Today, PR mega-firm Fleishman-Hillard is hosting a panel at Georgetown University on "the rise of corporate social responsibility." The panelists include: Fleishman co-chair and former Missouri Senator Jim Talent; Patrick Cleary, vice president of National Association of Manufacturers; William Powers, columnist with the National Journal; and blogger extraordinaire, Arianna Huffington.
Okay, typical PR media show. Here's where it gets dicey: The event is co-sponsored by National Consumers League. Linda Golodner, president of the organization, is also on the panel.
The National Consumers League calls itself “the nation’s oldest consumer organization.” But in fact, it is heavily funded by large corporations seeking to thwart major consumer reforms in Washington.
According to the group’s most recent IRS 990 filing, it has taken a total of $3.1 million from ten major corporations and corporate public relations firms over the past four years. Its funders include Pfizer, Bank of America, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Kaiser Permanente, Wyeth-Ayerst, Verizon, Cypress, Chandler Chicco Agency, Nichols Denzenhall, and Express Scripts.
Corrupted? The organization's policy regarding health summarily rejects any proposal for a Canadian style single payer health insurance system in the United States. Why? Because it would send its health care industry funders to the exits.
What’s Fleishman interest? Well, it looks like they want to drum up some business. Fleishman is expected to release a survey that finds that more than three-quarters of Americans give U.S. corporations low marks for social responsibility. The survey also finds that a majority of Americans believe that certain sectors – energy, food, chemical and pharmaceutical – need more government oversight.
“The generally lukewarm perception of U.S. corporations on social responsibility, along with the prevailing belief that Congress may need to get involved, could lead to increased oversight of the private sector on Capitol Hill,” Talent said.
"Government Oversight"! That could scare anyone into hiring a PR firm to help impliment a CSR program. Ya think?