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The Herd vs. the Elephant

The cross pollination of technology philosophies and advocacy strategy continues to intrigue me. The ABCNEWS.com : Silicon Insider: Little Guys Can Win article caught my attention.

It has strong ties to the current wave of evaluation aimed at advocacy strategy. There are small dedicated bands of activists that want to abandon the large organizations and "unwrap" the function of advocacy from the "organizational housings" that have been constructed to compete for dominance of the body politic. Return political power back to the individuals away from centralized special interest. Hmmm. It is not new in advocacy nor technology.

The environmental movement counts 14 million members among the top 20 organizations and has created organizations that boast millions in annual operations. How much bigger do we think we need to build these organizations before we achieve significant mainstream acceptance among both parties? Even at 1999-2000 levels (higher than today) anti-environmental ideas and agendas are fully embrace are shooting through the Republican and Conservative Democrat circles unopposed.

Michael S. Malone talks about the effects decentralization will have on technology "new killer product or application we've all been praying for to revitalize high tech. A lot of interesting new companies. The death of some giant corporations. Cool new consumer products." The decentralization of advocacy away from NRA , political parties, and nonprofit organizations will breath new life into our lackluster models of engaging people. It will kill off giants (NGO's die less gracefully than private sector) and help more revolutionary organizing models "break thru" to exert their voice.

We need to build the movement by "seeding" lots of voices with the tools they need to be the progressive herd. Each participant with the ability to run and stampede rather than the focused walk of the large elephant.


Social Network Mapping

One of the big problems with the nonprofit sector is that we are often "knowledge workers" pushing policies and fighting administrative rules with little product output to demonstrate our labors. This "product less" work means that groups that have larger publications and communications departments talk about policy work not only completed by the organization but often by lots of little organizations.

The small groups often feel large organizations take credit, media and funding from smaller groups that are "on-the-ground" getting things done. Foundations and large donors never see or hear from the little groups (access issues) so the cycle continues to pour money into the groups that claim credit first and the loudest (regardless of effort). It is almost impossible to judge from any distance from the "fight" who is really moving policy. Are the national groups really the critical hubs for information on a subject? Are the professional staff providing information and connections to grassroots volunteers?

Now we can see...."Data Mining Email to Discover Social Networks and Communities of Practice...shows the email flows amongst a large project team. It is an x-ray of how the project actually works!"

Lets find out who really saved the Artic Refuge? Who are the experts on the Clean Water Act? Who are the grassroots groups turning to as they work on clean air issues? Find the central nodes and give them the resources to expand capacity.


Network Identity

Danah Boyd at the MIT Media Lab has developed an extensive thesis on Social Network Fragments. Her basic theory is that people do not carry identity from place to place but rather they alter themselves to fit the context of the interaction. Danah's assertions challenge the main elements to Augmented Social Networks core elements (persistent online identity, interest matching technologies). The notion that we need fluid online personalities to adapt to online cultures rings true to the civic engagement community as well. How do online identities dress for the occasion? Is this a direction that online personalities want to go?

"Users should have the ability to control their digital identity for the same reasons that they seek to control their physical identity, most notably to present themselves in an appropriate manner in relation to the current situation."

The focus on identity is a chase down the wrong path. Our culture and world is more temporal in a networked age. The social network gurus should focus on enabling meaningful "instant engagement" leveraging the speed and scale of the network world rather than focusing on long term relationships.


Wow- Denial-of-Service Attack Using the U.S. Post Office

Automated Denial-of-Service Attack Using the U.S. Post Office

This is unbelievable. They sent so much junk mail to a physical address that it became difficult to find actual mail. It is childish and a waste of resources but a weird mix of wired network meets the world. The Center for a New Dream can use this as another example why legislative action should be taken to control junk mail. They are a very cool group.

"In December 2002, the notorious "spam king" Alan Ralsky gave an interview. Aside from his usual comments that antagonized spam-hating e-mail users, he mentioned his new home in West Bloomfield, Michigan. The interview was posted on Slashdot, and some enterprising reader found his address in some database. Egging each other on, the Slashdot readership subscribed him to thousands of catalogs, mailing lists, information requests, etc. The results were devastating: within weeks he was getting hundreds of pounds of junk mail per day and was unable to find his real mail amongst the deluge.

Ironic, definitely. But more interesting is the related paper by security researchers Simon Byers, Avi Rubin and Dave Kormann, who have demonstrated how to automate this attack.

