PR You Serious?
Forest Service Hired PR Firm to Sell Logging Plan
Remember that controversial U.S. Forest Service plan unveiled in January that aims to triple commercial logging in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains? The one they said would “protect small communities” and create “forests with a future”? The one that critics said flew in the face of wide scientific consensus on the best ways to reduce wildfire hazards? Turns out the USFS hired a public-relations firm — OneWorld Communications, to the tune of some $90,000 — to help it sell the plan to a skeptical public. A leaked memo from OneWorld encouraged USFS officials to keep their unprecedented move a secret, since “perception is king” and “members of the public who are not professionals in public relations and marketing might misinterpret certain ideas or concepts” in the PR plan. As we here at Grist are not PR professionals, we’ll leave the interpreting to readers.