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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Maddow’

FBI Launched Publicity Campaign to Find Fugitive, Tweeted News of His Arrest

Bulger in 1984 Photo: FBI via AP

Big news today about the FBI’s arrest of James “Whitey” Bulger, a fugitive on the organization’s most want list and on the lam for 16 years. Just as incredible as his story was the campaign to catch him.

The FBI did a PSA seeking information about Bulger’s companion Catherine Greig (you can check it out after the jump) that aired in 14 cities, issued a press release, and held a press conference about the case. Broadcast media scoffed. But  days later, Bulgar, now 81 years old and the source material for Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed, was arrested.

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The Many Layers of the B-M/Facebook Smear Story

The news that Burson-Marsteller/Facebook whisper campaign story unfolded before our eyes this week. And as it did, there were so many details that added so many layers that reaction, understandably, has been tremendous.

At this point, Facebook and Burson are no longer working together, The New York Times reports. And, The Daily Beast writes (h/t to PRWeek) that  the two Burson publicists that handled the campaign, former CNBC reporter Jim Goldman and former political writer John Mercurio, will receive another copy of the firm’s code of ethics (along with everyone at the firm) in order to get a refresher course on right and wrong. Interesting that two former reporters couldn’t clearly see the impropriety of this from the beginning, but we digress.

Reaction from the PR industry has been both critical and exasperated, with many on Twitter expressing a “you know better than that” tone with both the situation and Burson’s statement in response.

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MSNBC’s New Tagline Speaks to the Brand

MSNBC is publicly announced its new tagline today: “Lean Forward.”  According to The New York Times, the new slogan “embraces its progressive political identity,” juxtaposing the number two cable news channel against Fox News Channel, which sits at number one. The tagline will also be part of a two-year advertising campaign to raise awareness about the channel.

The story goes on to say that MSNBC has had a decade-long issue distinguishing its brand before it “seized on antiwar, anti-Republican sentiments in the latter part of the Bush administration” with notable names like Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann. The cable news station still has some catching up to do, with awareness for CNN and Fox far above MSNBC.

“When you’re clear about who you are, you actually make money,” Sharon Otterman, the CMO for MSNBC told the Times.

One of the new ads, directed by Spike Lee, after the jump. You can also read more about the new campaign on TVNewser. Read more

Rachel Maddow Calls Out Shirley & Banister, Again

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MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called out Washington, DC public affairs firm Shirley & Banister again last night on air (begin clip at 3:12), this time for connections to a pop-up advocacy group called the League of American Voters, broadly dedicated to holding politicians accountable.

The League of American Voters is represented by the “very very able, very very connected conservative PR firm Shirley & Banister…who howls like a wounded animal anytime we mention their existence on television,” the talk show host pointed out. The League now has an ad featuring Fred Thompson speaking out against the end of the Bush tax cuts.

Maddow’s main beef with firms like S&B, DCI Group, and Rick Berman’s firm are not that the tactics are illegal but that they’re used to “gin up fear and raise money.”

Bristol Palin Launching PR Firm?

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That’s what MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported last night, after digging up documents that Bristol Palin has filed paperwork for a new “lobbying, public relations, and political consulting services” company, BSMP LLC. Her full name is Bristol Sharon Marie Palin.

According to Palin’s lawyer, “The code for BSMP, LLC pertains to several areas but includes public relations. Bristol Palin provides public relations services and is currently an ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation.”

The Candie’s Foundation is a pro-abstinence organization. As Maddow noted, “Bristol Palin has essentially set herself up to be paid as an incorporated entity as opposed to being paid as an individual and that’s sort of a common choice people make when they have money coming in from various sources like this.”

Rachel Maddow Calls Out Another PR Firm; This Time It’s Porter Novelli

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First it was Burson-Marsteller. Then it was DCI Group. The latest PR firm facing heat by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is Porter Novelli. In her show last night, Maddow dug into the director of PN’s global healthcare practice, Peter Pitts. Pitts also president of The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI), an interest group involved in the health-care debate that is primarily funded by large pharma companies such as Pfizer.

From the transcript:

The Center for the American Progress today documents how CMPI has been a big player in the anti-health reform movement over the past few months. They sponsored anti-Obama tea party protests…They produced a number of anti-health reform online ads and video and even anti-health reform video games

Who runs CMPI, the Center for Medicine and the Public Interest, this group? Well, its president is a man named Peter Pitts. In addition to heading up this ostensibly nonpartisan medical think tank… Mr. Pitts is also the director for Global Health Care at the giant PR firm, Porter Novelli.

Porter Novelli, of course, has a bit of a history when it comes to shilling for the health care industry, having helped that industry kill the Patients Bill of Rights way back in 1994. They said at the time that it was part of a, quote, “big government agenda.” Why does that sound so familiar?

PRWeek interviewed Pitts when he first joined Porter Novelli last April, but his role at CMPI did not come up. In that interview he said his biggest goal with the practice was to “stop calling it a healthcare practice” because when people think healthcare they think “big pharma.” “I prefer to think of it as the public health practice,” he said.

Wendell Potter on Maddow: Healthcare Industry Sees This As A “Potential Bonanza for Them”

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Former Cigna Corporate Communications VP turned health industry whistle blower Wendell Potter appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” last night. Asked about how healthcare executives are feeling about what is happening to their industry, Potter said, “They would be willing to give up pre-existing conditions as a condition to deny coverage, because they see this as a potential bonanza for them, and they’ve already gotten the President to go along, or change his course, that everyone should be forced to get coverage and that would mean if there is no public option, they would have billions of dollars of new revenue.”

In early August, PRNewser co-editor Jason Chupick crunched some numbers and noted, “In the past month, Potter’s name has appeared 154 times in the news, and in over 2,700 blog posts.”

“I’ve just been amazed at the opportunities I’ve had. I don’t think I’ve turned down an interview request yet. I just keep going. I’ll tell almost anybody about what I know and what I’ve learned over the past 20 years,” Potter told reporters, including Politics Daily’s Jill Lawrence last week.

The insurance industry has been largely mum in terms of responding to Potter’s statements, not wanting to make him a bigger story than he is. Perhaps it’s too late?