If you type the following search string into Google -- "request catalog name address city state zip" -- you'll get links to over 250,000 (the exact number varies) Web forms where you can type in your information and receive a catalog in the mail. Or, if you follow where this is going, you can type in the information of anyone you want. If you're a little bit clever with Perl (or any other scripting language), you can write a script that will automatically harvest the pages and fill in someone's information on all 250,000 forms. You'll have to do some parsing of the forms, but it's not too difficult. (There are actually a few more problems to solve. For example, the search engines normally don't return more than 1,000 actual hits per query.) When you're done, voila!

Fully automated Denial of service attack executed by the U.S. Postal Service.


The Collapse of the "Metanarrative"

The "Six Degrees of Collaboration" by Jim Bryant presents wonderful nuggets of wisdom for communication and advocacy operatives. The following few bits jumped from the pages to declare we need a new wave of advocacy and engagement models.

"There is today an unraveling of management systems and focus. Indeed, we must pay attention to Lyotard ’s (1979)view that society as a form of unicity that is as an organic, functional or even divided whole is losing credibility, because of a growing incredulity towards legitimating ‘metanarratives ’. This removes at a stroke a clear purpose for coherent social action, and in turn it eliminates the possibility of universal acknowledgement for attempts to resolve or to adjudicate on social issues. To see the consequences one has to look no further for an example than the center periphery tensions demonstrated by apparently contradictory calls for devolution (i.e. local autonomy and self-government) and centralization (e.g.the shifting of power to supra-state bodies)..."

We need to develop advocacy models of engagement that are characterized by hyperdifferentiation providing advocacy and engagement opportunities that are customized for individual participants. We need to develop models of engagement that accept the reality that people can care about health care, gun ownership and clean water or energy issues, the peace movement and lower taxes.

Bryant focuses on the post-modern trends of fragmentation "There are always many voices so conflict emerges....the domain of surprise; of uncertainty and discontinuity, as well as of passion and emotion reigns... terrorist acts, arbitrary inversions of stance, the collapse of regimes or businesses, and the flip-flops of fashion become the norm not the exception. The mathematics of catastrophe theory rather than that of Newton captures events.....The world is not only changed in terms of interdependence and scale; it is more than a matter of plurality, unpredictability and incoherence."

The world our organizations are planning for our "long-term strategies" our strategic step-by-step policy plans need to adapt to world that presents fluid opportunities and punishes rigidity. We need to continually reinvent and repackage messages and movements for each individual. Our own self-discipline mandates that our objectives will not change. As a movement, we will continue to push and pursue enlightened progressive policy but the methods and tactics we use need to adapt to a more flexible model catering to complex relationships and a more diverse body politic.


Insult to Injury - US Military "NEEDS" to Kill Endangered Species

In another insult to the intelligence of the American people, the US military is now getting special privilidges to kill endangered species for practice. (Didn't we just roll through Iraq in a matter of days? Are the Republicans expecting a bigger enemy? How are the laser-guided bombs affected by the survival of birds and fish?)

I watched a lot of war coverage and I never heard a solider wish he had killed more endangered species to practice for Iraq.

Those soliders that were not killed by enemy fire seemed to die in friendly fire accidents, rolling tanks into canals, flipping vehicles off bridges and hitting land mines. It would seem they need more practice in avoiding things and since we only have a few of the endangered species remaining on the planet it would seem to me that avoiding these critters is a good place to start.

The worst part of this bill is that it is not related to military or the war. It is about taking a swing at the endangered species act and attacking the concept that we have an obligation to protect species on the brink of extinction.

Federal lands have been used extensively as key components to habitat conservations plans (HCPs) which allowed private land owners to "take" additional habitat because federal lands were considered safe harbors for remaining populations. Endangered red-cockaded woodpecker survival depends on using military lands for remaining habitat.

Get pissed and do something.


IDC Focus Group Research on

IDC Focus Group Research on Email

This paper had interesting "well of course" findings but it also seemed to offer important guides on why email fails to be the "perfect tool" for collaboration. Much like the private sector, advocates use email as the primary tool to keep communications open across organizations.

The study finds that "90-95% of collaboration is via email" that means that the total market for other collaboration tools is 5%-10%.

Email is a great tool because everyone knows how to use it, it stores a record of the collaboration, it is cheap and it is easy to use.

The key findings for the movement are worth looking at carefully. Not to see the GRoove sales pitch but to look at the results that focus on when email FAILS. Email does not work when working with large attachments, shareing images, video or audio, when time is critical, when there are multiple revisions of a document or when receipts are not able to give email proper context and weight.

