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Politics

Burson-Marsteller Suffers Backlash Over Tunisian Government Contract

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Someone who was employed by Burson-Marsteller in 2011 made a very ill-advised statement.

That was the primary conclusion drawn from 5W PR founder Ronn Torossian’s Friday New York Observer op-ed, which ran under the URL “the Muslim Brotherhood’s new PR agency rejects Israel” and led to inflammatory headlines like this one from Arutz Sheva:

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To clarify, the word “boycott” means “a punitive ban that forbids relations with certain groups, cooperation with a policy, or the handling of goods [produced by that group].” On its website, the publication ran with the more accurate “U.S. PR Giant Refuses Israel as a Client, Works for Brotherhood.

Damage done, though.

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Public Relations

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White House Hosts Dinner for Indian Prime Minister…While He’s Fasting

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the United States this week. In fact, he’s stopping by the White House, and as is customary when a foreign leader or head-of-state stops by 1600 Pennsylvania, the president will pull out the Red Carpet treatment.

Pomp. Circumstance. Dignitaries. And of course, a White House dinner.

While the chef is shopping at the Farmer’s Market in Georgetown preparing a seven-course meal fit for a prime minister, someone may want to inform the White House about one big dilemma. Prime Minister Modi is in the middle of a fast. You know, he’s not eating. At all.

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Americans OK with Big Business….As Long As It Stays Out of Politics

LOBBYISTS GO HOME

Today we learned of an interesting survey conducted by Burson-Marsteller and CNBC. Its main conclusion: Americans don’t inherently distrust your “Big Business” clients. They just want them to stay the hell out of the political process.

A bit late for that, though…

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Stephen Hayes of FOX News Added to Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List

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The goal of any president these days is to stop giving fodder for headlines to whichever network dislikes your party most. When you mess up, those adversely minded broadcasters make it last for a week. When you say something wrong, their ears perk up because it’s time to remind the world of your foibles.

The administration may have had nothing to do with this latest news, but someone has just given FOX News something to discuss until the War on Christmas begins in late November — one of their own was placed on the Department of Homeland Security’s Terrorist Watch List.

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The Washington Post Reveals The White House’s Aggressive Media Relations Strategy

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A new piece released yesterday by media reporter Paul Farhi of The Washington Post sheds a bit of light on the media relations strategy practiced by one of the world’s most important sources of information: The White House.

In short, members of the Obama administration’s press team prefer to play an active role in shaping the narrative…even when that narrative is not the one heard by the public at large.

The content addressed in the article is White House press reports, or the summaries prepared for reporters by other reporters. Turns out that press aides often reach out to those responsible to ask for changes before the reports are distributed to the hundreds of other journalists who cover goings-on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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John Boehner: ‘Unemployed People…Don’t Think They Have to Work’

boehnerIf you ever had any doubt that the primary job of our current and future Congress is to look out for the little guy, may we present exhibit A: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, which amounts to 51 million people currently out of work and unable to support themselves. No one except those 51 million individuals knows how they landed in such an unfortunate predicament, and the reasons are legion: cutbacks, loss of revenue, unpleasant bosses…the point is that people are out of work.

Yet Speaker Boehner seem to have access to insights unavailable to the rest of us mere mortals: last week, he told a crowd at a conservative think tank that unemployed Americans just don’t want to work; they’d rather “just sit around.”

Remember that this man has a driver, a government salary, and a book deal.

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Journalist Reveals Ketchum’s Suggestions for Discrediting Him

Ecuador2In case you missed it, Bloomberg Businessweek published an intriguing story yesterday by veteran journalist Paul M. Barrett that ran with the headline “What It’s Like to Be Attacked by Putin’s Flack.

The “flack” in question is Ketchum — more specifically D.C.-based partner Kathy Jeavons, who “heads both the Ecuador and Russia accounts” for the firm.

For the record, Jeavons did not personally attack or even contact Barrett. But a source did forward him a talking points document that the firm wrote for Nathalie Cely, Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States. The doc included both well-stated observations about Ecuador’s history with Chevron and suggestions for casting doubt on the credibility of Law of the Jungle, Barrett’s upcoming book on the lawsuit that accuses the company of abusing its relationship with the people of Ecuador.

One such suggestion: use friendly media outlets to raise doubts about whether Barrett ever actually visited the country or met the individuals he interviewed for the book.

We spoke to Mr. Barrett today for more information.

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Former NSA Chief Compares ISIS Air Strikes to ‘Friends with Benefits’

nsa_logoOne of the fundamental tactics for any flack is writing talking points ahead of interviews. This isn’t purely “spin”, by the way — but clients do sometimes get skittish during on-the-air talks. The prep sheet, then, is like a security blanket minus Elmo.

Because of that perfunctory aspect of PR, it’s always easy to tell which clients don’t have proper talking points. When it happens, you sometimes hurt for the spokesperson (a little).

At other times, though, you laugh so hard that you pee (again, a little).

The latter happened when former NSA and CIA major domo Gen. Michael Hayden went viral for all the wrong reasons while discussing ISIS and air strikes.

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Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons Takes a Stand for Scottish Independence

Willie_s Views On Scottish Independence | THE SIMPSONS | ANIMATION on FOX - YouTube

It’s common for celebrities to publicly back political candidates or openly support causes they care about, but no one ever asks fictional cartoon characters what they think, and as it turns out, they might just have a lot to say — The latest pop culture icon to release a statement urging his countrymen to vote a certain way is none other than the (highly) animated Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons.

The proud Scotsman has officially weighed in on the upcoming vote that will decide whether Scotland will separate from the United Kingdom.

“Now, both sides of this argument have valid points,” Willie amicably admits at the beginning of the video (below, after the jump), but his true opinions become clear when he goes on to describe those opposing sides as “the freedom-loving heirs of the highland tradition, and those who enjoy crawling like worms under British boots.”

Well then. Read more

STUDY: President Obama’s Ratings Hit Another Record Low

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From ISIS to the economy, domestic drama to foreign policy, it seems that the President is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

Last month, the entire U.S. government received the deplorable edict of the worst approval rating ever, with 71 percent of respondents saying that the country is “headed in the wrong direction.” The same Gallup poll revealed that only 41 percent of Americans approve of the work done by the Oval Office.

This month it got worse.

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