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More on White House ‘TV Whisperer’ Joining Burson-Marsteller

Dag VegaThanks to Politico, we had the news about former White House “TV Whisperer” Dag Vega leaving the Obama administration to go the PR route several days ago. Now we have the press release.

First: Vega will be managing director of Burson-Marsteller’s Washington, D.C. office effective August 4th, and he will report to Ann Davison, U.S. Chair of Public Affairs & Crisis Practice who joined the firm last month, as well as Jano Cabrera, worldwide executive vice president.

Thanks to a Politico exclusive, we also know that Friday will be his last day at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and that he will take a vacation in Puerto Rico before starting the new gig.

What did Vega do at the White House?

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FedEx Responds to Indictment for Shipping Items From Illegal Online Pharmacies

fedex truckFedEx is facing a 15-count indictment including a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances charge, stemming from allegations the shipping company did not heed warnings from US drug officials that illegal online pharmacies were using the company’s services to ship prescription drugs. FedEx SVP Patrick Fitzgerald says the company will plead not guilty.

According to the indictment, FedEx had been warned as far back as 2004 about these illegal online pharmacies. “In one instance,” reports The New York Times, “FedEx knew the Drug Enforcement Administration had shut down one pharmacy, but continued to ship packages from its affiliates.” The company is accused of coming up with other ways to get these packages to recipients, including deliveries to parking lots and vacant homes.

Fitzgerald posted an extended response to the indictment on the FedEx website, using a hot keyword in its defense: “privacy.”

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Can a Brand Win a Pulitzer? Former WSJ Tech Reporter on Content Strategy

CONTENT!

Every agency worth its salt has begun moving into content creation. That much is no longer up for debate.

Almost everything else involving the word “content”, however, is less certain–especially when we’re discussing what makes related projects effective and how we can measure their value for clients.

On that point, ReadyState is not quite your traditional agency: the one-year-old San Francisco shop focuses on “strategy, design and content” to serve a primarily tech-focused clientele.

ReadyState recently won attention for hiring former Wall Street Journal tech reporter Ben Worthen (now Editor in Chief), and we spoke to Worthen about the new ways of creating value for clients and the many keys to winning the content game.

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Damage Control, Sports Edition: Homophobic Vikings Coach Is Not Homophobic

Vikings

In case you missed it, now-former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe dragged the NFL into the 21st century kicking and screaming faster than you can say “Michael Sam” earlier this year by claiming that the team fired him not for his performance on the field but for his outspoken gay rights advocacy.

Kluwe hired a lawyer to help him make that point way back in January, and now the proverbial stuff is finally starting to hit the fan within the Vikings organization.

In short, Kluwe’s former special teams coach did indeed say that ““We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.”

But his opinion doesn’t represent that of the larger organization. And he’s totes not homophobic in the first place.

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Phony Fans Aside, Shakira Reaches 100M Facebook Likes

shakira fbA new milestone has been reached on Facebook: Shakira has 100 million likes, the first person to hit that mark. Actually, at the time of this writing, she’d already exceeded that by 718,000-plus likes. The photo at right, posted on the 12th of this month, actually has more than 3.6 million likes on its own, making it one of the most liked pics on the social network.

The Shakira page juggernaut is fueled by her status not just as a celebrity in this country, but around the world. In and of itself, having a ton of Facebook likes only means so much. Just because a lot of people clicked the button doesn’t mean they’re buying what you’re selling. But her page does show that with all of her fans comes a good amount of awareness and engagement.

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The Spin Cycle (Borscht Edition): 11 Crazy Conspiracy Theories About MH 17

Are you one of the few who still believe that every big story has one true narrative? Did you not listen to Mike Allen?!

Our point: as Julie Ioffe notes today in The New Republic, the Russian public has a totally different understanding of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 than the rest of the world.

“Watching some of these Russian newscasts [where most of the television is owned or controlled by the Kremlin], one comes away with the impression of a desperate defense attorney scrounging for experts and angles, or a bad kid caught red-handed by the principal, trying to twist his way out of a situation in which he has no chance.”

“The discrepancy,” she writes, “does not bode well for a sane resolution to this stand-off.”

After the jump, 11 of the craziest conspiracies being floated over the Russian air waves. Read more

Sky News Reporter Goes Looting Through Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Luggage (for News)

sky news luggageJust when you think network news can’t get any worse, ratings rears its ugly head and forces reporters to do things you never thought possible outside of a lawsuit. This time, the ne’er-do-well culprit is the UK’s Sky News (a Rupert Murdoch joint).

Tragically, the victim is, again, Malaysia Airlines.

With MH370, the flight seemed to vanish into the ether, like all those horror stories about the Bermuda Triangle. And just when the airliner had that atrocious “breaking news” down to a minimum, the unthinkable happened over the Ukrainian coast as MH17 was shot down…presumably by separatists in the region.

And then Sky News went rummaging through the luggage of the dead passengers on live television.

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Politico, Burson-Marsteller Discuss the Future of Journalism

In a perfect world, would the answer to the question “What does the future of journalism look like?” include the word “Politico?”

We’re not sure as we don’t live in a perfect world. But this related conversation between King of Poli-Blogs Mike Allen, Burson-Marsteller’s Worldwide Chair/CEO Don Baer and Alan Murray of the Pew Research Center is still interesting, particularly in the wake of White House “TV Whisperer” Dag Vega’s move from politics to corporate PR. A couple of key quotes from Baer:

“The vast majority of journalists and news organizations still think of themselves as content producers…I think you’ve got to turn that upside down and say ‘what service am I providing you, the reader?’”

And Murray:

“Being provocative to the point of being hostile gets you noticed.”

While we certainly don’t disagree with Murray, we have to wonder whether this is really a good thing (if it means Kara Swisher being bolder in her reporting, then yes. If it means more hyper-partisan op-eds, then no). And if you speculated as to whether political coverage would, in general, grow more or less partisan in coming years, this interview serves as an unfortunately definitive “yes.”

CNN Reporter Calls Israelis ‘Scum’ as They Bomb Gaza

cnn reporter scum

Meet CNN International Correspondent Diana Magnay.

She used to cover the millennia-old tension between Israel and the rest of the Middle East until recently. Why no more? She had a bad day at the office recently during the most current dust-up on the Gaza Strip.

Behind her report in “The Situation Room” were some onlookers who were cheering the explosions from missiles launched by the Israeli army. Much to Magnay’s chagrin, she called our allies to the east “scum” and lost her gig.

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The Ticker: Media Consolidation; WSJ Hack; America’s Lame Airlines; And More

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