From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Group.png Edelman
(PR agencySourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Edelman PR firm logo.png
FounderDaniel Edelman
InterestsEvent 201
Member ofAtlantic Council/Corporate Members, Business for Inclusive Growth
PR company

Edelman is an American public relations and marketing consultancy firm, founded in 1952 by, and named after, Daniel Edelman. As part of its work for large corporations, the company has significant deep state connections, for example the Atlantic Council and the World Economic Forum, and has ties to several deep state activities, like the Integrity Initiative and participation in the Event 201 Covid-19 dry run.

It is an expert on astroturfing, creating front groups, coopting NGOs and dominating social media to get a message across.

Edelman is currently run by Daniel's son, Richard Edelman. As of 2018, it is the largest public relations firm in the world by revenue, and the largest private, family-run public relations firm in the world.


From the very beginning the company has ties to the intelligence world. The company was founded by Daniel Edelman, who after serving in a United States Army psychological warfare unit during World War II, right after the war became a night news reporter at CBS.

In 1947 Daniel Edelman moved to Chicago as public relations director for hair care product line Toni Home Permanent Co. (now a division of Gillette). In 1952 he founded Edelman there.

His son Richard Edelman became President & chief executive officer in 1985. Richard is a regular attendee at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos. He sits at the board of the deep state militarist think tank the Atlantic Council.[1] He is also a member of the Arthur Page Society, the PR Seminar and a director of the Jerusalem Foundation.[2]


According to a marketing executive, an Edelman executive providing media training to his firm said:[3]

"Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie. Make the audience or the reporter believe that everything is ok. How many times have you heard a CEO stand up and say, 'No, I'm not leaving the company,' and then — days later — he's gone. Reporters understand that you 'had' to do it and they won't hold it against you in your next job when you deal with them again."

Working with NGOs

Edelman has been one of the leaders in the PR industry in advocating the benefits of corporations "engaging" with non-government organisations. "We recognized before anyone that NGOs, such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International, were influencing corporate social responsibility by highlighting environmental and labor practices," Edelman used to claim on its website. [4]

Edelman PR tells clients that activists are winning because "they play offense all the time; they take their message to the consumer; they are ingenious at building coalitions; they always have a clear agenda; they move at Internet speed; they speak in the media's tone."


  • Edelman advised the Canadian tar sands industry how to counter negative PR from NGOs using social media.[5]
  • In April 1998 the Los Angeles Times reported that Edelman had drafted a campaign plan to ensure that state attorneys-general did not join antitrust legal actions against Microsoft.[6] Documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times revealed that the plan included generating supportive letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and articles by freelance writers.[7] The LA Times said the plan included, "unusual and some say unethical tactics, including the planting of articles, letters to the editor and opinion pieces to be commissioned by Microsoft's top media handlers but presented by local firms as spontaneous testimonials".
  • In the 2000s, Edelman created a front group called the Working Families for Wal-Mart, which said it was a grassroots organization, but was actually funded by Wal-Mart. It paid two bloggers to travel the country interviewing Wal-Mart employees, one of whom was a senior Edelman employee's sister. According to The New Yorker, "everyone she talked to was delighted with Wal-Mart". In 2006, BusinessWeek reported that the public relations effort, which was positioned as a grassroots blog, was actually paid for by Wal-Mart. The New Yorker called it a "blatant example of astroturfing".[35]
  • Edelman supported private prison company GEO Group and helped in "laundering the reputation of private US concentration camps" in July 2019.[10] In May 2019, executives from the Washington, DC office, including office president Lisa Ross and former Trump White House deputy press secretary, Lindsay Walters, went to Florida to present the pitch.[11]After criticism, the work was resigned by Edelman in July 2019. [12]
  • In May 2012, PRWeek reported that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hired Edelman to "help it deal with recent corporate fallout and opposition to its legislative positions." This occurred after protesters and advocacy groups drew public attention to ALEC's role in spreading "Stand Your Ground" legislation in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. ALEC shed a number of corporate members as a result. Shortly after being hired by ALEC, Edelman began an aggressive PR campaign against a number of people associated with investigations into ALEC, including freelance reporter Bo Hodai, The Nation's Lee Fang, Color of Change staffer Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte, and the Center for Media and Democracy's Nick Surgey. Its efforts focused not on any factual errors made in reporting on ALEC, but on the personal backgrounds of investigators and reporters.[13]
  • Edelman was also hired by a California slaughterhouse in August 2012 after several of their biggest customers severed supply agreements upon the discovery of video footage showing animal abuse. The USDA also suspended the company on August 19, but the company reopened the same month.[14]
  • On August 1, 2014, news surfaced that Edelman China's CEO, Steven Cao, had disappeared amid an investigation by the Chinese government "into services the agency supplied a Chinese TV station at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009 and 2010"[15]. Cao reportedly had been cooperating with the investigation.[16]. In 2007, Edelman had become majority shareholder in Pegasus Communications, of which Cao was co-founder. As of mid-August 2014, the subject of the investigation had not been made public. Ad Age noted that Cao had close ties to new anchor Rui Chenggang, another co-founder of Pegasus. Chenggang was detained by Chinese authorities in July 2014, which is "widely assumed to be part of a larger probe into allegations of corruption at his broadcaster, state network CCTV," according to Ad Age.[17] The Wall Street Journal reported that Chenggang had held a financial stake in Edelman at the time when Edelman was providing services to CCTV.[18]
  • In October 2005, Edelman mounted an aggressive campaign against Robert Greenwald's documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price. In what is reported to be a movie industry first, Edelman's representatives emailed reporters press kits containing a point-by-point rebuttal of the film's trailer, which Wal-Mart is demanding be altered or removed from the walmartmovie.com website. (The trailer is under fire because the documentary itself will not be released until November 1, 2005.) "The press kit includes snippets from negative reviews of Greenwald's earlier works - one dating as far back as 1980 - and three examples of what the retailer calls factual errors in the latest documentary."[19]
  • The American Council for Fitness and Nutrition (ACFN) — a coalition of food and beverage companies — in November 2002 selected Edelman and Dittus Communications to counter calls for regulatory action to deal with the obesity epidemic in the US. ACFN funders include American Frozen Food Institute, Kraft Foods, Chocolate Manufactuers Assn., Sugar Assn., Grocery Manufacturers of America, National Restaurant Assn., National Council of Chain Restaurants, and the Assn. of National Advertisers.[20]