The findings resonate for many of us that work on campaigns. Email is great. However, when it is crunch time and we need to get a sign on letter, exchange the final documents (big files) or make sure everyone is definately "on board" our basic communication support fails us. The day of the big event we go back to phone calls and running documents around town!

As an advocacy movement that has opportunities based on the ebbs and flows of the political winds, we need access to tools that are more reliable in times of intense use not less.

Total reliance on email is a reality we all live with but a strategy that is going to eventually going to hurt.


Listservs (Tips, Tricks and Best Practices)

Listservs are so yesterday. However, they are a huge pillar of the communications supports for nonprofit advocacy groups. We are playing with small team use of Listservs (<100 users) and looking at ways to link this powerful email tool with a simple database backed site support.

I am picking through Google results looking for tips and tricks that small groups should keep in mind as they work with Listservs to build collaboration, community knowledge and social network ties. Comments are definitely welcome.

*** Reading Links ***

DotOrg Media: Dot Org e-newsletter issue 7: Listservs

TechSoup - Articles: Using the Internet - An Introduction to Email Listservs and Internet Mailing Lists

Email List Hosting


More on the Power of Images

CNN.com - Keepers of Bush image lift stagecraft to new heights - May. 16, 2003 Elisabeth Bumiller brings up more examples of the use of images to move a story.

The image craftsmanship that this White House is displaying is amazing. Message and visuals complement the story they are telling. (total contradict what they are doing but that is another rant)

In contrast, I can look at the major stories the liberal have placed this week CNN.com - Greens lobby against Indonesian wood - May. 16, 2003 or CNN.com - Study: Only 10 percent of big ocean fish remain - May. 14, 2003 or worst story of the week images of Democrats running from the law in Texas.

Think of the story our images communicate.

Our visuals on the fish story generally showed video of fish in natural conditions, beautifully prepared food and talking heads. CNN had to use black and white drawings of fish. They had no visuals with wood story. (RAN did a great job on the story but the visuals did not help extend the story or burn the main point into anyone's head.)

Continue reading "More on the Power of Images" »


The Political Landscape for Environmental Advocacy

There is a horrible buzz in environmental advocacy and liberal circles that we need a "unified message" that our leadership and media have forsaken the core tenets of our agenda. There is a chorus of criers singing that we need an answer "Rush". We need a liberal FOX and we need to centralize our message and unify our chatter.

The media is not dominated by conservatives, stupidity but conservatism. The programming that garners the largest portion of ratings is anything but conservative. (http://tv.yahoo.com/nielsen/)

Additionally, we have never had a unified theme. Clinton talked about some "bridge to the 21st century". I don't remember getting excited about it. I don't think other folks got excited about the bridge. In 1996, we liked Bill and Bob Dole sucked. In 1992, Clinton's message was "look at anything except the red flags going off in your head!" -As much as folks like to think "it is the economy stupid" it was also "I am not a self-indulgent womanizer." The Clinton campaign team likes to think they were the geniuses of message discipline. They just wanted to keep the focus of Bill's personal problems. (if they were so great at message discipline how do they explain the first 100 days). They won because the economy was in the toilet and no one cared about victory in Iraq or Kuwait. I can go back to many elections and look at the real world events that shaped the elections. Attention to reality wins the day.

This is not 1992. The American public seems really interested in killing Sadam, Osama and the deck of cards. They are more worried about foreign affairs in ways they didn't in 1992. Registered voters also don't blame "W" for the economy. (I do!)

We need more disorganized chatter. We need more local voices. We need more people pulling and tugging at the curtain of falsies the power structure has put in front of us. We need more voices peeking through the veneer that the administration is holding together. We need more voices, a broader set of issues and more disgust with the status quo.

The environmental movement is working on critical issues. The Alliance for Justice, Clean Water Network, Defenders of Wildlife, Earth First, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense, Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, National Environmental Trust, National Parks and Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Interest Research Group, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Wilderness Society and others are working hard trying to get traction on important stories.

They are making progress. Most Americans support the general tenets of these organizations. The failure is on the efforts to convert interest in to power. At this time, environmental advocates are fighting over the 21 million dues paying members to environmental groups. The movement is working relentlessly to bring new members into our fold and shoehorn them into the same types of "participation" - occasional letter writing loved by the old white crowd that compose the current support base. We are reaching out successfully but it is not working the way we think it should.

