Thanks to Maria for organizing an outstanding event, to the Honeywood Arena Board for partnering with StoMP, to Meg for the article and special thanks to a local Councillor for this observation about H0B&K:
While winning the fight for the environmental assessment is a major victory, many in the movement are talking about what seems to be a completely unprecedented victory over one of the most powerful and notorious PR firms in the world.
Less than a year ago Baupost brought in the big guns. They hired Hill and Knowlton (H&K), an American based international public relations firm, to spin the quarry issue into something less controversial.
Anti-quarry activists were initially concerned because of Hill and Knowlton's reputation, and with good reason.
In the late 80s, H&K were hired by the Chinese government in the wake of the Tiannamen Square massacre to put a positive spin on what can only be described as a human rights disaster.
A few years later, Hill and Knowlton were hired to create a fiction, namely Iraqi soldiers murdering Kuwaiti babies in incubators, to manufacture consent for the Gulf War.
While not intimidated, the Melancthon community knew that they now had a seriously scary player.
According to a Melancthon town councillor, Hill and Knowlton probably figured that a group of farmers would crumble under their well-honed PR machine. "
They've met their match," says Nanci Malek, councillor for Melancthon and an active supporter of the movement. "The reaction to any statement made by Hill and Knowlton was so negative, their campaign backfired on them."
According to another activist I spoke to, H&K had no idea what they were getting into.
Actively working for the Baupost Group for months, Hill and Knowlton beat a hasty withdrawal after being publicly flayed by people outraged by their arrogant assumption that a group of farmers, the general public, couldn't possibly see through the spin.
After a flurry of scorn from the anti-quarry community, H&K fell off the radar. "We haven't heard from them in three months," says Malek.
"I don't know what the deal is, whether they were fired, or quit in embarrassment, or what, but a lot of people are wondering why they've been silent for so long."
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So I have to ask a special favour from Linz of HoB&K. Can I call you Linz?
IF you guys have thrown in the towel, would you let me know?
I really don't want to keep flogging a dead