The fiasco resulted in reportedly the most expensive trial in English legal history.
Meanwhile, the outlook was bleak for staff at the British Airports Authority, which forecast 700 management and supervisory redundancies before 2007.
At the other end of the monitor, telcos scored a reputation hat-trick. O2 came top, enjoying favourable commentary on the back of its £17.7bn agreed takeover by Spanish firm Telefonica. Vodafone was second for raising its stake in South Africa's Vodacom to 50 per cent.
It also announced a deal with BSkyB, allowing users to view 19 channels from their mobiles.
Cashing in early on Christmas this year, Asda halved the price of 76 top-brand toys, while Marks & Spencer rolled out its festive ads.
But pre-Christmas cheer was in short supply at cut-price clothing chain Matalan, which blamed a 10.6 per cent fall in like-for-like sales on trading conditions.
Reputation Monitor is compiled from Thomson Intermedia's National News Index, a measure of media sentiment that excludes stock market reports and passing mentions.