In Reply to: The case is a fluke and your enthusiasm misplaced posted by Jane McIntyre on June 03, 1996 at 20:09:04:
Do I disagree with Marten van 't Net? Yes. His points sound very
smart & very cool, and he's probably right where he states that
big corporations will not again make McDo's mistake of getting to
court only to get lambasted in the "court of public opinion".
BUT (i) it was a nice try by McDo, and if the McLibel two had not
put such a spirited defense, McDo might well have silenced them, besides ruining them economically or may be
even put them in jail.
(ii) Big corporations, whose powers are increasing just as
their reputation is taking a severe beating (eg Shell) are
actively looking for ways to silence increasing criticism. This
criticism emerges from the fringes of society (activists & other
loonies), but then tends (some time) to rapidly catch on the
public at large. Be sure they'll try anything at hand.
Legal cases as the McLibel trial may end up disastrously for them, but it's still quite an effective way of twarting
critics, especially more established ones. I have first hand
knowledge that an important and influential charity like OXFAM is
virtually held at ransom by the government-big business caucus,
and must devote not a modest share of its budget in obtaining
first class legal advice every time they "stick their neck out".
So I think Marten van 't Net should be a little less dismissive of
the Mc Libel's duo's endeavours.