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Politics

White House, Pentagon Go Social with News of Military Strikes in Iraq

This is the way we live in the present day: tweets announcing the launch of bombing campaigns against increasingly powerful insurgents in Iraq.

Note this preceding message for clarity:

So it did happen and it will continue to happen. But a few reporters jumped the gun.

Maybe we don’t know the specific objective (though the President did elaborate a bit in a somewhat open-ended press conference).

But thanks to Instagram, we do know what the decision-making scene looked like…

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Uber’s Newest Brand Advocate Is the Republican Party

Uber GOP

Here’s a not-quite-surprising story that made its way around the web today: the Republican Party is one of taxi “disruptor” Uber‘s biggest supporters…or they’re using the hot brand to raise money and increase their appeal to Millennials. Or both.

We get the basic idea behind this distant partnership. The Uber guys and the GOP hate the same regulators or, as the fundraising petition puts it, “taxi unions and liberal government bureaucrats” (because the word “bureaucrat” could never apply to conservatives who double as public employees during the day).

Anyway, the real issue here is that both the GOP and the app company want Illinois governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, to refrain from passing a pending law that would place statewide restrictions on such “sharing economy” companies. Apparently the two parties share the Gary Gnu-ish opinion that all regulations are bad regulations.

They also both like free publicity — and the Republic National Committee’s annual meeting launched today in Chicago.

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Ann Coulter’s Publicist Accuses Author of Plagiarism

ann coulter

What, you’re surprised? Of course Ann Coulter has a publicist. She can’t make headlines with shockingly offensive comments on her own, now can she?

Given the recent firing of a BuzzFeed writer and public shaming of a New York Times columnist for real-life plagiarism, this Inside Politics PR story is worth a mention.

Craig Shirley, president and CEO of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, is both a PR person for right-wing pundits/politicians and a writer of books about movement icons like Ronald Reagan. He now accuses Rick Perlstein, author of the recent Invisible Bridge: The Fall Of Richard Nixon And The Rise of Ronald Reagan, of plagiarism for “paraphrasing” his own earlier tome on the 40th president. He wants $25 million and demands that all existing copies of the book be “destroyed.”

This despite the fact that Perlstein cites Shirely 125 times in his own endnotes. Histrionics, anyone?

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STUDY: Government Approval Ratings Hit All-Time Lows

uncle-sam-gun-to-headIf you watch the news for any amount of time, you may notice that our government has a perception problem that transcends any intra-party squabbles: pretty much no one has a good thing to say about the U.S. government, the people running it, or even those most affected by it.

Now, the latest related poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, adds to the dogpile.

In the national poll, we discover that President Obama’s approval rating has plummeted to its lowest ever position at 41 percent. Even worse, 71 percent of Americans believe this country is headed in the wrong direction.

Good news though: the approval rating for Congress has increased from 11 to 14 percent, so there’s that.

Le sigh.

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Press Secretary Turned Gun Control Spokesman James Brady Dies at 73

James Brady, who died yesterday at 73, eventually became America’s best-known gun control advocate. But he once had a relatively simpler role: press secretary for President Ronald Reagan.

For a little shot of bipartisanship on a Tuesday morning, here’s current press secretary Josh Earnest talking about how Brady revolutionized the job via The Washington Post:

Of course, even in Earnest’s recount, Brady’s later activism played a larger role in defining him than anything he did as press secretary.

Expect to see differing op-eds on that point this week.

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Google Removes ‘Bomb Gaza’ Game from App Store After Backlash

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What could possibly be offensive about a mobile game that makes light of the bloody and ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict by encouraging bored Android and tablet users to drop animated explosives on Gaza, where over 1,800 real, human Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting? Oh, that’s right — everything.

To make matters worse, the game, titled “Bomb Gaza,” released by developer PLAYFTW, had a “low” maturity rating, meaning children were given the green light to play it. Excellent.

Angry and disgusted complaints flooded the game’s (now-deleted) comments section, and while some comments were political and defended one side of the conflict or the other, the overwhelming sentiment of the outraged objections can be pretty-well summed up by this simple, straight-forward one (heads-up for some swearing):

“WTF There is ongoing conflict in which people are dying and you seem to find it acceptable to make a game of it. That’s fucked up.”

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Dems Calling for a Cease Fire in the ‘War On Women’

women smilingThe message that the Republicans were waging a “war on women” was an effective one during the last presidential election. Triggered by Rush Limbaugh’s disgusting comments about Sandra Fluke and followed by a cascade of word vomit the spewed from various GOP politicians, it was a phrase that the Democrats put to powerful use. But now there’s evidence that it’s a message that doesn’t resonate with voters, so the Dems are moving on.

“Women find it divisive, political—they don’t like it,” pollster Celinda Lake tells the National Journal.  It’s also been kinda co-opted by the Republicans, often to use it against Democratic politicians and their policies.

So as with any PR campaign, it’s time for a new strategy. And this new plan involves facts!

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Jay Carney Talks About the ‘Tension’ Between the White House and the Press Pool

carneyNow that he’s no longer the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney has a lot to say about the job.

Last night he was on David Letterman reflecting on the relationship between himself and the press pool, one that’s not always so congenial. One need only go back to footage of a few Q&As between Carney and members of the press to see that there was, as Letterman put it, a “rub” between the person behind the podium and the journalists in the audience.

Having covered politics prior to his appointment to the White House, Carney was aware of this “adversarial” relationship. And though there were a couple of times where we cringed as we watched him try to navigate the aggressive questions that were being tossed at him, in the Letterman interview, he talks about the experience almost (almost) in positive terms.

“As a democracy, we would be rightfully concerned if there wasn’t that tension,” he says at one point. “If the White House press corps was just happy with what they got every day and they weren’t working to get more, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.”

That’s a lesson that a lot of publicists should remember.
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PR Veterans to Launch ‘The NRA for Cannabis’

Weed 420 bro

Marijuana: it’s been all over the news recently, in case you somehow missed it.

Not only have two states officially decriminalized recreational use of the stuff–a majority of the American public now supports legalization for the first time, and the New York Times officially threw its hat into the ring this week, forcing the Obama administration to respond with a lame version of “our hands are tied; we have to enforce the law as it stands.”

What does this have to do with PR? A good bit.

When last we spoke to friend of the site Andrew Graham, he and his partners were introducing us to their new agency Clear and telling readers why “Do startups need PR?” is the wrong question to ask.

Today, however, Graham and his partners are working on an entirely different initiative–the world’s first advocacy group created to focus not on the rights of Americans to use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes but, rather, the American businesses community’s right to share in its economic benefits.

Meet Grow America. Our interview with Graham after the jump.

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Obama to The New York Times: ‘Legalize It? No We Can’t.’

yes we cannabisThe week began with a landmark opinion piece from The New York Times’ editorial board, which collectively asked for the federal repeal of the ban against marijuana. You can imagine it caused quite the hubbub at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

While the White House placed Press Secretary Josh Earnest on the front lines, taking its respective shots in rapid fire succession, the man in the Oval Office was silent about the whole thing…until now.

To President Obama, upholding the ban isn’t the feeling or decision of the White House, so much as it is simply following the letter of the law.

 

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