Starting in the early 1980's a group of Amway distributors spread the falsehood that competitor Procter & Gamble Co. donated part of its profits to satanic cults. As evidence they claimed that the Fortune 500 company's man-in-the-moon logo was a symbol of satanism. These distributors began circulating their tales of P&G's links to satanism to customers via voice mail in 1995. P&G responded by filing suit against the Amway Corporation and the rumor-mongering distributors under a federal law that prohibits false advertising. The case was heard at the U.S. district court in Salt Lake City, Utah. Amway was eventually dismissed from the suit, but twelve years later a jury awarded P&G a judgment of $19.25 million against the distributors.
The Grand Rapids Press buried the climax of this long-running story on E4 of the business section, the very last page of yesterday's newspaper. While the projects that Amway's owners are pitching get puff pieces on the front page, for instance the expansion of the Van Andel Institute, the bad news doesn't seem to make it there. If nothing else, sticking the story on the back page certainly helped to keep under wraps the Press's lack of scrutiny of Amway's ludicrous response to the adverse court decision. A miffed flack from the company's public relations department denounced P&G for "destroying" the lives of these now-former distributors. However, the flack didn't actually say that these ex-distributors hadn't done what the jury said they had, nor was any explanation forthcoming as to why they are now ex-distributors. Granted, you'd expect Amway's mouthpiece to make self-serving statements. It just that you'd also expect a reporter to question them.
But then you're looking at this from the perspective of the man in the street. You need to consider the matter from Amway's angle. Burying an unfavorable story without any critical reporting is just the kind of favor you'd expect from the daily rag when the publisher is a friend of the company's owners.