Spinning Isn’t Everything; It’s the Only Thing
Alaska looks to controversial PR firm to promote Arctic Refuge drilling
In the face of broad public opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Alaska legislature has … abandoned its push for drilling? Don’t be silly! No, the legislature’s hired a PR firm to sell the joys of drilling to a skeptical public. The firm expected to get the job, Pac/West Communications, and its president, Paul Phillips, have reputations for shiftiness: In 1990, Phillips, then an Oregon state senator, was fined $17,000 for using his lawmaker status to advance his side job as a political consultant. Two years ago, while working to defeat an initiative to ban bear-baiting in Alaska, a Pac/West employee tried to register nine pro-bear group names to keep anti-baiting groups from using them — a practice that’s frowned upon. Anti-drilling Alaska legislators have expressed fear that PR campaigns in their districts might affect elections, which Phillips says will “absolutely not” happen. And surely we can trust him.