We need to stop fighting over the 4/4 election voters and need to start fighting for the 0/4 and unregistered voters. We need to stop the senseless turf wars over the handful of active members and donors that we have been able to define and start focusing on the people we don't know. We need to adapt agendas to American behaviors and to shortening cycles of attention. We need to develop organizaitons, campaigns and projects that are not based on membership and donations but are low costs.


What is the story of the Inner Purple Line?

I am beyond the point of disgust with the sloppy coverage the media has given the Inner Purple Line story. No transit could mean no trail Those of us that are eagerly awaiting a solution to the traffic woes of our community eagerly look for coverage only to find focus on the silly little stories surrounding the trail.

I want to challenge the media to do a better job laying out the story of the Inner Purple Line.

On one hand, there is a rich elite of golfers, politicians (paid for) and country club debutantes ringing their hands incessantly about the fate of their lovely backyard oasis. They have seemingly limitless time to call and write the media. They invite staff to walk in their yards. They make it easy for media to produce copy on an issue that is important to a large readership.

On the other side, there is a more important and more complex story. A story of long bus rides, the stories about stresses commuting places on families and bus riders. We have traffic jams, air pollution and pedestrian deaths. We have car soot in our window sills that also lands in our lungs. We have Inner Purple Line supporters that are busy working, taking care of children and commuting. Is there any doubt that a large majority of the area residents support building the Inner Purple Line? However, no one in support of the project is going to hold your hand (the media) and take reporters on a bus rides at rush hour. The media are not going run weekly stories on thousands of East-West commuters that country club would rather pretend don't exist.

The media focus on trail vs. no trail is a false choice. There is no trail that runs between Bethesda and New Carrollton. The areas outside of Bethesda are islands of homes and apartment complexes that are fragmented by a dozen major commuter roads. These roads run though our communities. They make walking, running, roller bladding, biking and commuting a dangerous endeavor. Lets take reporters (with slow-strollers including the wobbly wheels) to make multiple crossings of Georgia, East-West Highway, Colesville, Connecticut, New Hampshire or 16th Street. Lets report on the daily stress that comes with dodging traffic. People are getting in accidents and people are getting killed.

Supporters of the Inner Purple Line are not against trails or trees. We like both. Most of us don't care about a land fight among the millionaires or about a development project in Chevy Chase. We are passionate about seeing the Inner Purple Line built because we know commuters. We cross these streets. We see police tape at accidents. We know family members that come home late because of traffic. We are sick of politicians, country clubs and "Save the Trail".

I challenge the media to consistently tell the truth about project. It is a good project. It will help our community and connect our neighborhoods to recreation and commuter trails. Everyone except the millionaires and those that have directly received money from them are in support of the Inner Purple Line.

The chambers of commerce, civic associations, labor unions, biking and environmental groups support the project.(support list) From Bethesda to New Carrollton, the majority of the population in the area supports the project. The Inner Purple Line creates useable trails (point A to point B). The project will create shorter commutes for rail riders. The project will connect economic centers, reduce air pollution and create jobs. The Inner Purple Line rail and trail would improve the quality of life and economic outlook for all of us.

Please start focusing on the insane influence that the elite country club neighborhood is exerting to stop this project. Publish a member list, dues they pay, lawsuits they filed (to block the trail). Expose the political contributions, connections to elected officials, financial support funneled into "Save the Trail" over the last ten years. The media need to reveal the dirty secret that is on the table. The Inner Purple Line is not built today because some of the rich elite in Chevy Chase oppose it. Every politician that is involved in delaying the project has taken money from the opponents.

Today, I blame the media for lack of community rage. People don't know the story because the media is lazily regurgitating the story as it is framed by the opponents. The Inner Purple Line debate is no longer about the merits of the project (all the facts support building the Inner Purple Line) but about fairness, moral conduct of politicians and honesty in our political process.


Visuals tell the Story

"The decline in government services -- and steeply rising fees -- go unreported by cable TV networks broadcasting live speeches by our leaders pledging to rebuild schools and hospitals in Iraq." - Joel Connelly Article

Are we angry at the media, our leaders or ourselves? Joel writes an excellent article on the power of visuals, the use of media coverage to tell a story and the hypocrisy of the Bush administration. However, the jet stunt is nothing new nor is it anything we can change.

Visuals are the most important element of a story in many ways because the media can not change the visuals.