Event 201

Full article: Event 201

Matthew J. Harrington, CEO of Edelman, participated in Event 201, the pandemic planning exercise held in late 2019. His work "has encompassed work for hundreds of clients across nearly every industry sector," and also "led the initiative to create Edelman’s code of conduct".[21]


Edelman Intelligence

StrategyOne, Inc., doing business as Edelman Intelligence, is a global research and analytics consultancy firm owned by Edelman. Edelman Intelligence issued a quote to the Integrity Initiative.Among documents in the sixth Integrity Initiative leak is a quote for work by Edelmann Intelligence into public perceptions.

Edelman Intelligence is the research company behind the Edelman Trust Barometer, an international study conducted in 25 countries among opinion elites that focuses on the principles of trust in business, government, media and NGOs.[22]


Employees on Wikispooks

Frank LavinChairman Public Affairs Practice Asia Pacific20092015
Richard SambrookGlobal Vice Chairman and Chief Content Officer20102012


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Chris Donnelly proposal to FCOdocument24 May 2018Chris DonnellyThe local partner then needs to do or commission an assessment of the agents or promoters of corruption and influence, eg key businessmen or politicians, as well as opposition politicians and clean businessmen, journalists etc who can be allies. These we bring out on trips to London, HQ NATO etc.
Document:Research Proposal November 2018 Edelman Intelligenceproject proposal26 June 2018Integrity InitiativeThe Institute for Statecraft would like to explore further work with Edelman Intelligence to understand changing perceptions and identify solutions on the issue of false information and Russian malign influence.
Many thanks to our Patrons who cover ~2/3 of our hosting bill. Please join them if you can.


  1. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/about/board-of-directors/
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20120120085743/http://www.jerusalemfoundation.org/board_content.aspx?MID=546&CID=555&SID=709&ID=841
  3. http://gawker.com/356220/sometimes-you-just-have-to-stand-up-there-and-lie
  4. http://web.archive.org/web/20040821000431/http://www.edelman.com/about_us/relationship_imperative/index.asp
  5. https://books.google.com/books?id=iGqZuIPJdz4C&pg=PA221
  6. https://articles.latimes.com/1998/apr/10/news/mn-38008
  7. https://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/ms_tuncom/major/mtc-00030610d.pdf
  8. http://adage.com/article/special-report-agency-alist/edelman-8-ad-age-agency-a-list/232173/
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/jul/14/phone-hacking-rupert-murdoch
  10. https://boingboing.net/2019/08/04/geo-group-too-filthy-for-edelm.html
  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/business/edelman-geo-border-detention.html
  12. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/business/edelman-geo-border-detention.html
  13. https://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/08/11717/alec-goes-after-center-media-and-democracy
  14. http://www.agweb.com/article/california_meat_plant_reopens/=California
  15. http://www.prweek.com/article/1306130/edelman-china-ceo-steven-cao-disappeared
  16. http://www.prweek.com/article/1306130/edelman-china-ceo-steven-cao-disappeared
  17. http://adage.com/article/global-news/ceo-edelman-s-china-holding-company/294387/
  18. http://online.wsj.com/articles/edelman-discloses-links-to-detained-chinese-news-anchor-rui-chenggang-1405441718?cb=logged0.5411504551302642
  19. http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=entertainmentNews&s
  20. https://www.prwatch.org/spin/November_2002.html
  21. https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/players/harrington.html
  22. https://www.edelman.com/trustbarometer