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Another Media Disgrace

The NYT reports that the ex-chief of HealthSouth (he claims unknowingly) paid for positive coverage:

Throughout the six-month trial that led to Richard Scrushy’s acquittal in the $2.7 billion fraud at HealthSouth Corp., a small, influential newspaper consistently printed articles sympathetic to the defense of the fired CEO.

Audry Lewis, the author of those stories in The Birmingham Times, the city’s oldest black-owned paper, now says she was secretly working on behalf of Scrushy, who she says paid her $11,000 through a public relations firm and typically read her articles before publication.

It’s just stunning that this kind of stuff keeps happening without any kind of ability for censure by industry bodies – both media and PR. I’m sure there are as many frustrated journalists as there are PRs who are sick of having their profession tarnished by this kind of behavior.

One Response

  1. By Josh Morgan on January 22nd, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    I agree with you that this is disgraceful but haven’t yet figured out either what an appropriate “sanction” might be. How about a “clearinghouse” of this kind of information that can be easily referenced so the people involved, as not all instances are as widely publicized as this one, can’t hide from it in the future.

    It’s not perfect and there would have to be some serious oversight but there needs to be at least some kind of repercussion.

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