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Politics

President Obama Purposely Selected All Women Reporters at Today’s #ObamaPresser

 

It didn’t escape notice that all eight of the reporters that President Obama called on today were women. Turns out that was by design.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest told the media that both he and the President saw this end-of-year presser, a high-profile event, as an opportunity to take note of the women who are an important part of the White House reporter pool.

“The fact is, there are many women from a variety of news organizations who day-in and day-out do the hard work of covering the president of the United States. As the questioner list started to come together, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to highlight the fact at the president’s closely watched, end of the year news conference,” Earnest said.

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Obama on Sony Hackers: ‘I Wish They Had Spoken to Me First’

U.S. President Obama listens to Britain's PM Cameron speak during the U.N. Security Council meeting in New YorkAlthough this headshot of our president was not made for the Sony Pictures ballyhoo (shout out to Reuters), he was probably looking like this when he got the word that the mighty U.S.A. had kowtowed to the dude with the jacked-up haircut from North Korea.

You see, a president of this country should never take the back seat to anyone, let alone someone who disappeared for 40 days and convinced an entire country that he was on vacation.

So, Mr. President, we feel you.

The whole hack job aversion to halt The Interview would have our knickers in a twist…if we didn’t think the whole thing was ridiculous (from a PR standpoint) in the first place. Turns out that Obama is quite concerned that Sony Pictures didn’t consult him first.

Because he’s the president…that’s why!  Read more

Which Firm Will Represent Cuba?

In case you missed it, the big news in politics today is that the United States is re-establishing relations with Communist Cuba after decades of isolation.

Here’s the video of the morning conference via CNN:

The “new chapter” mentioned by the president comes about, in part, thanks to the release of American Alan Gross in exchange for three Cubans who’d been jailed in Florida for spying.

The question, then: which firm will handle US/Cuba relations?

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Former CBS Reporter Claims Firms Sway Opinion with Fake Social Profiles

One’s personal opinion of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson may depend on how seriously one takes her claim that the White House hacked her personal computer in order to prevent her from telling the truth about Benghazi. (For what it’s worth, she also recently attempted to resuscitate the long-disproven idea that vaccines cause autism.)

Still, we found this little clip from Attkisson’s recent Larry King interview interesting:

We know from personal experience that many media groups’ internal PR teams do indeed spend time trolling relevant comment threads. We know that certain companies create accounts strictly to gauge public sentiment via social media. We also know that many advocacy groups cast themselves as “grassroots” when they’re actually well-funded, well-oiled political machines.

Still, we’re skeptical of this claim: how many fake accounts could a single firm create for each client? And what’s the ROI on working with fake influencers, anyway?

GOP Comms Director Resigns After Rant About Obama Daughters Goes Viral

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Photo Credit: AP

Hell has finally frozen over as our fractious political parties have figured out something to agree upon: don’t mess with another man’s kids.

An unwritten rule in Washington has long held that journalists and political opponents alike do not report negative news about the children of our elected officials.

Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), broke that rule all over Facebook last week…and this morning we learned that she paid for her mistake with her job.

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Obama Promotes Press Freedom Abroad, Has Media Relations Problems at Home

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address to the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative in YangonThe American President is no stranger to dust-ups with the leering media.

This is a man who inspired high-fives  in newsrooms across this great land of ours when he declared that he would have the “most transparent administration in U.S. history.” Regretfully, that promise lasted all of a few weeks.

Journalism groups have scolded him and his response has been a questionable finger pointed in their direction because they “spread cynicism.” Now the president, while traveling in China and Myanmar, says that the  the media should have greater access to do their job in those lands.

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Senator McConnell’s ‘No Shutdown’ Promise Looks Short-Lived

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Dear America, On second thought… 

There are only a few guarantees in life: death, taxes, gravity, and the fact that politicians will say and do anything for a vote. Many would sell their own mother, but given the fact most of those folks have been on Capitol Hill for more than two decades, mom probably bought the farm a few years back.

Anywho, several politicians have been raising the same old flags of truce and speaking longingly of bipartisanship since the Republican takeover of The Senate a couple of weeks back. Among those spreading the Sister Sledge harmony is the new Lord of the Flies, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), majority leader. Here’s his quote:

“Let me make it clear: There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt.”

Nice for a Kumbaya moment as McConnell stated at the weekly Republican policy luncheon late last week (source). Only one small problem, he has used that line before. Like, last year.

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White House Expands on Anti-Sexual Assault PSA Campaign

The mid-terms may have turned decisively against the Obama administration, but that doesn’t mean that any of its initiatives — the ones that don’t require congressional approval, at least — will slow down.

One of those initiatives is the “It’s On Us” PSA campaign that aims to encourage Americans to take action to prevent sexual assault. The first spot in the series appeared in April, and a second one, created by ad agency Mekanism and promoted by Sunshine Sachs, hit our inboxes back in September. The second chapter featured an all-star cast of celebrities calling upon the public to take a pledge and make a “personal commitment to help keep women and men safe.”

The newest video is less impressive in terms of its cast but more direct with the message:

We like the work, which keeps things simple and direct in aiming at a very specific audience.

But we do wonder whether — as in the case of the recent NFL-approved anti-domestic violence PSA — this important message will go unheard amidst the politics-as-usual noise.

Study: Brands Play Politics at Their Own Risk

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Last week, we covered a study performed by the Global Strategy Group which found that Americans want their consumer brands to be MORE openly political.

You’re not alone in finding these conclusions surprising: we are not exactly a country defined by political consensus at the moment, and many brands looking to appeal to as many Americans as possible would rather stay out of the game entirely. (For example, you may notice that Chick-Fil-A’s current leadership has far more interest in discussing customer engagement and marketing strategies than same-sex marriage.)

A new research paper funded by the Arthur W. Page Center and published in the November issue of Public Relations Journal seems, in part, to contradict GSG’s findings. Americans may want their brands to take stands on social/policy issues, but the act of playing politics also carries significant risks.

As co-author and assistant professor of PR/advertising at University of Central Florida Melissa D. Dodd puts it, “there are financial repercussions.”

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STUDY: The Public Wants Its Brands to Get More Political

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Is Nike a Republican or a Democratic brand? What about Apple?

Given the headaches and ruined family dinners inspired by this week’s midterm elections — along with the general sense that Americans have had it with ugly party politics — this post’s headline may come as a surprise.

Yet a study released by the Global Strategy Group found that Americans do assign political identities to brands, and that the general public wants those brands to be more overtly political, whether that means Chick-Fil-A letting the world know how it feels about same-sex marriage or Chipotle asking gun owners not to bring their firearms inside.

Some key findings:

  • 56 percent of respondents think corporations should “take a stance” on political/cultural issues, even when they’re controversial
  • 89 percent believe that corporations have the power to influence social change
  • 80 percent think that these corporations should take action to address our society’s most pressing challenges

The most interesting part is that these numbers mark a big change from last year, when researchers asked the same questions. We spoke to Tanya Meck, Executive Vice President and Managing Director at GSG, to learn more.

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