As we write and present talking heads to the media we are debated, edited, clipped and cut. Our letters and prose can be distorted and talked over by the media. Our opposition can respond. However, a good image always gets play. The text or voice around the image can change but the visual slips into the mainstream as is. Everyone is working on image these days. I disagree with Joel that budget cuts are not visual. We are carrying a lot of writers and policy people in the nonprofit movement but not nearly enough photographers, communication staff and video production capacity. As a movement, environmentalists have a compelling visual story but we do not provide the images to support our narrative. How often do groups spend a full year of staff salary on an issue to crank out a report but release findings without $1000 worth of images?

Lesson. Communication, visuals and content matter. Unfortunately, it is often in that order and our movement refuses to engage in this reality. Our lack of telling visual stories may be directly correlated to our loss of the youth (learn more by seeing than reading) in the membership ranks.


Rove's Insight

There is entirely to much focus on finding a unified defense strategy against the Bush administration among the environmental community. There is no single issue the leadership can pick to "win". In fact, these groups are doomed to pick marginally relevant issues because the nature of single issue organizations. Would the generalists like NRDC or Sierra Club ever back a strategy that said a single issue like forests or rivers was the major issue? No ..They don't want the fundraising and membership advantage to pass to thier perceived competitors like American Rivers or Wilderness Society.

The result is that the groups can only unify around issues that are super complex and without a threatening member (national compeditor for funds, accolades and members) identified with the issue. This is why we get the brilliance of the "most important " issue is Artic Refuge or AntiSUV campaign not drinking water, clean air and anti-pollution. I can see them rallying around climate change (no clear group leadership) but not river protection which polls 65% or better in favor of more protections.

Back to Rove, one of the few nuggets of wisdom that Rove delivered to the 2000 election is an old adage that the presidency is NOT a national election but a 50 state election. We do not need a unifying story or defense strategy. We need many stores that will help convince a majority that the better not screw with the health and protection of our environment.


Icons, Leaders, History

I am facinated by the current cult of admiration that is focusing on Karl Rove, Rumsfeld, Bush and the gang of power players. (Washington Post Article on Rove)- This is the new old history coming back into vogue with the success of the conservatives. The approach is to tell a story of the leader (usually old white establishment) creating a vision that changes everything. The hapless massess are visionless and directionless without Rove and Bush to manipulate and see the future. (Boy Genius Review)

A bunch of historians debated this thru the 1970-1980s. I remember one of my college professors screaming about liberal deconstruction of history or something. Scholars tearing down Washington, Madison, Jefferson and Kennedy. Historians started to look at events from the perspective of woman, minorities and the common man. Is history driven by the amazing leaders or are larger forces at play. Do we really credit Giuliani and Bush for the resiliance of the American people after 9/11? If Bush stayed in the bunker in Nebraska, if Guliani wept and babbled like a little school boy, if Congress ran for the hills and avoided the Capital would America have collapsed and capitulated to terrorist demands? NO. The American public would have rallied around any one from our ranks that demonstrated our group emotion.

History is alive. For many of us that have kicked around the debate of leaders vs. social forces can look at this major moment in American history and judge for ourselves what would happen if "players" change. Are they leading or are they pushed into a role that is a reflection of the people?

We are in a renisonse of personality history. We are gobbling up biographies of Jack Welsh, John Adams,Rudy Giuliani and every other man figure that has found themselves in front of the jagguernaut of public unity. Our society (our largest social network) will create leaders to fill our needs and visions. We will increase the reward to those willing to speak our language and serve our needs. We will help them overcome the adversity they face. We will offer a resolve they could not muster on their own.

The threat today is not Rove or Bush, it is the minions of right wing that unified in hatred of Clinton. It is the the story that they told and our leaders reinforced. We have loss the movement in our mass. It will return and we will puke forward new icons to steer our energy.


SPAM and activism

Does political dialogue qualify as SPAM?

In an interesting fight in Maryland two small groups have squared off to fight over the construction of the Inner Purple Line light rail project between Bethesda and New Carrollton. The rail line would run along a popular trail used by bikers and walkers. The construction of the rail project would extend the trail several miles and create some alternative routes to cross busy streets.

In addition to the issue (build or don't build), a small debate has surfaced around SPAM. A group of NIMBY volunteers that live along the trail route in a swanky section of Maryland cornered bikers and walkers to sign a petition to stop the project. They collected 10,000 names to "Save the trail". HOWEVER, major biker, progressive and environmental groups support the project and see it as a way to extend the trail and improve transit options in the congested suburbs. The group felt strongly that the people collecting signatures were misleading folks on the trail in the face to face meetings. The community groups refute the value of the petition and claim popular support favors building the trail rail project.

