Ten things for PR pros to know Tuesday morning, 9.23.2014

Obama Administration works to counter "tax inversion" deals; Government researchers find security hole in Healthcare.gov; Google cuts ties with ALEC; Omnicom CFO steps down; Press conference by Ravens owner criticized.

1. The Treasury Department has introduced several measures to stop US-based companies from relocating their headquarters overseas to reduce their tax bills.

The most famous of the spate of recent "tax inversion" deals is the acquisition of Tim Hortons by Burger King, which will allow the latter to save money by moving its corporate base to Canada.


2. Government IT security researchers found a "critical" vulnerability in healthcare.gov, but were blocked when they tried to exploit it, according to a report on the portal’s security due for release on Tuesday. The cybersecurity team gave the website mixed grades.


3. Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson took on State Farm’s decision to drop ads starring comedian Rob Schneider over his anti-vaccination views.


PRWeek broke news on Monday that State Farm took the ad starring Schneider out of rotation after an outcry from activists who believed the insurance company’s partnership with the actor was irresponsible.

4. Google is pulling its support for the American Legislative Exchange Council due to its stance on climate change, with Google CEO Eric Schmidt telling NPR the group is "literally lying" about the issue.


Edelman’s work with ALEC was at the center of an August controversy spurred by a Guardian survey over whether PR firms should work with companies that deny climate change is taking place or oppose legislation to combat it.

5. A Syrian man live-tweeted the Monday night bombing of ISIS targets in the country by the US and a number of Arab allies.


6. Omnicom Group CFO Randall Weisenburger, widely seen as a possible successor to CEO John Wren, is stepping down. Controller Philip Angelastro will replace him. Weisenburger’s decision comes four months after the holding company’s proposed merger with Publicis Groupe fell apart.


7. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti held a press conference Monday afternoon to dispute ESPN’s Friday report that the team had extensive knowledge of Ray Rice’s actions in striking his then-fiancee in February, despite saying otherwise. The network is standing by its reporting.

Bisciotti was criticized for what some saw as a lack of empathy for Rice’s wife and other victims of domestic violence during the press conference.


8. Apple said Monday that it does not plan to shutter the Beats Music service it bought as part of its acquisition of the headphone company three months ago. However, it may rename the service.


9. The Los Angeles Times looked at the Richmond Standard, the Bay Area website operated by Chevron, and its snarky coverage of protestors attending rallies on climate change. Said the Times’  Michael Hiltzik: "This is what the news business has come to in communities where economics have wiped out traditional local newspapers." A Chevron spokesperson countered that the outlet "is a great resource for Richmond."

10. Customers took AirportParkingReservations.com to task for a marketing email it sent that referenced the death of a 55-year-old man at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and blamed it on travel-related stress. "Don’t be late and end up in a crate," said the company’s email pitch.

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