Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

More Payola: 2005 began and ended with scandals about government bribing reporters for favorable coverage (Armstrong Williams and half the Iraqi media respectively). This year is beginning with evidence that corporate clients can play the corruption game too. The New York Times reports that ousted HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy -- who somehow persuaded a jury to find him not guilty of fraud last year -- paid a reporter who turned out sympathetic stories $11,000 via his "PR" firm, The Lewis Group.

Just to make things nicely complicated, the PR firm is owned by Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.; the newspaper in which the articles appeared is edited by his son James Lewis; and the reporter who received the payments is Audry Lewis.

Needless to say, everyone is denying wrong-doing.

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