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Posts Tagged ‘dirty politics’

The GOP Knows What the Kids Are Wearing

Today in Same Old Story news, someone in the Republican Party anticipated the results of this study about changing political alliances among Millennials and got to work making some ads to appeal to that key demographic: Audi-driving early-30′s yuppies battling problems with facial hair.

Like all political ads, these are collections of cue card quips designed to reduce incredibly complex economic issues into simple talking points.

Of course the ad offers no specifics explaining why an easing of regulations on any given industry would lead to more jobs, much less better jobs. Nor does it explain moves to cut short the unemployment benefits earned by all those friends who (allegedly) can’t find work because of the same regulations…as if this guy’s “friends” work in fossil fuels.

The next ad makes the same points:

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Public Relations

Public RelationsStarting October 1, learn how to get your foot in the door and launch your PR career! Taught by the former VP of Corporate Communications at Playboy Enterprises, Linda Marsicano will teach you how to draft pitch letters and press releases, develop and implement PR plans, garner media coverage, and other skills you need for a successful career in public relations. Register now!

Texas Politicians Caught With a Revoked ‘Editorial License’ on Wikipedia

Wikipedia-book

For you tree huggers out there: See what Wikipedia saved?

Ah, yes. I love my fabled Lone Star State: the wide prairies; the sprawling plains; the Texas-sized “everything’s bigger here” claims. But let’s not forget this state’s legendary political kerfuffles…

For instance, Texas is the only state to be entered into the United States by treaty and not by territorial annexation because we are kind of a big deal. So much so, that Texas was indeed its own independent nation from 1836 to 1845, and still boasts a clause in the state constitution that says we can be that way again whenever our cracked leaders say so.

Another thing drawing comparatives to “Texas-sized” are the lies hailing from here. Specifically, the ones on Wikipedia from those aforementioned cracked leadersRead more

13 Political Metaphors More Annoying Than the Government Shutdown

Jay Carney

“My metaphorical cup is this full…”

Retreat to your cocoon, adjust your tin foil hat, pull the wool over your eyes and get ready to drink the Kool-Aid, sheeple—it’s time for a lesson in messages more infuriating than the last season of Lost.

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Most Government PR Pros Got Furloughed This Week

furlough-sign

One fact you might miss in all these infuriating reports about the latest congressional soap opera: while thousands of government employees will continue to work this week and some *cough cough* will even get (over)paid for doing less than nothing, most with jobs described as “public affairs” aka PR were deemed “non-essential” and placed on furlough.

A quick Google News search will reveal stories like:

  • This one, in which reporters spoke to “the only personnel left in a public affairs office” in Chicago
  • This one, including a quote from “the lone worker on duty in the public affairs office” at a military research base
  • This one, in which EPA employees in New Jersey discuss volunteering around the area while they wait for the drama to unfold
  • This one, which notes that all public affairs officers for the VA will have to stay home
  • This one, which mentions that more than half of those in “public affairs, contracting, logistics and public works” got furloughed, even at Fort Mead

It’s enough to make you want to volunteer for whoever’s running against the guys responsible for this, isn’t it?

*Photo via some senator’s page. Featured images do not = endorsements.

Spinning the ObamaCare Rollout: A Messaging Case Study

Or it WILL be open at some point.

In one of recent history’s most amazing coincidences, the day the federal government “shut down” happens to be the very same day that the statewide health insurance exchanges forming the core of the Affordable Care Act start up. The number of conflicting messages delivered by parties with diametrically opposed goals is enough to make you dizzy.

The big focus so far has been on tech issues. Yesterday Department of Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius told reporters that, because operational glitches are inevitable, the public should “give us the same slack you give Apple”; President Obama made the same argument in a later speech on the shutdown-rollout event. On the other side of the aisle, Fox News debuted a running “ObamaCare glitch watch” thread to chronicle every problem reported by users.

Whatever happens regarding the law, today and the weeks ahead will make for a great case study in future public relations courses because all statements amount to strategic political positioning. It’s almost certainly safe to say that a majority of those logging in and reporting on the exchanges do so with either political or journalistic goals in mind, so here’s a review of competing messages:

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Crisis Comms 101: Announcing a Government Shutdown

Today’s shutdown story is all about party politics, and any public opinion poll will tell you it’s terrible PR for the representatives responsible (in the abstract, at least). But our readers should appreciate the fact that communications teams at almost every publicly funded organization in the country had a job to do today: let everyone know how this stupid melodrama will affect their operations.

Let’s review how some of them did it and what it means.

