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Posts Tagged ‘Rendon Group’

Pentagon Ends Contract With Rendon Group

rendon.jpgWe’ve been keeping an eye on Stars & Stripes‘ coverage of The Rendon Group, a private public relations company that profiled reporters who requested embeds with the military in Afghanistan. Now, they report that the Pentagon has canceled its $1.5 million contract with the company.

In an article on Monday, the military publication reported that U.S. public affairs specialists in Afghanistan revealed that all reporters were profiled by Rendon prior to being embedded. But there were mixed reports all week as to whether or not journalists had been denied an embed based on their previous coverage.

On Friday, Stars & Stripes reported that the background reports were “used by military officials to deny disfavored reporters access to American fighting units or otherwise influence their coverage as recently as 2008.” But other military officials are still denying that report.

As PRNewser reports even after news of the contract cancellation came out, one military spokesperson said in NPR interview that the practice of denying reporters embed positions based on their background reports was “flat out incorrect.”

Update: New York public radio station WNYC points us to an August 7 interview on its “On The Media” program. During the interview, Matt Mabe, a journalist and soldier in the U.S. Army, revealed the military’s use of background checks:

“The military is now commissioning private companies to research, profile and make assessments about reporters’ previous military coverage. They rate it using pie charts and graphs…and finish it off with a summary evaluation, which to me carries an almost Orwellian overtone.

“For example, we have a reporter on the ground right now, and his assessment reads like this: ‘Given his neutral to positive sentiment typical in his narrative reporting, as well as the characterization of his media outlet, which is politically center right, one may expect this reporter to produce coverage that is, at the least, neutral in sentiment and representative of the military point of view of events, if not neutral to positive.’

“Now, the idea here is to figure out the best place to put them or prevent them from embedding at all. And, in my opinion, this just counters the ideals that we who wear the uniform are expected to represent.”

Listen to the whole interview here:

PRNewser: Pentagon Cancels Rendon Contract Over Profiling Flap

Earlier: An Embedded Reporters’ Thoughts On His Own Background Report

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Jenna Bush, New Magazine Launches & Embedded Journos On The Menu


It might be the last day of August and the beginning of the last week of summer, but you would never know it from the amount of media news that’s surfaced today.

On the Morning Media Menu podcast, hosts Jason Boog of GalleyCat and AgencySpy‘s Matt Van Hoven had many headlines to talk about, starting with news reported by Stars & Stripes and PRNewser that the Pentagon had canceled its contract with the Rendon Group, a PR company responsible for doing background checks on reporters set to embed with the military. The question remains: did these checks lead to certain journalists getting their embed requests denied?

Matt and Jason also discussed a story on AgencySpy about car company Chrysler steering business away from its advertising agency of record, BBDO. Also in the news, former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager joins the “Today” show and some new magazines are launching.

You can listen to all the past podcasts at and call in at 646-929-0321.