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NEWS RELEASE
Dec 15, 2003


CONTACT: Jerry Flanagan - 415-633-1320

Group Calls on Newsweek to Disclose Employee Discrimination Lawsuits in Wake of "Lawsuit Hell" Cover Story

FTCR sends letter to Newsweek editors requesting fair disclosure
San Francisco -- Newsweek should disclose several recent employee discrimination lawsuits targeting the magazine in light of this week's cover story, "Lawsuit Hell," according to the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). FTCR sent a letter to Newsweek's editorial staff today asking that it be published in next week's edition.

The Newsweek article extensively quotes Philip K. Howard, a senior corporate adviser and strategist at the law firm that represents Newsweek -- Covington & Burling -- which specializes in defending employers against discrimination lawsuits. The article calls Howard a "corporate lawyer and civic activist with a philosophical bent." Howard and his group, Common Good, promote limiting damages in wrongful injury cases and moving other disputes out of the courtroom entirely.

In a letter to Newsweek's editors, FTCR wrote: "As you are likely aware, Newsweek and Newsweek's parent company, Post-Newsweek Stations Inc., have been sued numerous times for actual and alleged discrimination against the age, gender and nationality of its employees. ... Journalistic integrity requires Newsweek to make a full disclosure to its readers of these apparent conflicts-of-interest."

FTCR's letter is attached below. Of the three recent lawsuits, one resulted in a $8.3 million verdict against the company, one is pending a decision and one was resolved in the company's favor:

** On September 30, 2003 the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Newsweek, Inc., alleging discrimination against an employee because of his national origin. The EEOC seeks an injunction prohibiting Newsweek from engaging in employment practices that discriminate on the basis of national origin and an order requiring the company to implement policies and procedures against discrimination.

** In 2001, Newsweek's parent company, Post-Newsweek Stations Inc., was sued by former WPLG-TV Miami weekend anchor Steve Alvarez for age discrimination. The judge ruled in favor of the company.

** In 1999, Janet Peckinpaugh, a former WFSB-TV Connecticut anchorwoman, won an $8.3 million dollar verdict on a gender-discrimination lawsuit against Post-Newsweek Stations Inc.

Covington & Burling's clients include Newsweek itself and numerous large corporations targeted by major lawsuits: Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., Lorillard Tobacco Co., Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, the American Automobile Association, the Association of American Railroads, the American Petroleum Institute, Eli Lilly, ExxonMobil, Goodyear, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Trane, and Union Pacific.

In a May 2003 petition before the Supreme Court of Utah, Phillip Howard's group, Common Good, sought to rewrite the law on contingency fees, which are an important tool for victims who otherwise would not be able to afford to seek legal redress.

The court, rejecting Common Good, noted that Steven T. Densley, Utah counsel for Common Good, and his law firm specialize in defending corporations facing insurance, product liability, personal injury, professional and medical malpractice claims.

"To call his organization 'Common Good' is uncommonly disingenuous. Covington & Burling and Common Good have one aim: that corporations and the corporateers who run them should not be held accountable for their actions," said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a non-profit and non-partisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information visit us on the web at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org

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Monday, December 15, 2003

To the Editors of Newsweek
RE: 12/15/03 Cover Story, "Lawsuit Hell"

I read this week's cover story with concern and surprise that the authors failed to mention several lawsuits targeting the magazine and it's corporate parent that may have influence the article's editorial slant.

As you are likely aware, Newsweek and Newsweek's parent company, Post-Newsweek Stations Inc., have been sued numerous times for actual and alleged discrimination against the age, gender and nationality of its employees.

There are three such lawsuits that we know of:

** On September 30, 2003 the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Newsweek, Inc., alleging discrimination against an employee because of his national origin. The case is pending.

** In 2001, Newsweek's parent company, Post-Newsweek Stations Inc., was sued by former WPLG-TV Miami weekend anchor Steve Alvarez for age discrimination. The judge ruled in favor of the company.

** In 1999, Janet Peckinpaugh, a former WFSB-TV Connecticut anchorwoman, won an $8.3 million dollar verdict on a gender-discrimination lawsuit against Post-Newsweek Stations Inc.

I am also concerned that the article calls Philip K. Howard, a senior corporate adviser and strategist at the law firm of Covington & Burling, a "corporate lawyer and civic activist with a philosophical bent."

Though the article discloses that Howard's law firm, which specializes in defending employers against discrimination lawsuits, represents Newsweek itself, the article failed to mention that the firm's client list includes renown corporate wrongdoers, including: Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, the American Automobile Association, the American Petroleum Institute, and ExxonMobil among others.

I also feel it is important to point out that Howard appears to have a predisposed racial bent. In his book, The Lost Art of Drawing the Line, Howard wrote: "Trivial perceived slights have ...become an preoccupation of some African Americans." This attitude is perhaps why Howard's law firm is so eager to defend corporations against charges of racial discrimination.

Journalistic integrity requires Newsweek to make a full disclosure to its readers of these apparent conflicts-of-interest.

Thank you for your attention to these issues.

Sincerely,

Jerry Flanagan
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
410 Jessie Street, 4th floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 633-1320




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