Thursday, October 22, 2009

PR Firm Steering Water Spin Towards Wall Street Journal

Multiple emails from the PR firm Cramer-Krasselt are floating around on behalf of the M7 Water Council that advise potential member sources on how to handle interviews with a Wall Street reporter whom the firm says is preparing stories about the Great Lakes Compact, and other regional water issues, with the firm's assistance.

Cramer-Krasselt is urging people who might be interviewed to be positive, showcase local expertise and opportunities, and let the firm know if they were contacted so it can help subsequent interviewees avoid "land-mines" in questions posed.

It is not unusual for an out-of-town reporter to work with a local point of contact, so much of this is PR 101.

But there is disappointing language in the emails urging potential interviewees against airing "dirty laundry" or certain "ugliness" associated with water policy debates, but emphasizing to the reporter, Joe Barrett, that cooler heads are prevailing - - whatever that means.

Is that how the M7 Water Council sees some environmental, or social justice issues raised about water planning or opinion-making in the region by various mainstream environmental and civic organizations in Madison, Milwaukee and Waukesha?

Or SEWRPC's Environmental Justice Task Force, or the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin - - both of which have expressed concerns about water plans and how they effect regional growth, or minority and low-income communities and taxpayers?

The emails say that the Water Council takes no position on Waukesha's diversion plans, but the Council's PR firm is urging that possible interviewees spin their responses and decline to volunteer some information about the most basic shared resource: water.

Is this the right way to advise M7 Water Council mmbers, especially those who are public officials, or who receive public funding?

Those members represent everyone, including people - - taxpayers - - who might feel that "hearing all sides" also makes for truth-telling - - hence good PR - - and should be treated as a synonym for what others mistakenly call "dirty laundry."


Brutus said...

Thanks James. Joe Barrett is a wall street reporter, for the Wall Street Journal, now owned by Newscorp's Rupert Murdock. Need I say more about their ideological alighnment. Sound's like their willing to spin some version of a story. Typical newscorp PR 2.0

James Rowen said...

Wall Street Journal reporting is often wonderful; Its big front-page news-features can be terrific and I ususally get a lot out of them.

The editorials: fuggedaboutit.

I'm more concerned about M7 advisers steering people to sugarcoat the issues.

We don't need PR that interferes with open policy-making.

Brutus said...

I agree about the WSJ front page. Do you remember back, before Newscorp bought the paper, they would print in the upper left(pg 2) the market leverage ratio? Americans would have been shocked to know it was 40:1, at a time when congress was trying to "privatize" social security to Wall street. WSJ has an alluring front page. Nice sugar coating that makes the inside more palletable. That is what you can likely expect from the M7 advisors.