What Rockefeller Understands
September 29, 2009
Over the last few weeks Jay Rockefeller has emerged as the Senate's most visible spokesman for a public insurance option. And, purely from a public relations standpoint, this is something of a mixed blessing. He comes from West Virginia and is pretty popular there, so that certainly helps bring non-coastal credibility to the cause. But Rockefeller speaks in a plodding, rambling style that doesn't always make for great television. He's also pretty stubborn, which makes him a loud advocate but not necessarily an effective one, at least given the way the U.S.
Are Journalilsts Like Strippers?
August 11, 2009
Michael Sokolove's lively article about the decline of Philadelphia's two newspapers was most surprising in its portrayal of Brian Tierney--the p.r. man turned newspaper publisher who, contrary to pretty much everything I'd previously read about him, actually seems to be a force for good. My favorite bit about Tierney from Sokolove's piece: He has taken his public relations mind-set to newspapering.
Blame The G8 For Energy Speculation
July 10, 2009
The G8 summit was obviously disappointing, even for those with low expectations. Usually, the substance is lacking but the public relations are well managed. This year even the messaging was messed up--they said some new things on climate change but not what we were told they could say, the food aid/development package was lamer than advertized, etc. So the whole thing looks like an expensive flop. But actually it was much worse. I've written elsewhere this week about the G8's broad decline in legitimacy and appeal relative to the G20 , and the specific pressing issue of cross-border resolutio
Regulating Our Brave New Post-stress Test World
May 19, 2009
This week the administration begins a serious behind-the-scenes charm offensive on its regulatory reform plans. The argument seems to be: we are where we are on banks' solvency/recapitalization, so let's not argue about that; it's time to strengthen financial regulation in line with our G20 commitments. But there is a serious dilemma lurking behind the foreshadowing, the rhetoric, and the talking points. (Aside to Treasury: please find somone other than big financial players to endorse your next 100 days report; many taxpayers will find p.5 of your first report particularly annoying--if you d
Why The Stress Test Leaks Have Been So Confusing
May 06, 2009
The public relations campaign packaging the bank stress tests is kicking into high gear and our professional information managers are really hitting their stride. They face, of course, a classic spin problem: you need to get the information out there, but you don't want to be too definitive on the first day or soon after--if you're easy on the banks, that looks bad; if you're tough on the banks, that might be dangerous. The best way to handle this is by jamming your own signal--which they are starting to do in brilliant fashion. To the WSJ you leak that BoA needs to raise a great deal of capit
Duke It Out!
January 22, 2008
It's no secret that the Democratic presidential campaign has grown ferocious over the last few days: both the Hillary and Obama camps have griped of unfair treatment, Bill goes red-faced if someone looks at him wrong, Barack's tired of 42's haranguing, not to mention the name calling. Last weekend, the animosity between the two camps--who, it should be noted, have very similar policy positions--spilled over (way over) onto the comments section of our blogs.
May 20, 2002
It's five miles from Northern Virginia, where the Pentagon sets military targets, and a mile and a half from Foggy Bottom, where the State Department cobbles together coalitions. To look at it, you'd never guess that the ten-story glass-and-steel building at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and T Street, nestled amid the town houses and cafes of Dupont Circle, serves as one of the headquarters for the U.S. propaganda war against terrorism. If it doesn't look like a government office building, that's because it's not. Rather, it houses a public relations firm called The Rendon Group.
Confessions of a 'Contra'
August 05, 1985
How the CIA masterminded the Nicaraguan insurgency.
White House Watch: Nixon Then and Now
February 22, 1975
A new book and news accounts from San Clemente depict Richard Nixon as he appeared to one of his White House writers before Watergate destroyed his presidency and as he is in exile and nearly total seclusion six months after his resignation. The book is William Safire's Before the Fall (Doubleday; $12.50).