goof around in the office? On the other hand: you’re PR people, you should understand (a) the symbolic impact of something like this and (b) the gotcha mentality of your friends in the press.  
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