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Posts Tagged ‘The White House’

White House: No More Citing Leaks for News Stories


Politics is PR writ large, and anyone who follows the Game of (Congressional) Seats knows how important “unauthorized disclosures” can be to journalists looking to better inform the public about how the sausage is made.

Citing such disclosures has long been the best way for an office/administration to address important information that it didn’t release in any official capacity–information like The Guardian’s Edward Snowden leaks, which demanded a public response.

In a story we didn’t have time to address last week, The White House made clear that it’s no longer OK with this old school push-pull approach by officially forbidding current and former national intelligence officials from commenting about stories based on intel data–whether that information happens to be classified or not.

So no one who works or has worked for the NSA–or any of the 16 other intel agencies–can discuss Snowden or any other story known to involve leaks.

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‘We the People’ of the Web? An Internet Bill of Rights May be a Thing

save the internet

It’s been bantered about in tech circles for the last few years, but since the Edward Snowden kerfuffle highlighted how the NSA can impede on anyone’s rights they deem appropriate on the Interweb, the discussion of an Internet Bill of Rights is now in serious consideration.

And if you think we are leading the charge for this global consideration, then you would be wrong.

Congratulate Brazil (Huh?) for surpassing the United States of America there, as the country of complete debauchery during Carnival, got its president to sign this into a law as Internet Bill of Rights late last month.

Maybe that has something to do with Congress wanting to discuss this too.

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The White House Knows When Your Clients Should Disclose Security Breaches


Yesterday Target announced a new CIO and a new card processing system to help minimize the impact of last year’s massive security breach.

Many have faulted the company for being behind the news cycle, only acknowledging that a problem existed after others reported it, and gradually increasing the official estimate of how many customers had been affected.

The biggest PR question at the time was “how and when should clients reveal such security weaknesses?”

This week we got a little advice on that front…from The White House.

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Even the President Outsources Social Media Event Promotion

Looks like President Obama is experiencing what we like to call “American Idol Syndrome.”

Everyone’s aware of his upcoming State of the Union speech; they may have watched it religiously in the past because it was part of every “water-cooler conversation” and most prefer to be in the know even if they agree that there will never be another Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood or even a Clay Aiken.

Now, though? It’s still true that everyone with a job in media or politics will be watching Obama’s State of the Union address, but with so many options for viewing and streaming all sorts of niche content as well as variations on the main event (did we mention that three different Republicans will give responses this year?), it’s easier than ever to tune out and watch something else. Details via Bloomberg:

Will social media help Obama earn more eyes at 9 PM on Tuesday? Color us skeptical.

It’ll probably resemble the latest Dancing with the Stars as the average viewer shrugs and thinks “didn’t I just see something almost exactly like this a few months ago?”

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Planned Parenthood Enlists Scarlett Johansson to Promote Those Healthcare Exchanges

Venice in the fall...

We understand why the White House doesn’t want to call upon celebrities to promote the new, glitchy healthcare exchanges. The “Hollywood limousine liberal” stereotype is powerful enough to seriously damage any campaign designed to appeal to as many people as possible, so they went with the Baltimore Ravens instead.

Planned Parenthood, however, has a different strategy in mind. The group isn’t concerned with swaying those who believe the concept of actresses promoting birth control to be the worst thing since New Coke, so they’ve they’ve enlisted Scarlett Johansson, Gabrielle Union, and Aisha Tyler to encourage enrollment in the exchanges. When interested parties call their local PP health centers, they’ll hear a recording of one of the three, each of whom the group describes as “passionate supporters”, asking ”Did you know you may be able to enroll in new, more affordable health insurance plans?” and directing them to this online guide to finding coverage in the Brave New Insurance World.

This is hardly a dramatic campaign, and any negative press will come from those who wouldn’t approve of any sentence that includes the words “Planned” and “Parenthood”. But will familiar names and voices really encourage more enrollment?

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 of the White House Press Team Got Furloughed, Too

The House, yo.

In case you thought that those under-appreciated PR professionals working in various departments throughout our government were the only ones to suffer this week, think again: it goes all the way to the top, baby.

Not only does White House press secretary Jay Carney have to answer his own phones in the absence of his assistant, but:

“Jessica Santillo, the White House spokeswoman who handles media requests on Obamacare, got furloughed as the insurance marketplaces opened.”

So if you were, say, a reporter who really wanted some information on this whole brand new health care law that will affect millions of Americans thing, you might have to wait a little longer than you’d like.

“…deputy press secretaries…had to learn the basic functions of the press office: routing releases through the correct White House email lists, working the announcement system for the press room, wrangling the media at events…”

The Office of the White House staff is now less than one-third its usual size. Carney says “Everybody is having to do different things. It makes you appreciate even more what your colleagues do everyday.”

You don’t say. Maybe they should do this more often.

The White House Plans, Executes Flawless ‘New Puppy’ Rollout

In a stunning media coup, The White House finally took to the Internets yesterday to answer the only question that no one ever asked: when will Bo Obama get a little sister? America, meet Sunny. Sunny, America. (Like they needed another daughter…)

What, you thought we’d post the slo-mo clips before the jump???

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White House Posts Epic Response to Death Star Petition

We recently told you that a petition urging the US government to build its very own “fully operational” Death Star garnered enough signatures to require a response from the White House.

Well, ladies and gentlemen (and wookies and Ewoks), this weekend brought us the official response, and while the Obama administration has decided (unsurprisingly but disappointingly) to deny the American people our very own Death Star, it has demonstrated both a sense of humor and an admirable level of geekiness in its response.

Some of the reasons the White House will not be building a Death Star are pretty predictable (the fact that it would cost roughly $850,000,000,000,000,000 and would therefore not help the deficit, and that the administration does not support blowing up other planets, blah blah). But even the most dedicated Star Wars fans couldn’t argue some of the other justifications. As chief science guy Paul Shawcross writes, “why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship”? Touche, sir.

The administration also urges us not to be too disappointed, because even though “we don’t have a Death Star…we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers”. Fair enough, we suppose.

Click through for the response in full. Its title alone assured us that we weren’t about to read an average cookie-cutter form letter, but one that might actually be worthy of its impassioned, Force-filled audience:

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Petition Orders the White House to Build a Death Star

Today in Duh, This Is Totally the Solution to the Financial Crisis News, a petition demanding that the US begin construction on its very own genuine, “fully operational” Death Star has garnered the 25,000 signatures needed to warrant an official response from the White House. The petition reads:

“Those who sign here petition the United States government to secure funding and resources, and begin construction on a Death Star by 2016. By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.”

Job creation, national defense, the revival of space exploration and undeniable awesomeness? Sounds like good political PR all around. In fact, as long as the work isn’t outsourced to Ewoks or droids, we can’t really see a downside. The White House has a few years to respond to the petition, but perhaps the powers that be will be so moved by the dedication of geeks everywhere that they’ll drop what they’re doing (i.e. arguing ceaselessly about the fiscal cliff) and sign a Death Star bill into law ASAP. Hey, it could happen.

No? We find your lack of faith disturbing.

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