No more awesome intergalactic Instagram:

No more lines at the Air and Space Museum:

No more PandaCam:

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Putin/Ketchum New York Times Op-Ed Inspires PR Ethics Debate

The fact that Ketchum pitched Vladimir Putin’s controversial New York Times op-ed on Syria isn’t breaking news: We’ve already established, via ProPublica, that Ketchum places pro-Putin op-eds written by “independent businessmen” in publications like The Huffington Post and CNBC. Yet unlike those posts, this one was quite clear in its intentions, and the Times apparently handled it much like any other pitch. Op-ed page editor Andrew Rosenthal writes:

“I thought it was well-written, well-argued. I don’t agree with many of the points in it, but that is irrelevant.”

Critics pounced immediately, writing that the Times was “aiding and abetting a long-term foe of the United States” by running the op-ed. This is obviously not true, as Times public editor Margaret Sullivan notes that publication is “not an endorsement of [Putin] or his ideas” and that he didn’t get paid. Still, one reader who may or may not be this guy asks why the NYT doesn’t “…take issue with the fact that it was so obviously penned by Putin’s flacks.”

Was it? Putin’s spokesman now claims that the man himself wrote “the basic content” and that his “assistants” fleshed it out—but what about Ketchum?

General consensus calls the successful pitch “a PR coup” for Putin, but it’s led some in the industry to raise ethical issues:

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Don’t Do What the Anthony Weiner Campaign (Supposedly) Did

We’re not saying that the New York Post‘s report on Anthony Weiner‘s mayoral campaign reaching out to “publicity firm” Crowds on Demand to hire fake supporters for a rally is totally accurate.

We can’t confirm that his surrogates wanted Z-list actors to act “like either supporters or people who met him and became supporters as a result of that encounter”. It’s like, who’s to say with anonymous sources, right?

On the other hand, we have no doubt that Weiner needs credibility very badly right now and that he would love nothing more than to follow the company’s tagline and “Live Like an A-Lister”. Also: we don’t know a single person in the greater New York metropolitan area who would willingly attend one of his rallies or volunteer to speak on one of his campaign commercials—and we know a fair amount of people despite the fact that our mom is always telling us that we should get out more and make new friends. Some stories are just imminently believable, aren’t they?

Crowds on Demand responded to the news with “no comment”, which we take to mean “much high-fiving and fist pumping” because no one in the world had ever heard of them before today. (We kid, we kid.)

*Photo via Doug Meszler/Splash News

Petraeus Scandal’s Third Wheel Played Politics, Ran a Shady Charity

David Petraeus and Jill Kelley courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Last week we updated you on the juiciest available details regarding the David Petraeus scandal; most of these revelations involved a Tampa, Florida-based socialite named Jill Kelley, who seems to have played the role of third party spoiler in this twisted romantic tragedy.

As the controversy grows into every tabloid writer’s dream scoop and the media subjects Mrs. Kelley’s life to a far greater degree of scrutiny than she ever expected, a few interesting details have come to light.

There’s quite a bit to sort through: First of all, Mrs. Kelley has an identical sister named Natalie Khawam. The two enjoy participating in Florida politics, raising money for charitable causes…and racking up combined debts of approximately $7.6 million! Mrs. Kelley is currently “mired in lawsuits from a string of banks”, and Ms. Khawam declared bankruptcy earlier this year after engaging in a court battle over custody of her son and receiving character testimony from both General Petraeus and top Army General John Allen (who seems to have developed an amorous interest in her sister that included hundreds of not-so-discrete emails).

Another mini-scandal: Petraeus helped Kelley earn a gig as “honorary” consul to South Korea, but Kelley reportedly dropped the first part of her fake title when socializing—and this weekend the New York Daily News ran a story alleging that she tried to turn the unpaid position into a big-time score by enticing businessmen with her fictional connections to South Korea’s president.

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The Petraeus Scandal Just Got a Lot Juicier

General David Petraeus and Paula BroadwellWow, that was fast: the adulterous duo of Gen. David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, just turned into a love triangle–or is it a pentagon? Whatever shape the scandal eventually takes, its fallout already extends to the top ranks of the US military.

Let’s play catch-up:

The primary reason the whole story came to light was an FBI complaint filed by Tampa resident Jill Kelley. We’re not quite sure what Mrs. Kelley did, but we do know that Mrs. Broadwell (who was having an affair with Petraeus at the time, remember) regarded her as some sort of threat, emailing her repeatedly about her work as a “social liason” to Florida’s MacDill Air Force base in what some classified as an aggressive and accusatory tone.

Kelley was so disturbed by the messages that she reported them to the FBI; things quickly started to unravel. Petraeus appears to have broken up with Broadwell once he heard about these interactions, but the damage had already been done.

After the FBI gained access to Broadwell’s email account, they uncovered the relationship between the biographer and her subject. According to the latest revelations, they also stumbled upon a very large series of email exchanges between Kelley and General John Allen, the top commander of US/NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Seems like quite a few people had more than a casual interest in Mrs. Kelley.

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