The "Save the Trail" volunteers submitted the petition as a public document with contact information, names, addresses and 3000 email addresses. The Inner Purple Line supporters typed in all the email addresses and contacted each signatory with a letter from a real volunteer to provide them with more information and to inform them that their name was being used to kill the project. They were asked for a response.

Is it spam or fair political discourse?

Links:

The Text of the Email
Rail Zealots Spam Petition Signers
Save the Trail Site
Inner Purple Line


Crisis Communications - Create a Crisis for Your Opponents.

Media is an opportunistic beast. Opponents to government regulations, inspections and enforcement of regulations have made a fine art of "managing" the "PR Disaster". Many companies large and small have public relations firms on retainers to protect them from the ripple effects of bad media including new and tougher regulation, victim lawsuits and loss of profits. Advocacy groups must prepare for the crisis the same way our opponents do. They run drills that focus on limiting liability, spinning the media and pushing the media on to the next story.

The environmental advocacy movement needs to develop strategies to capitalize on world events to focus media attention toward failures in policy, tough solutions and protections and the new angles that keep a story alive and relevant.

Read crisis communications literature?. deconstruct it. Build a plan to counter attack. When your river catches fire, when your fish float, when your community is exposed to toxins, when cheating and greed have sacrificed your security the responsible parties are going to be implementing crisis communication plans. At this moment, you can speak to the entire state or the nation. You can push for policy change and you can get peoples attention.

10 ways to make a story stick and counter opposition effort to move a story to the back page.

1. Focus on the history of the company, company leadership and their lobbyist that demonstrates the arrogance and "we know best" attitude. Show the public that they consistently claim superior knowledge on the issues. In the middle of a crisis the "we know best" will bite them on the reputation. It will undermine their ability to control the spin and strengthen efforts to push for third party review and management of the crisis clean up. (they hate that)

2. Force the CEO to be the spokesperson not the PR people. CEO's are not as good in front of the camera and in the public eye. If the CEO is not around beat the drum of the "train without a conductor". Force the CEO to run press conferences and take questions. Ask about lobby efforts to undermine public security, personal pay, people that they fired over environmental management failures rather than profit loss.

3. Ask for all the information that you ever wanted. Ask for information they would not want to disclose. Ask lots of questions. Nothing makes a story stick like a "no comment" or a slow release of information. "no comment" sound bites are as good as "I'm guilty" to a lot of the public.

4. Draw the story out. Do not let opponents sweep the story to yesterday's news. Continue to look for new angles and new messengers.

5. Demand recognition of fault and public disclosure of all damage findings and settlements. (The legal teams hate this) The offending parties often lock down findings and hold results of tests as part of a legal case. The lawyers will advise the company not to admit guilt. It is a great opportunity to put the pressure on the offending party to come clean and help the victims win fair compensation down the road. It creates huge tension between the legal and PR teams as they try to control the situation.

6. Start a "never forget" campaign that can serve the victims and push for meaningful legislation to prevent the trouble in the future.

7. Find and highlight opposition failures on three levels. Look at the long-term mismanagement , the systematic incompetence and the moral failure to manage dangerous products. In the wake of the crisis most PR strategies try to move everyone on to the next problem by focusing on peoples belief that the company has been doing it for a long time responsibly, they tap into peoples belief that the system must be in place to address such problems and that most company leadership are probably "good guys". A good attack plan should highlight the realities that many of our dangerous polluters are consistently failing to protect the public.

8. Focus on the lack of compassion at every opportunity. How are the clear cutters that create landslides indifferent to those killed in the wake of their work? How are communities? devastated by the smells of giant feedlots? The lack of compassion for people demonstrates the need that the government need to protect the public not the heartless businesses that are profiting from the misery they create.

9 Have a crisis attack drill. Who talks? What are the bills that can move in the wake of certain disasters? (love Canal = superfund, Enron=accounting reform, kidnapping = amber alert) Can the team respond to the demand of the intense news cycle?

10. Make crisis response work a priority. It is difficult to respond to every whim of the media but remember most significant change can occur during times of chaos. The opposition knows they are most venerable during these events yet often groups do not have the plans to respond. In today?s' tight media cyclones you do not have 3-12 months to get funding and programs in place to push an agenda. You need to think of entire campaigns that last six days.