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Posts Tagged ‘Politico’

Tried and True Moves from the Clinton PR Machine

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In the essay “My Battle With the Clintons“, completely objective reporter Daniel Halper (who just happens to edit the conservative Weekly Standard) gives Politico some dirt regarding his “It Happened to Me” moment going toe-to-toe with the Clinton PR team over his critical book.

“When I started to write Clinton, Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, I knew the reaction to expect… But even if I hadn’t known it, many, many people in Washington, on the left and right, popped up to warn me of what to expect from the Clinton PR team. Other authors—legitimate ones with serious pedigrees—who’d written about the Clintons said they were threatened and verbally attacked. Of course, nearly everyone in Washington has seen the much-vaunted Clinton PR machine in action. It’s very predictable.”

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Clintons know a thing or two about this PR biz. According to Halper, here’s how it works:

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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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New White House Press Secretary Dishes to Politico

Fresh-faced White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest knew exactly what to do in order to celebrate his first day on the job: talk to Politico!

Some revelations: he has an Instagram account; he thinks Obama should take more questions; he accurately describes the (un)lucky soul who has his job as “the point person for all the frustration” of WH correspondents (not to mention voters).

Now who wants Mr. Earnest’s job? Serious candidates only.

(For a good example of how the whole “honey, not vinegar” approach will never really work, check out this one from our sister site FishbowlDC.)

FDA Forces Brands’ Hands on Transparency in Labeling

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But what does it all MEAN?!?

The Food and Drug Administration has finally confirmed a move supported by Michelle Obama and many other health advocates: a redesign of nutritional labels to emphasize honesty over obfuscation.

More specifically, the new regulations will require that serving sizes increase (because no one ever eats just five chips), that all products list added sugars separately and that calories be noted with larger type. In the words of a “longtime food company consultant”, it’s “sort of a laundry list of everything the industry didn’t want.”

How very, very delicious.

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News Orgs Rethinking Their Brief Fling with Live Streaming Video

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Read (don’t watch) all about it

The Internet may have killed the newspaper star, but live streaming video is looking less and less like his savior.

This morning we link to POLITICO for a rare moment of media insight. Over the past five years, nearly every major news organization has dropped a lot of money into live streaming video with little or nothing to show for it. As much as some of us may dislike the “talking head yells at other talking heads” model, producing that sort of stuff (not mention convincing viewers and advertisers to pay attention) can be quite challenging.

Even Business Insider couldn’t make it work.

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MWW Graphic Shows What Mattered Most in State of the Union

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As promised to Politico, MWW analyzed Twitter sentiments during last night’s State of the Union speech and created a related infographic directly after the event to reflect its findings on the Return on Reputation blog.

You’ll have to click through to see the whole thing, but its findings weren’t too terribly surprising: the most-discussed moment of the evening was President Obama’s well-timed gender gap Mad Men reference* while overall sentiment swung wildly between two poles: negativity surrounding the President’s comments on his own health care law and universal praise for wounded soldier and veterans care case study Cory Remsburg.

You should check out the graphic, which is interesting if not quite revelatory. The message: if you give the people some catnip and demonstrate that you’re not afraid to tackle controversy, then they’ll be more likely to stick with you through the boilerplate stuff.

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Politico Defends Its Own Pay-to-Play Publicity Game as ‘Transparent’

Carousel_MP_POLITICO_sign_v6_960_481_40In the year’s most “Inside Baseball” story, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post claimed that the popular D.C. “Playbook” email newsletter published by Mike Allen of Politico basically amounts to a bunch of reprinted press releases.

Want your business to earn positive press in a thread read by thousands of political insiders? No problem—just fork up $35,000 to spend a week sponsoring the newsletter and Allen will make sure to mention you in a completely uncritical way. He might even bring your name up later in order to highlight your own publicity campaigns and link to your PSA-style videos because he’s such a nice guy.

This isn’t a completely new story, BTW: back in 2010 this blog reported on the ease with which one may be featured in the site’s fluffier “Click” section.

When Wemple’s report surfaced, Politico CEO John VandeHei called it “nonsense”—and Howard Kurtz gave editor-in-chief John Harris an opportunity to elaborate on that statement on his Fox News show this week.

Harris’ defense was a bit…garbled.

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Obamacare Struggles Make for a Perfect Communications Case Study

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If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got somewhere else to be…

You may be shocked to learn that Politico posted something interesting today. Inflammatory “PR firms cash in on health rollout woes” headline aside, the story makes a good point: the Affordable Care Act launch is a perfect encapsulation of the challenges facing communicators in the digital era.

Multiple firms have capitalized on this fact by turning it into a case study; the myriad lessons are obvious after the jump.

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The Republican Party Teaches Itself How to Talk to Women

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You may have heard that the Republican Party currently has some problems winning the votes of American women—and electing them to office. In the words of House Speaker John Boehner:

“When you look around the Congress, there are a lot more females in the Democrat caucus than there are in the Republican caucus.”

This is definitely not the first time he’s noticed, because party insiders have been talking demographic “rebranding” since a 2012 election in which Mitt Romney lost the female vote by more than 10%. One part of their solution involves “tutoring” candidates on how not to address female opponents, which is important since at least 10 2014 House races involve a female Democrat challenging a male Republican incumbent.

What is it they have to learn, exactly, to win over a group that happens to make up 54% of the electorate?

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Politico’s Mike Allen Will Reprint Your Press Release for Money

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A small bomb hit the political media world yesterday when Erik Wemple of The Washington Post insinuated that the very popular “Playbook” email newsletter, written by Mike Allen of Politico, is more a native advertising venture than a news ticker. If you want positive coverage, you just need to pay for it.

The newsletter has always accepted money from sponsors, with advertisers paying $35,000 for a weeklong promo run. The point of Wemple’s reveal is how closely the “editorial” content resembles the “paid” content. Allen is, essentially, reprinting certain advertisers’ press releases by giving hands-off coverage to their PR work. Case in point: Allen reported BP’s post-oil spill damage control campaign as news and linked to a PDF of the company’s print ad. He later linked to a video spot, and Wemple strongly implies that Allen’s friendship with BP execs facilitated this coverage (for which Politico did not charge).

The newsletter also consistently quotes press releases from regular sponsors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, writing things like:

Ahead of tax day, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce promotes its agenda for tax reform: “Renew all expiring tax rates and incentives right away. … Stop threatening small businesses with higher taxes”

The average Joe on the street will understandably say “of course the media is biased and politics is a pay-to-play game” while shrugging his shoulders at this story, but it’s big news to anyone who does PR in DC. The money quote after the jump:

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