Press adviser & blogger's 'smear campaign' PR disaster

A tale of how a press ‘guru’ and a citizen journo conspired to set up fictitious online info to smear and sully the name of the political enemies of their paymasters…ethical behaviour, Bueller, Bueller…?

In the UK, Prime Ministerial adviser Damian McBride has resigned/dressed down by PR Gordy Broon, after (as Wikipedia reports) “…McBride had sent a series of emails to former Labour Party official Derek Draper discussing plans to set up a blog which would be used to post false rumours about the private lives of senior members of the Conservative Party and their spouses. These smears would have included sexual and personal fabrications against certain Tory politicians and their spouses…The emails, which had been sent from the Downing Street Press Office, found their way to Paul Staines, author of the Guido Fawkes blog who brought them to the attention of the media. Mr McBride resigned later the same day, and 10 Downing Street issued an apology for the “juvenile and inappropriate” emails.

Bloggers are not equal to 'proper' journalists

Blogger Arpee Lazaro contacts me relating how he was invited by an electronics manufacturer to the launch of their latest line of entertainment devices and gadgets. Upon entry, Arpee fell in line for the registration and before being allowed to register, was accosted by Jayce Perlas (as it says on his name tag) and asked what publication Arpee was from. He answered him “I am a blogger, and gave his URL. He then asked Arpee, “WHO INVITED YOU?” This lead to much humiliation in front of the people in the counter and treated like an arrested shoplifter. Here’s Arpee’s blog piece:

Arpee, look at the positive; don’t think bloggers are held in such high media regard here in OZ!!

Bank PR 'outed' via Social Media interview

National Australia Bank has distanced itself from a PR consultancy (p’raps Cox & Inall), which attempted to spam post commercial messages on several leading Aussie sports blogs. Local SEO practitioner Jim Stewart tele-interviewed NAB PR Felicity Glennie Holmes who asserted that ‘this activity was poorly executed by our PR agency”. Jim Stewart primarily challenged Felicity on corporate spamming & the ethics of placing covert NAB ads disguised as blog posts. Felicity kinda defended her employers decision.

Interesting note to PR practitioners; be wary of responding to a blog query. As you would with a journo query, ask if they plan to broadcast your communication and if you’re uncomfortable with their response, decide if you wanna participate (or not). For eg: Jim Stewart conducts his interview with Felicity, filming himself for vodcast, and putting her on speakerphone – his body language, facial expressions and other non-verbal silently ‘spin’ his take on her responses. Judging by Jim’s raised eyebrows in his vodcast of the telecon, he couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing from FGH.

I’ve called Cox Inall to see if they were involved and if so, to hear their side of the story. Someone called ‘Killingly’ is supposed to contact me; after almost 18hrs, am still awaiting any call or email. Agency head Tim Powell left a voice mail for me around 9am and is happy to speak to me later today…stay tuned.